[...] Much of the discussion of online tracking has focused on the fate of privacy and the rights that pertain to it. This is an important set of issues, but it is complicated by the way in which it frames privacy in terms of personal choice (thereby dismissing challenges to the choices made by consumers as patronizing at best and at worst an affront to their personal freedom) and overlooks the way in which their information has become the private property of the commercial entities that do the work of harvesting it. It also tends to invoke the counterargument that there is little need for concern since many forms of monitoring that take place in interactive contexts are anonymous in the sense that the aggregators and their clients are not particularly interested in the personal identity of those monitored and do not personally inspect the details of their profiles (as if somehow the fact that no one is reading our personal e-mails means that there should be no cause for concern that they are being electronically scanned to determined how best to manipulate us). Privacy, in short, has a tendency to frame the discussion in personal, individual terms.
diss: the problems with thinking in terms of privacy (avoids the political economy implications)