Are you happy? In the Christmas shopping season, this is more for the case for shop operators than patrons. Because what is offered to one customer as a bargain, the other gets to a much higher price – from the same shop! The principle behind this form of profit optimization is called dynamic pricing, the flexible adaptation of rates to the individual personality profile of the prospective buyers, based on non-existent data protection in the online shop.
Methods such as dynamic pricing through the increasing transparency of consumers are possible because privacy in the online shop is nothing more than a pipe dream. The apparent anonymity on the Internet has given way to mass surveillance that almost nobody can escape. Every time a website is called up, the often-cited “transparent customer” leaves numerous traces and clues about their personality.
Every single click is tracked. Once these personal traces have been stored in databases, they can’t easily be removed. They provide enough information to create a distinctive personality more accurately than one’s best friend could describe. In the case of dynamic pricing, the information about which device a visitors uses to access the Internet often suffices to analyze their purchasing power.
But the profile data contains not only information on purchasing power and buying interests, but also sensitive health data, sexual preferences, or political orientation based solely on surfing behavior. With each click, the profile becomes more detailed – but the resulting image does not always correspond to reality.
The extent to which the collected information can be exploited is shown by a look at one that would probably be the optimal customer in terms of online shopping: Santa Claus.
While he used to be careful not to leave treacherous imprints in the snow, the digital traces of modern Santa Claus are making a name for himself. Once he was only spotted behind Rudolf’s red nose, today his internet access and the search for directions reveal his exact location – and it suspiciously recognizes many trips abroad in a short period of time.
The data are not hidden from the authorities and he has long been a target for the police and tax office on suspicion of smuggling. Especially at the end of the year, Santa Claus is in high stress and almost online day and night, but hardly moves the rest of the year and is very overweight. Every year after Christmas, he visits tons of diet pages, his health insurance contributions have therefore increased immeasurably.
A tablet is always in Santa Claus’s lap, at any moment advertisements for touchpad-compatible gloves will flash on screen as he enters colder areas. Since he buys large amounts of perfumes and gift items for children, it is suspected that he leads extramarital relations, which is why he continually gets ads for dating portals. In addition, his credit card was canceled – on suspicion of shopping addiction.
Data snooping instead of data protection in the online shop makes Santa Claus a predictable customer for shop operators. According to the law of dynamic pricing, it is only a logical consequence that offers to Santa for toys and gifts may list a higher price than other less wealthy customers.
We all know that this profile is fictitious and fun. Nonetheless, it describes a practice that has long been commonplace in Internet life; most Internet users are not aware of the personality profile is created based on this data. It profoundly intervenes in the private sphere and under many circumstances draws a very inaccurate picture of the user.
If you want to make sure that your privacy is protected on the Internet, you can use the eBlocker – the smart solution hides the IP address and blocks data-gathering trackers and advertisements – for all devices in your home network.Back to Category Overview