Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

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Surveillance on news websites is particularly problematic because the news you consume may reveal your political leanings or health interests — information that is not just exploited by corporations to sell you things, but could also be abused by governments. And because news organizations benefit from the surveillance economy by running advertisements targeted to reader interests, they may be less likely to report on their own tracking practices.

The Times’s privacy policy does not disclose the vast majority of tracking companies (including BlueKai) on its site, requires users to accept cookies to fully use the site and explicitly states that The Times ignores the “do not track” browser setting.

Worse, only 10 percent of these outside parties are disclosed in privacy policies of the news sites we studied, meaning even diligent readers will never learn who collects their data. From a privacy perspective, news websites are among the worst on the web.

The result is that as online advertising networks become more highly centralized, the old model of a independently managed and free press is being replaced by one where giant technology companies control user data and the purse strings.