I just saw a CNN report on Internet privacy and how so many entities track your every move for fun and profit. Far too many Internet users never give any thought to privacy — and then they wonder why they get so much spam, junk snail mail, and robocalls.
The story reminded me that since switching to this Mac laptop almost two months ago, I’ve been so caught up in learning all the new stuff that I haven’t thought much about privacy, beyond adding Adblock Plus to Chrome and Firefox, the two browsers I’m currently using. It’s a great little feature, but it doesn’t do much to keep others from tracking and recording my online activity. Cookie-blocking helps some, but you have to tend to it to make sure it doesn’t block the cookies you need for online banking, shopping, etc.
Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 500 other ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers — all companies interested in your activity.
I do go into Ghostery and allow WordPress stats. That might be a mistake, but I want to be part of the hit count on other WordPress blogs.
How insidious are invisible trackers? My most annoying example for the last two years has been the time-share people. I think once — just once — I googled “time-shares” to see how they worked, and I probably browsed a few ads to see what was available in Estes Park. Since then I have been deluged with snail mail, email, and phone calls wanting to sell me a time-share or help me sell the one I have (Not!). I really, really hate phone calls like that.
Don’t get lazy about online privacy. It’s a cinch if you don’t respect your own privacy, neither will anyone else.
Full Disclosure: WordPress does its thing on this blog (I trust them). I’ve added StatCounter so I can see where in the world my readers are from (I’m curious, and WP doesn’t give me this info). And PollDaddy is a result of various polls in this blog (I just see poll results; I can’t speak for PollDaddy).