I decided to disable Google Analytics on my site and delete my account. I have also begun cleaning up other accounts I have online.
While it is kind of cool to look at the traffic and see things increase over time I also understand not everyone wants to be tracked. There has been an increasing call for security and privacy when using the internet. Personally I run Privacy Badger which is developed with the EFF. This browser plug-in can prevent sites from tracking you.
An example of tracking could be a website using your cookie information to see what other websites you or your web browser have been visiting. If a user is shopping online a website may be able to get an insight into the products you are looking to buy and how you are searching for them.
This is very hard to detect as an internet user. However, I ran into one example that is easy to see. While I was shopping at a popular geek website and thinking about buying a product I added it to my shopping cart. It is important to know that I have never shopped there before and did not have an account. I left the website without buying the product or creating an account. Amazingly the next day I received an email offering a 10% discount for the product I had left in my shopping cart. The online store stole cookie information from my Gmail account in order to be “super helpful” and offer me a discount if I returned.
Now, you might be thinking well that is a nice and reasonable way to benefit their customers and for the most part I would agree. Privacy Badger allows you to white list domains if you wanted to use their tracking features. Without the plug-in and privacy conscious browsers there are so many other malicious ways this data could be used.
CISPA, which has been known by other names, has been repeatedly spoken out against by the American people. It is pretty much a surveillance bill that will let companies share your information in the name of security. Unfortunately with the year end budget package a technology bill was tossed into the mix and my understanding is many people considered this a must pass “Omnibus” package. The EFF does a much better job than I can explaining the bill but I am going to take steps to protect my privacy because of it. Those steps may include switches services and in this case to stop storing data.
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