By Andrea Guillen
Hi guys! Today I would like to share an experience that can be useful for you if you want to go on holidays and book your flights online.
Last week, Joan Ramon Gonzalez came to our class and did a presentation about Big Data. He talked about cookies, as Wikipedia describes it: “a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the user’s web browser. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the user’s previous activity”.
I am currently working on a touristic firm that organizes students’ travels. A few days ago we realize that when we were looking for flights from Barcelona to London, they were about 200 euros for the days we were demanding. It can happens that you can find some flights with a high price but it’s really weird that they are that expensive for ALL the flights in the same day (even for the day before and after). So what my colleague and I did was to open a new “private window” in Firefox: the one that doesn’t keep the websites you visited before and during the private window was opened. What we discover was that the same flights we were searching for in a normal window were about 60 euros, less than a half of the normal website price! We were impressed for that price change.
So, what happened here? The company website keeps the search you did a couple times before so when you come back and search for the same flight they can increase its price. That’s what cookies do.
We have to be really careful with cookies. Before Joan Ramon came to explain those kind of things to us, I was not pretty sure about what the word “cookies” implied. Now I know, firms can be very intrusive nowadays thanks to the internet and it is something that makes me feel mad.
I wanted to share with you this personal experience because when I realize I couldn’t believe it was real. But it is and I hope to have helped you enough to make you realize about how our privacy is not being respected at all