This morning I checked general news, email, Facebook news and interesting websites. A lot was happening below the surface…
My homepage delivers news. When I click on articles, they show without fanfare. My pop-up blocker is set to “on” so adverts can’t grab space where I prefer the news to be. I could set inPrivate Filtering to “always” to limit facts about me made available to advertisers, but I’m not offended by them figuring out which adverts are relevant for me. Microsoft plans a “do not track” setting for IE9. I don’t think I need it, but the option’s nice. If there were a reason, I could select inPrivate Browsing to prevent cookies, history, and temporary Internet files from being stored on my computer.
My web-based email is advert supported and will keep mail indefinitely. I read everything new. The spam filter sidelines dreck. I rarely check that it’s tossing out only junk and I don’t read mail from senders I don’t know. Anything I put in an email can become available to anyone — since addressee computers can have security failures and unplanned disclosures.
Facebook is a great way to keep pace with family and a few close friends. I “friend” only people I know well. I am cautious about clicking on adverts or sites friends recommend. When suspicious about a website, I get risk information from my homepage or a trusted site. I exit quickly from sites that lack an intelligible privacy notice. I don’t participate in “chain letters” or offers that are too good to be true.
My notes handle many of the security and privacy topics currently under discussion. There are no always correct answers because “one person cannot decide for another what his or her sense of privacy is or should be.” Commercial sites need a clean reputation for privacy in order to prosper. Governments capture information without your permission. Both sometimes fail to protect information about you. Fortunately there are tools and common sense to help you handle most privacy concerns, but some regulators want to ossify rules that are already behind marketplace innovations. Unless you don’t participate at all, there’s nothing that allows Internet surfing without leaving some personal information somewhere in your wake.
Alan Daley is a retired businessman living in Florida. He follows information technology from the consumer’s perspective