March 31, 2020
Internet users around the world, billions of them, are exposed to a technology they do not fully understand, have little or no benefit from, haven’t asked for whatsoever, and due to which, they need to be concerned about how their data is used. On top of this, there is a cost to users down to the consumption of their device’s resources in relation to tracking workflows.
Third-party Trackers Represent the Problem
When someone visits a website or uses an app, they have no intention to provide anything to any third parties. They have no other business in mind except their primary purpose, for example, to buy shoes online. Instead, by visiting a single website, they’re invisibly connected to dozens of third-, fourth- and fifth-party entities to a degree where no one can answer who has access to what aspects of your data.
The most pressing issue with privacy today is the lack of policy. It’s unclear who holds responsibility for preventing users from unwanted tracking or where people should turn when they think their privacy has been compromised. Now, we all understand that adverts form part of the Internet economy and that targeted ads draw higher revenues and pay for better content. But when it comes to third-party tracking, we have to ask one key question: Is the end user giving informed consent?
Why Do We Need Privacy Protection Solutions on the Service Provider Level?
To be responsible for something means first being able to make an impact and affect the outcome. We don’t expect a regular person to perform their own surgeries, install their plumbing or take care of legal processes. Internet users are the recipients of a service, and the attributes of that service – in this case, user privacy – remain in the field of service providers, not the consumers.
We carried out a survey on privacy and online tracking perceptions this spring, where we asked US respondents who in their opinion should be responsible for protecting them from tracking. The majority (65.1%) think that it should be Internet service providers.
We also asked several questions about privacy threats and known countermeasures. The responses clearly show one thing: Privacy protection requires a systematic approach. A lot of users are neither motivated nor qualified to ensure it for themselves.
There is a lack of knowledge regarding tracking, and awareness is still relatively low.
It’s a risk for businesses to provide a service knowing that it has the potential to be maliciously used against their clients and not take all possible measures in order to avoid those threats.
How Exactly Does Incognito Ensure Privacy Protection?
CUJO AI Incognito protects consumers’ privacy by blocking the third-party tracking software that powers advertising sites. Because it operates on the network level, it works across all devices, browsers and apps while they’re used on that network. This way, Incognito frees the consumer from installing and maintaining software on their myriad devices.
Incognito addresses end user expectations by empowering Internet service providers to ensure their clients don’t have to undergo the hassle of trying to protect themselves with available means that only work on browsers (so apps keep tracking them) or installing and updating the blocking software on each of their devices.
Users Would Rather Not Be Tracked, but Do They Have a Choice?
Only a minority (7.6%) of our survey respondents said they think that tracking might be beneficial to them, for example, by allowing a more personalized browsing or app experience through prefilling repetitive forms, saving choices, etc.
The flaw in this idea is that these convenient features are available because of functional, or essential, website trackers – it’s a part of the website functionality and user experience. But third-party trackers have nothing to do with that. Their sole purpose is to gather user behavior data to profile them and use those profiles to target and monetize advertisements.
But those who tend to see tracking in a not-entirely-negative light are just a small part of Internet users. The majority think that tracking is never beneficial, and we think they’re right.
However, for social networking and entertainment sites that users have no alternatives for, it’s either use and be tracked, or don’t use at all. That is why it’s essential to at least minimize the impact of tracking that users are exposed to when taking advantage of “free” services that have already become a daily habit.