All of that tracking and data collection is done without your
knowledge, and — critically — without your consent. Because of
how the web and web browsers work, the involuntary data collection
starts if you simply follow a link. There’s no opportunity for
disclosure, negotiation, or reconsideration. By following any
link, you unwittingly opt into whatever the target site, and any
number of embedded scripts from other sites and tracking networks,
wants to collect, track, analyze, and sell about you.
That’s why the implied-contract theory is invalid: people aren’t
agreeing to write a blank check and give up reasonable
expectations of privacy by clicking a link. They can’t even know
what the cost of visiting a page will be until they’ve already
visited it and paid the price.
And it’s all getting so much worse, so quickly.
It’s not just about privacy. There are other costs: network bandwidth (which for many of us is metered on cellular), page load times, and increased CPU usage, are real costs — paid entirely by the visitors to websites.