Ever realize that you are being tracked with every action you take? Did you know that you can be tracked by using your credit/debit card? Here are a few steps you can take to help hide your trail.
The Wall Street Journal just will not let this topic go. First we read a study about the number of tracking devices planted in our computers by visiting children’s sites. Now we are being informed that there are specialized companies that track individuals’ internet activity and sell the information in bulk as a demographic. While we probably already assumed this was happening, it might just hurt our sensibilities to read the confirmation.
Of course, it’s not just about the cookies. There are new trackers on the block that re-spawn. These zombie trackers work in real time, helping companies to follow users and show ads that are specifically marketed to individuals. It’s all about “buy[ing] access to people, not Web pages”. Read more at What They Know and get tips to protect your privacy.
Today the FTC cleared Google of all charges impending an investigation on the recent WiFi goof up we told you about.
Investigation ensued, and in a closing Letter to Google declining charges, the FTC mentions its concerns for the data collection practices of google, however notes change in the Google Policy:
“We note that Google has recently announced improvements to its internal processes to address some of the concerns raised above, including appointing a director of privacy for engineering and product management; adding core privacy training for key employees; and incorporating a formal privacy review process into the design phases of new initiatives. The company also publicly stated its intention to delete the inadvertently collected payload data as soon as possible.”
A recent uproar has been made on capital hill recently about privacy concerns on Facebook. Particularly, third party applications, mostly games, and advertiser are collecting and using data on the users to target them in advertisements, despite Facebooks own TOS…
What implications does this have for the average user? Well, in reality, to Facebook users, this really is not a new concept. Facebook nearly does this exact same thing with its targeted advertising services. The only difference is that these third party applications are doing it. But we had to ask, is a third party having this data any more dangerous?
Almost everyone knows that marketers use spyware to track user activity online, but do we know whether their methods are legal? The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, or CAUCE, says they are not, agreeing with one group who is going as far as filing a law suit against the users of Clearspring Technologies.
As we saw in the previous post “Googling Safely: Recon“, Google collects and holds a bunch of information on you. Considering the implications of this data can be frighting, they know what you read, they know what kind of music you listen to, and they know what videos you frequent on the web. They know who you are, even that naughty website you never go to.
There are several things you can do to combat this though, ways to use Google services some what anonymously, or at least, less publicly.
Did you know that although Google is like the “Death Star” of public Data Mining, you have control over what they collect?
We did some research attempting to find out just how one could go about protecting themselves from google, and well, unless your on an intranet, you can’t completely. There are, however, things you can do. Google actually makes it quite simple for you to find out what they store on you, and that is a good place to start. Granted, they don’t tell you everything they store on you, IE Server Logs, ect, but its a good start.
So, where do you find all of this aggregated personal information? All you need to do is log into your account, and go to your account manager: https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount
The next step is to go to your dashboard, you can do this by going to the following:
If you follow any news source, you know that children are increasingly targeted on the internet. However, child predators are not the only concern. The Wall Street Journal revealed this month that thirty percent more tracking technology is installed through websites directed at children than on those targeting adult viewers.
Note: deleting cookies from your web browser will not delete data websites have already collected on you. Some websites, like Google, will give you error messages if cookies are blocked.
Private browsing keeps someone who is using your computer from viewing your browsing history. It does not keep your data secure from websites.