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CNET, IDC Find Rapid Increase In Behavioral Data Tracking 88

retroworks writes "According to columnist Elinor Mills at CNET, efforts to track consumer browsing behavior are 'rising dramatically.' In an interview with Gordon McLeod, CEO of data mining company, advertising targeted at browsing habits has increased fourfold since 2010. IDC, according to McLeod, projects the browser-search-term-targeted advertising industry to grow from 'zero to $5 billion in less than 5 years.' Will health insurance companies see us crawling for information on family illnesses? After reading the article, I went hunting for a download of 2008 program antiphormlite, and found nothing remaining at any download site (including CNET). Is there another 'cookie camouflage' alternative to polluting the cookie stream with false positives? Or are we left to 'do not track' pledges and trusting Tor redirectors?"
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CNET, IDC Find Rapid Increase In Behavioral Data Tracking

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  • Ghostery? (Score:4, Informative)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @08:19AM (#40383533)


    I have not read the article but the summary sounds like a lot of effort to avoid directly naming the FF/Chrome extension called ghostery.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Mainly in efficiency - it runs in Ring 0/RPL 0/PnP Kernelmode (on Windows), as merely a filter for the IP stack (no overheads of more driver layers OR browser level slower less efficient addons):

      21++ ADVANTAGES OF CUSTOM HOSTS FILES (how/what/when/where/why):

      Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs).

      1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based

      • by Inda ( 580031 )
        I think you forgot the links at the end.
      • Another problem with the Windows hosts file: if you're running Microsoft Security Essentials, it will view modificaitons to the hosts file as a virus and remove them.
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @08:20AM (#40383545)

    Incognito/private browsing FTW. Use (for example) one browser for browsing where you don't mind cookies, and a second for items you don't want tracked.

    You can have many browsers, any decent PC can run many browsers, so have at it.

    • 1- If you don't accept cookies, some websites simply don't work
      2- Incognito/private browsing is not enough to avoid other trackers like pixels, scripts...
      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @08:49AM (#40383777) Journal

        2- Incognito/private browsing is not enough to avoid other trackers like pixels, scripts...

        Can "other trackers like pixels, scripts" track actual identifying data? I don't know enough about this stuff to know.

        And if I can remain anonymous enough, should I still care if data is collected?

        I run ghostery but I really need to pay more attention to this stuff and educate myself about incognito/private browsing. Not so much that I browse somewhere illegal or that my crazy leftwing politics are going to get me in trouble, but I really can't stand the idea of data tracking.

        I would gladly give up all the "benefits" that come with data tracking. But then, I thought the internet was just great in 1993, before the commercialization of the Internet. I would love to have seen how the Internet would have developed if it hadn't become a sleazy shopping mall/TV combo.

        I really like this idea of "cookie camouflage". I never heard of this "antiphormlite" program before today. Too bad it seems to have been disappeared. I would enjoy showing these trackers the back of my hand.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Does incognito browsing, such as chrome's incognito tabs, help against fingerprinting methods?

    • Even the cheapest tracking software includes methods for tracking people with cookies turned off. Buisnesses have wised up and are tracking you based on info you can't change, like your IP, windows version, etc... Then they share this info with each other. Private browsing is NOT private. Your only hope is to use a proxy service.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      What does multiple browsers help when you're browsing from the same IP address? I think Google's smart enough to figure that out.

      • What does multiple browsers help when you're browsing from the same IP address? I think Google's smart enough to figure that out.

        Actually, our entire household browses from a single IP address. In that case, if we each used one unique browser (or mostly just that one) per user, the multiple browser approach would assist in differentiating people for advertising purposes. As it is, we each use any of 3 PCs which all run Xubuntu, but identifiably unique due to display resolutions, installed fonts, etc. Similarly, even the kids use two or more browsers each while my wife and I use three or four regularly, and everyone knows to clear th

  • Collusion plugin for Chrome/Safari from blocks all known trackers. Since using it for a while, I have noticed a disappearance of eerily targeted ads in Google searches, etc.

  • Tor? Why? How about in Firefox or IE8 or 9 hit ctrl-shift-P. Tada, temporarily no more non-session cookies are preserved (among other privacy perks).
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      And then you still need to clear out caches for all your browser plugins like Java, Flash etc.

      Otherwise you will still sit there with tracking cookies.

  • noscript?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apcullen ( 2504324 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @09:46AM (#40384365)
    Doesn't using noscript block most of the sites that track one's browsing?
    • It certainly blocks some.

      I went to that cnet page and ghostery reported 5 trackers.

      I then did noscript "temporarily allow all this page" and ghostery reported 11 trackers, so noscript seems to be blocking 6 out of 11.

  • How many users did they have to track to obtain that finding?

  • I use Opera and the Ghostery extension along with WOT. Then I run CCleaner a few times a day. I ALWAYS log out of any site once I'm done with what I logged in to do, and that goes double for Google. Then run CCleaner. I take a small hit with some occasional unpredictable behavior on some sites with Ghostery running, but screw 'em. If they want my junk, I can find (95% of the time) what i want elsewhere. Strategy seems to work pretty well, low spam incidence in gmail and my "real" email addresses are rarely

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein