Internet users looking to better guard their online privacy are probably aware of a new tracking trick certain sites are experimenting with in order to offer better targeted ads even to those people who block other tracking measures. Called canvas fingerprinting, the new tool tells your browser to create a unique fingerprint for your computer, by retrieving certain details about how the browser is rendering text on your system. The fingerprint then can be used to track users across websites, and it looks like at least 5,619 website have used the technology during May 1-5, 2014, according to researches that looked into how canvas fingerprinting works. More →
Internet users who are actively trying to make sure their online activity isn’t tracked by websites or government agencies should know there’s an even creepier tracking tool out there used by a variety of websites, “from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn,” as ProPublica puts it, that’s almost impossible to block. More →
Being anonymous online is very difficult in the current Internet landscape that’s filled with companies and government agencies looking to either keep tabs on your Internet habits, or to monitor all your communications — but there are ways to be completely anonymous online, a new Wired report reveals. More →
When it comes to privacy, Facebook is hardly a shining beacon. Despite efforts in the past few months to clear up its image, it continues to upset privacy advocates, most recently with its decision to use your browsing history to show you more targeted ads. Of course, Facebook wants all this information to serve better ads, which in turn allows it to keep the social network we’re all addicted to free. After decisions like this, though, it’s worth being reminded about just how much Facebook knows about you, which is exactly what The Wall Street Journal did with its list of the most important things that you’re sharing with Facebook. Here’s just a taste: More →
When it comes to the Internet, your eyeballs are worth more than you know. Online advertising is a massive multi-billion dollar industry and the companies dominating the industry — Google and Facebook, for example — are the companies in possession of the most private data. This data is used to target ads at consumers based on their history and preferences, and the better a company can target ads, the more it can charge advertisers to display those ads.
It looks like the Federal Trade Commission is finally starting to realize that some companies go too far when collecting data and building a profile of Internet users to be sold to marketers, and consumers deserve to have more control over how they are tracked online. More →
Facebook on Thursday announced new privacy-related features that apply to both existing and new users interested in joining the platforms. The company has apparently acknowledged the fact that not all things should be shared with the public, and Facebook users should be able to only share stuff with their friends. More →
If you’re pregnant and you don’t want to be subjected to countless ads reminding you of your pregnancy, then you may want to avoid using the Internet for the next 9 months or so. ThinkProgress has an interview with Janet Vertesi, an assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University who tried her best to conceal her pregnancy from Facebook and other social networks’ ad algorithms and found that it was so difficult that it wasn’t even worth doing unless you’re willing to basically send and receive any messages about your pregnancy through a carrier pigeon. More →
This past December, we reported that a popular Android app called Brightest Flashlight could do more than just shine light. Brightest Flashlight was a simple flashlight app that was highly-rated and had over 50 million installs. However, it had one devious, hidden feature: It would share personal data, such as your location, with advertisers. The FTC caught wind of this and began investigating the developer. According to GigaOm, the FTC reached a settlement with the developer last week, and it looks like he got away easy. More →
Facebook has long been slammed for breaching the privacy of its customers in the past, but the company seems to be interested in introducing more privacy-guarding features that should help users better protect the things they share on the social network while also making sure Facebook still runs as it’s expected to. More →
Even though it bashed Google a number of times in ads for the way the Search giant is monetizing its services by accessing personal information from users to deliver better targeted ads, it turns out that Microsoft can equally “scroogle” one’s privacy if it wants to. Or at least it was able to do so in the past, as the company is now planning certain changes to further guard the privacy of users. More →
In the wake of the numerous Edward Snowden revelations about the extensive NSA digital spying operations, handset makers and app developers have come up with new devices and/or applications to help put a stop to all the spying. One such new app that aims to better inform users about the data their smartphone sends while they use apps or surf the web, and to better educate them on how to protect their privacy is viaProtect, PhoneArena reports.
In 1775, all-American patriot Patrick Henry helped spur on a revolution with his famous speech that included the quote “Give me liberty or give me death!” 239 years later, another American patriot has come up with his own version of this creed: “I will give away my privacy for utility.” Barron’s reports that Rackspace startup liaison officer and notorious Google Glass fan Robert Scoble told a panel at SXSW this week that he no longer thinks maintaining his privacy is nearly as important as it used to be if it means having access to all of the great services now available through mobile devices and wearable computers. More →
Free apps and services have a high price for some users. Take Julia Angwin, a senior reporter at ProPublica who writes in The New York Times that she spent $2,200 last year to make sure that she could still use the web while avoiding all of the free services offered by companies such as Google and Facebook that harvest her data and use them to sell more targeted ads. More →