What happens in Vegas stays on the Internet even if you’re not Prince Harry

February 27th, 2013 by ProcessFlows

With facial recognition long out of the lab, coupled with unauthorised mobile phone tracking that pinpoints your exact location and cookies capturing your every move on the Web, you are exposed like Prince Harry on a vacation in Las Vegas.

There are no secrets online. That emotional e-mail you sent to your ex, the snowboard gear that you are pondering buying for your winter vacation, those hours spent watching cat videos – can all be gathered to create a profile of you. Your details can be stored, evaluated, indexed and traded as a commodity to data brokers who, in turn might sell it to advertisers, employers, insurers or credit rating agencies.

Video Location Estimation System

And if users today are competing to become Mayors of places in Foursquare, in the near future they might as well be able to track other users only by watching a video. The Researchers at the University of California are building a location-centric database by analysing videos downloaded from the Internet.

The technology compares geotags, visual cues such as textures and colours, time stamps and sounds such as birdsong. According to the researchers the nascent system is already capable to “listen” to a train whistle and know it came from a train passing through Tokyo for example.

Google

Google’s search and advertising processes have been under investigation in the EU since 2010, over concerns that Google links differently to its own vertical services – thereby disadvantaging its competitors. Google’s latest privacy policy means that users get a simpler experience when signing up for a new Google-owned service. But it also means that Google can build up a more comprehensive picture of the user for advertising – for example, monitoring a person’s use of YouTube to help better target adverts within Gmail.

If you don’t like that Google does this, the best way you can still retain some anonymity is by not logging into Google services. You can also erase your browsing history and block Google from collecting keyword research data about your search queries.

Facebook

Facebook insists that it’s up to the user to decide how much they want to share with the community and this is true to an extent. Facebook lets you fine-tune the visibility of your “likes” and pictures among your friends, but you can’t entirely opt out of Facebook searches and control how much of yourself to expose to marketers. Facebook has eyes across the Internet. According to a study, the Facebook social button is integrated into 20 percent of the top 10,000 most popular Web sites. However, there are tools and browser extensions like Abine, DisconnectMe and Ghostery that can help you block trackers.

 

google facebook privacy security

Infographic by Veracode Application Security

 

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