domingo, 8 de agosto de 2010

On Computers, Cookies, and Beacons

Some people still surf the Web without thinking at all about their privacy. Firefox does its best to offer solutions that let users surf and at the same time protect their identity. However, Internet spying on users is becoming more and more difficult to prevent.

This article provides very useful information about one of the latest trends used by companies to spy on Web surfers and collect information about them: Beacons.

According to the article, Beacons are small files stored in a computer. They consist of a single code that stores data about specific user. For example, in the case of the woman in the article,

The file consists of a single code— 4c812db292272995e5416a323e79bd37—that secretly identifies her as a 26-year-old female in Nashville, Tenn.The code knows that her favorite movies include "The Princess Bride," "50 First Dates" and "10 Things I Hate About You." It knows she enjoys the "Sex and the City" series. It knows she browses entertainment news and likes to take quizzes.

Now, wasn't that the same as a cookie?

Not really. Cookies are text files that keep track of the websites a person visits, so they are much more limited and open to scrutiny. See the difference?

We don't stand much a chance with the increase of these tracking technologies. I don't want to sound paranoid, but did you read about Samy Kamkar, the hacker who successfully tracked online one computer with an error margin of 9 meters?

2 comentarios:

  1. That's pretty scary. Maybe that's why I'm a little reluctant to use Web storage services...I don't know, maybe I'm also paranoid.

  2. We should create something like Webparanoids Anonymous :P