Headline October 19, 2019/ '' ' INTERNET TRACKING INVERSE ' ''


HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS for protecting your privacy while spending time online.

Google and Facebook collect information about us and then sell that data to advertisers. Websites deposit invisible ''cookies'' onto our computers and then record where we go online. Our own governments have been known to track us.

When it comes to digital privacy, it's easy to feel hopeless. We're mere mortals! We're minuscule molecules in their machines! What powers do we possibly have to fight back?

That was the question I posed to you, dear students, in one previous column.

Many of you responded with valuable but frequently repeated suggestions : Use a program that memorizes your passwords, and make every password different. Install an ad blocker in your web browser, like uBlock Origin.

Read up on the latest Internet scams. If you must use Facebook, visit its Privacy Settings page and limit its freedom to target ads to you.

What I sought though was non-obvious ideas.

It turns out that ''digital privacy'' means different things to different people. ''Everyone has different concerns,'' wrote Jamie Winterton, a cybersecurity researcher at Arizona State University. ''Are you worried about private messaging? Government Surveillance? Third-party trackers on the web?''

Addressing each of these concerns, she noted requires different tools and techniques. 

The number one thing that people can do is to stop using Google,'' wrote Bob Gellman, a privacy consultant. ''If you use Gmail and use Google to search the web, Google knows more about you than any other institution. And that goes double if you use other Google services like Google Maps, Waze, Google Docs, etc.''

Like many other readers, he recommended DuckDuckGo, a rival web search engine, Its search results often aren't as useful as Google's, but it's advertised not to track you or your searches.

And if you don't use Gmail for email, what should you use? ''I am a huge advocate for paying for your email account,'' wrote the Russian journalist Yuri Litvinenko. ''It's not about turning off ads, but giving your email providers as little incentive to peek into your inbox as possible.''

Proton Mail, for example, costs $4 a month and offers a host of privacy features, including anonymous sign-up and end-to-end encryption.

The ads you seen online are based on the sites, searches and Facebook posts that get your interest. Some rebels therefore throw a wrench into the machinery - by demonstrating phony interests.

''Every once in a while, I Google something completely nutty just to mess with their algorithms,'' wrote Shaun Breidbart. ''You'd be surprised what sort of coupons CVS prints for me on the bottom of my receipt. They are clearly confused about both my age and my gender.''

It's ''akin to radio jamming',' noted Frank Paiano. ''It does make for some interesting browsing, as ads for items we searched for follow us around like puppy dogs [including those on The New York Times by the way].''

Barry Joseph uses a similar tactic while when registering for an account on a website. ''I often switch my gender [Iam a cisgender male], which delivers ads less relevant to me - although I must admit, the bra advertising can be distracting.''

He notes there are side effects. ''My friends occasionally get gendered notification about me, such as 'Wish her a happy birthday.' '' But even that is a plus, leading to ''interesting conversations about gender norms and expectations [so killing two birds with with one digital stone here[.

It's perfectly legitimate, by the way, to enjoy seeing ads that align with your interests. You could argue they've actually more useful than irrelevant ones.

But millions of others are creeped out by the tracking that produces those targeted ads.

If you're in that category. Ms. Winterton recommended Ghostery, a free plug-in for most web browsers that ''blocks the trackers and lists them by category,'' she wrote. ''Some sites have an amazing number of trackers whose only purpose is to record your behavior [sometimes across multiple sites] and pitch better advertisements.''

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research and writings on ''Covering your tracks on the Internet'', continues. The World Students Society thanks author David Pogue.

With respectful dedication to Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society: wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Digital Drums '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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