17 Nov How to Reclaim Your Online Privacy
PC Magazine, By Eric Griffith, November 17, 2008
Do you remember a time before everyone knew your every move? Maybe it’s our own fault. We live in an age where microblogs and social networks are all about keeping in touch—to the extreme. It’s fun to follow friends, so we forget that posting pictures of that drunken frat party or naked mosh pit might not bode well for future relationships with employers, friends, or even the law. We forget that, sometimes, giving just a little tells a lot. You can’t do anything online without signing up for an account, typically supplying your e-mail, at minimum. End-user license agreements (EULAs) are more invasive than ever. Disney put one out that’s over 50 pages long—for a DVD of Sleeping Beauty. Even “don’t be evil” Google took flack for the Chrome browser EULA, which proclaimed the corporation owned whatever you might post through it. Google changed that policy—eventually. But it still hangs on to plenty of information about its users, all the better to sell you stuff. All that sounds innocuous compared with full-blown identity theft, but identity theft wouldn’t be a plague if our personal data weren’t out there for the taking. And make no mistake: It’s out there. Companies like PallTech—an online service for investigators and collection agencies—have databases with just about every American’s name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. Have we as a culture abandoned our right to privacy? Absolutely not. While it’s easy to give up, it’s also easier than ever to take back your privacy. The new generation of Web browsers takes the possibility of your being snooped on seriously—and that’s just the beginning. We’ll show you how to go online and remain as stealthy as can be, so the chances of you being ID’d without your consent, or having your ID stolen, are slim to none.