Some circles know well about sniffing, the normally illicit act of intercepting data from sources like wireless networks or other static adapters that handle packets of data. As a consequence of how Internet works, a local node passes packets from other nodes with multiple destinations, so, having the tools, to acquire information from others it's as easy as to click some buttons.
When some entity is surprised copying that data for later use, anyone could start to think why that interest. It's true that, breaking the law and risking the freedom, some individual would search for credit card numbers, bank or electronic cash accounts, or in general some lucrative idea stealing money or information to sell.
But it's not the first time that big international companies promote free content with the intention of acquiring data from users, if not simply sniffing it the conventional way. Do you remember how Google was surprised sniffing data from open wireless networks across multiple countries?
If a company sells advertisements, to have statistics helps offer a better service to the clients with interest on them. For example, when some individual is targeting an ad campaign, questions like:
Do you want to focus an age group? Males, females? With interest in what particular field?
These are personal questions that lead to more targeted ads and at the same time, more revenue for who sells the advertisements. It's perhaps curious to study how some companies promote free tools although always with a myriad of methods to store information by default, that could be accessed from multiple locations.
If the user does not want to be tracked because the right to privacy was always present when others want to make business surpassing it, some companies think it's as easy as to unilaterally create a long list of legal terms for being allowed when the user presses click, so "accepts". It would seem that way, but afterward you directly ask to the same user and says that no, that he or she doesn't like to be tracked.
Was then a trick to deceive? Does a user need to be forced to read tedious, intricate legal terms each time that he or she wants to register for some service?
It would be easy to create a digital registry from legal authorities with a simple question: Do you like to be freely tracked and lose your privacy? And two buttons with yes or no, and a direct inclusion with URLs in the same fashion that a firewall works. A company, that way, before contemplating to spy private interests could look first in that registry before making moves. This is a viable method to fight against people without shame to look in private rooms and personal gear, without, finally, consent. Even with consent, the act doesn't appear too elegant or for being satisfied.