The ‘Dwars’ segment of Jeugdjournaal, a Dutch children’s news show, gives kids advice about topics that bother them. In this episode, Anna and Doris say that they feel like Instagram is eavesdropping on them. Sanne Maasakkers, Security Specialist at Fox-IT, reassures them. No one is eavesdropping on them, but their digital footprints are being tracked.
“Maybe you’re searching for topics or following people who are associated with topics that you think might be spied on. Or maybe your parents or your brother or sister is searching for a topic and then you see a related ad, because you are all on the same Wi-Fi network at home,” Maasakkers explains.
Instagram is allowed to collect data to show relevant ads
In theory, big organisations might be eavesdropping on us, but chances of that actually happening are minimal, according to Maasakkers. Companies make use of all sorts of data that we leave behind on the internet; the data they collect is analysed and used to show targeted ads. “They are allowed to do that. If you do not want an app like Insta to collect data about you, then there is no other option than to stop using that app.”