Tag Archives: privacy

Not Feeling Too Secure About our Online Privacy? Here’s What I do To Keep My Private Stuff Private

washington postWe were all surprised when the Guardian and the Washington Post published the documents that exposed the massive surveillance system that the US has built and put in place. It’s so massive that the NSA had to build a data center the likes of which has never been seen before. Snowden didn’t release all of his documents at that point though. He has also promised that there’s a lot more things that hasn’t been revealed yet that are even more devastating and revealing. Continue reading Not Feeling Too Secure About our Online Privacy? Here’s What I do To Keep My Private Stuff Private

Just When You Thought You Had Privacy Under Control: The Supercookie

cookie monsterPersonally, I don’t suffer a lot of grief over cookies. I have automated processes that I have set to my liking and these do the major part of the work. Most of the people I work with, and my friends, have the same precautions in place on their machines. Today, cookies are a way of life. And, for the most part, people know how to deal with them…mostly.

The cookies are usually settings that you prefer to use when you visit a website. Things like language, region, are kept by these cookies. Then there are the cookies that will try to track you. These cookies ore often non-malevolent…recording surfing habits and information we may not want recorded. These cookies are easily found and rooted out, often software will do the trick to get rid of the unwanted stalkers.

Enter – The Supercookie

supercookieThere are websites now that have adopted the use of cookies hidden in files not usually reserved for such files. Services like HULU, Flixster, and even MSN, have been noted as using the special cookies. Due to the files being stored in a different location, detection is extremely difficult, and removal has to be done manually almost every time. Further complicating the matter is the fact that some of the cookies have been noted to also be self regenerating and will create a regular cookie if deleted to prevent the removal.

Potential For Abuse And Misuses

computer spyingUsually, a cookie is limited to what it can collect by the browser that it is contained in. The browser will only allow the issuing website to write, read, and finally remove the cookie. But supercookies operate outside of the browsers usual safeguards, and isn’t controlled in this manner. And even though keeping up with the users surfing on your own website is okay, keeping tabs of the user beyond your own website will quickly become an issue of ethics. Marketing firms will pay a lot to gain insight into internet surfing habits of individual users.

Privacy Invasions And Security Breaches

spying through blindsEven though disclaimers and user agreements could be used to give the thin appearance of permissions, many users will find these cookies objectionable. Industry heads have got together on this, in advance of legislation becoming necessary, to create a self regulatory policy. But in essence this policy does little except restrict the cookie issuers from collecting medical information. Most other information available to them is up for grabs.

Worse yet is the though of Sony losing control of their customer’s data last summer. Literally millions of people had their data compromised due to poor security measures being take by the company. The sheer number of websites that would have this information on hand is staggering. And, the thought of one, or more, of the website databases that contains all their customers and website visitors information being breached is staggering. And there will be millions of such databases to be exploited if something isn’t done to stop this.

The 5 Basic Fair Data Practices

5 rulesFor more than 25 years the industry has operated on the 5 practices that protect the public from unscrupulous types. They are: notification, choice/consent, integrity, access, and redress…here’s how that is supposed to work. First you notify your user/potential customer you are keeping the data. Then you must allow the customer to consent to the data collection or opt out. Assure to the integrity of the data you collect, and that it is clean and doesn’t contain information the user may not want broadcasted. Allow the user to access the information you have, correct it, and delete it if desired. Make yourself available to be held accountable for the info you are keeping, and the public must have a way to hold you to your promises.

Internet Privacy Is Becoming Harder Every Day

VPNReviewzThe information collected by cookies is only one way that companies and governments are attempting to keep tabs on every person in the world…tabs and control. And the only way a person can be assured that they aren’t being watched by one or the other is to use available protections, like VPN clients, private networks, and proxy servers such as the HideMyAss client and Usenet access. Only using these methods will you be able to completely control the information about you that is collected, stored, and used against you in the future.