Even Privacy Advocates Are Tracking You Online

Each time someone visits CAPrivacy.org, software gleans what information it can about them, then sends that information to Facebook, including their IP address, what web pages they were on before and after visiting, and so on. At this point, both the visitor and the website have basically lost control of what happens with that information. 

At least 79 percent of websites globally have one or more trackers that collect data on their users’ online behavior, according to a 2017 study by Ghostery, a company that makes ad blockers and privacy software. Over 21 percent have more than 10 trackers. Google trackers run 60 percent of the time any web page loads; Facebook’s run 27 percent of the time. Both companies have trackers running on CAPrivacy.org, because the group put them there. It may be hard to find a clearer testament to how entrenched such tracking has become as the default setting of the entire internet. 

The inability of websites to resist the temptation of these tools is vital to Facebook’s and Google’s domination of the internet—and a big part of how they’ve gathered so much information about practically every person online. “Everyone is using Google Analytics, and everyone is using the Facebook pixel,” said Praneet Sharma, the chief executive of Method Media Intelligence, an ad tech consultancy.