Privacy on "The Net."

Marc Lizer

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So here's the deal.

I'll start the topic with no direction at all.

Let's see where it goes.

Pretend the topic is "Privacy on "The Net.""

If that does not grab you, then pretend it says: "Anononimity on the net."

And it that doesn't do it, then make up a sentence, and just post it before your answer.

Fire away . . .
 

Mike Labbe

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There's really no such thing, unless you bounce off a third party.

Just about everything you do leaves a "fingerprint" (IP address, etc). If on the web it also leaves info about what kind of web browser, operating system, etc.

Emails tell even more.

I doubt there's anyone out there "watching", but most web sites collect info like this for statistical purposes. I know from our stats, for example, that we get about 3 grumblers per day that click on the tagline and come to our site to look around. In most cases I know what city and state, what o/s, screen settings, what search engine or link they followed, what search words they used, and web browser they use. http://extremetracking.com/open;unique?login=getpic Check it out, it's a great statistical tool to see how effective your marketing and search engine rankings are. If anyone's interested in having those stats free, click on the link above.

There are also "harvesters" that automatically scrub the web and look for valid email addresses in message boards (like this one), on Usenet newsgroups, or on web pages/forms. Unfortunately, lately they seem to do this for the purpose of sending viri.

All of that said :eek: , I still feel completely safe using a credit card online. As long as it's a trusted and secure site. I'd never send a credit card number through email, though.

Mike
 

David Waldmann

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For the greatest privacy use a public computer in a place like a library and don't ever give out any identification. Unless you end up breaking the law on the net I don't think anyone will be tracing IP addresses and cross-checking it with a handwritten sign in log.

If you use a pay-per-use terminal (fairly common in Europe, but I haven't noticed any here) there isn't even a sign-in log, you just put in your coin and type away. I suppose there might be surveillance camera the could be checked, but again that would not be a concern unless you were breaking the law.

Of course this won't help if you want to have an interactive experience where you have to identify your actual being, like buying something. For that, you'll need to go to someplace that accepts greenbacks.
 

Webgirl

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David N Waldmann wrote:

For the greatest privacy use a public computer in a place like a library and don't ever give out any identification. Unless you end up breaking the law on the net I don't think anyone will be tracing IP addresses and cross-checking it with a handwritten sign in log.
My best friend works in a public library in the US, and sometimes his work task is so be in the computer monitoring room. The library computers are networked, and he can see what anybody is viewing on their screens. He also has logs of times/websites viewed/etc. Last week he booted a man from the library for looking at porn.

There are lots of things you can do if you're really concerned about privacy. Some of them are more drastic, like surfing the web via cloaking proxies so that you leave no trace; using anonymous email systems so that your email leaves no trace. Less drastic options are sensible things like not giving out your name and address all over the place (particularly when you are socializing online), not doing anything illegal, not doing anything that you would be shamed to admit, and making sure to delete your cookies and browser history regularly.

One action I'd definitely recommend is to download and install Ad-aware, a program that searches for spyware on your computer and erases it. Spyware is very small, intrusive software that can get installed on your computer when you install other programs (it will be mentioned in the user contract, but almost incomprehensibly phrased) or, sometimes, when you are viewing certain web pages. It sends back information to companies -- often marketing companies -- such as what websites you're viewing, and what software programs you use, and spyware can do slimy things like remember what you type into fields on web pages. Basically, it sucks.

Here's the url to download it:

http://www.cheetaa.com/lava/aaw.exe

And here's their website:

http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

After installing it, get it to scan all of your drives. It will then show you all the spyware that it has found, and by checking checkboxes, you can choose to erase the spyware or not. And yes, it's a trustworthy program. Been recommended and reviewed in mainstream newspapers, etc. (As you can see if you check it on Google).

-- Webgirl
 

Marc Lizer

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Oh, this one's been dormant for a while.

Let's see what developments there are.

In the computer forum alone we see that Static IP's are vunerable. And that a screen name canes as much anomonimity as a wet t-shirt.

Big box has shown that Big Brother can keep tabs on it's subjects, and not take kindly to name calling, or at least name besmirching.

And recent news developments have shown that even if you want to remain private, it's like salmon going upstream, but there is some guy dynamite fishing in the pond you just landed in. The alleged victim in the Kobe case has just been "outed" on the net, with so much private/personal info that all that is missing the if she prefers her eggs over easy or sunny side up.

So, any comments of privacy on the net yet?


Screen nam
 

Marc Lizer

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Oh yeah, just to stir the pot a bit more here is site that will tell you all sorts of good info.

http://www.privacy.net/

Don't worry Ron. This is a safe one.

But for some real fun, clcik http://www.privacy.net/analyze/ and you will see exactly how much a site can learn about you just by you visiting.

Click this http://www.privacy.net/Traced/ to see how those tracks can lead back to you.

To get a little more privacy click http://www.privacy.net/remailer/ to see how to e-mail with actual privacy

And to actully surf with privacy try http://www.privacy.net/proxy/

In short, it's a kick ass site. But there are many like it.

Look out for your privacy, because right now, it's not looking out for you.

(ok, so the last sentence was a bit reactionary, but it sounded good!)

To kill cookies click http://www.privacy.net/cookies/
 

Mike Labbe

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Interesting sites
 

Mike Labbe

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Marc Lizer

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The sentece at the end is a good recomendation at a public terminal, as most public terminals have keystroke programs running. This is the common thing at "public" terminals.

His was likely a second keystroke program.

The "cut and paste" thing also brings to mind another problem.

The password that you ask your computer to remember and it shows up as ***** in the box.

On some bad programs you can highlight and copy the *****, and when you paste it in word or notepad, it shows up as what you typed.
 

Ron Eggers

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I don't use a public computer or even one that anyone else has access to at home.

But I was startled a while back when I opened some of the cookies stored in a subfolder of the Windows directory. They are text files and can be opened with notepad. And there were my passwords, including the one for my online banking, which I don't have the system save. I also found my own credit card info and some other stuff I wouldn't want to leave at the library.
 

David Waldmann

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I hope no one's offended if I move the topic back to the original question....

My feeling about privacy on the net is that it's not any different that life. With the exception of luck, the greater the potential risk the greater the potential reward. If all you want to do is talk to people on the Grumble without anyone knowing who you are, it can be done. But if you want to develop any kind of meaningful relationship, or (heaven help us) actually accomplish something of any worth, you are going to start opening yourself up to some risk. As you expose yourself to more risk you should take more precautions, but there are no gurantees, just as in life ('cept death and taxes).

I went to a UPS/Inc. Magazine sponsored seminar about a year ago. One of the most important things I learned there is "There is no such thing as E-Commerce". The internet is no more than a tool that changes the way commerce is conducted, just as the FAX machine/Telex and Telephone were before it (try and imagine business before the telephone, if you can - OK, some of you actually remember. Now stop it!). The internet is merely another facet on the jewel of life.
 
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