Online Profiling is the activity of watching what your website visitors and online customers are doing on your website. It allows you to watch how long they spend on your website
, what they read maybe even what they think. This may seem harmless enough, after all you don’t know who your online visitors are or where they are…. right? Well not quite.
Your IP address is allocated to your internet session by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and they know where you live. You're ahead of me aren’t you?
The other concern is that perhaps at some point a visitor to your site entered an email address to request a newsletter
. Again fair enough – but what if you “cookied” their email address
– that means stored it in their computers hard disk so that the next time they visit your site you can see that it’s Bill from Maidenhead by looking at the cookie. Over time that means that you can get a fair idea that Bill from Maidenhead is really interested in your products related to Dinosaurs, and if you know that then you can send mail, email, and even serve up personalised webpages that promote Dinosaurs.
Of course cookies can be deleted so that’s that sorted…..right? Nope!
As you store the cookie you can keep a central copy so that when Bill from Maidenhead logs in you have a central copy on your server to keep you up to date with his behaviour. That's why all these cookie warnings keep popping up on websites.