a reply to: Kalixi
Having read a few of the comments here, I felt that I might have something useful to offer.
I saw people mentioning cookies and VPN's. In particular was intrptr's comment of "welcome to the internet".
Cookies typically retain information such as your IP address and search strings. This is done so that the website can customize the overall
frequently, but for the users at the moment experience, it is by and large static. The information does not customize to the user. A very common use
of cookies for instance is when you're shopping. If you want to hold onto a placemarker for an item you're considering purchasing in your "shopping
cart", this is *not* stored on the hosts machine. Instead, it is stored on your computer in the form of a relatively small file that the website can
store as "cache" (memory, think of it like the use of a notebook where you write down something you want to remember for later, a scratchpad). Think
of it as how when you're watching TV or reading something and come across something you want to reference later like a phone number, so you write it
down on a scatch pad for later use. This is within the design parameters of browsers today to allow such things, "for your convenience"
To clear cache and cookies
on Google's CHROME browser : In the "Clear browsing data" box, click the checkboxes for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files. Use
the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything.
So, OP, your husband did some research on an item. Then this was responded to by a text message from the dealership to your husband about what he was
researching. How did this happen when all they "should" know is your computer's IP address and what product he was looking for information on? I
believe what happened (my best guess / interpretation) was a bit more complicated then just the use of a cookie. If you look into Google's EULA (end
user license agreement), I suspect you'll find that if your husband entered his phone number (for two factor identity verification to his google
account) that Google is selling his demographic and or personal information to advertisers. This is how Google makes money. Google is a business,
they do not provide anything truly for free as one would expect from a business.
I believe that it is highly likely that Google has some sort of
advertising / demographics / information package plan that they sell this sort of information to businesses as a form of advertising that drives
revenues as a result of google searches on services or goods that a business might sell.
At the end of the day, I see two issues here.
First of all, transparency. If confronted, undoubtedly the party selling this information is going to claim "well, you read the end user licensing
agreement that you signed to user our services, correct?". The simple fact of the matter is, I do not know anyone other than attorneys that actually
do read them. Just like the fact that when you sing up for cable television and or internet access with a particular large corporation you are
agreeing to arbitration and you are waiving your rights to take them to court. I believe this is something that has become so ubiquitous that we've
become complacent and simply click yes without reading it. Sadly, the person accepting without performing the due dilligence of reading such
agreements before deciding to agree to them is at fault. I myself am just as guilty as anyone else for doing this. Typically, the legalese is so
thick you need a machete to actually get close to the meat of the information that you need to be aware of. I believe that the transparency of
succinct, clear, and concise language should be used in such cases. But the attorneys will say "Oh, well, we ARE being succinct/clear/concise". Why
is this? Because here in the States at least, we have become a country of lawsuits.
Second, intent of data collection. When you enter your phone number in the scenario I outlined above (identity protection for your own safety), it is
not clear that it may be used for any other matter. This loops back to my first point about EULA's and legalese.
These are VERY closely related. Issue one is really the problem of people not taking the time to read an agreement. Issue two is the intentional
vague nature in which things are disclosed by companies in their legally binding
As someone who works with databases and transmitting data back and forth between systems (sometimes inside organizations, sometimes from organization
A to organization B) I am particularly aware of the danger here. Once you give your information to someone, you are no longer in control of it.
Giving your personal information online is like going to a casino and gambling. All bets are in favor of the House.
Sadly OP, there is nobody else to look to for blame in how the car dealership got your husbands phone number and used it to text him an unsolicited
sales pitch on a car he was curious about.
edit on 10-8-2017 by FHomerK because: Read what you're agreeing to.