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Privacy and the Internet The Independence Day Edition

Privacy and the Internet is an oxymoron. Every one and zero that travels across the web is subject to interception, collation, storage, and analysis. Email to movies, any file of any type that is stored on any computer with a connection to the internet is fair game. Your Internet Browser is the first offender in the Privacy wars. By default the browsers allows websites to track you, place files on your harddrive, determine your operating system, what browser you are using, where you have been, how many times you have visited, where you are located, and who you are.

Just to be clear, being here has set three cookies on your machine. WordPress stats is one which also is setting a DoubleClick cookie(DoubleClick is owned by Google) and the Google AdSense cookie for the text ads you see in the side bars.(this is my vain attempt to at least get this website to pay for itself, as well as see how well Googles contextual advertising algorithms work)

Next up are websites whose coding creates and sets ‘cookies’ which are the text files placed on your harddrive, that are used for any number of uses the least of which is to enhance your user experience.

The claims of websites that ‘cookies’ are necessary is bullshit. Cookies are tracking mechanisms. They do not enhance your visit. They do invade your privacy, collect an alarming amount if information, and this data is sold to anybody with a checkbook or in the case of governments is turned over under the rubric of National Security.

Most Websites that display advertisements do so using one of the worst tags available in the HTML library, the i frame tag.

This tag allows a website to display information from a third party website. These third party sites can now and do set their own series of cookies, creating more data on your browsing, not so much to figure out whether or not you are a bad actor, but how to sell you shit you can probably do without.
The reality that websites run on advertisements to pay the bills is as old as the first advertisement in print. That websites enable third party actors to display ads is where you become a victim and the website is a willing co-conspirator in violating your trust and invading your privacy. I have written about this before.
TV LIne Your Privacy 0 Cookies 20 and Trackers 4
Facebook’s latest Privacy Violations, History Sniffing and Web Journalism.
Tracking Cookies
I have also included a few things that you can do to regain a modicum of privacy.
I call it Advertising Rights Management

Advertising Rights Management ARM where I share what I consider the best available addon, plugins and or extensions depending on the browser you are using.
Advertising Rights Management ARM 2 is where you can configure your browser for a little more privacy.

So much for advertisers….

The Government and You

The news that the NSA has been doing this for years should come as no surprise to anybody whose brain is larger than a gerbil’s. That cell phone call information is being scooped up should not surprise folks either. The proclamation that this activity is a fight against Terrorism while true in a limited sense, is a violation of the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

That spying is taking place electronically is not surprising, but the depth and breadth of it is at best disconcerting and at worst a complete and total breakdown of the consent of the governed which in this case is every citizen in the US.

Terrorism is not a bomb problem, a gun problem, a poison problem, it is a hearts and minds problem. Terrorism is not an institutionalized way of life regardless of the loud and repeated proclamations of various government and law enforcement agencies.
Terrorism is a hearts and minds problem.

Terror is Intense dread, fright, or fear. According to the entry at Wikipedia Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, often violent, especially as a means of coercion.

When you put coercion, like National Security Letters, Terrorism and the NSA in the same sentence, what comes out is far from Security.

Happy Independence Day.

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