May 23, 2007

Microsoft is developing software that apparently will be able to accurately guess your name, age, gender and potentially even your location, by analysing patterns in your browsing history. Some say this is a threat to privacy (well done!) and possibly illegal.

Microsoft says the software program could get its information from a number of sources, including a new type of “cookie” program that records the pages visited. This is particularly interesting as cookie technology hasn’t changed for years. Alternatively, it could use your PC’s own cache of web pages, or proxy servers could maintain records of sites visited. So far it can only guess gender and age with any accuracy, but the team say they expect to be able to “refine the profiles which contain bogus demographic information”, and one day predict your occupation, level of qualifications, and perhaps your location.

All god stuff for anyone trying to serve advertising. Makes me wonder if this is part of their Adcenter initiative?

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