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You have no idea what they know

Much has been said in various media about the growing lack of privacy in our society, particularly in that nebulous otherworld called the Internet. Some of it's sensationalist hype, and some of it's true. The more I see, the more I worry that this time, the yellow journalists may have it right.

This article by the Wall Street Journal, On the Web's Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only , gives an unsettling peek backstage, describing how one company, [x+1] Inc., can determine a whole lot more about you in just one visit to a website than you might feel comfortable with. Within the article there is a link to another WSJ website, What they know, which correlates content websites with tracking websites.

The article makes me think of this clever and unsettling flash animation done by one of our neighbors up in Canada. Dang if this is less far-fetched than I'd like to think...

Fighting back.

The WSJ links to an that provides some strategies for fighting back - most of the recommendations have to do with tweaking settings in your browser to clear all your cookies and block the installation of new ones. Browser defaults, however, are neither intuitive nor very efficient. Firefox has a host of add-ins which can be custom-tailored to keep your browsing experience more to your liking - I personally use Adblocker Plus, Ghostery, and NoScript. The latter two require constant tweaking, but once the initial customization process is complete, it's fairly low-maintenance.

Sadly, safe computing techniques require a certain amount of savoir-faire to implement properly. If you're not a power-user or don't have a good consultant, some day you may just find your auto mechanic recommending a good psychiatrist.


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respective-eponymous

Comments

secoh
Aug. 6th, 2010 12:22 pm (UTC)
Here's two VERY interesting articles...

Give me liberty or give me...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/05/2973838.htm?site=thedrum

Keating, news and that vexing right to know
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/05/2974196.htm?site=thedrum
marmoe
Aug. 6th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Off-topic, have you seen today's Freefall? Reminds me of one of your avatars. :D
secoh
Aug. 7th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
Yeah that cracked me up! Great perspective lol
marmoe
Aug. 6th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
Then there are of course those flash cookies. Not sure, there's even an add-on for Firefox to control those.
ccdesan
Aug. 7th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
BetterPrivacy appears to do so. Just added it today.

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ccdesan
The Old Wolf
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