Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Take Back Your Privacy: Opt out of 60 ad networks

“Did you know that 60 ad networks may be tracking you right now? And may be selling personally identifiable details about you? The good news: you can opt out of these networks in less than 3 minutes. Here’s how.

Forget about privacy?
Online behavior tells a great deal about us: our food likes; the car we drive; our income level; religion; gender; sexual preferences; diseases; job status; and, how many and how old our children are. Traditionally, we’ve considered much of this information to be no one’s business but our own.

But thousands of companies would like to make our business their business. And with the Internet and cookie tracking, they can.”

Read the rest (including the How To steps) here. [note: I suggest you read the reader Comments (aka “Talkback”) on the article as well. (click on “View All Expanded”) ]

October 27, 2010 - Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, privacy

8 Comments »

  1. Howdy Paul

    I see why you suggested we read the reader comments. This method of opt-out places cookies on our hard drives to tell the data miners not to place more cookies on our hard drives.

    So, when I use CCleaner to erase all traces of my browsing history after every session (and I do religiously) the cookies are erased and I am once again exposed. I tried it to see, and sure enough I was no longer opted out.

    The only way this could work for me is to make http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp my home page, so that I could opt-out every time before I start browsing. If I was really that concerned I might consider going that route. Perhaps they shouldn’t be allowed to track our browsing habits in the first place. Fat chance of that ever happening, eh?

    This is a great idea in principal, but the method is flawed. And I was SO excited!!! LOL

    Like

    Comment by KsTinMan | October 27, 2010 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      This was interesting to me on a couple of different levels: one, apparently some people aren’t just rolling over on this issue; two, it just may indicate that someone in the upper echelons of these ‘ad networks’ just may have asked themselves the question, “have we gone too far?”; and three, what a couple of commentators said about The Big G was music to my ears (I had thought I was the only one…)

      As for the method itself, well, Über Geeks (and other advanced users, such as yourself) have other methods – this is more geared for those who have never heard of CCleaner, nor want to.

      But that’s not the main point of it. The main point of it is (IMHO) only going to happen if enough people “vote” with it. Stand up and holler, “I’m mad as *heck*, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
      If we don’t, that high-echelon executive, who asked himself that question, is going to conclude, “bah. They don’t care. Why worry? Let’s go further.”

      Something is only a “problem” when enough people complain. This is a way to complain.. and I hope a LOT of folks sign up.
      (Or.. Oprah complains.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. Paul:
    Another interesting article, I read the How To Steps, (I highly value my privacy) I also read the comments, while I think I understand what I read, it all leaves me sort- of- confused, asking myself: “what is the next step for me to take”?

    Paul also, your comment, “if enough people vote” I agree with action.

    G

    Like

    Comment by Gaia | October 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      I understand completely.

      I want to say that I am not a big fan of telling folks what do you (I’m not your boss) but I will suggest that if you value your privacy, don’t like being ‘tracked’, and want to send a message to that effect.. one method is to click here, and provide at least one valid e-mail address.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 28, 2010 | Reply

  3. Paul,

    You’re right about this issue, and for those that don’t regularly clean the cache there is a way to allow the Opt-Out cookies to be saved and still ignore others. Perhaps a short slide show could instruct folks on how to use the cookie exceptions option to always allow the Opt-Out cookie sites to be accepted? Just a thought. I don’t want to create more work for you.

    I’m with you all the way on letting these people know that we have had enough privacy invasion. The squeaky wheel gets the grease most of the time…

    Like

    Comment by KsTinMan | October 28, 2010 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      That is not at all an unreasonable suggestion. However.. I regret to say, reader interest in this article (um.. er.. “lack of”) would suggest to me that my time could rather easily be better spent.

      It boggles my mind, really, how much of a non-issue this subject is for people…

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. Yeah. Makes no sense to me. Data mining has become BIG business. Many of these companies are collecting and selling very personal information about us to anyone willing to pay for it, and that includes cyber criminals.

    Have we finally reached the point that people feel there’s nothing they can do to stop such invasive techniques? I have noticed that many ‘young’ people of voting age think that’s true. I keep telling them that the future is in their hands now. An apathetic attitude is the worst thing they can have these days.

    But, I’m an old man… how could I possibly understand what’s going on? I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I was 18 to 20 something.

    I do not ever browse to x-rated or even semi-questionable websites. I don’t participate in peer to peer file sharing. I use only reputable download websites. Most of my internet usage involves viewing network news, keeping up on the latest Windows issues on the MS website, perhaps catching a missed episode of NCIS, and of late reading Tech Paul’s great articles.

    So, what do I have to hide? My personal “it’s none of their dang business” information is what. I will buy what I need when I need it. I have never made a purchase because my browsing habits caused me to get an advertisement or a keyword in an email prompted an ad to be displayed. Apparently there’s plenty of people that do.

    All I can say is it’s downright sad that there is little or no reader interest in this subject.

    Like

    Comment by KsTinMan | October 28, 2010 | Reply

    • KsTinMan,
      Are we related? Sheeze.. sounds like I’m talking to my doppleganger..

      Thank you for contributing to this topic. I hope it will stimulate some thinking out there in cyberspace.
      Ignorance and apathy… Bad enough on their own – together they’re lethal.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 28, 2010 | Reply


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