Friday, October 02, 2009

Do you think you have privacy on the internet?

Guess again. An interesting article from

Who's Watching You Browse?
Being on the Internet is like living in a village: Everyone knows who you are and all the details of your private life -- except that on the Internet, it's not just people you may have known all your life who know a lot about you; it's complete and utter strangers.

It's not just that those strangers may know stuff that could really make you uncomfortable, such as the fact that you perhaps posted photos of yourself stinking drunk on your Facebook More about Facebook page. More importantly, they can track the Web sites you visit and report back to someone who wants to track you, has malicious intentions or wants to sell you something.

Take, for example, a company called LeadLife, which has an app that can determine who is visiting a client's Web site, how the visitor got to the client's Web site; and which of the client's products the visitor is most interested in. LeadLife is one of many companies offering such a service. Other firms put trackers on users' browsers so they know just where the visitors go and, based on that, launch targeted marketing campaigns.

Over the years, several third-party companies offering apps that mask users' identities have sprung up. Recently, browser vendors have begun including a privacy mode in their products, but are these good enough?

And just what is privacy, anyhow? [...]

Read the rest of the article to see the many ways in which you do not have privacy on the internet, the ineffective ways privacy is guarded, and what (if anything) you can do about it.

It explains how websites I've visited freqently have built up profiles on me, and then alter the banner ads on their sites based on web browsing I've done. Yikes.

Brave New World, with such people in it.

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