Have you ever wondered how companies are able to show advertisements targeted specifically towards your wants and needs? Researchers from Columbia University developed a tool called Sunlight that aims to improve transparency between users’ information, such as emails or search history, and online services that provide corresponding ads and recommendations. More specifically, the tool detects certain key words found in your email, for example, that directly impact ads customized just for you. With the development of Sunlight, we may soon have a clearer idea on how exactly our information footprints are being used on the Web.

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