Your Online Information is Fodder …

Animal tracks in the frozen ground, found all ...
Your tracks are everywhere by mlhradio via Flickr

“It is a great art to saunter.” – Henry David Thoreau

As we move on the web, the Trackers saunter … picking up our leads, following our cookie crumbs with a sly grin. Creepy, huh?

In my last post, I reminded you about being tracked (can you say Spied On?) by a host of companies. If you downloaded Ghostery (free software) like I did, you can see what company is tracking you on every website you visit.

Network Advertising is a website that allows you to Opt Out of Member Companies so they won’t track you. It’s like the DO NOT CALL LIST to eliminate unwanted sales calls.

At Networkadvertising.org,  scroll down to the bottom of the page where the list of Member Companies are listed. I chose the Select All button and Opted Out of all of them.
While I was writing this column, I went back to review the opt out list and realized a whole new list of Member Companies were listed today that were not there yesterday.
Select All – Opt Out – AGAIN! Opting out of a network does not mean you will no longer receive online advertising. It does mean that the network from which you opted out will no longer deliver ads tailored to your Web preferences and usage patterns.

Bookmark the page and check back often to wash, rinse, repeat … You need several types of software and several applications to get the bugs, spies and cookies out.

Another thing to do on a regular basis is to unplug your modem. When you plug it back in after a minute, the IP address will change. That’s like throwing a hunting dog off the scent for a short while.

The debate around online privacy has largely centered around advertising that is targeted at people depending on where they have been online.

Network Advertising

Ad Industry Addresses Online Privacy in New Ethics Code

Is online privacy an oxymoron?

Tracking Protection Lists

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Is online privacy an oxymoron?

Oxymoron: 2 words that conflict with each other (ex. jumbo shrimp, fresh frozen, modern history, live recording, online privacy)

Don’t you hate to see ads that pop up with images of places you just visited? For instance, by visiting Overstock.com or Coldwatercreek.com and looking at sweaters, I am sure to see that same sweater on another page that I am reading. Why is that you ask? It’s because tracking cookies have been attached to your clicking activities.

Cookies are on every page you visit and they track your clicks and follow you as you surf along.

Been to Travelocity to check out plane fares to Orlando? If so, you’ll soon see a rash of Google ads on the right side of your screen for Orlando hotels, restaurants and adventures.

Image representing Ghostery as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

These cookies track your behavior and collect the data and other companies pay to see your activity.

I found a tool, called Ghostery that tracks the trackers and allows you to see each tracker on every page you visit. You can view the site that is tracking you and see what they are looking for, check out their privacy policies, opt off their list and block companies you don’t trust.

And it’s free.

This tool is a Firefox add in and will show you the tracking websites as a small bubble on the top right hand corner of the page. It’s a neat tool, in the background and very effective.

Another quick trick: unplug your modem for 1-2 minutes. When you plug it back in, the IP address will change and your trackers will have lost their scent.

What works for you?

Other suggestions: CCleaner, Ad-ware, Privacy Choice, Network Advertising. SuperAntiSpyware,

 

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