Privacy Primer

posted Dec 6, 2012, 1:24 PM by Tom Pedersen   [ updated Jun 5, 2013, 11:49 AM ]
I decided to post a selection of privacy links, articles and tools in honor of Facebook's 2012 proposed "Updates to Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities".  Information Privacy is an extremely interesting topic, much more sophisticated (and complicated) than you can imagine.  Here's a quick primer and selected list of resources from my bookmark collection - it's not easy, but it may help.

If you clicked on the link to the article in previous paragraph a dozen or so websites were notified that you visited the CNN article.  Internet advertising and socializing rely heavily on surfing behavior to "bring you personalized content" - They are shopping for you!  There are MANY privacy implications associated with web surfing these days, the following resources and tools are limited to two specific areas for starters  - Behavioral Targeting and a related search concept called the Filter Bubble.   

Behavioral Targeting is a web advertising practice focused on increasing the effectiveness of an advertisement or campaign.  The more an advertiser knows about you and your web activities the better chances of offering up an ad that interests you.  Behavior targeting is often helpful in terms of personalization of services and tends to keep many of our favorite web tools 'free'.   Unfortunately it also elevates privacy concerns as tracking/collecting/sharing becomes more rampant and sophisticated with little or no knowledge or control of personal information.

The Filter Bubble relates to internet search technologies that use behavioral targeting to predict or tailor search results specifically to an individual.  Results may be tailored to our location, personal interests or culture and often saves time by reducing the need to sift through tons of search results.  The Filter Bubble adds an odd element of censorship to the privacy concerns of behavioral targeting in that we are beginning to see only what Facebook or Google thinks we should see - if that makes any sense. 

There are many more information privacy concepts and issues brewing out there, but my initial bookmark collection seemed to revolve around these topics, soooo - I filtered my bookmarks to share what I think you should see!  As always, IT is what IT is!  Spend some time on the topic and have fun on Data Privacy Day - January 28!


CollusionGeneral Creepiness 

Blogs and Talks

Reading List


(All still being evaluated! Be Careful!)

Browser Tools and Add-ons 

  • Interesting gizmo - Trackers used by Internet sites - What They Know - WSJ
  • Collusion - Experimental add-on for Firefox (and chrome?) from Mozilla, interesting spider-like chart  
  • Disconnect - A tool that can be used to block trackers and social widgets
  • Ghostery - Similar to Disconnect, browser extension that blocks trackers   
  • Privacyfix - A tool that helps you monitor and maintain privacy settings at various sites (like Facebook!)
  • - Interesting tool for webmeisters, generate a privacy policy for your site

Internet Search Alternatives 

Organizations and Privacy References