Oct. 25, 2011— -- Are credit card companies using your purchasing history to deliver targeted ads to you while you surf the web? So says The Wall Street Journal, which reports today on what appears to be the latest development in an ongoing debate over whether online advertising based on your surfing history violates your privacy. The lines are blurring between what credit-card companies know about your life as a consumer offline and what they know online. What should we make of all this? Is it time to freak out or will we be O.K.?
From "junk" mail to commercials you have to sit through before your favorite TV drama returns, advertising is something people love to hate, or at least complain about. But this attitude clashes with the reality of our actions. We may not admit it or be aware of it, but in general, we like advertising; if we didn't, we wouldn't buy things someone advertised to us.