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Every Click You Make


Guest ryan2552
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Guest ryan2552

This is one of the more disturbing articles I've read lately.

 

The online behavior of a small but growing number of computer users in the United States is monitored by their Internet service providers, who have access to every click and keystroke that comes down the line.

 

The companies harvest the stream of data for clues to a person's interests, making money from advertisers who use the information to target their online pitches.

 

The practice represents a significant expansion in the ability to track a household's Web use because it taps into Internet connections, and critics liken it to a phone company listening in on conversations. But the companies involved say customers' privacy is protected because no personally identifying details are released.

 

The entire article can be read here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040304052.html

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Not just ISP's. IIRC, Google tracks you once you sign in to anything owned by them (like blogger, or google check-out for various online purchases for example) and continues to do so until you make an active effort to sign out. The information that google has accumulated is mind-boggling and not comforting. I believe that Yahoo does the same thing.

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OK, I'll ask the stupid questions.

 

I'm running behind a firewall and use Spysweeper to keep my system protected.

 

This article seems to indicate that my keystrokes could still be tracked?!?!

 

Are my precautions in vain? Is there nothing I can do?

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>Are my precautions in vain? Is there nothing I can do?

 

Your precautions are not in vain and PLEASE DO keep it up! It will save you from paying someone like me to clean up a mess that we'd rather not have to deal with in the first place. :-)

 

You are protecting YOUR COMPUTER.

 

That article (which is mostly FUD, IMO) is about what happens after you click send and the data leaves your computer. That data goes out through the ooze, passes through your ISP's servers (and probably a few dozen others) before landing at its destination.

 

Can it be read along the way? YUP! ABSOLUTELY! YOU BETCHA!

 

Know that, and don't joke about bombing airplanes when writing to your cousin in Afghanistan. That would be like joking about a bomb in your suitcase when checking in for a flight at O'Hare. Not A Smart Thing.

 

Common sense should prevail here. If you're afraid of getting caught doing something, then don't do it. And that includes talking about it.

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I forgot to address one thing... tracking keystrokes.

 

Your ISP can't do that*. It's journalistic hyperbole to make the article more sensational than it necessarily needs to be. They're talking about the keystrokes you send across the wire.

 

* If you allow yourself to be infested with spyware, yes your keystrokes can be tracked, but it's doubtful that would come from your ISP and if it does then SWITCH!

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Many of the anonymous proxies are quite well known to most server administrators so they actually make your visits stand out more, and it's still possible for an experienced digital forensics expert to track you down. So all they really do is give you the warm fuzzies while alerting server operators that your intent is deception.

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