December, 2000- Various Topics
In this issue:
- Our feature article - Cookie Update
- On The Lighter Side
- Warning to Mobile Phone Users
- Our Monthly Promotion
1. Cookie UpdateThe following information comes from www.cookiecentral.com . This is an excellent site that clarifies all the mystery and confusion regarding the "cookies" that are placed on your computer by third parties while you surf the Internet. We have added this web site to our Privacy Links page as it is a useful resource for combating the ability of others to invade the privacy of your computer.
Netscape's Communicator third party cookie option foiled.
Last month we explained some of the new features Netscape's Communicator offers to reject cookies, in particular was the option to only accept cookies that are returned to the domain which you are currently logged onto. This option is very useful for blocking out cookies from third party advertising servers. But, some of the marketing companies have taken the first step to foil this option.
Some companies now use the same domain for advertising as the site you're visiting. Until a few weeks ago, all requests for some advertising banners came from marketing companies third party servers, so Communicator's third party option denied cookies from these domains. Now some sites have set-up forwarding domains, so the domain of the profiling cookie is now coming from the primary site you're logged onto, rather than a third party server, thus the cookies are now accepted.
One of the first companies to adopt this service is Global Track, suppliers of targeting advertising for many sites, an example being Deja news. At the Deja news site, you are normally set a cookie that is allocated with a unique ID number, this is then used for user profiling. This cookie was previously set from a third party domain called gtp.globaltrack.com. It is now set from a Deja news domain called gtp.dejanews.com, which makes it a primary domain because it contains dejanews.com. The Deja news web site; www.dejanews.com is now able to set cookies from this primary domain, making the Communicators option useless.
One option that stands no chance of being avoided, is Communicators option to 'deny all cookies'. The marketing companies still maintain that profiling isn't an invasion of privacy, because the users remain anonymous. But it would be nice to know what's going on instead of fooling our browsers.
Editors Comment:This is why Privacy World recommends disabling ALL cookies on your browser.
2. On the Lighter Side
SOCIALISM:You have two cows. The government takes one to give to someone else.
COMMUNISM:You have two cows. The government takes both and gives you the milk.
FASCISM:You have two cows. The government takes both and sells you the milk.
NAZISM:You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
BUREAUCRACY:You have two cows. The government takes both, shoots one and pours the milk down the drain.
CAPITALISM:You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
ANARCHY:Steal neighbor's bull, shoot the government.
Warning To All Mobile Phone OwnersThe exact movements of people using mobile phones can now be traced years later employing new technology. In a development that will have ramifications for users of mobile phones, the British police hope to tie the alleged killer to the scene of his crime because even though he did not use his phone, it was left switched on. When activated, mobile phones are in effect miniature tracking devices, pointing to their owners whereabouts at any given time, even if no calls are made or received. Electronic signals, pin-pointing the devices location for incoming calls, are stored in some phone companies' computers for up to two years.
Civil rights supporters have raise fears that the technology would give security agencies and computer hackers the power to monitor people's everyday movements. It's pretty creepy to know that data like this can be kept for so long. While one is keen that someone who has committed murder should be caught, the knowledge that someone not suspected of any crime can be tracked is extremely worrying.
In the coming murder trial, the suspect, arrested more than a year after the crime, claimed that he was miles away at the time. He told police that his mobile phone never left his side. The prosecution will produce evidence alleging that from computer records the police were able to track the accused's entire journey from his place of work to the murder scene and back again, ever though no calls were made or received.
William Ostrom, of Cellnet, one of Britain's largest mobile phone companies, said the data were stored to help the firm's billing. He said: "We can tell where any one of our mobile phones was, as long as it was switched on, for any time and date in the past two years. It's exactly the same for all four mobile networks in Britain, which deal with nearly seven million users. 'lt's something we do not really draw attention to. A lot of people assume that if they do not use the phone, they are safe from detection. That is not the case. We are helping the police with three cases at the moment."
A spokesman for Vodafone admitted that similar data is held on its computer records for "some months". Orange, another mobile phone retailer, refused to comment. Jonathon Cooper, of Liberty, the civil rights group, said the implications of computer records holding such intimate detail of people's private lives were profoundly worrying. "It is extremely disturbing that this information is held and people don't know about it. It has profound implications if the wrong sort of person gets hold of it. These computer records might be open to abuse. This needs to be drawn to people's attention.
"But I suppose some people might welcome such knowledge, like the wife who is interested where her husband spent all those Thursday nights when he claimed to be in the office.
Editor's Comment:Most of us are probably aware that our location could be located via cell phone transmission when the authorities have a reason to find you. The fact that EVERY cell phone can be pinpointed at EVERY location during EVERY minute it was turned on for the last few YEARS is frightening. Big brother is alive and well. Privacy World has a product that is much more secure than your standard cell phone. Please see our monthly promotion below.
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