5 thoughts on “Privacy Tracking”

  1. I often use a VPN, but even when I don’t, I don’t worry about it too much; my IP resolves to my ISP’s location, not mine, and my ISP is 40 miles away. Still, the IP is part of system fingerprinting, so it’s best to be careful.

    I’m not to worried (but many people should be!) about GPS; many sites access this, some surreptitiously, to get your location exactly. I’m not worried because my PC does not have GPS, though many systems do.

    The biggest problems in browser privacy are scripts, cookies, and beacons. I use Firefox, with an add-on script blocker (NoScript). By default, javascript is off in my browser (which also defends against a lot of other types of malicious attack). I also use Ghostery to avoid trackers, and my favorite, cookie monster. Cookiemonster allows cookies to load (though you can set where, and under what conditions) if a site needs them. After you close the tab, cookie monster self-destructs those cookies.

    All of the above help.

    It’s not the government tracking me that worries me, it’s malevolent entities like Google, facebook, and all the other spies. Plus, it’s just plain creepy as hell. I’ll never understand why people accept this, but would (I assume) freak out if they caught their neighbor peeking in their windows at night, but they’re okay with google doing it, or their phone doing it, etc.

  2. I read an article a month or so ago that said a lot of VPNs are owned by China through one way or another. I’ll have to see if I can find the article later.

  3. I foolishly bought one that was highly rated, installed it, and began testing it with Tor. It would establish its secure connection through some server in Eastern Europe, and I would browse for a while, then check the status of my connection. Somewhere along the line, the VPN had shut itself off. So I was browsing in the clear (at least as much as one can with Tor) for some unknown period of time. Fine, it was just a test.

    But as time went on, it became more and more difficult just to reach Google, whether I had turned the VPN on or not. Ultimately, it became impossible to reach anywhere, even if the VPN was off, and I had restarted my computer. I had to actually uninstall the VPN to be able to reach the internet at all.

    I kinda think these things are not as effective as people think they are, if they actually shut off Windows 10’s ability to work online without even being turned on.

  4. I was shocked when I read that the Chick-Fil-A app was tracking where customers went on Sundays (when Chick-Fil-A is not open) to find out where they ate lunch. From personal experience, I know that Chick-Fil-A is run by trustworthy, ethical people. If these tools are so ubiquitously available that their app developer plugged them it as a matter of course, then they’re EVERYWHERE.

    And “security through obscurity” only works when the cost of computing is non-trivial.

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