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Detect and block website trackers with Ghostery

For anyone that attended the Privacy and Security talk tonight at Social Media Club - Victoria, I mentioned a browser plugin that allows you to see who is tracking you on a given website, as well as the ability to block them. This browser based plugin is called Ghostery. They currently have a plugin for Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer. It's free, and open source! Download now.
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The browser tracker test

I've spoken about trackers before and recommended four steps/solutions for protecting your browsing privacy: Script blocking (browser plugin that blocks scripts by default, the most important plugin one can have!) Ghostery (browser plugin that shows how many trackers any given website is using) Ad Block Plus (browser plugin that blocks ads on websites, which often includes trackers) A replacement hosts file from my friend Dan Pollock (redirects attempts to bad sites to your own computer) Companies are increasingly more interested in selling your personal information than protecting you (see a few Canadian examples here). Yesterday I was interviewed by CBC regarding a viral video of a speeding motorcycle here on Vancouver island, and spoke about the potential to track the anonymous poster of the video using the internet. The irony is, I can't watch the…
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Canadian newspapers and financial institutions compromise you instead of protect you

On Vancouver Island, you might pick up the Times Colonist newspaper to see what's happening. There are little to no privacy risks if you buy it from a stand. However on the internet, where the company has the opportunity to protect you even more than the physical space, they've decided to try a different angle... sharing your reading habits with other companies. If you use ghostery you can see that by viewing timescolonist.com, they are sharing your viewing habits on every page you visit to at least 10 different companies, with little to no disclosure on what those third parties do with your information. Canadian Newspaper Trackers timescolonist.com 10 nationalpost.com 6 vancouversun.com 6 mondaymag.com 6 torontosun.com 4 ottawacitizen.com 3 cbc.ca/bc/ 3 theglobeandmail.com 3 canada.com/business/ 3 canada.com 2 thechronicleherald.ca 1 thepeterboroughexaminer.com…
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Using a non-tracker analytics service

You've probably heard of Google analytics, which takes logs of your website visitors, and all of their activities, and provides you some very pretty, and useful, reports. What you might not be aware of is that they are also a tracker service. It means that in order to provide you this information, they also take all of that information on your users, and log it for themselves as well. What do they do with that information? Who can they sell it to? You'll want to review their privacy policy and terms of service for yourself. If you want the same useful information, but want it without selling out your clients and customers personally identifiable information (PII), check out Piwik and/or Open Web Analytics. If you're not a techy, One Day Website will…
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