I always get a bit of a creepy feeling when I am on a website I have never visited before and they serve me an advertisement for some completely unrelated product or service I was researching days earlier.
When it continued happening to me AFTER I opt-ed out of Google’s customized advertising I went to, where else, Google to understand why. That is when I found this great article about some methods and tools for protecting your privacy online.
I love this article about methods to protect your privacy online using Network Advertising Initiatives opt-out program. This advice by Dennis O’Reilly is especially useful if, like me, you are a person who uses a lot of Google services.
According the the entropy theory explained by Peter Eckersley on the EFF’s DeepLinks blog, 33 bits of entropy are sufficient to identify a person. According to Eckersley, knowing a person’s birth date and month (not year) and ZIP code gives you 32 bits of entropy. Also knowing the person’s gender (50/50, so one bit of entropy) gets you to the identifiable threshold of 33 bits.
While people are rightly concerned about who is watching and recording their Web activities, at least Google makes it possible to use the company’s services without being too forthcoming with your personal information. ISPs and other Web services do as much tracking as Google–or more–but garner far fewer headlines.
After all, the true threat to privacy is from the trackers we don’t know about, and who aren’t household names.
via How to prevent Google from tracking you by Dennis O’Reilly for C|net