When you’re online, you’re being tracked, stalked, hunted, and your personal information– everything there is to know about you– is being harvested by a growing variety of entities. These trackers and stalkers have one thing in mind. To gather as much information about you as possible, to share that information with each other, and to form what amounts to a personal, data-driven dossier on you.
a collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject.
“we have a dossier on him”
: a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject the patient’s medical dossier Police began compiling a dossier on him.
That pretty much describes the amount of information collected about you by a variety of disparate sources. From Google to Amazon, from the government to your internet service provider, and most of the websites you visit, information about you is being collected, sliced, diced, shared, and used to form a personal profile about your online viewing habits, what you read, where you shop, where you spend money, and that includes members of your family.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, but the internet allows it to be carried to an extreme. Catalog publishers have been doing the same thing– collecting data about subscribers and anyone else– for many decades. Credit card companies, too. They share the data they collect. Google, Amazon, and online advertisers have become quiet experts at what they do.
For example, while you’re searching Google, rummaging through products on Amazon or other shopping websites, you’re being tracked. Days later you may notice additional advertisements about products you viewed days or weeks earlier. Tracking gives advertisers information about your online activities.
Apple could help customers prevent or diminish such tracking and stalking. First, Safari could have more built-in privacy options regarding cookies, tracking scripts, and blockers for ads that track. Second, Apple is wealthy enough to create and manage a worldwide VPN network– virtual private network– that limits advertiser’s ability to track and determine a specific customer when they’re online. Third, Apple could do more regarding email security, including adoption of a PGP-like encryption technology to provide more secure email content.
Such a VPN would help to reduce tracking and stalking and provide customers with more privacy and security. True, it could make Apple’s ecosystem even more of a walled garden, but how is that a bad thing?
Ian Paul has a quick hit list of three privacy tools to help block some of the tracking. These range from using HTTPS everywhere you visit online, using a VPN, and adjusting your devices DNS.
We cannot expect Google, Microsoft, Amazon, or those with a vested financial interest in our personal information to curb their efforts to track people while they’re online. Apple can be expected to help with a dramatic change to customer privacy and security.
Last year I stopped all the tracking mechanisms on McSolo. No Google AdSense advertising, no Google Analytics trackers, no advertising trackers, not even a cookie. My site’s webpages load faster and don’t track you while you read, plus, the few advertisers on the site are only Apple-oriented. I hope you appreciate the extra effort involved to make your visit to the site worthwhile.