Abine in the news...
12.27.12 Financial Times:
Rise of the incognito internet
Tim Dempsey found out his wife might be pregnant from a peculiar source: an online ad. “I was seeing adverts for pregnancy tests every time I turned on my laptop,” says the 28-year-old executive. “I turned to my wife: ‘Is there something you’re not telling me?’ ” She had been using his laptop to research pregnancy tests.
This experience may become more common. Almost every action people take online is now monitored by a combination of “cookies”, “beacons” and other such tracking devices. They are integral to online life, from timing how long web users spend on a website to remembering the items they put in their shopping baskets. Because of this, the browser now knows as much as about people’s lives as they do – occasionally, as Mr Dempsey found, it knows more.Read more...
Stealth tips for getting lower online prices
Consumers have become accustomed to thinking that online means discounts. That can be true, but making purchases over the Web can just as easily result in being gouged by e-commerce retailers.
Although Internet shopping may seem transparent because of technology, those same technical capabilities leave a lot of room for price manipulation. It's not illegal, but it generally means that you could pay more for an item that other customers do.Read more...
12.13.12 The Guardian:
How can I protect my privacy online?
Within seconds of placing an order at Amazon I received two messages purporting to come from DHL saying "Processing complete successfully". I assumed they related to my Amazon order, but I noticed a couple of odd things: (a) that they were sent to (different) email addresses that I have only infrequently used, and (b) the attachment had two extensions: pdf and zip (DH'L_Express_Processing_complete.pdf.zip).
During the summer, after booking a hotel room, I quickly received two or three emails with the subject "Booking confirmation". They were obvious spams from the poor quality of the content.Read more...
12.12.12 Digital Trends:
DoNotTrackMe browser add on protects your privacy when Do Not Track doesn’t
Forget about Do Not Track – there's a better way to keep your privacy: Abine's newest browser plugin, DoNotTrackMe, which puts a wall between you and the online data hoarders who want to watch your every move.
Internet regulators, the U.S. government, and the advertising industry have been working for a while now on a thing called ‘Do Not Track,’ a bit of code sent from your browser that tells advertisers not to keep tabs on your online activities. It sounds good – problem is, it doesn’t work. Like, not even a little bit.Read more...
The World Wide Web Consortium is currently working to standardize a “Do Not Track” mechanism to stop advertisers from following your every move around the web. Unfortunately, while the DNT tools are already supported in most web browsers, hardly any advertisers actually honor it. In fact, some advertisers seriously proposed an exception be made to DNT to allow web tracking.
If you’re serious about online privacy you’re going to have to do more than hope that advertisers voluntarily stop tracking you, you’re going to have to actively block them.Read more...
DoNotTrackMe gets big update to protect you from those wicked web trackers
So far, “Do Not Track” has been a big mess. The anti-tracking web data initiative has caused a lot of controversy over the past few months, but not much has changed: Online advertisers are still tracking with little regard for privacy, and most web users are still completely oblivious to it.
“Right now, Do Not Track is like a condom with holes in it — it doesn’t work too well” Sarah Downey, an analyst for online privacy company Abine — one of the good guys — told me.Read more...
For Those Who Wish to Change the Internet: Abine is Hiring Passionate Privacy Advocates
The office of internet-privacy company Abine may look like any other startup office. Employees gather in the kitchen to talk about their weekends and upcoming projects (this is especially so when the fridge has just been stocked with beer). Ideas for new privacy products like their DoNotTrackMe browser add-on hang in the air. And their hardest working employee Rocko keeps everyone in line.
But what one might not see while just visiting the Fort Point offices is that the caliber and quality of each and every Abine employee was deliberate and specially picked for this business. Not everyone can have a passion for privacy, and everyone’s story of how they came to be that way is different. Yes, even Rocko’s.Read more...
12.11.12 Digital Trends:
State of the Web: A parent’s guide to COPPA, and how kids are being tracked online
The Internet is no place for children, thanks the negative effects that data collection can have on our children for the rest of their lives. Here's what every parent needs to know about how your kids are being tracked, and what the government is trying to do about it.
Did you know that children under the age of 13-years-old are not actually allowed to use most websites – not just social networks, but even Google and every other website and mobile app that has advertising?Read more...
DoNotTrackMe (Formerly Do Not Track Plus) Updates with a Streamlined UI, Still Protects Your Privacy
Firefox/Chrome/IE/Safari: previously mentioned Do Not Track Plus picked up a new name and a major update: The extension is now called DoNotTracKMe, has a streamlined UI that makes it easier to control, shows you it's blocked, and still protects your browsing from prying eyes and ad tracking.
The new DoNotTrackMe is more than just a makeover and new name. The app lives in the toolbar now so you can turn it on and off if it breaks a site you're browsing, and actively shows you what's been blocked on any given page. You can even dive into the details to see exactly what data they're trying to obtain and choose what you're okay with and what you want blocked. The extension also keeps social buttons and plugins active instead of removing them like similar extensions do. However, DoNotTrackMe blocks those social plugins from working until you click on them.Read more...
12.7.12 Social Times:
Updated Anti-Tracking Software Highlights Evolving Tracking Landscape
Earlier this week, Abine launched a launched a substantially updated version of its respected blocker, DoNotTrackPlus. The upgrade, DoNotTrackMe, thwarts a total of 200 companies and 630 tracking technologies. It works for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE.
The company has given up in the update on participating in ad companies self-regulatory approach of offering do-not-track cookies, concluding that the method further confuses Web users and doesn’t work anyway.Read more...
12.5.12 CNET TV:
First Look: DoNotTrackMe simplifies tracking blocking
DoNotTrackMe: New name, same tracker-blocking game
While providing sharp teeth for the Do Not Track header has proved to be futile so far, Abine's DoNotTrackMe makes increasing your privacy online as easy as installing an add-on. The latest update, available exclusively today from Download.com, makes it much easier to use while making some important but small security changes.
Known as Do Not Track Plus when it underwent a massive overhaul at the beginning of this year, DoNotTrackMe remains available as a cross-platform, multibrowser add-on.
11.30.12 IT World:
Find out how your favorite websites are tracking you or using your data
Check a site's privacy score at PrivacyChoice and the site will show you whether your personal data is shared, if the site retains your data after you cancel your account, and more. You can also see if you are being tracked on the site by ad tracking services.Read more...
11.29.12 Marketplace Tech:
Top 10 ways to avoid being tracked online
- Read the agreements for all mobile phone apps before you download them. Some of them are scary! They will track your location using your GPS and some (like Facebook) will download ALL OF THE CONTACTS IN YOUR PHONE. Can’t remember who you’ve handed your data to? MyPermissions can help.
- Read the Terms of Service Agreements for sites you give your information to. Especially sites you give your financial information to. You maybe thinking:"I've been on page 5 of Freedom for 8 months, HOW am I going to find the time to read online agreements?" ToS;DR can help.
11.29.12 Marketplace Tech:
The growing art of data dodging
The holidays are prime Internet usage time for most of us: buying gifts, booking travel, emailing about holiday plans. All that can be a little scary, when you realize that companies are tracking everything you do online, and creating a profile of you to sell to advertisers.
11.28.12 Digital Trends:
There's a whole new reason to believe the vote over Facebook's proposed policy changes is a farce: Some of the new language is purposefully written to confuse you.
10 Sneaky Holiday Shopping Tricks
This may be the most wonderful time of the year—but not for your wallet. Holiday shopping will cost you almost $800 this year, according to the National Retail Federation. And although men are goal- and achievement-oriented creatures, they tend to spend more per transaction, according to Linda Tuncay Zayer, Ph.D., an associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago.
With the holidays turning the retail landscape into a battlefield—promo emails, door busters, and a gift list that needs more tracking than stealth drones—it’s all too easy to get hit and watch your credit card bill balloon. But here are 10 stealth shopping tips to add to your holiday arsenal to help you save big money this season.
Play It Safe on Social Networks
On October, Facebook announced it had 1 billion active members — people who access their pages at least once a month. Despite warnings that it and other social network sites are the new frontier for fraud, many people continue to post the kind of information that scammers can piece together for identity theft.
For instance, two of three profiles include birthdays and nearly as many provide a high school name, giving clues to where the users grew up. With a birthdate and hometown, scammers can guess most, if not all, of the nine digits of your Social Security number, researchers say.
Data brokers have compiled secret dossiers on what's estimated to be 500 million people and they're refusing to name data sources to a Congressional inquiry - or transparently explain what's being done with the privacy-invading data they're collecting and compiling.
Yet in their crafted responses to Congress, we learn important details: for instance, some of their sources range from permissioned apps to the State Department Terrorist Exclusion list.
How to Commit Internet Suicide and Disappear from the Web Forever
Sick of horribly embarrassing things showing up when potential employers Google your name? Tired of everyone knowing you live in a garden level dungeon apartment? Perhaps you just don't like the fact the internet makes you easy to find. Thankfully, it's not that hard to delete yourself entirely. Here's how to do it.
For mildly famous (or infamous) individuals, disappearing is essentially impossible, but for the average person it's surprisingly easy. It just depends on much info is already out there.
11.8.12 KGO-TV (ABC) Broadcast:
Internet tracking code more common than ever
A new study shows when you surf the Internet, you're being watched more than ever before. "I don't like the idea that I'm being tracked; I'm not on Facebook, I think that it's gotten a little bit out of control," Jenny Lightstone said.
Now, a UC Berkeley study shows the use of tracking code like cookies that follow you across the Internet and record your browsing history, has risen 11 percent in just five months.
11.5.12 New York Times:
Presidential Campaign Apps Get to Know You Really Well
How well does the next president of the United States know you? Depends on your apps.
By virtue of what you install on your computer or cellphone, your political preferences can become part of the soup of data that ad networks can mine — in this case on behalf of the presidential hopefuls, who are making their last push for reluctant or undecided voters.
How Much Is Your Vote Worth?
We know the Romney and Obama campaigns are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into television and online advertising in a bid to capture precious votes in Tuesday’s election. Every vote counts, of course—but some count more than others. And some, it seems, are more easily bought. Both factors play a role in how much money the campaigns are willing to spend to win over any given individual, according to research by Abine, an online privacy company.
How much are the candidates spending on your vote in particular? Abine has come up with a quick quiz that will give you an educated estimate.
11.5.12 Boston Business Journal:
Abine uncovers your value to the presidential campaigns
Abine, a Boston online privacy startup, has released a tool that estimates a person's value to the presidential campaigns based on tracking of online activity performed by the campaigns.
The "Political Val-You Calculator," launched by the company last Wednesday, asks users to answer seven questions, then takes in data from campaign finance reports, the 2010 U.S. Census and Abine data about online tracking to estimate a person's value to the campaigns. The tool has had 1,000 downloads so far, said Sarah Downey, privacy analyst and attorney at Abine.
Your vote costs Obama and Romney about $22
If you're an average online American, you're worth about $22 to the U.S. presidential campaigns, at least in terms of ad cost per vote. That's according to a new vote calculator produced by online privacy startup Abine, which asks seven multiple choice questions to gauge what you cost per ad.
The Obama and Romney campaigns have spent about $5 billion on online advertising so far but people are no longer receptive to traditional text or banner ads, says Abine privacy attorney and privacy advocate Sarah Downey. "A recent Anneberg study said that people dislike the idea that they're being targeted with political ads," she said in a phone conversation today. "86 percent of them disliked it, so instead of just going through Facebook ads, they're also doing apps, and recruiting your friends to do the work for them."
New Tool Shows How Targeting Affects Political Ad Spend
If you're an independent female voter living in Ohio, and boast more than 100 Facebook friends, the two presidential campaigns have spent as much as $50 to advertise to you in the last four months. Conversely, if you're a registered Democrat living in New York who never uses the social networking service, the campaigns have spent as little as $5 in ads directed to you.
That's according to privacy company Abine, which released a tool this week that allows people to estimate how much their vote is worth to the presidential campaigns, as measured by ad dollars.
What's Your Online Presence Worth to the Presidential Campaigns?
If you’re a voter, it’s no secret that President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are likely tracking your every online move. Cookies and trackers follow you around the web and report your activity back to campaign headquarters to improve targeting.
What’s the data about you worth to a presidential campaign? Abine, an online privacy company, created a new tool that lets you find out.
11.2.12 Yahoo! News:
What's your vote worth to presidential campaigns?
If you're a mom with kids who will be voting in her first presidential election, you are likely to be inundated with online campaign ads from both parties over the next week.
Online tracking has reached unprecedented levels of sophistication, according to new research from Abine, an Internet security company. For the first time, campaigns are combining both real-time tracking and offline data records to identify the most "influenceable" voters, Sarah Downey, Abine privacy analyst, told TechNewsDaily.
11.1.12 IT World:
Politics vs privacy: Heads they win, tails you lose
At this point in this especially insane political season there’s still no telling who will end up winning it all next Tuesday. But it’s very clear to me who has already lost: You and me. More specifically, we've lost what little personal privacy we may once have had.
The amount and scope of data collection employed by both presidential campaigns this year is unprecedented. Both sides have been hoovering up data about voters using every means possible: mobile apps, online tracking, public records databases, third-party demographics clearinghouses, and data mining on social networks. And it looks like this is how political campaigns will be conducted from now on.
10.31.12 Web Pro News:
Calculate How Much Obama & Romney Are Willing to Spend on Your Vote
It’s no secret that both the Obama and Romney teams are doing all they can to get your vote on November 6th, and they have been for quite some time. Much of that effort is directed toward your online activities, as the campaigns want to know what you browse and how you click – as it helps them better target the ads you see across the interwebs.
A recent report from a tracking software monitoring company suggests that these efforts are being ramped up considerably as we approach election day. They found 76 different tracking programs on President Obama’s campaign site, up from 53 in May. They also found 40 on Mitt Romney’s site, compared to 25 in May.
10.29.12 Digital Trends:
Yahoo ditches ‘Do Not Track’ in Internet Explorer 10 — for your own good
Yahoo says it will not support "Do Not Track" from Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 because the anti-monitoring signal is turned on by default. All other browsers require users to turn DNT on themselves — which is just how the advertising industry likes it.
Adding further evidence that ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT) is some type of sick joke on the privacy-conscious public, Yahoo announced late Friday that it will not support the anti-monitoring signal in Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, the first browser to come with DNT turned on by default. Why? Because it’s good for you — that’s why, you fool.
Microsoft continues to take a beating for its decision to enable the Do Not Track privacy setting by default in the company’s brand-new Internet Explorer 10.
IE 10 has only been on the web for a few days (see Webmonkey’s IE 10 review), but Yahoo has already released a statement saying that the company will ignore the Do Not Track header when broadcast by IE 10 users. Yahoo is not the first to take exception to Microsoft’s decision to turn Do Not Track on by default — the Apache web server may ignore IE 10′s DNT header as well — but it’s the biggest site so far to square off against Microsoft.
10.26.12 Fox Business:
Companies Ignoring 'Do Not Track' Selections on Web Browsers
Abine Privacy analyst and attorney Sarah Downey argues even if you block 'do not track' companies still have a way to get into your personal data.
How To Stop Facebook From Tracking Everything You Do [Facebook Weekly Tips]
Facebook has basically made a business out of knowing as much as they can possibly find out about everyone. So, tracking your behaviour online and offline makes perfect sense to them. However, it might not seem that rosy to you. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a little privacy.
There are many ways Facebook is tracking you and it’s worth knowing how to block this tracking where possible and how to opt out when required. Sadly, it’s getting more and more complicated as time goes by. Here are the main ways Facebook keeps tabs on you and the best ways to stop them.
10.22.12 Social Times:
FTC Weighs In Facial Recognition Technology Privacy Protections
The Federal Trade Commission today released guidelines for minimum privacy-sensitive use of facial recognition technology, which is increasingly used by social networks.
The FTC recommends that companies notify consumers when facial recognition technology is in use, protect sensitive user data and keep only the data they need and avoid using facial recognition in sensitive areas such as bathrooms and places where children congregate.
10/22/12 Digital Trends:
Internet Watch Foundation warns that ‘parasite’ sites are stealing your inappropriate pictures
According to research from the Internet Watch Foundation, outside websites - or "parasites" - are scraping social networking sites to collect unknowing users' explicit images for their own NSFW photo galleries.
According to a study from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), all of the debauchery documented on the Internet in your hazy, poor-judgement ridden youth is being hoarded and used by other websites inappropriately.
Top 10 Ways to Disregard Authority and Stick It to the Man
Some rules were made to be broken, especially when those rules were created by people trying to take control of your gadgets and internet. Here are ten ways we love to disregard authority in the name of freedom.
Is It Possible to Be Truly Anonymous in an Online Community?
Being anonymous online means different things to different people. A lot of people are just worried about advertisers and other companies tracking them. Extensions like Adblock Plus (which blocks ads, but doesn't necessarily keep them from tracking you), Ghostery, and DoNotTrackMe, can help with that. But if you're part of an online forum, you're facing a different kind of problem: anonymity from other users. That's a lot harder to keep.
"Seen By:" The Facebook Feature That Tells The World If You've Read A Post
Facebook is gradually rolling out a new feature that displays who’s seen a post, and it has some serious online privacy–not to mention social awkwardness–implications. Posts will now show “seen by” underneath them, followed by a list of the people who have viewed them. The “seen by” feature shows up under each individual reply in a thread, not only the main content (for example, if someone sends you a Facebook invite to a party, they’ll be able to see whether you clicked open the invitation and whether you read individual replies on the event page).
It’s enabled for groups, which can include which can include private messages sent to more than one person, content shared in public and private groups, and event invitations, and it appears in both mobile and web-based versions of the site.
What "Do Not Track" Doesn't Do
The "Do Not Track" setting available in most web browsers is a great option to have if you don't want websites tracking your browsing history. However, as How-To Geek points out, "Do Not Track" provides a false sense of security because it doesn't block as much as you'd think.
As we've discussed before, tracking works by installing third party browser cookies that attempt to target advertisements at you better. The "Do Not Track" option in your browser (Firefox: Preferences>Privacy, Safari: Preferences>Privacy, Chrome: currently unavailable) is supposed to stop this from happening.
10.16.12 Digital Trends:
How Facebook will track your offline life with Datalogix
Facebook and Datalogix are teaming up in a new partnership that Facebook desperately needs to prove its advertising worth - and it means your offline shopping habits are up for grabs.
In the eight years that Facebook has been providing users with a platform to share their personal data, the social network has time and time again been criticized for violating privacy in its quest to be an ad platform. Facebook’s recent partnership with Datalogix—a service that tracks whether people who view ads on the site end up buying the advertised products in stores—has again raised fears among users about how the social media giant is turning their personal data (both on-and-offline) into a revenue-generating strategy. To understand what exactly this means and how we got to this point, we have to go back to when it all began.
10.16.12 Social Times:
TrustedID Poll Adds to Controversy Surrounding Online Data Brokers
A study [pdf] released Monday by TrustedID found that 80 percent of respondents did not have a clear idea of how their consumer data is collected and managed by data brokers.
Eighty percent also thought there should be a centralized online location where consumers could manage the information data brokers gather about them. No such site currently exists. Three-quarters thought they should be informed of the data collected about them.
10.12.12 Digital Trends:
Facebook sold you out, changed its mind, and now it's getting sued
Back in 2008, Facebook was just beginning to solidify itself as the social network of our times. Microsoft had just partnered with the site, we were all extremely concerned about the state of Scrabulous (remember the anguish over losing that game?!), the profile page underwent its first big makeover (the Timeline of its time), and Facebook Connect launched to take over the Internet.
At the same time, more ominous changes were going on behind the scenes. Facebook partnered with a company called Profile Technology that created applications for social networks – and one of those applications was data crawler Profile Engine. It’s a people search engine that launched in 2007, claiming to be the “the world’s first dedicated search engine for Facebook.” Profile Technology was less forthcoming with their business model, which is alleged to involve data brokerage.
10.10.12 Fox News:
Got privacy? Advertisers to ignore 'do not track' settings online
Three major advertising groups have announced plans to battle, protest or outright ignore “do-not-track” settings designed to protect your privacy online.
The do-not-track feature is meant to regulate the vast network of marketers and advertisers that have built a multi-billion dollar industry around gathering phone numbers, email addresses and other personal data online. It is built into the newest browser from every major maker, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.
10.8.12 Digital Trends:
Take control of your identity with these online tools
We’ve all heard that technologies like Do Not Track, anonymization software like Tor, and online tracker blocker browser plugins like Ghostery are essential tools for protecting your privacy on the Web. And they are. But unless you’ve never had a Facebook account, never used any Google products, avoid all Web-based email services, and have used the privacy tools listed above since the first time you ever opened a Web browser, there is likely a mountain of your personal data already available to the various companies that make truckloads of cash off your information.
Fortunately, there are a number of services that offer ways to cover your tracks, and regain control over your online self. Here, we’ll explore a few of these options, so you can decide which is the best for you and your budget.
Review: Avira Antivirus Free 2013
A status icon in the toolbar reflects the risk level for the current website, green for safe, yellow for low risk, and red for high risk. Clicking the icon gets details on just why the site received the rating it did. In addition, the antivirus component will actively block certain blatant phishing attempts.
By default, the antivirus installer also installs Avira's multi-purpose toolbar. Like many security toolbars, Avira marks up search results to flag dangerous or iffy links. However, unlike most it only does so when you search using its own secure search box. The toolbar also offers fast access to browser security actions like clearing recent history and turning on private browsing.
Facebook edges closer to selling your personal data
No, Facebook isn’t selling your personal data to advertisers. Not exactly. Not yet. But Facebook's inching toward it quickly as pressure mounts on the freshly-IPO’d company to prove its earning potential to investors.
A Wall Street Journal report Monday brought news that Facebook is now allowing some of its advertisers to target Facebook users based on the email address and phone number the user includes in their profile. If the advertiser already has one of those data points for the Facebook user in its own database (and knows a certain amount about their income, buying habits, and other demographic data), it can learn even more about the user from his or her social network data, then carefully target an ad at the user.
Safeguard your online Persona with Mozilla ID system
If you've ever struggled with remembering your Facebook password, or felt uncomfortable using your Google ID to log in to a non-Google Web site, Mozilla has a solution for you -- one it calls Persona.
This first beta of Persona, which used to be called Mozilla's BrowserID project, is designed to compete with Web site login systems like the ones offered by Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Whether this open source alternative can hold its own against those other login heavy-hitters, though, is another story.
In an attempt to find out which ads lead to purchases, Facebook is partnering with Datalogix, a company that compiles consumer purchasing data from retail stores. But the move has privacy advocates asking federal regulators to scrutinize the deal.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told CNET today that he will ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the new Facebook-Datalogix deal and determine whether the business practice complies with the terms of a recent $9.5 million agreement Facebook reached with the FTC to settle privacy complaints.
The Free Internet Will Be Just Fine With Do Not Track. Here’s Why.
The ad industry says that Do Not Track will destroy the free Internet. We love the Internet and would be pretty upset if it died, so we looked deeper into this claim.
Advertisers make this argument all the time, and it goes something like this comment from Linda Woolley, executive vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association: “If you get rid of [personal data collection], you kill the Internet. It’s just that simple.” Advertisers claim that all the content you see online can only exist because tracking-based advertising funds it.
Why Do Not Track is Worse than a Miserable Failure
In theory, Do Not Track is a brilliant idea.
It’s an elegant, simple bit of technology. A user-agent (typically a web browser, but it could be anything) that is compliant with the Do Not Track standard adds a tiny snippet of information in its header. DNT=1 means that the owner of that user-agent has expressed a desire that his or her online movements not be tracked.
Too bad it doesn’t work.
The privacy feature won't be available built-in for Chrome users until the release version of the next browser is ready, but the project is being pursued.
Google's Chrome browser project is beginning to add built-in "Do Not Track" capabilities to the latest developer's build of the open-source Web browser.
Ad tracking 'blocker' comes to iOS 6
Apple has built into iOS 6 a new toggle that will let you prevent advertisers from hitting you with targeted ads, but slow implementation of its new Advertising Identifier number means you could still see targeted ads on your iPhone for the foreseeable future.
First reported by 9to5Mac, the Limit Ad Tracking option is designed to prevent advertisers from tracking your behavior on the phone. It's a lot like a phone-based version of Do Not Track, except one that advertisers will be forced to obey since iOS is a proprietary system.
How Do Not Track could destroy the Internet as you know it
“If advertisers can convince people to smoke and eat Micky D’s, they can convince them to disable Do Not Track."
So says Christopher Soghoian, a security and privacy researcher at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who argues that one of the biggest problems advertisers face with Do Not Track is convincing web surfers that they don’t need to use it.
9.13.12 Yahoo! Finance:
How to Stop Facebook from Tracking You
Most people don't realize that Facebook (FB) can continue to monitor their internet activity, even if they are no longer logged into the site.
Using "Facebook Connect," and other social plug-ins, Facebook is able to set up a cookie on any site that has a "Like" or "share" button, giving Facebook access to a startling amount of user information. Technically, the purpose of these plug-ins is to authenticate users, but it still has the ability to collect personal information such as the IP address of your computer, browsing data, outside login information, phone numbers, etc.
9.12.12 Yahoo! Financially Fit:
Get the Job: Clean Your Online Profile
Anyone who's typed their name into a search engine knows that personal information can pretty much pop up anywhere, in more than a dozen search categories. But did you know that if this info is inaccurate, or simply unflattering, it could compromise your ability to land a job? That's right. According to a survey by human resources firm Manpower, approximately 70% of hiring managers use social networking sites in the job-hunting process - a fact that is not lost on recent college grad Victoria Cotter.
"I'm very conscious of my social media presence because it's like your first impression," says Cotter. "People can 'meet' you prior to meeting you via social media. I've had a coworker actually get reprimanded because of his Facebook profile picture."
This Is How Facebook Is Tracking Your Internet Activity
Facebook really is watching your every move online.
In testing out a new diagnostic tool called Abine DNT+, we noticed that Facebook has more than 200 "trackers" watching our internet activity.
9.7.12 Wired - Webmonkey:
Microsoft, Apache Square Off Over Privacy Settings
Apache, the most common server on the web, is giving Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 a privacy smackdown. A newly submitted patch tells Apache to ignore IE 10′s controversial Do Not Track (DNT) settings.
The Do Not Track header is a proposed web standard for browsers to tell servers that the user does not want to be tracked by advertisers. When IE 10 is officially released, DNT will be supported by all the major web browsers (except Google Chrome), but only Microsoft has elected to turn on DNT by default. That means that all IE 10 users will be telling advertisers to back off, which some argue is not what DNT was intended to do.
This Software Lets You Count The Advertisers Tracking Your Web Activity
Business Insider reported earlier this Summer on the hole in the newly announced "do not track" feature in Microsoft's release of Internet Explorer 10—it doesn't stop advertisers from tracking you.
iPhone, iPad security breach claimed
If you own an Apple iPhone or iPad, it’s possible information about your device is now floating around the Internet in ways that hackers could use to target you with a highly personalized, credible identity-theft scam.
Late Monday, hacker group AntiSec said it had taken 12.3 million "unique device identifier" numbers from an FBI agent’s computer, accompanied by lots of e-mail addresses and phone numbers and other identifiable personal information, and posted 1 million of them on the Web to document the risk. AntiSec speculated that the "FBI is using your device info for a tracking people project or some [expletive]."
You can basically assume that anything you do on App.net will be collected and recorded by the site. This is not some backhanded attempt to mine your data, as App.net does not have advertisers to sell your data to. Rather, this is simply part of using nearly any social network, App.net included.
8.30.12 Digital Trends:
Top 100 websites: How they track your every move online
The Web is a dangerous place for privacy. Here, a list of the companies that are tracking your Web activity on the top 100 most-visited websites in the United States.
It’s no secret: Every move you make on the Web is being tracked, recorded, compiled, and used to sell advertising or otherwise finance the sites that we all know and love. But such activity has come under increasing scrutiny from privacy advocates, and even the U.S. government. Which got me thinking: What are these companies that are doing the tracking? And which websites are they using to gather this information? Using two of the most popular anti-tracking extensions, Ghostery and Do Not Track Plus, I visited each of the top 100 most-visited websites in the U.S., according to Alexa, to dig a bit deeper into this whole tracking debacle.
How Secure Are You Online: The Checklist
Think you do enough to secure your passwords, browsing, and networking? Prove it.
Not all computer security is about tin foil hats and anonymous browsing. Everyone who uses a computer has a horse in the security race. For the purpose of this post, we're breaking down online security into four essential parts: passwords, browsers, at-home Wi-Fi and networking, and browsing on public Wi-Fi. Within those categories we'll give you a checklist of everything you should do, from the bare minimum to the tin-foil-hat best.
How To Block Facebook And Other Social Networks From Tracking You Online
Whenever you visit a site with a Like, Tweet or +1 button, you’re actually sharing data with Facebook, Twitter or Google. And that’s not all. There are hundreds of advertising and data collection companies that know quite a bit about your browsing habits. Luckily, no matter what your browser of choice might happen to be, there is a way to stop social networks and advertising companies from tracking your every move on the Web.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google store cookies on your computer, making it possible for them to keep tabs on you on other websites, as long as there’s a button that can send information to that social network, like a Follow, Like or Tweet button, you know that your data is being shared with these sites. You don’t even have to be logged into your social network account for the data transfer to happen.
The Rise Of Big Data And How Social Media Uses It
The saying: “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the consumer, you’re the product” is truer than ever and if you’re not paying for a service through your wallet, then you’re paying for it through the data you enter. Practically every site gathers data in some form, for analytics, for business or to help improve the user experience. Figuring out a way to monetise large amounts of data is the main concern for many sites, which is why a lot of social media sites offer targeted advertising in the form of promoted tweets or sponsored stories.
That’s not to say all data gathering is bad. Many organisations are using the data amassed to improve the experience for users, pick up on trends and improve services at certain locations. There’s already a significant amount of data out there to be used, and the process of analysing this data and following up on its results is still very much in its infancy.
Why big companies buy, sell your data
They know your name, your phone number, where you live, your buying habits and, in many cases, what you are interested in buying -- sometimes even before you do.
Meet Acxiom, sometimes described as "the biggest company you've never heard of." But they've heard a lot about you.
8.15.12 Digital Trends:
Privacy plug-in showdown: Do Not Track Plus vs. Ghostery
At the beginning of June, Microsoft announced that it would enable ‘Do Not Track’ by default in its forthcoming Internet Explorer 10. The controversial decision immediately sparked vehement uproar among businesses that rely upon gathering as much data about Web users as possible, with online advertisers and advertising groups lending the majority of the outcry.
The reason is because Do Not Track, when enabled in a user’s Web browser, is intended to block websites, advertisers, and other companies from tracking that user’s online activities. However — and this is a big however — Do Not Track is a mostly-non-regulated standard, which means it doesn’t always work as users might expect. In other words, turning on Do Not Track does not necessarily mean you aren’t being tracked. Ad groups can choose whether to support DNT, or to block it. Yes, it’s a big problem, one that likely won’t be solved anytime soon, if ever.
Help, Internet ads are stalking me!
For the last few years I have suspected that something or someone is following me around the InterWebs. Now, finally, I have proof.
Surfing the Net on my Samsung Galaxy tablet recently, I noticed something peculiar. No matter what site I visited, I was seeing the same exact advertisement from a company that sells iPods which have been modified to be waterproof.
You're Getting Facebook Timeline Now, Whether You Like It Or Not
This week, Facebook began forcing its Timeline layout on the holdouts who have made it since September 2011 without upgrading to the new format. Reports from India say that Facebook will move all users to Timeline by August 13th; however, a Facebook spokesperson says that “the clock is different for everyone” but the transition will be complete by Fall 2012.
Some believe Facebook’s force to Timeline is a response to falling stock prices because it follows
You really can't avoid social media if you're a small business owner. I mean, why would you?
Well, sometimes it's easy to feel like hiding. The ever-present stalking and data tracking by many social network sites--even by sites that promote themselves as "private"--can feel incredibly invasive, and companies seem to lose swaths of user data with startling frequency. For an entrepreneur this issue isn't just a question of personal privacy. It's an issue of of protecting valuable private business information.
7.30.12 CBS Chicago:
Protecting Your Online Privacy With A 'Do Not Track' Option
A digital dilemma is brewing about your privacy online.
As CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports, you may have heard of “do not track” or seen new privacy options on your Internet browser, and even on Web ads.
But what does it mean, and is your privacy really protected?
7.23.12 New York Times:
Parenting Dilemmas in the Age of Facial Recognition
A picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words in the era of facial recognition.
With so many of our daily movements recorded so easily and artfully, it is hard to know how to react anymore to pictures being taken — and what will be done with them. Social norms are yet to be written, and the issue is all the more pronounced when it comes to pictures of children.
7.23.12 Boston Globe:
The Battle for your Data on the Web
Joseph White was on a mission: to wipe himself off the Web.
Because his job as a federal government employee requires a low profile, the 37-year-old Quincy resident did not want has address or information about has family showing up on Google. “What aggravates me,” White said, “is that any Tom, Dick, or Harry who looks can find thas information out about you.”
7.18.12 Business Insider:
Online Privacy Start Up Abine.com Crosses 1.5 Million Downloads of its Do Not Track Product
Online privacy is a big issue for many web users. With the increasing amount of information being asked for and collected from various services, consumers are looking for solutions to help them protect their privacy.
A high profile start-up, abine.com, recently crossed 1.5 million downloads of its Do Not Track product. In an exclusive interview with the CEO of Abine, Bill Kerrigan, we get an idea of how Abine started and what vision they have for protecting consumers.
7.11.12 Investor's Business Daily:
People Search Online Big Business, but FTC Watching
Looking for someone? Chances are very, very strong that an Internet people search site will have them.
Plug your own name into a site like Spokeo.com, BeenVerified.com, or Intelius.com and you might be surprised how much information comes up.
Big Data and the Changing Economics of Privacy
There was a time when only people with money to hire a detective could dig into someone’s life. Now, dozens of companies have sprung up that will prowl into a person’s past for as little as $2.
This shift illustrates a fundamental change in the economics of privacy: it has become cheap and easy to pry into the lives of others at the same time that protecting our own lives has become time-consuming and expensive. A look at two companies — one that sells your data and another that protects it — shows the business and policy lessons of this new reality.
Facebook's New Mobile Ads Too Invasive?
Facebook (FB) wants to show investors it can make real money with its mobile platform. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 900-million-plus-mem ber social network plans to launch an advertising product that will deliver targeted ads to the Facebook app, based on the other services users frequent.
The feature reportedly will use information gathered from Facebook Connect, which lets users log onto third-party websites and apps -- including Amazon (AMZN), LinkedIn (LNKD), and Yelp (YELP) -- using their Facebook identity. The idea is that the social network will monitor the services a person uses and shove an ad into their mobile device's News Feed. For example: If someone downloads, say, the Yelp App via Facebook, the social network could charge a sizable fee per installation.
7.6.12 CBS New York:
Ask Asa: Consumers Are Followed, Targeted When They Browse Online
Every time you go online, someone could be tracking your movements. In most cases it’s benign sales research, but sometimes it’s an invasion of privacy.
Do you ever have that feeling that someone is watching you? A remote, spectral figure monitoring what you do? It’s not paranoia, CBS 2′s consumer reporter Asa Aarons explains. It’s modern consumer life.
5 Steps to Digitally Disappear
Recently Katie Holmes filed for divorce from husband Tom Cruise, and she did so after allegedly changing mobile phones, email addresses and assistants to keep her husband off of her trail. But can anyone just digitally disappear?
While we don’t think it's entirely possible to be off of the grid unless you do go to that cabin in the woods, here are five tips to help you boost your online privacy to be a little less accessible to someone.
For Sale: You!
Chemistry and biology teachers alike often bring up the question of how much the chemical elements that make up a human body are worth. They'll note that a body is 65 percent oxygen, 18 percent carbon, and so on. The result? Your elements are worth barely a dollar.
On the other hand, your address, phone number, and other elements of your identity are worth plenty. Data brokers make huge sums aggregating and selling personal information, and there's nothing you can do about it. Or is there?
Online Tracking is Worse Than Ever, Says Berkeley Census
We collaborated with UC Berkeley on a new report that shows that online tracking is everywhere. It's not just on sketchy websites you've never heard of. It's on all of the 100 most popular websites in one form or another, sites that people know and trust.
6.29.12 Above the Law:
How Can a Worried Judge Go Off the Grid - Without Actually Going Off the Grid?
It's hard out here for a judge. Deciding people's fates is fraught with serious ethical and moral questions, as well as occasional risks to personal safety. Some convicted criminals don't take kindly to prison, and judges can face the wrath of a prisoner's family.
So what can a judge do to protect his privacy and safety? Use technology of course! The whiz kids at Abine, the company that came up with Do Not Track Plus, have a new product that fills that need, or more generally, the need of anyone who wants to get their private data off the internet. The company recently announced a partnership with the California Judges Association.
Why California Judges Partnered With Online Privacy Protection Service
Some judges fear retaliation from the families of defendants they sentenced to long terms in prison.
That's why companies such as Abine devised a solution specifically to protect judges' online privacy.
Popular Web sites are far more aggressive in their consumer-tracking practices than most people suspect, according to the first report of UC Berkeley Law School's Web Privacy Census, and consumers are trapped in an escalating privacy crisis with limited control over their personal information.
The main goal of the census is to "define and quantify vectors for tracking consumers on the Internet," in essence to create a critically needed evaluation component to measure the ever-changing and often-evasive methods companies use to track visitors.
6.26.12 Yahoo! News:
Why California Judges Got Free Online Privacy Protection
Some judges fear retaliation from the families of defendants they sentenced to long terms in prison.
That's why companies such as Abine devised a solution specifically to protect judges' online privacy.
Data Snatchers! The Booming Market for Your Online Identity
Make no mistake, your personal data isn't your own. When you update your Facebook page, "Like" something on a website, apply for a credit card, click on an ad, listen to an MP3, or comment on a YouTube video, you are feeding a huge and growing beast with an insatiable appetite for your personal data, a beast that always craves more. Virtually every piece of personal information that you provide online (and much that you provide offline) will end up being bought and sold, segmented, packaged, analyzed, repackaged, and sold again.
The "personal data economy" comprises a menagerie of advertisers, marketers, ad networks, data brokers, website publishers, social networks, and online tracking and targeting companies, for all of which the main currency - what they buy, sell, and trade - is personal data.
6.26.12 The Daily Californian:
UC Berkeley web census shows that Internet users are constantly tracked
A survey released Tuesday by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology found that a majority of popular websites employ some sort of tracking technology in order to monitor their users.
According to the report accompanying the Web Privacy Census, the main goal of the May 17 census was "to define and quantify vectors for tracking consumers on the internet." The report was the first in a planned series of ongoing quarterly censuses.
6.26.12 San Francisco Chronicle:
Web Privacy Census shows tracking pervasive
UC Berkeley researchers will unveil a first-of-its-kind tool Tuesday for measuring online tracking of consumers over time.
You Were Worth A Lot More to Facebook in 2007 When It Was More Private
So much of what gets said about Facebook these days revolves around what the company is worth, what Mark Zuckerberg is worth, what other Facebookers are worth; or, since the company's hilariously bad initial public offering, the public conversation has been more focused on how much all of the aforementioned parties have lost thanks to Nasdaq, Facebook shares going belly-up, and general lack of confidence from advertisers.
But what about you, dear Facebooker? When was the last time somebody checked on the value of you, without whom Facebook would have zero Zuckerbucks in the bank?
In January of 1984, Apple's most famous television ad promised to smash Big Brother. Twenty-eight years later, a strange new patent seems to show that the company has finally gotten back to its roots.
On Tuesday Apple received a patent for what it describes as a system that clones Internet users, gives them multiple digital identities, and uses phony attributes of those clones to "pollute" tracking systems with false leads that protect the real user's privacy from "Big Brother" - or what the author of the patent describes as the "Little Brothers" of automated network surveillance.
How to browse sensitive subjects without being tracked
A reader commenting on a Q&A about the rise in behavioral tracking for targeted advertising asked a great question: How does one browse sensitive subjects without being tracked via cookies?
For most Web activities, many people won't be bothered that they are served up ads for cars or even acne cream if they have been reading news about the newest Tesla or visiting dermatology Web sites. But what about when someone is researching a hereditary or embarrassing medical condition that one would not want revealed to advertisers, shoulder surfers or, worse yet, insurance companies?
Whether you're a recent grad or a student looking for a summer internship, the stats on youth employment are disheartening. While there's no silver bullet that guarantees a smooth transition from classroom to career, there are tools that can help you stand out from the crowd of your job seeking peers and social media is chief among them - if you know how to apply it to your advantage.
Facebook Exchange Ads Could Raise Even More Privacy Concerns
Facebook advertising's latest makeover could raise new unease about privacy, tracking and snooping by the popular social networking site. Consider: Facebook already has more information on you than your own mother, and now it can serve up ads nearly custom-tailored to you on web pages when you're off Facebook.
The social networking site last week began testing Facebook Exchange (FBX), which allows advertisers to buy Facebook ads that target its users off-Facebook browsing activity.
The 3 Facebook App Permissions You Should Never Agree To
If you're like most people on Facebook who use apps, you click "agree" to whatever permissions pop up on your screen. But if you value your online privacy, there are some that you should think twice about allowing. Since Facebook's has launched its IPO, we're releasing an expert list of the three most privacy-invasive Facebook app permissions along with tips for protecting your privacy.
App developers have created a robust world of games and tools for Facebook's 900+ million monthly users. These apps enable people to connect with friends and use the web like never before, but some of these benefits come with grave privacy concerns: some apps can use and transmit your data in unexpected and potentially dangerous ways.
You want to delete something from the Internet: maybe it's an article, a picture, a blog post, an account, or a video. It's not always easy, but it can be done.
We've spent years deleting people's info from data broker websites with our product, DeleteMe, and we've learned a lot. Before we get to our 7 deletion tips, let start with some basic rules of the web.
OkCupid Offers 7 Million Potential Dates but Little Privacy
OkCupid is a free dating website that attracts thousands of new users daily to answer questions ranging from "Do you believe in God?" to "Would you sleep with someone on the first date?" The answers are presumably used to match users with potential mates. There's just one problem: They're not secure.
A new report shows that privacy on OkCupid, which was acquired by Match.com last year, is all but nonexistent. The site may archive data even after users close their account or delete information from their profile. Since Match.com took over, the site's service terms let OkCupid share user data between the more than 50 websites owned by Match.com parent company IAC/InterActive Corp., as well as IAC partners.
6.12.12 Fox News:
Don't flame out, protect your digital self
More dire warnings seem to come with every passing digital day.
Google begins alerting Gmail users that foreign governments may be trying to hack their accounts. LinkedIn, eHarmony, and Lastfm announced that they have had millions of user passwords exposed online by hackers looking to make a buck. And then there's the government sponsored attacks, such as Stuxnet and Flame.
6.7.12 The Economist:
Facebook and the Under-13s
ONE American in three aged 65 or older uses social networks, says a new report by the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank. But it is the small surfers, not the silver ones, who are currently making waves. Facebook is examining ways to allow children under the age of 13 to use its service, with some form of parental supervision. If this happens - and Facebook stresses that it has not yet decided whether to go ahead - it would be a venture into uncharted territory.
Critics howl that young children lack the maturity to cope with social networks. They also worry that Facebook will find devious ways to make money from naive children or, more likely, their parents. "We would be giving the keys to the chicken coop to the fox," says Doug Fodeman of ChildrenOnline.org, a pressure group.
User vote on Facebook privacy policies hasn't stemmed criticism
Facebook says the result of the vote will be binding if at least 30 percent of active users participate, and "advisory" if that threshold isn't met. But rather than earning praise for turning to user-friendly bylaws for its so-called data use policy, the company has set off a new round of criticism about its alleged disdain for user privacy.
6.6.12 Yahoo! Tech:
Seen that privacy chain letter on Facebook? Ignore it.
If you've been on Facebook this week, you may have seen a status update now making the rounds that purports to explain how to safeguard your privacy on the service. Which sounds great, but for one thing: It's pretty much bogus.
11 Facebook Privacy Steps to Take Now
For millions of people, Facebook is the Internet. Its apps, games, instant-messaging abilities and constant postings take care of all their needs.
Yet many Facebook fanatics fail to realize how much information about themselves they're giving away, and how easily unscrupulous app makers and identity thieves could exploit that data.
If you've been on Facebook this week, you may have seen a status update now making the rounds that purports to explain how to safeguard your privacy on the service. Which sounds great, but for one thing: It's pretty much bogus.
Experts: Do-Not-Track Proposal is Lacking
Even Eli Pariser, author of a best-selling book about the threat posed by Web personalization, is skeptical about the success of current Do Not Track efforts by the Federal Trade Commission. "Do Not Track would probably offer a binary choice - either you're in or you're out - and services that make money on tracking might simply disable themselves for Do Not Track list members," Pariser wrote in 2011, as his book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You went to press. "If most of the Internet goes dark for these people, they'll quickly leave the list.
And as a result, the process could backfire - 'proving' that people don't care about tracking, when in fact what most of us want is more nuanced ways of asserting control.” Little has changed in the year since Pariser wrote those words.
Internet Explorer 10 will ship with Do Not Track settings turned on by default. That's good news for you and me; not so good for the online ad industry.
Break out the champagne and put on your party hats: A software heavyweight just struck a major blow for the concept of Privacy by Design. Microsoft has elected to release Internet Explorer 10.0 with Do Not Track as the default setting.
Online Privacy Company Abine Honored as a Red Herring Top 100 North America Tech Startup
Abine, Inc., the online privacy company and makers of the popular DoNotTrackPlus (DNT+) privacy tool, announced today it has been selected as one of the winners of the Red Herring's Top 100 North America Tech Startup Award. Red Herring announced its Top 100 award in recognition of the leading private companies from the Americas, celebrating these startups' innovations and technologies across their respective industries.
Red Herring's Top 100 Americas list has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising new companies and entrepreneurs. Red Herring editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, and eBay would change the way we live and work.
Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1d0wn) Read more...
5.24.12 Boston Globe:
Maintaining privacy while surfing the web
I don't want any trouble, and certainly not online. The trouble is, the Internet won't leave me alone. Websites are constantly tracking me with little files called cookies, criminals are trying to swipe my digital identity with spam, and online information brokers are selling the story of my life to anybody with a valid credit card.
No wonder there's a ready market for online privacy protection tools. I've gone over four of the coolest, including browser plug-ins that block tracking cookies, a subscription service that helps conceal your possibly embarrassing past, and a program that can make you virtually anonymous online. Read more...
Online Privacy Company Abine Named Finalist for the 2012 Red Herring Top 100 Americas Award
Abine, Inc., the online privacy company and makers of the popular Do Not Track Plus (DNT+) privacy tool, announced today it has been selected as a finalist for Red Herring's Top 100 Americas award, a prestigious list honoring the year's most promising private technology ventures from the North American business region.
Abine was selected as a finalist because of its commitment to improving consumers' control over their personal information on the Internet. To provide this control, the company offers downloadable tools and services at Abine.com. Abine believes that people need solutions that span the full spectrum of their online lives. The company's two primary products are DNT+, a free tool that stops covert web tracking by hundreds of advertising companies and social networks, and DeleteMe, a subscription service that finds and removes personal data such as addresses, emails, and home values from people search sites and other data brokers. Read more...
Twitter Is Tracking You On The Web; Here's What You Can Do To Stop It
While most of us were hurrying to turn off Twitter's new email digests, the company announced they would begin suggesting new people and brands to follow based on your Twitter activity. The trouble is, by "activity," they mean your friends, followers, and even where you go on the web once you leave Twitter.
5.18.12 Fox Business:
Generation Gap: Who's Oversharing Online?
I am 5'9" and have medium-length blond hair. I like to play sports and I graduated from the University of Missouri. My 80-year-old grandfather would be appalled that I just shared so much information with complete strangers. Chances are my mother would be too. But hey, I didn't share anything you wouldn't be able to find online. Here's the kicker: I am not even on Facebook (FB: 32.00, +1.00, +3.23%).
The ever-growing realm of social media has created generation gaps in how people view privacy online. But some research shows that it's the younger and more web-savvy crowd that is actually taking action to manage accounts. Read more...
5.16.12 Fox News:
How much are you worth to Facebook?
Facebook is worth a lot of money, somewhere in the region of $100 billion, depending on who you ask. But how much are you worth to Facebook?
Now you'll never have to wonder. A new site created by online privacy company Abine promises to make the necessary calculations. Read more...
Facebook May Be Worth $100B, But What Are You Worth To Facebook?
It's almost here. The big day. Can you feel the excitement? Yes, if all goes according to plan on Friday, Mark Zuckerberg will ring the NASDAQ bell in a hoodie, the big blue social network will go forward with one of the largest IPOs for an Internet company in history, the markets will hit a fever pitch, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse will update their statuses - and the rest of us will just go back to using Twitter.
Nonetheless, Facebook is expected to go public at a valuation between $92 and $103 billion. As such, it's pretty clear what Facebook is worth to us (really, to the market), but the real question is: How much are you worth to Facebook? Hmm? Read more...
Privacy concerns arise ahead of Facebook IPO
Facebook's move to go public and sell stock in its company means it's also facing pressure over protecting users' privacy. That concern prompted flash mobs with a warning message in San Francisco and New York Tuesday.
Facebook has nearly 1 billion users and data about those users helps advertisers target their ads. But analysts fear that once Facebook goes public, there will be so much pressure to sell even more advertising that Facebook will be forced to gather even more data about its users. Read more...
The proposed changes, which the company put out for public comment on Friday, don't appear to reflect any major shifts in policy. For the most part, the document makes more explicit how Facebook is already using user data. The company has also updated the policy to reflect newer features, such as cover photos. Read more...
What Are You Worth to Facebook? Val-You Calculator Knows
Exactly how much are you worth to Facebook, in terms of advertising dollars? A new quiz will help you find out.
Online privacy company Abine has a Val-You quiz that will determine your dollar value to Facebook. The quiz asks you where you live, how often you Like posts, play Zynga games and your plans for your presence on Facebook in the future. Read more...
Facebook Privacy: This Service Alerts You When it Changes [INFOGRAPHIC]
Online privacy company Abine has launched a service called PrivacyWatch, which alerts subscribers when Facebook changes its privacy settings.
The service costs $1.99 per month, and also includes expert analysis of any changes Facebook makes to its privacy settings. Kristina Kennedy, VP of Marketing at Abine, told Mashable security experts will also guide users as to how best ensure their data is actually private on Facebook. Read more...
Facebook is the target of a bicoastal "flash mob" protest tomorrow as privacy activists take a stand for user privacy protections - right as Facebook readies to go public. Activists from online privacy company Abine are organizing the simultaneous protests this Tuesday, May 15.
The flash mobs will form two conga lines at 11am (PST/EDT), one each in New York (City Eventions) and San Francisco (Prescott Hotel). Online supporters are encouraged to tweet with the hashtag #GoPrivate. Read more...
How Much Money Is Facebook Making Off of You?
Want a piece of the Facebook IPO action next week? Odds are you won't be able to muscle your way in past all the VCs and institutional investors that are going to cash out majorly when the world's biggest social network becomes the world's biggest tech public offering.
No worries. A site called GiveAshare will happily sell you one share of Facebook Preferred, framed and with a custom plaque of your choosing. I warn you, though, it's not likely to be cheap. Read more...
Abine Launches PrivacyWatch Alert System to Help Facebook Users Protect Their Personal Information
Recent reports show that millions of Facebook users are becoming increasingly aware of and concerned about their online privacy and are actively altering their privacy settings as a result. To date, however, there hasn't been a systematic means of tracking Facebook's over 7,000-word Data Use Policy and privacy settings changes, leaving Facebook users to figure it out on their own. Abine, Inc., the online privacy company and makers of the popular Do Not Track Plus privacy tool, is changing that today with the launch of PrivacyWatch (Abine.com/GoPrivate), a new alert system created by Abine's privacy experts to help consumers monitor and continuously improve their privacy on Facebook.
PrivacyWatch uses the latest monitoring tools and a team of privacy experts to assess changes to Facebook's Data Use Policy and controls, delivering up-to-date alerts and easy-to-follow tips that help you keep your private information just that-private. With PrivacyWatch, Abine's privacy experts will scan Facebook's nearly 7,000 word data use policy and privacy controls and alert users of any changes. PrivacyWatch will simplify the process of updating your Facebook privacy settings by clearly outlining what has changed and providing a step-by-step guide to keeping your personal profile information private. Read more...
PrivacyWatch checks Facebook policy so you don't have to
Facebook's Data Use Policy is more than 7,000 words long, making it a daunting challenge to stay on top of how the company manages data you share with it. Online privacy company Abine wants to simplify that task for you with its new PrivacyWatch service, unveiled today.
For $1.99 per month, PrivacyWatch will warn you whenever Facebook changes its policy. The service will recommend changes on how to keep your information private in accordance with any policy changes. The service comes days before Facebook's IPO is expected. Read more...
70% don't trust Facebook with their personal information
70 percent of Facebook users do not trust the social networking giant with their personal information. Approximately 60 percent proactively adjusted their privacy settings in 2011. This is puzzling given what we heard late last year: 70 percent of Facebook users are comfortable with what they share.
The new data comes from a survey which polled Facebook users about their sharing and posting habits, as well as changes they have made to their profile and privacy settings, conducted by online privacy company Abine. The firm points out these numbers further prove the growing conflict of interest between Facebook and its users. Read more...
5.4.12 Washington Post:
Facebook IPO: How could privacy concerns affect revenue?
Now that Facebook has set its share prices, valuing the company between $77 billion and $96 billion, the question is whether it will be able to convince investors that it's got a sustainable business model, can keep growing and find new ways to generate revenue.
And because advertising revenue is such a big part of Facebook's business model, user privacy will have to be a major consideration for potential investors. Read more...
Facebook IPO buzz fans valuation, privacy worries
With Facebook Inc. now expected to go public in about two weeks, the social-networking giant's much-anticipated initial public offering is drawing heightened investor interest, along with worries about valuation and privacy.
Facebook (US:FB) reportedly plans to debut on May 18, and will kick off the road show to tout its stock to investors next week, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Read more...
5.2.12 New York Times:
How To Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet
Legal and technology researchers estimate that it would take about a month for Internet users to read the privacy policies of all the Web sites they visit in a year. So in the interest of time, here is the deal: You know that dream where you suddenly realize you're stark naked? You're living it whenever you open your browser.
There are no secrets online. That emotional e-mail you sent to your ex, the illness you searched for in a fit of hypochondria, those hours spent watching kitten videos (you can take that as a euphemism if the kitten fits) - can all be gathered to create a defining profile of you. Read more...
How to delete yourself from the Internet
The Internet companies that power your online life know that data equals money, and they're becoming bolder about using that data to track you. If they get their way, your every online step would be not only irrevocable, but traceable back to you. Fortunately, there are some positive steps you can take to reclaim your online history for yourself.
The online privacy software company Abine, which makes Do Not Track Plus, also offers a service called DeleteMe, which removes your data from numerous tracking sites and keeps it from coming back. In an unusual gesture, though, they've made public how to do for yourself everything that DeleteMe does. Here's my take on their advice. Read more...
Before You Download That App, What You Need to Know
An entrepreneur's smartphone and tablet are stuffed with sensitive information, from customer lists to business strategy notes. Loss or theft isn't the only way it can fall into the wrong hands. Cyberthieves and unprincipled or ignorant companies could use apps to take data without your even realizing it.
Mobile apps -- whether for business or entertainment -- can upload your contact lists and access your location and email, though in almost all cases you must give them permission to do so. They may also store personal and other sensitive information, and sell it or share it, without your knowledge. Read more...
4.8.12 PC World:
Do-Not-Track Tools: Hands-On Showdown
Regulators are urging Internet companies to alert consumers about their data-gathering activities--but if you want to seize control now, some browser add-ons can help.
Online tracking is a hot topic these days, with the Obama administration and the Federal Trade Commission calling for tougher online privacy protections. The FTC recently issued a report urging voluntary practices for online businesses regarding data collection. Another popular proposal suggests building a universal do-not-track function into future Web browsers. Read more...
4.5.12 Smart Money:
10 Things Online Data Collectors Won't Say
1. "We're always watching you."
If you're reading this on the Internet, chances are you're being followed. More than 200 data collection companies and ad networks use approximately 600 different tracking technologies to gather and sell information on people's web habits, according to Abine, an online privacy firm that tracks the trackers. The online advertising industry is a $31 billion business fueled largely by behind-the-scenes exchanges of consumers' personal online shopping and browsing habits. Read more...
4.5.12 Read Write Web:
Top 5 Facebook Privacy Tips
Frequent Facebook users have a love-hate relationship with the world's largest social network. It's hard not to worry about how Facebook is using the information we so freely feed it, yet the platform itself is so fun and enjoyable to use, oftentimes it's easier to overlook the bigger privacy picture for in-the-moment fun. Parents share images of their kids with friends and distant relatives. Artists trade links and images on Facebook, collaborating and curating ideas and interests. Yet the social networking comes with a price, as evidenced by the controversy caused by the Girls Around Me App, which uses public Foursquare and Facebook location data to map women nearby. And of course, it's easier to freak out about apps like this than to seriously consider what dumping your personal information onto Facebook itself means.
Facebook users need to be aware of what they're sharing and with whom, especially the young and vulnerable. To get a better idea of five ways to better protect your Facebook privacy, ReadWriteWeb talked to Sarah Downey, a privacy analyst for Abine, the maker of Do Not Track Plus. Read more...
3.27.12 PC Mag:
The State of 'Do Not Track' in Current Browsers
Every few months, the subject of Internet privacy and browser tracking in particular makes top headlines in the tech press. The latest bout of privacy and tracking news surround newly released best-practice guidelines from the FTC, which are intended to give consumers "greater control over the collection and use of their personal data."
While these are recommendations rather than regulations at this point, many observers believe that, if they have no effect, regulations will come later through congressional action. Read more...
3.26.12 PC World:
Facebook Mulling Privacy Changes Via Public Comments
"We plan to review and analyze your comments over the coming days and will keep you posted on next steps," the company said in a posting to its Facebook Site Governance page where it solicited public opinion. Read more...
3.23.12 Bloomberg Businessweek:
Facebook Takes Steps to Address Privacy Concerns
Facebook has taken steps in recent days to address more worries about privacy, warning employers not to ask prospective employees for their passwords and trying to clarify its user "rights and responsibilities" policies.
But the latter effort backfired when tens of thousands of users, mostly in Germany, misunderstood the clarifications and blasted the company. Their discontent showed that, no matter what Facebook does, privacy concerns are still the biggest threat to users' trust and to its growth. Read more...
3.23.12 CNN Money:
Facebook Strips 'Privacy' from New 'Data Use' Policy Explainer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A Facebook data policy document intended to make the site's methods more transparent is instead kicking up a fresh firestorm.
Social network says no significant changes are afoot, but privacy advocates cry foul.
Privacy advocates in the U.S. and the European Union are on edge over changes Facebook is enacting in its language governing its terms of service. Read more...
3.21.12 PC World:
Under the guise of creating greater clarity--sound familiar?--Facebook continues its data-grabbing ways under a revision of its rights and responsibilities policy set to take effect after close of business on Friday, according to one privacy advocate.
"In general, the changes reflect the fact that Facebook is extending its data-collecting tactics in all directions: towards people who never even signed up for Facebook, activities that aren't clearly defined as sharing, and mediums that aren't clearly defined as advertising," Sarah A. Downey, an attorney with Abine, a Boston-based provider of online privacy services, comments on the Facebook site governance page. Read more...
3.14.12 The Christian Science Monitor:
Jedi Knights of Online Privacy Strike Back at Data-Mining Empires
Firms such as CloudCapture, which launched Wednesday, and Abine, which debuted its 'Do Not Track Plus' app in February, see a ripe opportunity to turn the technology developed to mine personal data into a tool consumers can use to fight its abuse.
This has been dubbed the year of Big Data, meaning a time when online firms such as Facebook and Google are capitalizing on an unprecedented and vast amount of personal, user-generated information. Read more...
The Web Never Forgets. Should It?
In a nutshell, Google is condensing the information that it collects across its 70-plus services into one detailed profile on its users. And even if you read the policies, it's very broad and hard to understand any specific details. In fact this is what the EU appears to have the most issue with, that this policy is so broad as to have no specific meaning. Read more...
02.24.2012 The Boston Herald:
Plug-in Offers Web Privacy
President Obama may be pushing for stronger online privacy protections, but a Boston company is already offering free software to keep the Web salesmen at bay.
Abine Inc., based in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood, recently launched a Web browser plug-in that blocks companies from mining Internet users' data for marketing purposes. Read more...
02.23.2012 WSJ Radio:
Bill Kerrigan, CEO of Abine On Wall Street Journal Radio
Bill Kerrigan,CEO of Abine On The Wall Street Journal Radio's Daily Wrap on Feb 23, 2012 as they discuss the fact that the White House Proposes Privacy Bill of Rights With 'Do Not Track.' Listen...
White House Privacy Bill of Rights Brought to You by Years of Online Debacles
The White House announced Thursday a new "Consumer Bill of Rights" for online privacy and that the net's biggest online ad networks that build profiles will respect a "Do Not Track" setting in browsers.
While that might sound like just some new meaningless lingo, take the announcement instead to mean something else: Finally, after a decade of online privacy debacles and lip-service to self-regulation, originating from Google, Facebook, the Network Advertising Initiative and scores of others, it's finally time for online companies to start treating users and their data with some modicum of respect. Read more...
02.23.2012 ReadWrite Enterprise:
Do Not Track: The CAN-SPAM of 2012
Remember in 2003, when the CAN SPAM Act was signed into law, how spam just stopped overnight? Yeah, me neither. Just as CAN SPAM did little to curb spam, having Google and Microsoft sign on to Do Not Track (DNT) still leaves a lot to be desired.
Google and others signing up for DNT support aren't even promising not to track users, they're just agreeing "not to use data from consumers who don't want to be tracked to customize ads or to use the data for certain purposes such as employment, health care or insurance." Read more...
Firms Embrace Do Not Track for Targeted Ads Only
What Do Not Track means to you and what it means to companies that are collecting your data crumbs across the Internet are likely two very different things.
Thus excitement about today's announcement that Google and online advertisers under the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) banner will support Do Not Track technology may be tempered as people realize exactly how limited the scope of the effort is. It applies to targeted ads only and not to any other forms of tracking, such as the use of Google "+1" and Facebook "Like" buttons, which have generated public backlash. Read more...
What The Internet Knows About You And How To Protect Yourself
On February 13, Abine, Inc., a leader in online privacy solutions, announced that is had filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against the people search website BeenVerified.com, one of the webís largest background check websites and data brokers, alleging deceptive and unfair trade practices. Today, I exchanged emails with the author of the complaint, Sarah Downey, Legal Marketing Associate at Abine, Inc., regarding Internet privacy, people search sites, background checks, Facebook and how to protect your online identity. Read more...
02.13.2012 The Wall Street Journal:
Sites Are Accused of Privacy Failings
Getting personal information removed from websites that collect it can feel a lot like playing Whac-a-Mole.
David Cox, a businessman from Tulsa, Okla., got his name, address and other personal details removed from the online background-check website BeenVerified.com, but his success was temporary. He submitted his first request for removal in April, using a service called "DeleteMe" from Boston privacy start-up Abine Inc., and it was almost immediately honored. But four months later, in August, his information popped up again on the website, forcing him to submit another request. Read more...
02.12.12 PC World:
Kill Web Trackers Dead
Here's fair warning to all social media data scavengers, ad tracking companies, and analytics snoops on the InterWebs: There's a new anti-tracking sheriff in town.
Online privacy company Abine Inc. last week unveiled a new browser widget called, appropriately enough, DoNotTrackPlus (because these days everything has to come with a plus sign -- thank you, Google). I've been taking it for a spin this morning and I gotta say it's pretty slick. Read more...
Do Not Track Plus add-on stops the tracking paparazzi
If ad-blocking is the hacksaw of Internet-protecting add-ons, the overhauled add-on Do Not Track Plus bows today as a finely honed scalpel, excising tracking behaviors embedded in sites without destroying the modern Web.
Released exclusively through CNET Download.com, Do Not Track Plus 2.0.4 follows last year's beta release with a greatly expanded feature set, better performance, and is available on four of the five major browsers. You can download Do Not Track Plus for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Read more...
Cambridge, MA BOSTON -- Jan. 24th, 2012; Abine, a leading provider of online privacy solutions for consumers looking to regain control over their personal information, announced today that it has appointed Kristina Kennedy as vice president of marketing and Brian Michon as vice president of engineering. These strategic appointments of two well -- respected Boston -- based high tech executives will increase the company’s capability to meet the growing consumer demand for its suite of privacy tools. Read more...
01.05.12 The Columbus Dispatch:
Web users seek shelter from online data snoops
Lauren Shields didn't like the idea that her every move on the Internet might be tracked and reported to who-knows-whom, so she downloaded a free program to shut out the online trackers.
That's when the Atlanta-area seminary student found out just how many snooping eyes were upon her. With each website she visited, the new software showed her an alert, revealing which companies were recording her every click. Some had household names such as Facebook and Google; others she didn't even know.
"It's none of their business. That's my private life," said Shields, 30. "It means they are compiling a database on you - where you go and who your friends are - and I'm uncomfortable with that." Read more...
01.04.12 Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
More web users aim to thwart prying eyes
Lauren Shields didn't like the idea that her every move on the Internet might be tracked and reported to who-knows-whom, so she downloaded a free program to shut out the online trackers.
That's when the Decatur seminary student found out just how many snooping eyes were upon her. With each website she visited, the new software showed her an alert, revealing which companies were recording her every click. Some had household names such as Facebook and Google; others she didn't even know.
"It's none of their business. That's my private life," said Shields, 30. "It means they are compiling a database on you -- where you go and who your friends are -- and I'm uncomfortable with that." Read more...
12.30.11 USA TODAY: Consumers turn to do-not-track software to maintain privacy
Upon reading recent news stories about how Facebook tracks almost everywhere he goes on the Internet, Jim Kress grew outraged.
The consultant from Northville, Mich., subsequently learned Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Adobe and many other companies also exhaustively track his online activities. "I was very unnerved to discover the extent of all the other tracking that was done by nearly every site on the Web," he says.
So Kress, 61, did some homework about a powerful class of online tools and services - most of them free - designed to block online behavioral tracking. Read more...
12.09.11 WGBH: Protecting Online Privacy
When you go online, do you know who's tracking you? Advertisers want access to your preferences, your social network, your location and your search history. Now, Boston startup Abine is trying to give consumers more control over their personal information. The 2-year-old company makes software that blocks unwanted Web tracking. Its service also removes people from online databases. Abine's timing is good, as Facebook and other companies are taking a lot of flak over user privacy. Read more...