Websites that are too transparent about what they know about you?

Posted on Nov 13, 2017

I’ve started to see websites try to be more transparent about user data. A website I visited recently had a profile page showing all the pages i’d viewed and all the reviews I’d left.

Initially, I thought this was a strange feature. Why do I want a record of what i’ve seen?

I tried the same URL from a private browser window and was surprised to see that anyone with my profile URL could view my browsing history. Not that I was looking at anything dodgy*, but, it felt strange that anyone on the internet could see where I’d been on this website without me actively choosing to share it.

The rise in social media in the last 10-15 year’s means that people have become used to curating their online presence. I’m as guilty as the next person of only sharing the ‘good bits’ online. But what happens when we inadvertently start to share the ‘not so good bits’? How will our behaviour change as a result of this?

what did i do? I started viewing the website in private browser mode so that I wouldn’t be sharing the things i didn’t intend to share. But this doesn’t help the business learn about my likes and dislikes and tailor content to me. Navigating the waters between keeping users safe/knowing what a company does with their data and providing them with useful content is a discussion i’m sure we’ll see much more of as GDPR regulations come into force.

*It was the event booking website – designmynight.co.uk