Reading07: Advertising

With regards to companies collecting information about our online and even offline habits, I believe that it is totally within reason for companies to be able to do this and is not unethical at all.  Personally, I have no issue with companies collecting my data to try and put personalized advertisements on the websites that I use and would actually much prefer this than if a company didn’t collect data and just put generic advertisements on their site.  In reality, companies rely heavily on advertisements for their revenue streams and, especially for online social media sites that are free, advertisements may be their primary way of making money.  In light of this, I believe that companies, especially public companies, are morally responsible to their shareholders to make money and, if advertisements are the company’s main way of making money, then they are totally within their reason to put advertisements on their site and, as I previously said, I would much rather have advertisements for things that I like and am more likely to buy than for things that I would never buy.  In this world, we must submit to the fact that advertisements on websites are going to happen, so why not have advertisements for things we actually like than for things we would never buy on our most frequented websites.  Now, this belief is based upon the fact that companies are keeping your data safe and not using this data for malicious means.  As long as my data is being kept safe and within the company who’s service I am using, I have no issues with the company using my data for targeted and personal advertisements.  I would also like to address one of the gripes that The Atlantic article has with personal data collection: the fact that there are surveillance cameras filming in restaurants or public streets and credit card tracking that will track your credit card purchases.  Personally, I have very close ties to both Boston and New York City, and will be living and working after college in the surrounding greater Manhattan area, and have seen the benefits that this surveillance has.  Take, for example, the Boston Marathon bombing.  The Boston Police Department and FBI would not have had a credible lead unless the camera along Boylston Street had caught one of the bombers placing down his backpack in the crowd and then walking away before remote detonating the bomb.  Imagine if we did not have this camera there and, perhaps, had not caught the bombers before, as it was reported, they made their way to New York City for yet another attack.  Federal officials and police departments also use credit card tracking to try and track down suspects to see where they are in the country or out of the country.  I don’t personally understand the reasoning of people that have an issue with this because, if you are doing nothing wrong, then what is the downside of having cameras filming public streets or having your credit card purchases tracked?  These two means of surveillance are used by federal officials or police departments for tracking down suspects and the normal citizen should realize the good these means of surveillance gives us and not gripe with it.