Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, had heard many people apologize for commercial online surveillance by saying that people who didn't want to give their data away should just not give their data away -- they should opt out. So when she got pregnant, she and her husband decided to keep the fact secret from marketing companies (but not their friends and family). She quickly discovered that this was nearly impossible, even while she used Tor, ad blockers, and cash-purchased Amazon cards that paid for baby-stuff shipped to anonymous PO boxes.
We ordered everything baby-related on Tor. I’ve used a lot of browser plugins and software on my career. A lot of people just asked if I downloaded an ad blocker. But I wasn’t worried about the ads; I was worried about the data collection that fuels the advertising. If I had an ad blocker, I wouldn’t be able to see what the internet knew about me. So we used a traceless browser for baby things. Everything else, I did on my normal browser. We got everything in cash that we could. We’d do research online, using Tor, and then go out and buy things in cash in person. For some purchases online, we made through Amazon, and we set up an Amazon account from a private email account and had it deliver to a local locker in Manhattan, so it wasn’t associated with our address. We stocked it with Amazon gift cards that we bought with cash. So we did those kinds of things to draw a distinction between our online lives and our offline lives.
Meet The Woman Who Did Everything In Her Power To Hide Her Pregnancy From Big Data [Jessica Goldstein/Think Progress]
(Image: pregnant woman, Teza Harinaivo Ramiandrisoa, CC-BY-SA)
Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies won the Distinguished Paper prize at this year's Usenix Security Conference; its authors, researchers at Belgium's Catholic University in Leuven, revealed a host of devastating, never-seen tracking techniques for identifying web-users who were using privacy tools supplied by browser-vendors and third-party tracking-blocking […]
I'm on the latest episode of Torrentfreak's Steal This Show podcast (MP3), where I talk with host Jamie King about "Whether file-sharing & P2P communities have lost the battle to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and why the ‘copyfight’ is still important; how the European Copyright Directive eats at the fabric of the Web, […]
In 2002, Microsoft security researcher Peter Biddle (previously) published The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution, a paper that argued that DRM would always fail and that traditional forms of censorship would be harder and harder to execute online (it also coined the term "Darknet"); today, in honor of America's mass freakout over 3D […]
Whether you’re set to give the toast at your best friend’s wedding or a presentation at work, you’ll be relying on those public speaking lessons you slept through during high school. Scary thought, right? Thankfully, the Public Speaking Bundle is loaded with hacks, tips, and techniques that will get you speaking more naturally and with confidence, […]
The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is the foundation on which many creatives build their careers, but some of its programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, are notoriously complex, making it difficult for aspiring designers, photographers, and the like to break into their field. But, don’t get discouraged. The Pay What You Want: Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle […]
From self-driving cars to Siri, we’ve already gotten a taste of what AI can do, and now this groundbreaking technology is making its way to education and revolutionizing the way we learn new languages. Mondly uses state-of-the-art speech recognition to help you speak foreign languages like a true local. Lifetime subscriptions are on sale for […]