Ed Felten: Foil the Online Trackers

How to foil the “trackers,” those who follow you on the web in order to market to your tastes? If you are buying health products, and you don’t want the insurance companies to know about your condition, buy with cash and without a loyalty card, says Ed Felten, the computer science and public affairs professor at Princeton University who just finished a year in DC as chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission.  Felten  was quoted in the New York Times on Thursday in “Ways to Make Your Online Tracks Harder to Follow”

If you don’t want to always pay with cash, preserve your online privacy with this Felten tip: use a different browser (Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) for each of three online activities: email, social networking, and general browsing.

The NYT reporter, Natasha Singer, had a clever “ender.” She quoted Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter:  “We must not always talk in the marketplace . . . of what happens in the forest.”


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