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Majority of Internet sites leaks users data

Because E-Crime Expert wrote extensively about online, Internet privacy, also how users data can be retrived and which are the most important privacy risks, today E-Crime Expert is featuring a good Article on how majority of Internet sites are leaking users data.

“Online privacy leakes worsen”

“A new study from a Stanford University researcher has found that a lot of  the little bits and pieces of supposedly anonymous data being deposited by your web browser are actually being gathered and reassembled by dozens of companies and sold. And stopping that from happening takes more than a little bit of effort, helped by a growing movement for “do not track” legislation.

More companies know more about you than previously thought and stopping them from secretly building profiles of you is a lot harder than just pressing a button, researcher Jonathan Mayer says.

He adds:

“Click the local Home Depot ad and your email address gets handed to a dozen companies monitoring you. Your web browsing, past, present, and future, is now associated with your identity… Keep tabs on your favorite teams with Bleacher Report and you pass your full name to a dozen again. This isn’t a 1984-esque scaremongering hypothetical. This is what’s happening today.”

Mayer, of Stanford’s Computer Security Laboratory, says more than half of the sites surveyed share your information with other sites. As an example, he notes that  even when you’re on a typical commercial news site there will be multiple companies collecting information as a matter of course: including the site itself, a video delivery service, advertising networks and social networks.

Previously, privacy advocates suggested that opting out of so-called behavioral advertising was a means of avoiding having your online usage patterns tracked. But Mayer says that stopping targeted advertising doesn’t stop the data collection.

Consumers Union regulatory counsel Ioana Rusu says companies can not only find out who you are and where you’ve been, but also alter offers that you see based on nothing other than the websites you’ve visited — something that can paint a grossly distorted picture of someone. She cited the example of a credit card company that presented different offers to users based on their online profile.

“These decisions are not made based on actual credit reports, but on the users’ browsing patterns,” she says.

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, speaking at the same privacy forum, says the potential impact to consumer privacy with today’s technology goes far beyond targeting you for advertising. “Your tracked information doesn’t have to stop there; it could be traded throughout an invisible lattice of companies, snowballing into an exhaustive profile of you (that is) available to those making critical decisions about your career, finances, health, and reputation.”

Note: Credits and copyright for this article go to Reuteurs.

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

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