Psssst! The world is watching you
By Michael Bazeley
Date: May 17, 2003
These are sobering times for Internet users who value their privacy.
The government has expanded its online surveillance authority after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Web users are bombarded almost daily with warnings about cyberterrorism, hackers, worms, spyware, identity theft and cookies.
It seems you can't go online these days without wondering who is spying on you or surreptitiously sucking up all your personal information.
Fortunately, there are myriad tools for Internet users who want to reclaim at least some privacy.
Encrypted e-mail, "anonymous" Web surfing and software that crushes cookies and eats spyware can help reduce your online exposure.
Consider, though, how paranoid you want to be. Building a virtual wall around your online self can be time-consuming and hinder your Internet experience.
Law-abiding citizens probably do not have to worry about the government trolling their e-mail or logging their Web-surfing habits, privacy experts say. On the other hand, hackers, unscrupulous network administrators, co-workers and online marketers all could be trying to scoop up personal information about you without your knowledge.
"I think things have definitely gotten worse," said Lee Tien, a privacy attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "What has changed is the technology makes it easier to track people, to mine data about people. It's cheaper to analyze data. And with the cheaper technology, they can store more data." Full story
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