Today is the day that Google’s new privacy policy goes into action.  Much has been written about this and I think I’ve read most of it and passed along some of the advice that I’ve seen about how to manage your privacy.  Europe is about to boil over with this but I’ve decided to just say uncle and go with the flow with my eyes a little more open about my own computing habits.

This is what I’ve done already.

  1. Long ago, I’ve gone in and turned off my Google Search History.  I wasn’t using it even if there were times that I wanted to see something previously sought.  I just searched again.
  2. I have the world’s worst internet provider and I’ve always looked for ways to make every bit count.  To that end, I’ve installed AdBlock Plus in my browser to speed up my browser by not downloading anything that I don’t need.  I even played around with the Adversity and Antisocial definitions but they blocked so much that things I need to do just weren’t happening.

  3. To help in the cause of tracking things, I’ve installed the Ghostery plugin.  It was installed originally for the same reason as AdBlock Plus.

  4. I’ve changed my default search engine in my browser to Diigo.  I like the fact that I’m searching first for content that others have found first and cared enough to bookmark.  If I can’t find it there, then I’ll look to the Bings, Googles, DuckDuckGos of the world.

I’m also looking at things somewhat realistically.

  1. Apple knows my preferences for software for anything from the Apple Store; I have to log in to download things and if I redownload, the App Store already knows it.
  2. My credit card company knows so much of my preferences for purchases, that it’s downright scary.  I just added to the profile tonight by dining at a Cajun Restaurant this evening.
  3. I went to a Peter Frampton concert last week.  Again, the credit card company knows my musical preferences.  After the concert, which was held at Caesars Windsor, I had to walk through the gaming floor to get to my car.  It’s amazing the number of people in the casino using profile cards to collect “points”.  There’s no privacy there; forget the millions of cameras, with a gambling card every pull on the slot machine is recorded!
  4. Speaking of points, my loyalty cards for gas, hotels, etc. have me offering up a lot of preferences pretty freely.
  5. Even not logged in, you’re tracked by your IP.  Go to the Sun in the UK, for example and the header gives you the current weather outside your house.
  6. Even with all of the above, advertisements do get through.  Plus online services work hard to subvert the AdBlock Pluses of the world and beat them at their own game anyway.

I’m thinking that I need to do some things a little smarter…

  1. I have a habit of leaving my Gmail and Google + accounts open all the time and so I’m already logged into Google should I do a search there.  That will need some discipline.
  2. It’s not just Google services that are building a profile on me.  If you’re a reader of this blog or follow me on Twitter or am a friend on Facebook or you’ve ever had a coffee with me, you probably have a pretty good idea as to who I am.
  3. At least now, all the Google services are the same with respect to their privacy policy.  Everything aside, it’s probably a good thing.
  4. I need to keep an eye on my Google Dashboard a little more carefully.  There’s a lot of good information there.

I’m not a big clicker of advertisements anyway.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever purposely clicked on an advertisement.  I’m just not an impulse buyer.

So much of what we come to rely on we rely on being free.  Something has to pay the bills.  Like most people, I would rather put up with an advertisement that slips through all of the above rather than having a subscription internet.  So, I’m just going to call uncle and move on.

I may do a few off-the-wall searches to mess up an advertising profile anyway.  Those of you know know the real me know that I’m not seriously looking for that kayak build at home kit!

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2 thoughts on “Uncle

  1. Hi Doug,
    It is me again from the University of South Alabama, Thank you for the long list of information. I am always looking to learn new things. You are right there is no privacy. I am with you that we just have to role with this one.

    Thanks, Cyndi click here


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