“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who has been Looking in Your Files?



The internet is spying on you

Every time you go online, sophisticated data miners are tracking your every move. What do they know about you?

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2010, The Week

How frequently am I followed online?

Constantly. Your computer leaves a unique digital trail every time you visit a website, post a comment on a blog, or add a photo to your Facebook wall. A growing number of companies follow that trail to assemble a profile of you and your affinities. These profiles can contain shocking levels of detail—including your age, income, shopping habits, health problems, sexual proclivities, and ZIP code—right down to the number of rooms in your house and the number of people in your family. Although trackers don’t identify their subjects by name, the data they compile is so extensive that “you can find out who an individual is without it,” says Maneesha Mithal of the Federal Trade Commission.

How does the technology work?

The moment you land on a website, it installs a unique electronic code on your hard drive. Owners of websites originally placed “cookies,” the simplest such codes, on computers for users’ convenience, in order to remember things like the contents of online shopping carts. But a cookie placed by one site can also serve as a tracking device that allows marketers to identify an individual computer and follow its path on every Web visit. It’s like a clerk who sells you a pair of jeans at one store, then trails you around the mall, recording every store you visit and every item of clothing you try on. “Beacons” are super-cookies that record even computer keystrokes and mouse movements, providing another layer of detail. “Flash cookies” are installed when a computer user activates Flash technology, such as a YouTube video, embedded on a site. They can also reinstall cookies that have been removed. Such “persistent cookies,” says Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, make it “virtually impossible for users to go online without being tracked and profiled.”

Who’s doing the spying?

Marketers, advertisers, and those whose businesses depend on them. Most websites install their own cookies and beacons, both to make site navigation easier and to gather user information. (Wikipedia is a rare exception.) But third parties—advertisers and the networks that place online ads, such as Google and iAds—frequently pay site hosts to install their own tracking technology. Beacons are even sometimes planted without the knowledge of the host site. Comcast, for example, installed Flash cookies on computers visiting its website after it accepted Clearspring Technologies’ free software for displaying slide shows. Visitors who clicked on a slide show at Comcast.com wound up loading Clearspring’s Flash cookies onto their hard drives, which Comcast said it had never authorized.

How is personal data used?

It’s collected and sold by companies like Clearspring. Such information can be sold in large chunks—for example, an advertiser might pay $1 for 1,000 profiles of movie lovers—or in customized segments. An apparel retailer might buy access to 18-year-old female fans of the Twilight movie series who reside in the Sunbelt. “We can segment it all the way down to one person,” says Eric Porres of Lotame, which sells these profiles. Advertisers use the profiles to deliver individualized ads that follow users to every site they visit. Julia Preston, a 32-year-old software designer from Austin, recently saw how this works firsthand when she started seeing lots of Web ads for fertility treatments. She had recently researched uterine disorders online. “It’s unnerving,” she says.

Is all this snooping legal?

So far, yes. While an e-commerce site can’t sell to third parties the credit card numbers it acquires in the course of its business, the legality of various tracking technologies—and the sale of the personal profiles that result—has never been tested in court. Privacy advocates say that’s not because there aren’t abundant abuses, but because the law hasn’t kept pace with advancing technology. “The relevant laws,” says Lauren Weinstein of People for Internet Responsibility, an advocacy group, “are generally so weak—if they exist at all—that it’s difficult to file complaints.”

Can you avoid revealing yourself online?

Aside from abandoning the Internet altogether, there’s virtually no way to evade prying eyes. Take the case of Ashley Hayes-Beaty, who learned just how exposed she was when The Wall Street Journal shared what it had learned about her from a data miner. Hayes-Beaty’s computer use identified her as a 26-year-old female Nashville resident who counts The Princess Bride and 50 First Dates among her favorite movies, regularly watches Sex and the City, keeps current on entertainment news, and enjoys taking pop-culture quizzes. That litany, which advertisers can buy for about one-tenth of a cent, constitutes what Hayes-Beaty calls an “eerily precise” consumer profile. “I like to think I have some mystery left to me,” says Hayes-Beaty, “but apparently not.”

How to fight back against data miners

There are ways to minimize your exposure to data miners. One of the most effective is to disrupt profile-building by clearing your computer browser’s cache and deleting all cookies at least once a week. In addition, turning on the “private browsing” feature included in most popular Web browsers will block tracking technologies from installing themselves on your machine. For fees ranging from $9.95 to $10,000, companies like ReputationDefender can remove your personal information from up to 90 percent of commercial websites. But it’s basically impossible to eradicate personal information, such as property records and police files, from government databases. “There’s really no solution now, except abstinence” from the Internet, says Lt. Col. Greg Conti, a computer science professor at West Point. “And if you choose not to use online tools, you’re really not a member of the 21st century.”




80 comments:

  1. Now tell me what is wrong with this babe?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Much better.

    Balanced well-toned physique and 3-D face.


    Keep going. You're moving in a better direction.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You gotta be kidding me. That made my private parts disappear.

    A woman wrapped in Iron, and Steel, what could possibly go wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. She's fine if you're fifteen.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sensing some dominatrix phobia.

    Costuming is a separate subject. Fashion critic wannabe's are invited to do their internship at the Go Fug Yourself website.

    ReplyDelete
  6. While we're focussed the bigoted reaction to the Ground Zero mosque or the book burning yokel in Florida, the following should be asked of every "moderate" Muslim.

    1. Does the Koran say that a Muslim is permitted to lie if it advances Islam?

    2. Does the Koran say that Muslims are to have nothing to do with infidels?

    3. Does it say that People of the Book are to be tolerated as long as they are submissive?

    4. Does it say that no new Churches or Synagogues are allowed?

    5. Does the Koran say that no Muslim should rest until Sharia is universal?

    6. Does it say that apostates should be put to death?

    7. Is the Koran true?

    8. How do you reconcile your beliefs with your Holy Book?

    9. What does your Imam say about how you should conform to the Koran?

    10. What constitutes a good Muslim?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do Amazons shave their armpits?



    .

    ReplyDelete
  8. anon still does not understand, it is not about Islam, it is about US.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Does it matter?

    Perhaps insignificant to you rat, but inquiring minds want to know.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  10. In a related development, a top US envoy to Pakistan Richard C. Holbrooke admitted that the international community could provide a part of what Pakistan needs to recover from devastating floods, but he reiterated the US’ pledge to help reconstruct the country.

    ...

    "The US is not doing it for strategic and political concerns," he said at a news conference in Multan with the Australian and Pakistani foreign ministers. "It is purely a humanitarian action linking people of our country with the people of Pakistan," he insisted.

    Australia Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also announced more flood aid to the South Asian nation.


    Concessions to Pakistan

    ReplyDelete
  11. Significant?
    Arm pits?

    Nah, does she shave her pubic hairs?
    Now that is both a significant and meaningful question, for inquiring minds.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Now that is both a significant and meaningful question, for inquiring minds.

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. While what a murderous Army officer thinks and says, well, that is less than important.

    To even mention his "beliefs" gives them credence.

    Which is, in and of itself, harmful to US interests. The Army has studied the question of that officer's motives and come to the conclusion that the officer was stressed out. Went "postal".

    So they have publicly stated, so that it how it is.
    To deny that or to throw doubt upon that finding, weakens the Army's credibility with the public.

    We wouldn't want that, would we?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Would we want the public at large to come to believe that military investigations were biased by political considerations?

    Think of all the history that would have to be revised, if politics were found to be a contributing factor in conclusions of Federal investigations, as to motives of the assailants.

    Both at home and abroad.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A CRPF vehicle turned turtle near Nund Resh Colony, Bemina, during stone-pelting action, injuring five jawans, CRPF spokesperson Prabhakar Tripathi said.

    ...

    Mediapersons also continued to face the rage of the police and CRPF although the authorities have issued them fresh pink curfew passes and, as claimed by Mr Tripathi, instructions have been issued to jawans not to bother them. Majid Hyderi, an editor with the local newspaper Greater Kashmir, alleged that he was roughed up by CRPF jawans outside the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani where he was heading to cover the separatist leaders’ press conference.

    “CRPF men stopped me from relocating to his house and snatched my mobile phone and curfew pass and even threatened to shoot me,” he claimed. Sanam Ajaz, assistant managing director of a private TV network, said he, too, was beaten up by the CRPF at Bemina here and had to get two stitches to his head.


    Kashmir Valley

    ReplyDelete
  17. Why look there, those pesky Hindu policemen are acting up, again.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Karachi was gripped by panic Thursday and parts of the throbbing metropolitan came to a virtual standstill after reports came regarding the murder of top Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Imran Farooq in London by an unidentified attacker.

    ...

    MQM has a political stronghold in Karachi and other urban areas in Sindh province.

    The city has been witness to killings of political workers during the last couple of years and this was the second high-profile target of MQM after provincial legislator Raza Haider was killed last month.


    Killing in London

    ReplyDelete
  19. So what have you chooches been up to while I was out having dinner and an over due reiki secession.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Nah, does she shave her pubic hairs?
    Now that is both a significant and meaningful question, for inquiring minds."


    Just for the record, I did not bring this up first.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Their families are waiting for them in a tent city pitched outside the mine they have called Camp Hope.

    On Chile's bicentennial independence celebrations on Saturday, both the miners and their families will raise the Chilean flag and sing the national anthem, Atacama region Governor Ximena Matas said.

    President Sebastian Pinera will also visit the mine to celebrate and raise his glass to salute the men trapped underground and the rescue crews trying to save them, Golborne said.


    Reach Miners Soon

    ReplyDelete
  22. So which tent has the wife and which tent has the mistress. All I have to say is someone better get that on video.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Mel,

    Say what is your nationality?


    .

    ReplyDelete
  24. If It Is a Fight These Jacobins Want, Then It Is a Fight They Shall Have

    T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
    Conservative Intellectual At-Large

    Such are the vicissitudes of our current political zeitgeist that Homo Republicanus is each day forced to endure a fresh assault on his intelligence somehow more insulting than the last. Doubly insulting, as you no doubt imagine, when the Homo in question is me. Contrary to what you may assume, the gift of intellectual acuity and foresight can in times like these prove to be an almost unbearable cross; I shall not use this space to recount the many unheeded warnings I have issued to fellow Republicans regarding the growing menace of the soi dissant "Tea Party" faction, other than to note that as a Cassandra I have, if anything, proven to be insufficiently alarmist.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Are you gonna add it to your scrap book?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Italian and Irish if you must know. I guess using the word chocch gave it away, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Are you gonna add it to your scrap book?

    As I've stated before, I am a Polish/Hillbilly.

    No. No scrapbook. After my foolish mistake before, I am now forced to construct a new mental image of you.

    (Starting from the toes up, I guess.)

    Therefore, any info is helpful.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anything else your inquiring mind want to know.

    I'm 5'8" I have dark brown hair and green eyes.

    And I would so sport that iron wrap without the head piece, of course, I don't let anything mess my hair.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I suspected some Irish in there. The Italian, not surprising, but I probably wouldn't have guessed.

    I have a son-in-law, big guy, a Sicilian. He just recently got a tattoo of of the island with Sicily printed out in a fancy script, a little hard to read.

    I always ask him why he got a tattoo of Tennessee.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  30. Well I guess I don't have to change the image that much after all.



    .

    ReplyDelete
  31. I also have a smidgeon of American Indian, so much so that my mom feels the need to send a 25.00 donation to some reservation. It makes her feel good.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Typically unerring intuition.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  33. Everyone has some American Indian in them.


    I was born in Tennessee. It's where my mom was from.

    She swore to her last day that we had Indian blood somewhere in the past.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have a tattoo. And the only piercing is in my nose. I had my naval done a few years back but for some reason my body rejected it and I never had it redone.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I don't recall that any of my brothers or sisters (or my mom for that matter) sent any money to them.

    I'd imagine most of them had more money than we did when I was growing up.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  36. She must have got something in the mail for some donation thing and my mom had sucker written all over her. When I questioned her she was so proud like she was giving thousands of dollars.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Piercings.

    Never understood that.

    Seems like all they would do would be get in the way of more important things.

    Of course a navel piecing couldn't hurt I guess.

    You did mean navel rather than naval right? Or am I mixed up here.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  38. This is why I don't like going out during the week, I'm so wound up I can't sleep.

    Not that I would ever give up these nights. It's worth every minute I don't sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  39. If It Is a Fight These Jacobins Want, Then It Is a Fight They Shall Have

    And on the other side,

    "LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE!"


    .

    ReplyDelete
  40. Well, Quirk, I misspelled a word and if you have to ask which navel/naval I had pierced I think I'll just leave that one up to you to answer.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have one on my foot, my ankle, my lower back and my stomach.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Working your way up or down?



    .

    ReplyDelete
  43. Unless we were sitting on the same beach but then it wouldn't matter cause you wouldn't know who I was.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Does that satisfy the taste you had in your mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Well those who can't do can still imagine.



    .

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wait a minute.

    That didn't sound right.


    :)


    .

    ReplyDelete
  47. I guess it's a curiosity everyone has. You talk to people on a day to day basis and then you put an image in your mind of what you think they look like most of the time it's wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I guess I'm a visual person.

    If I'm talking to someone, I like to have an image on the other side even if it's wrong.

    Besides I would imagine any image I create is probably more interesting anyway.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  49. But thanks for the tattoo info that will help.


    .

    ReplyDelete
  50. What are those tattoos by the way?

    Stars, symbols?

    Names, small animals?

    Dragons, barbed wire, teardrops?

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm don't like symbols and I don't like themes, either. I like thing plain basic and simple but yet chic.

    If you go back to the picture of my feet I'm sure you'll be able to see that one

    ReplyDelete
  52. I love dragons. I would never put one on my body,though.

    ReplyDelete
  53. :)


    You do realize with the info you have provided, if I ever do see you on that beach, I will recognize you.

    G'nite.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  54. Interesting. This theory says that Japan, by starting back selling Yen, just gave China a Get Out of Jail Card on its Yuan manipulation.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Terrific work! That is the type of information that
    should be shared across the net. Disgrace on the seek engines
    for no longer positioning this publish upper!

    Come on over and consult with my site . Thank you =)

    Here is my web blog - workouts for vertical leap

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy
    on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit
    more often. Did you hire out a developer to
    create your theme? Exceptional work!

    Stop by my blog post ... paytaht.com

    ReplyDelete
  57. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I've really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I'll
    be subscribing on your feed and I'm hoping you write once more soon!

    Feel free to visit my page ... maz.mit.edu

    ReplyDelete
  58. It's hard to come by experienced people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you're talking about!
    Thanks

    my web blog; xasca.science.uu.nl

    ReplyDelete
  59. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It's the little changes that produce the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Review my website :: Julio.Estudiosuma.cl

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know.
    The style and design look great though! Hope you
    get the issue resolved soon. Cheers

    Take a look at my webpage :: Air Max One

    ReplyDelete
  61. It's remarkable designed for me to have a web site, which is useful in favor of my experience. thanks admin

    Have a look at my web-site - This Site

    ReplyDelete
  62. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog.
    A great read. I'll certainly be back.

    Visit my web site Read This

    ReplyDelete