A Little More Privacy

It is something that a lot of you will think I harp on about quite a bit... But being as private and secure as you can be online is really a no-brainer.

Aside from all the spyware out there, and all the viruses, and every crafty bugger trying to send you several million quid from Nigeria, there is a "new" problem facing people now.

And I am not talking about Internet Doomsday. Keep your computer safe, you'll be fine.

No, I am talking about all the little bits and bobs that dwell on your computer and inside the web pages you are visiting, tracking you, following you, seeing what you're doing online pretty much everywhere you go. Sometimes they are called trackers, sometimes beacons, other times bugs... But they are everywhere, even the places you honestly don't think you will find them.

Now, without even doing it intentionally, without adding anything into the code, do you know that 0ddness itself (I have now discovered!) has five different sites watching you? Facebook knows you're here (thanks to the friend-connect thing), Google Adsense AND FriendConnect know you are here, Statcounter knows you are here, and Technorati knows you are here.

These are things that, yes, I have added to 0ddness. The social plugin I just assumed was for people to click "Like", AdSense is NOT me, FriendConnect is so other people with Google Accounts can "like" 0ddness directly, StatCounter is my hit counter, and Technorati is a blog catalogue, and I ASSUMED, just a little button.

Five sites, all seeing who you are, where you are, where you've been...

Shockingly, The Pirate Bay (which my ISP wasn't told to block!) has zero on its homepage.


Sky News

Yahoo Homepage
I heard about a fancy little bit of software, however, and decided to give it a bash, see what's what and how necessary it might be. It's called Ghostery, and can be installed on Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer - though I COULDN'T get it working on the last (shocking). It's free, too, so it's not like you're paying for something you aren't sure about.

Installing it is as difficult as clicking a couple of buttons, and once you've run through the three or four setup screens, you're good to go. I've left the alert window set to ON so I can see just how many people are trying to follow me around, and so far, most sites have four or five - some have lots more mind you!

I've currently got mine set to block everything and everyone because they are all baaaastards mode, but will go through and allow something things... StatCounter, and Google Friend Thingie being the main two, BUT there are well over 800 different "things" that it can block.

Next time you are wondering how it is that the banner ad on the side of a page is strangely specific to the thing you were looking for just this morning, these little tracking things are why.

And now you know.

Sidenote: I should also point out that Firefox has a feature to tell websites not to follow you anyway. I don't know if it works or not, but it can be found under TOOLS>OPTIONS>PRIVACY>Tell Websites I Do Not Want To Be Tracked.

And honestly, if you are still insisting on using Internet Explorer, there's no helping you. Install either Firefox or Chrome, AND make sure you keep everything up to date on your machine. And don't forget the Anti-Virus either!!

PS: If you really ARE worried about INTERNET DOOMSDAY!!! then fret not. The 9th July will be a non-event, much like the other End Of The World scenario that was THE Y2K BUG!!! Read more about it here, and check your computer here.

(Yeeeeah I used the {BLINK} HTML tags! Bring back the 90s baby!)
(I am shocked and saddened that if you are viewing this in Chrome, you cannot see my Olde Skool use of the {BLINK} tags. Firefox works fine though!)
(Aw it doesn't work in IE either... So stuff you, Old Skool BLINK tags. Stuff you)

Newer Post Older Post