If you’re like me and don’t give much thought to where your internet surfing takes you, perhaps we should start paying more attention. Fox News is reporting on a little known aspect to the government created website for Obamacare, healthcare.gov; dozens of companies allowed to gather data on your interests and surfing habits in order to form a profile that can be used to target ads specifically tailored to you.
While it’s routine for these companies to lurk in the background of big sites, they aren’t supposed to be able to access your name, age, or social security number. But even without that specific information, the companies can identify you by other means and target ads specifically suited to your interests.
But in a recent visit to the site, AP found that certain personal details — including age, income, and whether you smoke — were being passed along likely without your knowledge to advertising and Web analytics sites.
Google said Monday it doesn’t use that kind of data or allow its systems to target ads based on health or medical history information. “When we learn of possible violations of this policy, we investigate and take swift action,” the company said in a statement.