After six or seven years of using a free email account, I decided to switch to one that I pay for, one that does not share my data or track what I do.
I made the decision after I looked at my Google purchase list that goes back for years. These notations include hotels, restaurants, transportation tickets, clothes, books and just about everything else that I bought online. Looking over the list, I observed that it was pretty easy to monitor the past few years of my life just by looking through my purchases. I had no privacy.
One of my friends said it best when he commented, “When something is free, you and your data are the product.” So that is when I decided to switch. I do not want to be the product. I am tired of serving as the product.
I looked at half-a-dozen different programs, all of which emphasize privacy and freedom from tracking, and I chose one that several people I know have used. Then I got out my credit card, paid for a year and — wonder of wonders — the charge did not show up on Google Purchases.
Since then I’ve spent time moving things over to my new email system. This includes just about everything that asks me to sign up with my email address and probably anything that relates to business.
We most often worry about advertisers tracking our children online but sometimes forget to think about how much we adults are followed around digitally.
Check out the Washington Post article, Privacy Advocates Push Back on Stores’ Tracking, describing how retailers keep track their customers by monitoring smartphone wifi signals. No guidelines currently regulate this type of information collecting so no privacy parameters exist. Essentially this mobile device tracking is a way to get more information about shoppers, track what they do, and target advertising and target advertising more effectively.
The article, by Amerita Jayakuma, describes how a Maryland legislator has proposed a bill to require retailers to inform people if the store is watching them while they shop. The Federal Trade Commission recently held a seminar on mobile device tracking.
I’ve been wondering for some time if I was tracked a few months ago when I visited a huge regional outlet mall with my husband.
Earlier this month a spate of articles (see links below) reported that Facebook is testing features to help it decide whether to expand its social networking access to children under the age of 13.
Now a group of child advocacy organizations sent a June 18, 2012, letter to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, strongly urging the company to avoid advertising for kids as well as to offer a guarantee of no tracking of children’s online activity. Read the entire letter at the bottom of this Consumer’s Union page.
The following organizations signed the letter:
Consumers Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Media Justice, Center for Science in the Public Interest, ChangeLab Solutions/Public Health Law & Policy, Children Now, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, Public Citizen, and World Privacy Forum.
If I had any doubt about the efficiency of the global economy, it was put to rest these past three days as I watched my new iPhone 4s traverse the world via Fed Ex, from Shenzhen, China to my front porch in northern Virginia, USA.
The iPhone began its journey on November 2nd, though allowing for time zones and the international date line, it was probably still November 1st where I live. Nevertheless, after it left China the package made intermediate stops in Hong Kong, Anchorage, Alaska, Memphis, Tennessee, and Dulles, VA, before being loaded onto the Fed Ex delivery truck in Alexandria, VA and arriving on my front porch in the early afternoon of November 4th. The package spent the most time standing still at the Fed Ex hub in Memphis, where packages accumulate all day and then fly out at night to destinations around the United States. Continue reading “The Global Economy, My New iPhone 4s, and Grandpa’s Voyage to America”→