Big Brother On The Net
By Dr. Larry Poland

It seemed innocent enough. Yesterday, I logged onto the Internet to check my e-mails, shop for a new wristwatch, send flowers, buy a gift, check out a new hobby site and research a newspaper article. I didn't visit any porn sites -- my 'Net service is filtered against all such content. I said innocent, right? Wrong.
I was probably tracked through all those processes by Web bug technology that not only followed my wanderings but kept a record of where I went, what I bought and with whom I communicated. Sound scary? It is.
Mark Boal, writing in Brill's Content magazine, researched the Big Brother aspects of the Internet with counter-surveillance expert Richard Smith and was himself shocked and frightened. Boal discovered that even DoubleClick -- the largest Web ad agency -- was collecting information on his and Smith's visits. They learned that DoubleClick and other advertisers have bug technology in place that tracks all your moves on the Internet and logs them into profiles in massive databases.
Explore information about impotence or HIV-related drugs, and you're tracked and logged. Enter a chat room for alternative lifestyles -- even if you are doing research for a Ph.D. in social pathologies at a Christian university -- and you're tracked and logged. Enter a Christian site, the same.
In the hands of evil people, this data has horrific potential. Even for the Antichrist!
Dr. Larry Poland is president of Mastermedia International, a media ministry in Hollywood, Calif.

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