Is online privacy an oxymoron?

Oxymoron: 2 words that conflict with each other (ex. jumbo shrimp, fresh frozen, modern history, live recording, online privacy)

Don’t you hate to see ads that pop up with images of places you just visited? For instance, by visiting Overstock.com or Coldwatercreek.com and looking at sweaters, I am sure to see that same sweater on another page that I am reading. Why is that you ask? It’s because tracking cookies have been attached to your clicking activities.

Cookies are on every page you visit and they track your clicks and follow you as you surf along.

Been to Travelocity to check out plane fares to Orlando? If so, you’ll soon see a rash of Google ads on the right side of your screen for Orlando hotels, restaurants and adventures.

Image representing Ghostery as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

These cookies track your behavior and collect the data and other companies pay to see your activity.

I found a tool, called Ghostery that tracks the trackers and allows you to see each tracker on every page you visit. You can view the site that is tracking you and see what they are looking for, check out their privacy policies, opt off their list and block companies you don’t trust.

And it’s free.

This tool is a Firefox add in and will show you the tracking websites as a small bubble on the top right hand corner of the page. It’s a neat tool, in the background and very effective.

Another quick trick: unplug your modem for 1-2 minutes. When you plug it back in, the IP address will change and your trackers will have lost their scent.

What works for you?

Other suggestions: CCleaner, Ad-ware, Privacy Choice, Network Advertising. SuperAntiSpyware,

 

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13 thoughts on “Is online privacy an oxymoron?

  1. Very good post, interesting and informative. Not all people would know about this. I used to use Ad-Aware. I’m going to check it out now again, and see if it’s still free.

      • I’ve only used McAfee and Norton when they’ve come pre-installed on computers. Never liked them. They’re huge, and I always had the feeling that they slowed down the computer.

        Used free AVG for a while, and now Microsoft Live Essentials.

        Yesterday, after I wrote that comment, I installed and ran Ad-Aware. Turned out I had two trojans. Geezzz…

      • Yeah, and I don’t care about that. What scares me is if my computer is being hi-jacked, and every key stroke is registered. Recently had my Gmail account hacked by someone from China, and that made me a little more …… aware.

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  4. I’ve had my yahoo account hijacked before. It was awful. What most people don’t realize is how open our stuff is. Any email that I write or receive is kept indefinitely a yahoo database. Why is that? What are they trying to learn about me?

    My research has opened my eyes on many different issues that before I chose to ignore.

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