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Scary Scary Privacy Concerns Online

Would you get freaked out if I told that from just 1 hour of internet browsing, your information could be shared with nearly 70 organizations, including advertisers who use it to target ads to you. Would you be angered if this information were sold to other 3rd parties including insurance providers and even governments to build profiles of you on their systems. Would you be annoyed that the internet which promised to be a bastion of democracy and anonymity, isn’t all it was cracked up to be? Well read on…

Recently I posted something about how Advertisers track your data via the pages you visited, and how the advertisers successfully build profiles of you based on information readily available online in addition to your browsing habits. What they then have is a treasure trove of information many of us consider private, these include your birthdate (and by extension your age)   your preferences, your affliations (both religious and professional) your likes and dislikes, your family members…etc etc. If you’re a person who likes privacy, you might want to unplug your laptop–right now!

Remember the story of the supermarket who knew a teenage girl was pregnant before her dad did, that’s nothing compared to the amount of data these networks have on your own children. If your children go online regularly, somebody has a pretty good profile on them. And if you would get freaked out if somebody followed your child everyday with a camera and notebook , you should worry about the amount of personal (and very private) information some companies are keeping on you — and your loved ones.

[I am] not even two bites into breakfast, and there are already nearly 25 sites that are tracking me. I have navigated to a total of four

This great video is from Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla Corporation and in it he details the strange and remarkably uncomfortable ways websites track your private data–and how they don’t differentiate between you or your children. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you might want to step up your efforts in annonymizing yourself online.


Does it get really scary, the moment you realize that while you may have visited just 4 websites, but 25 different entities are already tracking you? Does it get you in a rage knowing that this occurs for both you and your children? In fact the picture at the beginning of the post is a screenshot collusion from my own browsing over the course of just 1 hour. 1 Hour and nearly 50-70 sites have had some information about me sent to them. That is scary.

Personally I downloaded Collusion for Chrome, which is built on the same principle but by a different team. I then used my browser as I would any day, a couple of emails and a couple of my usual sites, including :

1) The Lowyat Forum
2) Malaysiakini
3) Google Reader / Google Mail / Google search
4) Maybank2u
5) Thestar.com.my
6) Paul Tan
7) A couple other blogs.

What I got was the ridiculously scary image above, in fact from just one website (malaysiakini.com), my information was sent to nearly 24 different websites including a whole host of advertisers:

It’s time we got serious about privacy, because sooner or later, somebody may find out your daughter is pregnant before you do, and I’m not joking.

4 Comments

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  2. Tom

    Hey, I read your blog with the same software installed and would it interest you to know that your site sends information to twelve other sites including two tracker sites and facebook. I presume you didn’t know and had no option but I just think it’s interesting how even those fighting against it seem to contribute to it unwittingly. Nice site by the way and it’s a real issue.

    • kar2on

      yeah. unfortunately the like icons send data back to facebook as well. Plus my Google analytics and nuffnang ads send data back to their respective host. I’m trying to keep it at a minimum. But you’re right I should be trying harder to stop trackers.

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