The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets

A Journal investigation finds that one of the fastest-growing businesses on the Internet is the business of spying on consumers. First in a series.

The Wall Street Journal, Page W1

Brian McCord for the Wall Street Journal

Ashley Hayes-Beaty

Hidden inside Ashley Hayes-Beaty’s computer, a tiny file helps gather personal details about her, all to be put up for sale for a tenth of a penny.

The file consists of a single code— 4c812db292272995-e5416a323e79bd37—that secretly identifies her as a 26-year-old female in Nashville, Tenn. The code knows that her favorite movies include “The Princess Bride,” “50 First Dates” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” It knows she enjoys the “Sex and the City” series. It knows she browses entertainment news and likes to take quizzes.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal and see the full What They Know series online.


Posted in Digital Tracking, Portfolio, Wall Street Journal, What They Know

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