Ed Felten warned against the Mosaic Effect in testimony on November 20 before the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The feds could protect our privacy by changing the rules.
I was thinking that I might have bamboozled the snoops by combining my buying account with my husband’s. Just let them try to figure out the profile of someone who buys toys and lug wrenches and also lipsticks.
In case I am not as smart as I think, maybe I should consult with Ed.
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.”