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Beware! You are being tracked online

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Beware! You are being tracked online - Technology news

By SiliconIndia
Tuesday, 26 April 2011, 04:00 IST

Bangalore: You simply surf the web and can avoid other sites that use tools from Facebook, Twitter, Google and others that give you more social experience - That's impossible. Whenever you visit a site having a Like button, data including the address of the site you are visiting is sent to Facebook. No matter you are logged in or not, they have all the information they would need with your Facebook identity. With privacy issues at the vanguard of technology news, it is vital to note that these social media tools track user's behavior.

In computing, the web browsing history means the list of web pages a user has visited recently and associated data such as page title and time of visit, which is recorded by web browser software as standard for a certain period of time. Apart from the web browser software itself, third-party services can also record a user's web browsing history. The worrying part of third-party tracking of your daily surfing is that there are many things companies can do with this information that isn't so beneficial to its users.

Banner ads are the ones that can track your browsing history. Each advert sets a cookie in your browser, and when you visit another site with ads served by the same provider, this cookie will be sent back with the referring URL. For instance, if you visit facebook.com the tracking cookie will be set in your browser. Even after visiting Facebook, the tracking cookie will still be sent to Facebook when any Like buttons are loaded on other sites. How to avoid that?

A user can avoid that by deleting all Facebook cookies from the browser, or even surf in his browser's incognito/anonymous mode. Apart from that there are some other ways which can be effective in this regard.

Disconnect, an open-source browser add-on developed by a former Google engineer, Brian Kennish can block third-party tracking scripts from major data gatherers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter. It blocks tracker scripts from collecting information from the user, such as Facebook Like buttons or those auto-login sites, and de-personalizes the user's searches on Google. A user can also use other computers as proxies to hide their IP address from the web sites they visit or the other computers they communicate with on the Internet.

Since web browsers play an ever more central role in our use of computers, and even becoming the only way to interact with a machine, it?s obvious that the subject of privacy keeps coming up. And with privacy comes along the topic of how we are tracked on the web. While registering or doing business with a Web site, the user should always review its privacy policy to see how it will use your information. You should never do business with any site that doesn't have a clearly stated privacy policy
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