The Mail on Sunday's sensational exposé of online "spying" by UK companies has met with a lot of criticism over the past 24 hours and sparked heated debate about the paper's increasingly desperate hatchet job on all things web-based. Comments have poured in to the Mail's own website, some commentators urging the kind of common sense so lacking in the original article:
While other more suggestible readers added fuel to the Mail's fire, fooled perhaps by the article's unsupported claims about a breach of privacy:
Less surprising perhaps, the blogosphere and Twitterverse were also alive with condemnation for the tabloid's trademark ignorance. But amid all the drop-jawed exclamations of "OMG!!!" and "WTF!!!" were some rich veins of irony and hypocrisy waiting to be opened up and exposed.
"While it might seem a bit creepy for a company to track publicly available content about itself, it's nowhere near as bad as, say, using secret recordings of private conversations," wrote Anton Vowl.
And the irony didn't end there.
A number of bloggers, such as Stephen Waddington, have been quick to point out that the Mail uses "specially developed software" itself in order to "spy" on its readers (by its own ludicrous definitions).
Andrew Smith pointed out the Mail uses a software tool called Sophus3, which is used by a great many big name brands to track visitors to their websites, study and analyse their surfing habits and where appropriate target them with offers or advertising, or simply report back on their online behaviours in order to improve and optimise their websites.