How to fight back against privacy pirates

By Julie Sartain, Network World |  Security, privacy

"This is true," adds Siciliano. "There is no service that I am aware of that can guarantee 100% removal of all online identity data.'' Vendors such as McAfee and others offer identity protection software, which includes credit monitoring across all three credit bureaus, unlimited credit reports, lost wallet protection, plus Internet and public records monitoring."

Track the trackers

Companies such as Intelius, Spokeo, MyLife, PeekYou, BeenVerified, PeopleFinder, and Radaris (to name a few) collect your personal information, sell it, then make it difficult, if not impossible, to get it removed.

It's true that most of these companies have an "Opt Out" option but, unfortunately, you have to "register" and agree to their terms; thereby confirming (and updating) your personal information before you can Opt Out. Some even require a scan of your driver's license before you can request removal.

Siciliano says, "If you want to spend the time requesting information removal, you should keep in mind that it's only a matter of time before your information is out there, everywhere, all over again."

Think about it. Every time you access the Internet, your activities are being tracked. One free product that you can download to see who's tracking you and then block them from mining data off your computer is Abine's DoNotTrackPlus. This won't remove any of your personal information, but it will help prevent continued surveillance and distribution.

However, if removal is your goal, Abine has another product/service called DeleteMe, which monitors and continually removes your personal data, but only from specific data aggregation sites, not from the Internet in general or from sites where the information originated, like phone books and databases of public records.

Hide your IP address

There are also a number of IP scrambler programs, such as Virtual World Computing's Cocoon, which reveals you as a generic "Cocoon user" to anyone who's looking. "Cocoon acts as a smart proxy," says Brian Fox, co-founder and CTO. "When a user is logged into Cocoon, only Cocoon's IP address can be seen, not the users', and cookies can be easily blocked entirely, or just stored in your Cocoon account. Without Cocoon, cookies are stored in your browser and freely given and shared with websites and ad networks without your knowledge."

According to Fox, Cocoon protects your privacy both externally and internally. For example, it protects you from identity theft on public WiFi, by providing you a secure, encrypted way to connect to the Web over unencrypted WiFi. Without this, your connection can be intercepted along with the data you enter into websites, including passwords and credit card numbers, which can be exposed.

Read the 'terms of service'


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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