by Tom Imerito
Originally Published in Pittsburgh Quarterly – Summer 2014

PQ privacy ImageI first became aware that my online privacy wasn’t nearly as confidential as I thought while shopping online with my sister who lives in Florida. Separated by 1,000 miles, phones pressed to our ears, eyes glued to computer screens, my price for a particular web cam was a bargain at $3.37; hers was $4.66, over $1 more than mine. After checking to make sure we were viewing the exact same web page with the exact same Internet address, I couldn’t help but conclude that we had been sized up by a computer algorithm somewhere in cyberspace and offered different prices for the same piece of merchandise—all within a fraction of a second. The experience made me wary. I wanted to know more. [Continue Reading…]