Privacy Exploitation

The future trend of web technology will be the exploitation of personal information. The money behind this is too great for web companies not to figure out ways to acquire, compile, and repackage for sale every scrap of web presence you have and action you take online. The likes of Facebook and Google are already breaching the walls of personal information exchanging free servies for personal email addresses, contact lists, geographic locale and browsing history. This information elicits big bucks when sold to right companies anonymously or otherwise.

Google released Google Chrome. The sleekness of this new browser quickly swayed many web savvy users and even major linux installations, but there is flipside to free software. Although chrome, the free browser, comes with helpful features like in-url web searching and streamlined tabbed browsing, it comes at a price. The Omnibox from Google records every keystroke made in the browser, every url undertaken, and every click of browser history. The feature of in-url web searching and autocompletion of url addresses communicates with google performing search faster than the request can be made. Unbeknownst to most users, chrome by default associates email logins, search and web history of each device in the browser. This means that Google knows what sites you have visited and who is visiting them.

A couple of days ago I received an email on one of my junk mail accounts. Usually this type of unsolicited request receives little notice–however this particular email had some interesting information. It knew what website I had visited and what I had clicked on. The only way for this to take place would be if Google’s Chrome shared web information through its doubleclick cookies, passing email information to a website that in turn sent an automated promotion. This type of behavior is despicable. Email is personal information–and not something I am adept at handing out even though the address was a junk account.

Recently Gmail has been offering me to tie my phone number to my email account. The premise is that if I ever lose my password, I would need a way to log back in. Right? A phone number tied to an email address and name is a very useful correlation of information. How much is this information worth. A name, a phone number, an email, search history…apparently billions and its all at the expense of users. Don’t even get me started about Google Checkout and the desire to tie credit cards to your google account.

There are a couple of tools to mitigate Google Chrome (and other browsers behavior) by simply installing some Browser Extensions:
Ad Block Plus – Remove unwanted advertising within the browser including Google’s textual listing, YouTube in-video advertising, and banner ads

IBA Opt-Out – Opt out of double-click unscrupulous privacy breeches. By default you have opted-in to have Google sell your online identity and behavior.

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