In these times of abundant electronic data, it's no wonder that a plethora of new words is emerging to describe the gathering of information.
Dataveillance, a hybrid of 'data' and 'surveillance', is the collection or monitoring of data relating to personal details or activities. Credit cards, mobile phones, loyalty cards and cookies are just some of the sources of information. Before you regard all American biscuits with a certain amount of suspicion, in this context cookies are the small files downloaded to your computer when you browse a web page. Cookies uniquely identify your computer and enable the website to keep track of the total number of visitors, or to determine the most popular pages within that site. Other cookies from disreputable firms will use this information to target specific advertisements in your direction.
Another word bandied about nowadays is metadata, which is essentially 'data about data'. Examples are the date and time when the information was created. If you look at files on a computer, you will be able to view these details. A recent addition to metadata is geotagging, which assigns a geographical location to a digital photograph; interestingly this has sometimes also raised privacy concerns, with people unintentionally making the exact location of their homes publicly available on the Internet by posting a geotagged photo.
Here's one final piece of information; be in no doubt that Big Brother is watching you.