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Online Privacy Fears are for Real

Following on the theme that I wrote earlier, MSNBC gives us more sobering news for thought:

“A 20-year-old woman stalked through the Internet and killed. Thousands of e-commerce customers watching as their credit card numbers are sold online for $1 apiece. Internet chat rooms where identities are bought, sold and traded like options on the Chicago Board of Trade. These are the horror stories dredged up by privacy advocates who say the Net’s threat to personal privacy can’t be dismissed as mere paranoia. And, they say, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

INTERNET PRIVACY is a murky, complicated issue full of conflicting interests, misinformation, innuendo and technology snafus. On the face of it, e-commerce companies and privacy advocates are locked in stalemate. Web sites want to know all they can about you; consumers generally want to share as little as possible.

Complicating matters further are criminals who break into Web sites, steal the information and use it for personal gain.

“There are a lot more people tracking you than you think,” Jackson said. “The data world is a very powerful and lucrative marketplace with a lot of players involved.” For evidence, he points to a Washington Post story that revealed that 11 pharmaceutical companies - including Pfizer Inc., SmithKline Beecham PLC, Glaxo Wellcome PLC - had formed an alliance and were tracking every click consumers made across their sites, then comparing notes. Consumers were never told.”

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Written November 28th, 2005 by | 1 Comment | Filed under: Security Tips

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There is One Comment so far to “Online Privacy Fears are for Real”

  1. Adding to what MSNBC has stated it is important to know just how much information is known about you. Websites, search engines, and your own ISP track and record every bit of information they can. They will record your IP address and associate that with the origin site (the site you just came from)and anything you look at. On the surface it seems that it shouldn’t be a problem since IP addresses change based on your ISP, but if you have entered any personal information then that becomes associated with your IP address. As stated, web sites are hacked and the information stolen by cyber crminals. Now they have the bank account to go with IP address xyz.

    Your information is stored in a database and bought and sold without even knowing about it. Most people don’t even understand how much information can be found out about them from running a Google search or finding their MySpace page and working from there. Internet privacy isn’t the responibility of the companies and search engines; it is a matter that you need to take a hands-on approach to maintaining.

    Using some private proxy server is just a small step in staying protected. Internet users need to make sure they give out as little information as possible. If it is not out there to begin with then it can’t be tracked back to a specific person.

    This is my first post and I look forward to following your blog.

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