It used to be the computer that was an important thing to sell.
More often than not, retailers and manufactures are finding that selling your actions, is much more profitable. Software used to be an enticement when choosing a new computer. A few years ago it wasn't only the operating system that was important. What you can do with the machine right out of the box. The add-ons for burning CD-ROMs and DVD were what some of what consumers used as a gauge in which model to buy.
Some people wanted to make videos. Although a video can be edited on practically any computer the application produced by Apple is better than Microsoft. Apple's movie iMovie application has had a significant role in selling not only the machine but as an enhancement to its very own operating system. Other applications such as games are perceived by many in the marketplace as safe compared with what can be downloaded. One spyware maker is now the main supplier for many manufacturers' operating systems add-ons.
Lenovo was involved in controversy earlier this year over after installing the “Superfish” spyware on certain laptops. The application did not only spy on the users actions it also had a security weakness that would allow a attacker to break a https connection. This would potentially allow man-in-the-middle attacks and put the users data at risk.
Most people have heard of spyware and malware but do not have a clue why anyone would want to track their information. Why after all would someone make software that spies on your actions? The companies behind the activity of tracking computer habits are known as data brokers. These are the companies that buy and sell your private information. In general there are two types of services brokers provide. One type sells personal profiles or dossier about individuals. The other lumps individuals into groups and sells the information along with their identities in an atmosphere less romantic than cattle at slaughter but for a more sinister end.
Most Americans are aware of government spying programs, private industry also spies and collects the same information. After 9/11, our NSA went into overdrive collecting as much information as it could about every American. The companies were directed in how to collect the information for the government. The NSA or the government pays the companies for the information. Though the process, many of those same companies started selling the information. Making it extremely profitable to just collect and sell information.
Additionally a new industry has leaped into motion building applications that work on a variety of devices. Games for the very young to the very old are being developed for a variety of other reasons. Most of them are being made to collect not just the names of the individual, but on cell phones collect call information, text and who the person contacts. Some applications like the flashlight application I removed from my cell phone was tracking my GPS position and sending the data out.
Spying is a global business knowing who someone is or influences is very powerful information. The data for the flashlight app was going to China. It is not only American companies that are spying on the population. Other countries also collect in bulk the information from the American public.
There is so much money in tracking the activities of the average American that it has transformed the San Francisco Bay area. Today the talk of the town throughout Silicon Valley is generating cell phone apps. Some of the cool apps make the headlines, people marvel at the creation or play the game and data collection is in full force.
Many of the spyware applications on current computers being sold through retail channels are doing the same things. Applications to monitor computer usage or internet browsing habits. What makes many of these applications more valuable than the online versions is they can collect data while the machine is not connected to the internet.
Your information belongs to you. Your name is your property. I have a book on the subject and a website http://itsmyinfo.org on the site you can download a modification you the loyalty card and retail club programs you have joined. Look for the "Declaration of Privacy" the document is free. I encourage you to share it your friends and loved ones.