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Online Tracking: Creepy Commerce?

Spying on American consumers is big business on the Internet. How companies slice, dice and sell your personal identity online.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, July 20, 2010. Advertising industry leaders are teaming up with the journalism school to launch the Institute for Advertising Ethics. (AP)

It’s pervasive. It’s intrusive. And it’s perfectly legal—at least for now.

A new breed of tracking companies are spying on internet users, then slicing and dicing the information they gather into a goldmine of consumer data. Just what do they know about you? Where you live. What you buy. Whether you’re fat or thin, married or single, a homeowner or renter…you name it.

If you’re online, chances are you’re being followed everywhere without ever knowing. We look at your personal identity, for sale.

-Betsy Stark

Guests:

Julia Angwin, senior technology editor for the Wall Street Journal. She is the lead author of a new, in-depth series about tracking consumers online called “What They Know.”

Peter Eckersley, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending consumer rights online.

Mike Zaneis, vice president for public policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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