Christopher Maag, writing for credit.com, says that any attempt to maintain your privacy online is doomed. Deleting cookies won't work, banning cookies won't work, and using privacy tools won't work, either.
Even after you set your browser to delete existing cookies and ban new ones, download super-cookies and use the tools created by pro-privacy programmers, there's one data-gathering technique that you simply cannot avoid. Your computer has hundreds of settings that control things like the main interface language (English, Korean, etc.), sound and screen resolution settings, and the color schemes people set for their Microsoft Word documents.
How to avoid online tracking. (Hint: you can't.)
As you scroll the Internet, most websites automatically take snapshots of your settings. That information, combined with data on where you connect to the internet, can be used to track your movements around the web and build a profile about each visitor.
To see how effective this is at tracing individual users, I ran a test designed by Eckerseley called Panopticlick on my own computer. I've only had this computer for about a month, so I haven't even taken the time to open my control panel and customize the settings for the track pad, keyboard, screen, etc. (The program doesn't search for computers or beacons on your computer.)
Nevertheless, Panopticlick found 20 bits of identifying information on my Mac. Using those bits, it could tell that I was a unique user and not one of the 1.3 million people who ran the test before me.
With the passage of the Snoopers Charter earlier this month, the UK has become the most-surveilled “democratic” state in the world, where service providers are required to retain at least a year’s worth of their customers’ browsing history and make it searchable, without a warrant, to a variety of agencies — and no records are […]
Britain’s love-affair with mass surveillance began under the Labour government, but it was two successive Conservative governments (one in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who are nominally pro-civil liberties) who took Tony Blair’s mass surveillance system and turned it into a vicious, all-powerful weapon. Now, their work is done.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Digital Security Tips for Protesters builds on its indispensable Surveillance Self Defense guide for protesters with legal and technical suggestions to protect your rights, your data, and your identity when protesting.
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