I’m very concerned with controlling information on the internet. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are making it easier and easier for us to share large amounts of information about ourselves with the world. I see this as mainly good, as long as one spends the time to assess and manage the settings that control what levels of access are granted. What does scare me is the access to information about us that we are sharing without even knowing about it.
The invisible web
Many sites that we visit do a variety of things to keep track of where we have been and where we are going. The web is full of tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons that are included on web pages in order to get an idea of your online behavior. Sometimes these elements are obvious, but most of the time they are not. A quick visit to msnbc.com reveals that 5 different companies have elements on that page that are trying to get some information about you.
I’ve recently discovered Ghostery which “tracks the trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity”. So far, I’m very impressed. Versions exist for most of the major browsers.