Tracking what people do online is intended to increase the value of advertising, but it has the potential to be used to worsen the elder abuse problem.
Regardless of whether you are aware of it, some computer somewhere knows you are currently reading this article. This is most likely true, even if you did not give explicit permission for the computer to know.
Everything you do online is potentially tracked and collected by computers that compile a profile of you. It is what is known as big data.
No, this is not the result of the government spying on people. The people behind this data collection are people who want to sell you things. The better profile they can compile of who you are and what you like, the better they can create advertisements that cater to your interests and that are more likely to make you want to buy something.
This data knowledge increases the value of the ad space on the Internet and makes more money for companies selling that space, such as Facebook and Google. In other words, most people find this data collection and tracking to be mostly benign and necessary for popular Internet sites to continue to be free to use.
However, there are potential downsides to the data collection that worry elder law experts, as Financial Advisor explains in "AI, Big Data May Become Tools for Elder Financial Abuse."
In the wrong hands, this same data could be used to more effectively target elderly people for financial scams. That has elder law advocates worried, since elder financial abuse is already a big problem.
There are currently few rules about to whom marketers can sell their data. That might need to change to protect the elderly and others from abuse.
Reference: Financial Advisor (March 22, 2017) "AI, Big Data May Become Tools for Elder Financial Abuse."