itwbennett writes: "Do you know what data the 1300+ tracking companies have on you? Privacy blogger Dan Tynan didn't until he had had enough of being stalked by grandpa-friendly Jitterbug phone ads. Tracking company BlueKai and its partners had compiled 471 separate pieces of data on him. Some surprisingly accurate, some not (hence the Jitterbug ad). But what's worse is that opting out of tracking is surprisingly hard. On the Network Advertising Initiative Opt Out Page you can ask the 98 member companies listed there to stop tracking you and on Evidon's Global Opt Out page you can give some 200 more the boot — but that's only about 300 companies out of 1300. And even if they all comply with your opt-out request, it doesn't mean that they'll stop collecting data on you, only that they'll stop serving you targeted ads."
itwbennett writes: "The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein issed a decree that would force Facebook to abandon its real name policy, saying the right to use nicknames online is required by the German Telemedia Act. For its part, Facebook plans to 'fight [the orders] vigorously.'"
itwbennett writes: "Score 1 for online privacy. The Federal Trade Commission and online ad firm Epic Marketplace have reached a settlement that will bar Epic from using browser history sniffing technology. According to the news report, 'The history sniffing allowed Epic to determine whether a consumer had visited more than 54,000 domains, including pages relating to fertility issues, impotence, menopause, incontinence, disability insurance, credit repair, debt relief, and personal bankruptcy. Epic used the tracking to send targeted ads related to several health issues, the FTC said.'"
itwbennett writes: "Judge Susan Illston has said she will approve a $22.5 million settlement deal between Google and the FTC over the company's practice of circumventing privacy protections in Apple's Safari browser to place tracking cookies on user's computers. Judge Illston also expressed concern about what will happen to the tracking data Google collected, since the settlement doesn't call for Google to destroy the data."
itwbennett writes: "ICANN wants to store more data (including credit card information) about domain name registrations in its Whois database, wants to hold on to that data for two years after registration ends, and wants to force registrant contact information to be re-verified annually — moves that are applauded by David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The E.U.'s Article 29 Working Group is markedly less enthusiastic, saying ICANN's plans trample on citizens' right to privacy."
itwbennett writes: "The 1 million Apple device UDIDs that were leaked last week were stolen from digital publisher Bluetoad, the company's CEO Paul DeHart in wrote in a blog post Monday. In describing the theft from its servers, BlueToad downplayed the risk to information types other than UDIDs: 'BlueToad does not collect, nor have we ever collected, highly sensitive personal information like credit cards, social security numbers or medical information,' DeHart said."
itwbennett writes: "What's worse than Facebook saving your location data? Facebook saving inaccurate location data. One Facebook user was surprised to find that 'though she lives just north of Boston, Facebook was telling her that she was logged in from locations more than 400 miles away.' The culprit: Accessing Facebook from her iPhone. Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens told ITworld's Dan Tynan that the company 'infer[s] the information from carriers and the device IP, some IPs have users from all over a region of the country, in those cases we can't disambiguate where in the region they are and a central arbitrary location is displayed.' Which is all well and good, unless you're in the position of needing to prove you were in one location and not another."
itwbennett writes: "British Airways wants to be the airline where everybody knows your name. The idea behind the 'Know Me' program is that by using Google Images to ID passengers, they'll be able to recreate the 'feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant,' Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA told the London Evening Standard. But the more privacy minded among us know that the airline could end up seeing a lot more than your face."
itwbennett writes: "If Facebook needed more evidence that its users don't want 'frictionless', wholesale sharing, these numbers are hard to ignore: The Washington Post's social reader app lost 4.3 million users in a week. And the Washington Post wasn't the only (or even the biggest) loser, according to AppData's loser list."
itwbennett writes: "Quitting Google isn't easy, but if you value your privacy, it might be well worth doing. Tom Henderson spent 7 days freeing himself from Google's tentacles. Here's how he did it, starting with purging Google's traces from your browser, computer, and phone, and then finding alternatives for all those services he'd come to rely on."
itwbennett writes: "Your browsing behavior may reveal more personal information than you'd tell your own mother. Which is why Tim Berners-Lee is urging technology companies to 'show more restraint' in how they use the information they hoover up. 'We're moving towards a world in which people agree not to use information for particular purposes. It's not whether you can get my information, it's when you've got it, what you promise not to do with it,' said Berners-Lee, speaking out against the U.K.'s proposal to allow government intelligence to monitor digital communications."
itwbennett writes: "Researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research conducted a study to determine whether consumers would pay more if they could reveal less personal information. The answer: Yes, but not much more. For two-thirds of consumers, 65 cents was the tipping point. 'The problem with studies like this,' writes privacy blogger Dan Tynan, 'is that they measure how willing people are to give up their personal information, but they usually fail to measure how aware these people are about what could happen to the information they surrender.'"
itwbennett writes: "In building the best search engine, maps, and Web-based email around, Google spent ten years making itself an integral part of our daily online lives — and spent the last few years exploiting that position with one intrusion into our privacy after another. But is there any hope of pulling Google's hooks out of our mouths? One brave man is here to tell us that it can be done. The first step is purging Google's traces from your browser, computer, and phone; next is the search for alternatives."
itwbennett writes: "Facebook's privacy settings, such as they are, don't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand to see applicants' profiles. In an MSNBC report, Bob Sullivan found that 'in Maryland, job seekers applying to the state's Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall....' Meanwhile, on the other side of the barbed wire fence, coaches and administrators are forcing student athletes to 'friend' them in order to monitore their activity of social sites."