Worries over Internet privacy have spurred lawsuits, conspiracy theories and consumer anxiety as marketers and others invent new ways to track computer users on the Internet. But the alarmists have not seen anything yet. In the next few years, a powerful new suite of capabilities will become available to Web developers that could give marketers and advertisers access to many more details about computer users’ online activities. Nearly everyone who uses the Internet will face the privacy risks that come with those capabilities, which are an integral part of the Web language that will soon power the internet: HTML 5.
The new Web code, the fifth version of Hypertext Markup Language used to create Web pages, is already in limited use, and it promises to usher in a new era of Internet browsing within the next few years.
But while also enthusiastic about the changes many are cautious.
The new Web language and presents more tracking opportunities because the technology uses a process in which large amounts of data can be collected and stored on the user’s hard drive while online. Because of that process, advertisers and others could, experts say, see weeks or even months of personal data.