Sometimes all you need is a simple picture. I went to the Huffington Post and picked an article at random. At the bottom of the article was the above graphic - simply click on your favorite social network to share you data.
It all seems so innocuous - but it's not, and here's why.
Social networks have an incredible amount of data on your - because you filled out a profile on yourself. Now when you visit somewhere else on the Web there has to be a way to connect that profile data with what your reading and finding interesting. Almost like "search".
So the second I click on either the Tweet icon above or maybe the Facebook icon you've just tied your entire profile to that article. That tells advertisers a lot. Why because Facebook et al share that data with advertisers and in return pay a referrer fee to the Huffington Post. It's called Advertising Financial Engineering - and it works because you inadvertently just allowed everyone to know your profile.
So here's where things get interesting. The new Do Not Track Standard (work in progress) is trying to figure out how to stop this. It's the "first party vs. 3rd party issue". The Huffington Post is the first party, Twitter, FaceBook et al are the 3rd party. The core issue is what happens to the status when I click on one of those "like buttons". Can they still use my data?
My guess is "Yes". Because if not then Facebook's, Twitters, Pinterest etc revenue models start collapsing - the big winners will the the content aggregation houses that don't depended that much on being a 3rd Party. And they would be Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL.
Welcome to the Privacy jungle - it feels like we're completely naked and that's because we are.