See who's tracking your online browsing with this new add-on
Online privacy is already tough to nail down, and everywhere you go on the internet retains little traces of your presence. You're still easily traceable, even if you take more precautions than the average user takes. Lightbeam (via PC World), is an interesting new add-on from Mozilla, is an informative new tool that shows us exactly which sites are tracking or otherwise gleaning data from you.
If privacy while you're browsing the web is important to you, the new Epic Privacy Browser from Hidden Reflex could be the answer for all your discreet surfing needs. It's free, proxies all search queries, and also offers a proxy feature that can cloak source IP addresses for all other internet browsing activity.
Zynga and Facebook go together like peanut butter and jelly or beans and franks: it's hard to imagine one without the other. Who doesn't like to enjoy a quick game of Mafia Wars or Farmville when they're done checking in on their friends? But Zynga wants to point out that its an apple to Facebook's orange in one crucial way: privacy. Zynga suffers when users shun Facebook due to privacy concerns, so the company just released a new game called PrivacyVille to walk users through their privacy policies in an interactive way.
Trumpeting it’s self-regulatory efforts, the NAI said its members, which include Google, Yahoo!, and Advertising.com, showed no “compliance deficiencies” for most of the group’s guidelines. The 38 members had in place appropriate mechanisms to allow users to opt-out of targeted advertising, complied with rules for collecting and using personal data, and had in place reasonable security measures.
Shortcomings? Small stuff, really: ten of the members didn’t disclose the length they retained personal data--but that’s being corrected--and there were insufficient means to compel contractual partners to obey the same rules. (So if the NAI members didn’t mess you over their partners could--but that would never happen, would it?)
Raining on the NAI’s self-congratulatory parade was Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). Schwartz points out that the NAI’s privacy safeguards are “weak”, so complying shouldn’t be considered much of an achievement. Further, he suggests that an independent audit, rather than one conducted by NAI staff, might be more credible. Overall, Schwartz concludes, there’s nothing in the NAI audit that says new privacy laws aren't needed.
Hard to say what point, exactly, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was trying to make in his appearance on CNBC, but his words have struck an angry cord with some in the tech community, who are now raising the question: might it be time to wean yourself from Google?
Schmidt’s transgression was to state: “If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines--including Google--do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
Let’s face it, privacy is dead. In this increasingly electronic and inter-linked world, with its capacity to capture, store, and analyze data by the digital ton, the minute you step foot into it you’ve surrendered any claim to privacy you ever thought you had.
Sprint coughed-up GPS information to law enforcement eight million times last year. Not on eight million users, Sprint is quick to point out. Rather law enforcement can request GPS information on any particular user every three minutes for up to 60 days. (After that Sprint doesn’t say what happens.)
And Sprint isn’t the only one handing out information about you.