Web privacy is the newest luxury item in era of pervasive tracking

Privacy in the past two years has graduated from a laughable afterthought, to a proven selling point, from all companies alike. There are a host of new services offering online privacy (not to be confused with online security) as a product itself, but as we know, it’s next to impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. Consumers are fighting a losing battle against being tracked, recorded and mined, but this shouldn’t deter everybody from practicing basic online privacy hygiene.

I disagree with parts of the article, in that the solution to a violation of online privacy, isn’t relying on yet more online services, it’s the opposite – manage and host more of your own services yourself, on an open-source platform that you control entirely, maybe on an old dusty machine that hasn’t seen use in a while. There are plenty of online tutorials and if not, somebody you know, will know how to.

“Andrea Matwyshyn, a law professor at Princeton University and former senior policy advisor at the FTC, says that mobile devices – including smartphones – have greatly increased the amount and intimacy of data that can be harvested from individuals. At the same time, their small size and limited interfaces make it harder for consumers to know when they’re being tracked. “You have all the same concerns about transparency and consumers knowing what they’re consenting to – just heightened,” she says.

Kuznetsov agrees. “Being tracked by a unique number across web sessions may not be bad. But when that data is tied to an e-mail or phone number or physical address and name, all of a sudden you have a situation where you have a composite profile built,” Mr. Kuznetsov says.”

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