These days we use computers all the time, and as a result significant privacy issues exist. Families with multiple computers, multiple users, and wireless devices have even more concerns.
Every site visited, every form filled out, every item ordered, in fact, every task accomplished, leaves information — digital footprints — behind. And naturally, when people leave bits of virtual information lying around, other people figure out ways to collect it. Read A Web Pioneer Profiles People by Name, an October 25, 2010 Wall Street Journal article that describes invasive tracking and its extremes. The article is part of the newspaper’s ongoing series on virtual privacy.
On the web just about everything we do is recorded or tracked in some way. The digital footprints of our online lives are collected for all sorts of reasons, advertising primary among them, and while some companies collect data on individuals, others collect data and then combine information to identify trends. Either way, personal online privacy is eroded. Guiding children toward an understanding that nothing they do on the web is private is one of the greatest responsibilities of digital era parenting
A few of the cookies on a computer.
The Wall Street Journal is publishing a series on privacy, describing how the digital documentation of our online lives is affecting our private lives and explaining the steps individuals and families can take to protect their privacy. A graphic in the series provides readers with step-by-step instructions to make Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer protect privacy.
Another part of the Journal series, a July 30, 2010 article, Sites Feed Personal Details to New Tracking Industry, provides additional information about tracking, detailing the steps that occur when a group collects a user’s information and then sells that information to companies and advertisers.