Case Study: 10 Organizations Which Track You Illegally
In our cruel technological world it is hard to remain hidden and to protect your personal information from being exposed for everyone to see and use. In our age of wireless signals, digital cameras and tracking devices it is difficult to maintain your privacy no matter where you go. Thus you must be aware of the most dangerous cases of modern illegal privacy disruptions.
With the purpose to help you become prepared to the possible interactions with those systems here is the list of 10 most impudent among them:
iPhone Tracking System
Apple iPhone is tracking your location and storing recorded data without your knowledge about it. Despite the company officially denies this fact, there were so many complaints about it that all doubts about it are vanished completely. This tracking and recording has started in June 2010 when two researchers discovered hidden tracking file and posted a program which allows users to see the map of locations they visited for a few months.
Facebook Logout Tracking
Facebook is also doing one bad thing: it tracks all websites you are visiting even after you log out from your page. According to Nik Cubrilovic, the cookies of the Facebook site remain active after your logout and this is a great concern to your privacy. By means of this little operation Facebook in fact knows where you are going in the internet and what sites you are visiting.
MSN And Hulu Are Using Undeletable Cookies
Those two companies are installing super cookies into your computer. They create user profile after the original cookies being already deleted and they contain a lot more data than they should. And while FTC tries to solve this problem (at least I hope so) and Congress allowed people to say that they don’t want to be tracked in this way, the real actions to change this situation are yet to be seen.
Windows Phone 7 Records Locations Too
Windows Phone 7 tracks and records your location even if you say No to the question Allow the camera to use your location? or similar one. Your device is sending pin-point location data to the agps.location.live.net and inference.location.live.net in order to communicate with Microsoft servers before you say Yes or No. And we can only guess whether Microsoft collects those data or just uses and deletes it.
OnStar Measures More Than It Should
This company is well-known for their GPS systems. When your vehicle is equipped with OnStar GPS tracker, company is able to collect such information as speed of your car and its location, even if your subscription has not been paid for. Thus if you have placed their GPS in your vehicle just once, it know where you are and how fast you are going all the time. By the way, OnStar has all necessary rights to sell those data to third parties.
Android Apps Are Watching You
The report of Android Police shows clearly that any app with basic access to the Internet automatically gets access to many things like GPS location of the user, phone calls, various system logs and many other info it should have no access to at all. While device manufacturers and app creators are trying to solve this problem, who knows where our personal data goes?
Stingray Cell Phone Tracking System
This system is used by the FBI to track your cell phone down even if it is switched off. Stingray is mimicking a cell phone tower, making mobile phone to connect to this tower and measuring outgoing signals from the cell phone. This sequence lets Stingray’s operator to ping (send signal to) your mobile phone and easily locate it during its power is on. Isn’t that scary?
Data Eye In The Sky
This governmental project reminds me science fiction movies, just read about it and you will understand why. This automated system of data collection will be focused on patterns of population’s communication, consumption and movement. It will use all publicly accessible data (and from the text above you know that it is really huge mass of our private data), including web searches, various blog entries, whole Internet traffic flow, such info like financial market indicators, pictures and video from traffic webcams and even changes in any Wikipedia entry. Is this really going to be created?
OKCupid Is Sharing Your Personal Data
If you are using some kind of dating services on the Internet, watch your steps! Online dating site OKCupid is sending many personal data like your gender, age, relationship status, zip code and even drug use frequency (who need that anyway?) to the 2 companies which sell personal information in their auctions. Companies named BlueKai and Lotame.
Rottentomatoes And Cafemom
Those dotcoms are sending your personal information to dozens of various websites like scorecardresearch.com, google-analytics.com, quantserve.com and other similar websites across the Internet. On average half of the internet sites transmit personal data of their users to at least one domain, and that domain is not always owned by the same company.
The Bottom Line
Am I missing something? Do you know more colorful examples of our privacy breaking? Does all this stuff good or bad for the development of our society, how do you think? Remember, when someone tries to watch your life illegally, you can use illegal methods like reliable signal jammers to protect your personal information too!
Your opinion is important to us, so share your thoughts in the comments!