Privacy Agreements: understand what information you are sharing, and where it is going.
Posted: 2013-08-26 15:11:26
"Privacy is no longer a social norm" argues Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and many large internet websites have structured their business models around that being true. Privacy agreements can sometimes be long and complicated, and they are often not very well advertised.
When a website gets a hold of information about you, it can stay online for a surprisingly long time. It takes Google 18 months to remove some of the identifiable information from your search records, and it keeps other identifying pieces of information forever. Lots of websites use this information to try to predict your behaviour, or what sort of ads you would prefer.If you have a Google account, you can see what Google guesses your interests are based on your search history.
Google came up with some surprising guesses.
A variety of companies attempt to collect the information that you leave around the internet, and combine it into a single profile. Even if you don't tell a website your name or email address, there are many ways in which your computer can be almost as unique as a fingerprint. Because of this, many people want to be careful about what information they share with who, and what those websites say they will do with the data. That's the most vital information contained within a privacy agreement, but it's also information that can be difficult to locate.
Enter Privacy Fix, a plug-in for most modern browsers that reviews your browser history, and highlights areas of your privacy concerns. Privacy fix has large sections dedicated to Google, Facebook and Linkedin. These are sites where you willingly share a lot of information about yourself, and understanding those sites privacy policies is important. Privacy fix will also provide you with shortcuts through the websites privacy configuration menus, which can often be confusing or difficult to navigate.
Privacy Fix also includes sections that are dedicated to summarizing the salient privacy details of all the websites you visit. It can be a little disturbing to see a giant wall of icons pop up that list all the websites you regularly visit, but moving your mouse over an icon can tell you the key points of that sites privacy policies.
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