16/07/07

As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil — personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it’s your right to know what data is being collected about you. [. . .]

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Glossary

  • breadcrumbs – a small fragment of bread / a series of connected pieces of information or evidence
  • consent – permission for something to happen or agreement to do something
  • lurk – be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something
  • merit – the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward
  • pedantic – excessively concerned with minor details or rules; overscrupulous
  • stalk – pursue or approach stealthily
  • idly – in an aimless or lazy way

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Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause at times indicated in brackets.

  • What does the number refer 8 refer to? (0:47)
  • How are Internet users similar to Hansel and Grettel? (1:20)
  • What kind of information do we leave behind online? What is behavioral tracking? (2:28)
  • What does the number 150 refer to? (4:41)
  • What does the collusion extension for Firefox do?

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Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Now don’t ________ me wrong, I’m not for one minute suggesting that sharing data is ________ bad thing. ________ fact, when I know the data that’s being shared and I’m asked explicitly ________ my consent, I want some sites to understand my habits. It helps them suggest books for me to read or movies for my family to watch or friends for us to connect ________. But when I don’t know and when I haven’t ________ asked, that’s when the problem arises. It’s a phenomenon on ________ Internet today called behavioral tracking, and it is very big business.

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Use the words in capital letters in the appropriate form.

In fact, there’s an entire industry formed around following us through the digital woods and compiling a profile on each of us. And when all of that data is held, they can do almost whatever they want with it.This is an area today that has very few ________ REGULATE and even fewer rules. Except for some of the recent ________ ANNOUNCE here in the United States and in Europe, it’s an area of ________ CONSUMPTION protection that’s almost entirely naked.

So let me expose this lurking industry a little bit ________ FAR. The ________ VISUAL you see forming behind me is called Collusion and it’s an ________ EXPERIMENT browser add-on that you can install in your Firefox browser that helps you see where your Web data is going and who’s tracking you. The red dots you see up there are sites that are ________ BEHAVE tracking that I have not navigated to, but are following me. The blue dots are the sites that I’ve actually navigated directly to. And the gray dots are sites that are also tracking me, but I have no idea who they are. All of them are ________ CONNECTION, as you can see, to form a picture of me on the Web. And this is my profile.

Answers: http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_kovacs_tracking_the_trackers/transcript?language=en

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Explore it more

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