Everything You Do Is (Still) Being Tracked Everywhere

If you’ve logged into Twitter or Facebook within the past month, the Wall Street Journal reports, those services are tracking every visit you make to any Web page that has a “Tweet” or “Like” button on it.

Widget makers say the collection of users’ Web-browsing activity is an unintended side effect of how the tools work. In order to show a user which of their online friends “liked” a particular article, for example, the widget must know who the user is.


So in case you might want to tell people you liked an article, the widget is already monitoring the fact that you are reading it. Again, as always: “privacy” is a complicated, human concept. Data exchange and collection within the network is the default operating condition.

This is essentially the same news as last month’s reports that smartphones are generating


data trails of their users’ movements

. Or yesterday’s news that the movements of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the housekeeper accusing him of sexual assault have presumably been

logged by the card-key

system at the Sofitel:

“They would have a record of her using the key to gain access,” [card-key sales executive Peter] Krauss said. “They should have a record of the door remaining open for X period of time, and the door lock being actuated again. The system can differentiate between the guest’s card key and the housekeeper’s master key.”


“They know what time the maid opened that door, propped open that door, and when someone closed that door,” Mr. Krauss said.

Maybe this is heartening information, regarding the search for truth in the Strauss-Kahn case. Maybe the thing about the browser tracking is alarming. The machinery doesn’t care how you feel, either way. It just keeps recording. There’s no reason for it not to.