No such thing as FREE APPS

Ok Folks, let’s review this again for ourselves:  We all know now that information is always being collected about us when we use apps on computers and phones, as well as, the free online services. For example, tax preparation software. This is not a secret. We are being watched, and information is collected about us if we are using internet connected audio speakers, thermostats etc.

  • The regulation of these services and how these services are using our personal digital information are not regulated as in the food industry.
  • An article I read suggests that we still should take extra steps to be careful with ‘obscure’ tech brands.  Don’t sign up for every app that is available, or take every quiz if you’re a Facebook user.
  • None of these APPs are free, and they often give you the details of what their collecting in their privacy policy.

Continue reading

Deadwood: When is the last time you cleaned up your Apps?

Fyi_33Deadwood: We’ve all heard the word and what it implies. But, have you ever thought that you could be in support of it?

I read an article by Nick Bilton of the New York Times recently about Apps, which have access to your social accounts. Continue reading

Privacy On-line.. Should We Surrender?

surrender privacyHow many of you are wondering if your attempts to control your privacy on-line is probably going to be one of the most challenging tasks before you?

In recent weeks there have been so many news articles headlining breaches in security safety for people as well as for government information!  Just when we think we have it under control they pull us right back in with stories that suggest there is no sure-fire way to secure our information.  How can we not feel vulnerable?

So are you planning to surrender?


For those of you who believe you want to continue the challenge of protecting your digital identity, below are some guidelines that have been suggested from various professionals.  As always, click the link provided at the end of the summary for a more detailed description.

  1. Use Adblock Plus:  Adblock Plus (ABP) is an open-source content-filtering and ad blocking extension for Mozilla Firefox (including Firefox for mobile, Google Chrome and Opera web browsers. In November 2012, Adblock Plus was also released as an app for Android devices. ABP, a forked version of Adblock, allows users to prevent page elements, such as advertisements, from being downloaded and displayed. via Adblock Plus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  2. Adblock is free:  Click this link to learn more: Adblock Plus – Surf the web without annoying ads!.
  3. Use Ghost E-Mail: Create various e-mail addresses. Companies often share your email address. Using the same email address across various sites may allow companies to connect those address with your identity. When using sign-up forms it may be wise to withhold some of your personal information.
  4. Use a “dumb phone:  Low tech phones can only make calls and send text messages. Smartphones are designed to track everything you are doing on the Internet. You can use this link to check what services are available for this type of equipment.
  5. Use Multiple Browsers:  Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox. Use one browser for email, one for social networking, and another one for general browsing.
  6. Pay Cash.  All credit cards leave digital trails and are used for tracking purposes.  Pay cash for items you want to keep private (such as, health items).  Pay cash for alcohol, cigarettes and other personal items.   via Ways to Make Your Online Tracks Harder to Follow –

Twitter Privacy

twitter_mannersTwitter users will want to read this post about Online Privacy Settings, by Susan Wright-Boucher in Communications, Social Media .  Click the link for details.  3 Steps to Better Online Privacy on Twitter | Susan Wright-Boucher.

I hope this is helpful!  🙂

Facebook Privacy Settings Review


The hacking of e-mail accounts seems to be on the rise.  Just recently, the Bush family email accounts were hacked. Family photos of senior Bush,  phone numbers, and other images were among the personal items that were divulged. While the Secret Service is investigating the hacking of e-mail accounts belonging to the Bush family, we want to take notice of what our personal vulnerability could be, and do our best to protect information we do not want to share publicly with the Internet.

A recent New York Times, FaceBook article reviewed the importance of knowing how to protect your privacy – that is what ‘others’ see – you  post to your account.  Nowadays,marketers want to advertise to Facebook users. The new Facebook search tool provides that access.  For example, by default, search engines can link to your timeline. However, this function can be turned off. If you haven’t checked your account since December 2012, below is a summary of some things you may want to check soon.

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1)    Who can see my stuff

2)    Activity log ( posts, pictures) look at the original posts settings & likes.

3)    If you have  posts or photos in your timeline that concern you “unlike” or “delete ” it.

4)    Decide how much of your identity you would like to share, then go to your profile page, click “About Me” and decide what you want to be visible in your timeline, such as your birthdate.

5)    If you mind being tracked by advertisers, there are tools which can help you block trackers  (e.g Abine, Disconnect Me).

6)    If Facebook is showing you Ads you would rather not see, hover over the x and choose from the drop down menu – select hide this ad.

  • You can read more details at:

  • To find out more about Do not track software –click these links:

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I hope this is helpful.  See you at the next post 🙂

Dealing with Online Public Privacy

How many of us have given up on the online privacy issue? Just when you think you have it under control by using the tools your browser has made available to you, “they pull you right back in!” Some of you may already know that even if you use the preference signal requesting not to  be tracked via your browser choices, web sites can choose not to honor your request.

Recently an article by Natasha Singer of the New York Times discussed the various issues about the privacy of consumers using online services, and what is being done to address this concern.  In her article she advises that Microsoft’s latest version of its Internet Explorer browser coming out in October 2012, which is included with Windows 8, will have a “do not track” option. Below is a summary of that article.  Additionally, you can click the link to the article at the end of this summary to read all the details.

Some topics discussed in the article are:
  What is different about Microsoft’s new “do not track” option?   Answer: The new Internet Explorer 10 comes with the “don’t-track-me” option automatically enabled. Users will have to switch the option off on a customization menu to be tracked. Therefore, with this browser non-tracking is the norm.

This is a radical move for a technology company like Microsoft, which has an ad business of its own.  Here’s why: The prospect of people opting out of tracking presents a risk for marketers. Consumer data fuels the power of the Internet. Ads support “free” content like email services, search engines, as well as social networks.

 If millions of consumers “opt out” of behavior-based advertising many ad-sponsored sites could shut down or put up pay walls for people who choose not to see the ads.

Consumers generally do not change pre-set technology options, which heightens the concern of marketers that this browser could shift millions of people to the do-not-track category.

 The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) an international standards body has created a working group to standardize the technology for do-not-track systems. However,  marketers and privacy advocates are still at odds over the definition of “do not track”.

 In the meanwhile, Twitter users will be interested to know that Twitter has already agreed to honor Mozilla’s do-not-track signal.

What’s certainly true is this discussion will continue to evolve, and as consumers of the Internet, it is a topic that we should continue to watch so that we know how information is being gathered about us.

To read more about this topic click the link below:

I hope this is helpful 🙂

The Scoop from IE about Online Privacy

Many of us are  in a quandary, and at our wits’ end trying to figure out what to do about this online privacy thing.  I mean can we control what companies find out about us?  If yes, what does that do to our ability to surf online for information?  Does it put us as a disadvantage because we setup controls?  In fact, an article appeared in PC World By John Ribeiro, IDG News Feb 21, 2012, which reports what Google says about how newer cookie-based features are affected by Microsoft’s IE.  One example given was “Like” buttons in Facebook. Check out the full article via Google Says IE Privacy Policy Is Impractical in Modern Web | PCWorld.

Let’s review what P3P is: The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) is a protocol allowing websites to declare their intended use of information they collect about web browser users. Designed to give users more control of their personal information when browsing, P3P was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and officially recommended on April 16, 2002. Development ceased shortly thereafter and there have been very few implementations of P3P.  Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only major browser to support P3P.
via P3P – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

It’s all very complicated! We covered what Google and Mozilla are doing about the online privacy concerns for users.  Below is a short summary of the highlights I thought you might want to know about , which Internet Explorer (IE) has posted on their Blog.  I urge you to use the links provided in this post to check out the information when you have time to read it for a thorough understanding, and how it may (or may not) affect you.


  1. Is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of IE? Yes. via Google Bypassing User Privacy Settings – IEBlog – Site Home – MSDN Blogs
  2. What does IE recommend to their users how to protect their privacy? One example IE gave is that IE9 has tracking protection which can protect you from Google.
  3. IE blocks third party cookies by default unless the site has a P3P Compact Policy Statement.
  4. IE has a Tracking List available for IE9 users.  Click this link to learn more via Tracking Protection – Microsoft Windows.

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When you finish reading up on all the things you can do to protect yourself,  read the article by Karl Bode at the link provided below.  His comments about “snoopvertising” will be a reality check via Press Realizing New Privacy Bill of Rights Won’t Do Much – ‘Do Not Track’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means |, ISP Information.

Perhaps what would be useful here is a quote I found from 1999!

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Polly Sprenger Email 01.26.99

The chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems said Monday that consumer privacy issues are a “red herring.”  “You have zero privacy anyway,” Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company’s new Jini technology. “Get over it.” via Sun on Privacy: ‘Get Over It’.

I hope this is helpful ! 🙂

The Scoop About Online Snooping

Just when you thought you understood how to handle the privacy protection issues, they pull us right back in. That’s why many of us are worried about how Google’s new privacy policy will affect our privacy online, and what we can do to have a say about how information is currently collected about us, and how it is manipulated.  Last week we delved into the use of  various tools provided by Google to allow us to put a stop to some of the information being collected about us in order for Google and other ‘first party(cookie) sites”  like Amazon to sell Ads.  For example,  consumers may not know that when they  go directly to first party sites (e.g. Google, Amazon) data can still be collected on them before they are given the option to “Opt-Out”.  It appears that the “Opt-Out” option works best with third party sites. Read more about how to Opt-Out and what controls you really have  at:  Network Advertising Initiative.

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I have listed some of  the topics reviewed by  Associated Press via Google’s new privacy policy: 6 key issues you need to know |

  1. Can Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, users prevent personal data from being collected?
  2. Which Google services are covered by the privacy policy?
  3. What role does the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have in overseeing Google’s treatment of personal information?

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And, do not forget to check out what Mozilla’s Firefox has available to avoid tracking  in their new release.

Firefox for Android includes the Do Not Track privacy feature in this release, making Firefox the first browser to support Do Not Track on multiple platforms. Mozilla created Do Not Track to give users more control over the way their browsing behavior is tracked and used on the Web. The feature, which lets users tell websites that they wish to opt-out of online behavioral tracking, is now easier to find in Firefox Preferences. via Mozilla Delivers New Version of Firefox – First Web Browser to Support Do Not Track on Multiple Platforms | The Mozilla Blog.

I hope this is helpful 🙂