Jun. 11, 2019
Have you ever wondered how much information a business can gain about one of its visitors? We all know that Google and Facebook track online visitors, but to what extent is your online experience monitored by the company whose Website you visited?
Facebook is a perfect example of tracking that most people are not aware of, and they are not the only social Website doing this. A website can have a Facebook Pixel which can be set to load on a landing page, front page, or every page of a website. Whenever a Facebook user visits a website with a Pixel tracker, Facebook follows them through the "pixel" as it loads on each page. So, for instance, an advertiser can target or eliminate people who visited their Facebook page, or their Website. The website owner does not know who the person is per se; Facebook does.
Google Analytics tracks users that visit a website and can see how the visitor entered the site and if set up correctly can track the user across devices. Again the business does not have access to the "username," but the advertiser can target the visitor based on their actions on the Website. So for instance, if you looked at a diamond ring online, there's a good bet you're going to get ads for diamond rings. Depending on the advertiser's preferences, it can be for 30 days or more. Additional actions may trigger other events where the visitor will be reached as they get closer to "purchasing" that ring.
Using the same browser with the same user account on any devices, phone, tablet, portable, and desktop, your activity is trackable across all of them.
Most people are aware that Search companies and Social Media companies are tracking them. Were you aware that businesses can track users across social, website properties, and email? Almost all email today is tracked. What makes emails potent is the owner knows if the email was opened and links chosen. Many websites request visitors signing up for email to enter personal information such as their address and phone number. That user is now identifiable throughout that companies internet properties. Every page you visit, every link you click, how much time you spend on the page, all monitored and tracked.
There are companies now that help businesses track users across all of social media, email, and on their websites. These companies track users across social and internet posting searching for keywords; following them from social media, websites, and email. You can create custom filters that are activated based on a set of user actions.
Google, for instance, allows you to opt-out or even erase your online activities. If you want a little privacy while you are surfing, select "incognito" on Google, "InPrivate Window" on Microsoft Explorer, or "Private Mode" on Firefox.
If you would like some security with your email, do as I do, turn off HTML and only allow trusted emails to open as HTML. If there is malicious code or tracking code, they won't load either. Many email programs ask you if you want to view the current message in HTML, I recommend you do.
For the ultimate in private browsing, not that the folks at the NSA haven't cracked this before, you can download the TOR browser. The Tor browser is your best choice when it comes to privacy since it hides who you are. For greater privacy, you can add a VPN (a virtual private network), which makes it nearly impossible for anyone to monitor your online activity. Criminals have on occasion set up public Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas mimicking the Wi-Fi name so they can access peoples information, a VPN should eliminate that.
Not sure which browser you're using? Visit What Browser am I using what displays is the browser name, version, what operating system you're using (MacOS/Windows/Chrome), your IP address, monitor resolution, preferred language. The site will even let you know if your system is allowing Cookies, Java, or Flash is allowed. All of the above is readily available whenever you visit any website or open an email that displays HTML email. Using a media file such as an image, or file, on a webpage is all that is needed. The key is the file itself.
Visitor Comments: [COMMENTS CLOSED] Note: Pages are moderated.
Today everything is recorded so you have to act as if there's always someone in the room.
Kaz [Jul. 11, 2019]
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For those of us with nothing to hide, I have no issue being tracked. As for privacy - we all know better than to post sensitive info that can bite you in the butt.
Java Junkie [Jul. 01, 2019]
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Firefox now has a plugin that allows you to mess with Google's tracking and confuse the trackers by loading 100 pages into history, based on a profile you select.
Tooth Fairy [Jun. 27, 2019]