Q&A: Privacy pioneer Ray Everett

The world's first chief privacy officer has been fighting for consumer rights since most people thought spam was just for lunch. Now he's doing battle over Do Not Track.

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8. What's your best advice for consumers who are concerned about their online activities being tracked? What steps should they take to protect themselves?

Consumers who are concerned with their online activities being tracked should learn to use the ‘private browsing’ features of their favorite Web browser. Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox all offer private browsing modes that erase cookies and can complicate the ability of trackers to follow you. But they’re not fool-proof. For example, the sites may still capture any data you enter on their page, or they may keep a record of your IP address and what pages you visit. So get familiar with how to block cookies, either using browser settings or plugins like Privacy Choice’s TrackerBlock.

Ultimately, though, consumers need to understand that advertising is an important part of what makes today’s Internet work and it’s what keeps many of our favorite sites online. Life is all about these tradeoffs and as long as you’re aware, appropriately skeptical, and use the tools available to you, you can take back some measure of control.

9. There is no question number nine.

The answer is 42.

10. Anything else you'd like to add?

Happy holidays!

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

Facebook's 'man in the middle' attack on our data

Making Facebook private won't protect you

How to keep hackers out of your Google, Facebook, and Twitter accounts

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