Your Emotional Reactions are being Tracked

Do you care about online privacy?

December 13, 2017

You’re being watched

I am warning you: not only are your online habits being tracked and sold (likely without your permission), but so are your most personal, intimate thoughts and feelings about what you are seeing.

Et tu, Amazon?

Even using a Kindle gives away a lot of information that you might want to keep private. Amazon knows not only what books you bought but how many pages you read, how long you spent on each page, where you paused, what you reread… Amazon is not doing this out of curiosity, but because this knowledge helps refine its efforts to sell you other items. Amazon also sells what it learns about your reading habits to other marketers who want to sell you their products. If you don’t want that to happen, you need to buy your books at one of the few bookstores remaining, an inconvenience in this age of online shopping.

Invasion in a new era

A giant new way to invade the few shreds of your privacy that remain is to evaluate your emotional reactions to what you are seeing or doing through the cameras found on computers and mobile devices. Your facial expressions can be computer analyzed based on methods I developed for scientific research instead for market research and product testing.

Precautions that work… for now

Do you want anyone who pays for it to know how you feel about what you are looking at? Perhaps I am being old-fashioned in thinking that our emotions are private and should remain so or, at least, that permission must be asked to obtain it. If you do care about your privacy – if you don’t want anyone who pays for it to know how you feel about what you see on your computer screen or smart phone – I advise you place a cover over the cameras on your computers and mobile device. Otherwise, you are giving permission to those who want to profit from stealing your most private experiences.

The bottom line is this: We used to take privacy for granted, but this is no longer the case. You must watch out!


Paul Ekman is a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2009. He has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad. Dr. Ekman has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you.

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