About 72% of these websites allow users to opt out of being tracked. However, about 40% make you make navigate to a different (sometimes hard-to-find) section of the website to opt out.
Today (1/28/11) is the fourth annual Data Privacy Day. Dozens of countries have been celebrating with events throughout the week to inform and educate us all about our personal data rights and protections.
On this Data Privacy Day, there’s a huge push to create better ways for people to manage and protect their data. Google has tools like the Google Dashboard, the Ads Preferences Manager and encrypted search if you’re looking for some of the more popular ways to manage your Google interactions. Most recently, Google launched an extension for Chrome called Keep My Opt-Outs, which allows you to opt out permanently from ad tracking cookies. And pretty soon Chrome will be extending the availability of 2-step verification, an advanced account security solution that is now helping protect more than 1,000 new accounts a day from common problems like phishing and password compromise. Right now it’s available to Google Apps Accounts and should available to the general public in a few weeks.
From the Wall Street Journal (10/4/10): A new icon alerting users to behaviorally targeted advertising could soon start making its way onto more Web ads.
A group of online marketing associations started pushing the icon Monday as part of an effort to develop stricter self-regulation of the online data collection and advertising industry. The icon, a light blue triangle with an “i” in the middle, will indicate that the company is following self-regulatory principles. Along with the icon, a company can use phrases like “Why did I get this ad?” and “Ad Choices” to direct consumers to more information about behavioral data collection and privacy.
The companies involved in this new industry “need to talk to their audiences. They need to describe what they do, how they do it and the value it brings,” Randall Rothenberg, president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said in a statement.
The move toward self-regulation is aimed at warding off federal rules as the $23 billion-a-year online-ad industry increasingly makes use of behavioral tracking to target ads. The Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series has documented the growing use of cutting-edge Internet-tracking technology that allows for more relevant ads but also has raised concerns over privacy.
Congress and regulators are looking more closely at online tracking. Two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives that would restrict the practice. The Federal Trade Commission is expected to issue new privacy guidelines by the end of the year and is considering a do-not-track registry that would allow consumers to opt out of behavioral targeting.
The coalition behind the icon released voluntary guidelines more than a year ago that called for websites and advertisers to clearly explain how they track consumers’ information and allow users to opt out of behavioral advertising. The icon is an extension of that effort.
Pidder is a German startup and, more importantly, the first social network based on privacy by design. Pia Pauls, a co-founder of the site, reached out to Edudemic to make everyone aware of Pidder and it’s definitely worth checking out. Here’s a synopsis directly from Pia:
In addition to social networking where you stay in control of your own data and only share it with those you deliberately choose, pidder is a place to easily and securely manage passwords and logins. Pidder even provides an identity management service allowing the use of pseudonyms.
In the long run, we envision Pidder as a building block within a global infrastructure that will provide user-centric identity management. Every user will be able to gracefully manage in every given situation what information they wish to reveal about themselves adequate for the respective interaction. Check out Pidder here for yourself!
The Huffington Post has a terrific dashboard of all privacy news in one place. Laid out like all other HuffPost pages, the site focuses on how the top web companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are dealing with online privacy.
Source: (A terrific guide that you should check out!) Online Privacy: A Tutorial for Parents and Teachers (2 MB pdf)
CyberAngels (www.cyberangels.org) describes itself as “your cyber neighborhood watch.” The organization finds and reports illegal material online, educates families about online safety, works with schools and libraries, and shares basic Internet tips and help resources. Family Resources (www.norton.com/familyresources) is a Web site produced by Symantec that helps parents provide guidance to their children who are using the Internet. Its goal is to provide parents with the information they need to keep their children and computers safe online and to help parents make sure that their children are good cybercitizens
Federal Trade Commission’s Kidz Privacy site is an educational Web site produced by the FTC surrounding the enactment of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This site offers guidance to parents and children as well as Web site operators on the do’s and don’ts of children’s online privacy.
GetNetWise (www.getnetwise.org) is a resource for families and caregivers to help kids have safe, educational, and entertaining online experiences. The Web site includes a glossary of Internet terms, a guide to online safety, directions for reporting online trouble, a directory of online safety tools, and a listing of great sites for kids to visit. OnGuard Online maintained by the FTC, provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you stay on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information. The site offers tutorials, videos, and even quizzes to keep you in the know.
Top Ten Technical Questions is a list of the technical information that parents and teachers must know to keep kids safe online. Prepared by Symantec and iKeepSafe, it is especially valuable for parents and teachers without extensive technical knowledge, and for the technically aware, it provides a good refresher.
Wired Kids (www.wiredkids.org) is the official North American site of UNESCO’s Innocence in Danger program. The site is under the direction of Internet lawyer and children’s advocate Parry Aftab. Its mission is to allow children to enjoy the vast benefits of the Internet while at the same time protecting them from cybercriminals. The Web site will soon host a parent registry, allowing quickly accessible and verifiable parental consent.
Disclaimer: EPIC does not lobby for, consult, or advise companies, nor do we endorse specific products or services. This list merely serves as a sampling of available privacy-enhancing tools. If you have a suggestion for a tool that you believe should be included, or if you have comments to share regarding one or more of the tools that are already listed, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about a tool on this page, visit the affiliated company or individual’s Web site for more information.
Snoop Proof Email
Encrypt your entire hard drive.
Completely erase files so that they cannot be recovered or undeleted.
You may be “shedding” personal details, including e-mail addresses and other contact information, without even knowing it unless you properly configure your Web browser. In your browser’s “Setup”, “Options” or “Preferences” menus, you may wish to use a pseudonym instead of your real name, and not enter an e-mail address, nor provide other personally identifiable information that you don’t wish to share. When visiting a site you trust you can choose to give them your info, in forms on their site; there is no need for your browser to potentially make this information available to all comers. Also be on the lookout for system-wide “Internet defaults” programs on your computer (some examples include Window’s Internet Control Panel, and MacOS’s Configuration Manager, and the third-party Mac utility named Internet Config). While they are useful for various things, like keeping multiple Web browers and other Internet tools consistent in how the treat downloaded files and such, they should probably also be anonymized just like your browser itself, if they contain any fields for personal information. Households with children may have an additional “security problem” – have you set clear rules for your kids, so that they know not to reveal personal information unless you OK it on a site-by-site basis? To view more ways to stay safe, visit EFF.org.
Never submit a credit card number or other highly sensitive personal information without first making sure your connection is secure (encrypted). In Netscape, look for an closed lock (Windows) or unbroken key (Mac) icon at the bottom of the browser window. In Internet Explorer, look for a closed lock icon at the bottom (Windows) or near the top (Mac) of the browser window. In any browser, look at the URL (Web address) line – a secure connection will begin “https://” intead of “http://”. If you are at page that asks for such information but shows “http://” try adding the “s” yourself and hitting enter to reload the page (for Netscape or IE; in another browser, use whatever method is required by your browser to reload the page at the new URL). If you get an error message that the page or site does not exist, this probably means that the company is so clueless – and careless with your information and your money – that they don’t even have Web security. Take your business elsewhere.
Your browser itself gives away information about you, if your IP address can be tied to your identity (this is most commonly true of DSL and broadband users, rather than modem users, who are a dwindling minority).
Also be on the lookout for “spyware” – software that may be included with applications you install (games, utilities, whatever), the purpose of which is to silently spy on your online habits and other details and report it back to the company whose product you are using. One MS Windows solution for disabling spyware is the Ad-aware program (shareware, from http://www.lavasoft.de/ ), which can remove spyware from your computer; it is based on a large collaboratively maintained database of information about spyware. Linux and Mac products of this sort are likely to appear soon.