Online privacy issue, thought you should know

Hey everyone,

I was alerted today (stupid me being an internet person and network admin) about an online company at http://www.engage.com .
The issue at hand is, they track your movements through your internet surfing. Look at your cookies (most will be located at C:\Windows\Cookies) to see if you have this cookie on your hard drive.

The company’s web site claims that your information is anonymous and only used for marketing purposes. The problem I see is, until an alert person at work told me about it, I never knew data was being collected about my surfing habits. It’s none of their freakin business!

I can’t find the page that talked about it, but it claims to catalog 9 million sites. In addition to that, there are over 30 million user profiles in their database.

The guy who told me heard that no one can access the information that pertains to themselves or family.

They do have an “opt out” cookie you can get which 'sposedly will stop the tracking.

After reading more into what they are about and you want to get off their list, go to: http://www.engage.com/privacy/knowprivacy.htm to get the opt out cookie.

Just thought I would pass this on!

I’ve put the DELTREE /Y command into the autoexec.bat to delete all cookies and history files from my computers. You of coarse have to set it for the correct directories. The files all delete at every startup. Since the computer is still not running Windows 98, the history files can be deleted. You can’t delete user history files while Windows is running.

You can easily set your browser to not accept cookies. Or warn if they are about to be…

I would simply refuse cookies, but there are several sites that I frequent that I prefer they remember me.

Anyhow, just thought I would let others know :slight_smile:

It sounds to me like they partner with certain web sites, and can only collect connection information when you visit those particular sites. So they can’t get a general picture of your surfing habits - they can only get info on your visits to sites with which they have a partnership. (I don’t know how many that might be, or which they are).

Sounds like a good reason to never visit those sites! (I have my browser configured to accept, but not save cookies, so this wouldn’t work for me anyway).


peas on earth

Doing it my way keeps your preferences after setting them once per computer turn on. The next person that uses the computer can’t check the personal stuff out.

As unsettling as it may be for someone raised in the everyone-is-special era, you have to accept that you, individually, are insignificant. That site doesn’t have a team of people personally going over each person’s history. They don’t care if the last place you visited was wallstreet.com or a Swedish pornographic site depicting misshaped, nude, blindfolded dwarves in high heels stepping on mice and frogs, unless they themselves are a provider of financial advice or Swedish pornography.

Neither your extra-marital affairs nor your interest in coprophagy concerns them as much as whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi, Diet or Regular, Ford or Mercury, McDonalds or Burger King, Democrat or Republican, Nike or Reebok, Celine Dion or Britney Spears, Timotei or Pantene.

You are consumer of mass-produced, mass-market products. As a group, being fed mass-culture through mass-media, you can make, break or extend the latest trend. As an individual you are statistically insignificant. They, the producers, are only interested in how they can extract money from you, how they can you back to the assembly line, producing more of the latest fad, so you can go out and buy the products which you know you want because you have been told so by the market-driven information that has permeated every single interaction in your entire life.

Are you more concerned with dandruff, body odour and the colour of your teeth or would you rather raise your social standing with a new car or an expensive stereo? Would your friends like you more if you wore Tommy Hillfiger or Calvin Klein? Do you intend to attract women with the rugged image of Marlboro or the laid-back sophistication of Kool?

STOP RESISTING.

Accept your place in society. Your outrage, disgust or distress will not make a difference. Your protest will be noted, filed in the appropriate place, and forgotten about.

IT DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Go on with your life. Accept it. You have no choice.

THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

Your privacy has not been invaded. Your personal life doesn’t matter, only statistics do. You could tell them not to monitor you, but it doesn’t matter because

YOU ARE INSIGNIFICANT.

Just stop thinking about it.

Konrad,

HUH?

Just letting you know that there are more important things in life than worrying about who’s tracking your spending habits.

You will not make a difference by turning off your cookies. If you want to be an individual there are far more important things to think about than your c:\windows\cookies directory.

Konrad makes me feel so special!

I would prefer ->THEY<-, the dark conspiracy know less about me. I get enough junk mail and telephone calls as it is.

The information gathered through cookies is very attractive to companies who wish to target you. If you are not on yet another list then the likelihood of yet another evening call is decreased.

Turning off cookies creates a real pain in the neck and getting to not be an option. Cleaning out your cookie file is a good way to go. If ->THEY<- want some infomation from me they can pay me for it.

I just got a cookie in the last five minutes from track-star.com. Not sure how that got in there as I have only gone to SD and CNN since the file was cleared.

Which brings up the point of extra net traffic. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Doubleclick, a company like Engage. If I go to SD it seems like it generates packets from Doubleclick back to my computer. If I click on the CR banner about 3-4 % of the traffic generated is back to me from Doubleclick. If the moderator reads this may be they can comment if SD or CR is linked to Doubleclick or if Doubleclick is doing this on their own. I see lots of Doubleclick traffic coming to my computer and I hate to see the bandwidth decreased.

If track-start.com has left you a present you can get call 800-220-2099.

Thanks for the info on Engage.
You can get off AT&T lists @ 800-222-0300.

You can ask the people who call you evenings to take you off their lists. Recently I found out that the callers are marketing companies below other marketing companies below the top hiring firm. If you request to get off “their” list it may do no good as the companies above will still retain you on their lists. If your the type to ask to be taken off lists then ask to what lists are being used by what company etc. Also, ask for a confirmation letter that you are being removed. I actually have received them back.

If anyone knows about cookie related traffic generation please post it in or send me an email. I’m looking to understand what kind of traffic is generated other than: 1) the exchange on going to a site I go to and 2) the exchanges when you activly clicking through a site your visiting.


Carp are not that bad, trust me.

Konrad,

The thing that bugs me is they don’t tell you that they are tracking your movements through the 'net. I consider that invasion of privacy.

If I choose to have On Star or whatever that global tracking thing is called, in my car, then that’s my deal. But the moment people start tracking you with no knowledge it is certainly a big deal to me. Cars, people or the 'net, if we are being “watched” without knowledge I find that intrusive.

A friend of mine creates porno sites for a living, and makes good money at it. He calls me up and asks me to look at his site for critiques. I do it because he values my opinion etc. I don’t like the idea that they may have this information on me. Personally, I find porno sites disgusting but from a design standpoint I am willing to help him out.

I also frequent a lot of political oriented sites, it’s no one’s business that I do that. And, I also frequent other web desginer’s sites to see what the competition is up to.

I find unauthorized tracking has no place in a free society…I think that this is leading to a GD issue, but I don’t want to go there on this topic. I want this to be a thread the opens up other such tracking information that the majority don’t know about.

No matter how much you might not like the sound of it, Konrad is dead-on right though. They DON’T really care about you the individual.

As I’ve previously mentioned on another thread, I work for a company that provides loyalty marketing solutions for the grocery industry. We collect data, lots of it, on people’s shopping habits. This data is then used only to target specific promotions to specific consumers in order to reward them for their patronage and encourage them to take advantage of goods or services they haven’t previously purchased. In the end, it’s just high-tech, targeted advertising, they are trying to get you to spend as much of your money as possible with them instead of with their competitors. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and you can do with your money what you wish, regardless of their attempts to persuade you.

Just stop to think about it for a minute…Besides the internet, is your life really that private to begin with??? Now, I’m not talking about your personal life, that’s not at stake, yet. I’m talking about everything else that most people consider tightly guarded information.

If you look at detailed credit reports, it soon becomes clear that a lot of what you thought was private info, is most definitely not. And if you think about the fact that behind every bank, credit-card company, and government office, etc. there are employees who have access to ALL your data, it soon becomes clear that not much is really private anymore.

We are moving towards a society where, like it or not, the people who duck and take cover may soon find out that they are missing out on a great many opportunites they could have taken advantage of had they only been out in the open. Isolation breeds desolation.

voltaire,

Does that make it right? Nope…I am not blind to the fact that we are being watched in virtually anything we do but it doesn’t make it right. There is a point where we have to stop this unauthorized data collection. In fact there is a bill in the house or senate that makes our medical records easier to get…they are also considering placing a separate number (separate from our social security numbers) as our medical record identifiers. This is not only unethical, it can be very damaging to people. You could be declined for a job because you had an abortion or have a history of minor mental illness.

Dangit, stop this now (talking to self too) this is becoming a GD thread, I don’t want that at all. It was intended as a means to inform others of the company and a way to help protect your personal privacy a little bit. Not meant as a means by which to debate whether or not this happens and the ramifications of such data collecting.

Every little bit of information to help people protect themselves is important.

Besides the puter, we are being observed everywhere. Mimi cams in stores, at intersections, etc. track us throughout our day. I agree with Conrad, what does it matter? They have no personal interest in me. Nor I in them. If big brother is watching me he is boared shitless.


If chickens could pee, they would be wet on the bottom.

Sometimes I feel misunderstood.

It does matter. But there are more important things to worry about. This is a symptom, not a cause.

Here is one thing that you should be more worried about:

How can you not see the sarcasm in:


Save yourself! Go outside! Do something! http://www.morehouse.org/hin/cdc/cdc328.txt

Nope, didn’t see it.

The fact is that you can count on recieving junk mail regardless of who tracks your surfing habits.

Tracking simply means that the junk mail you recieve will have at least SOME relation to what interests you.

About 99% of the junk email I recieve is just that, JUNK. But, some of the coolest stuff and best deals I have found on the net have come to me in “junk” mail.

Considering what I saved just on my Christmas shopping this year, I would just as soon be tracked.

I simply don’t believe I’m SO important that anyone is going to notice ME among millions of people in an internet database.

      • I tend to think that a lot of the "privacy issues people complain about on the net are a load, simply for the reason already mentioned. If someone had the money and the inclination, there’s precious little they couldn’t find out about you anyway- ITRW or online. If they want data collected on 50 million people, well, it’s possible, but that’s a hell of a lot of reading to do. - I can see the point behind not making it as easy as possible but you also gotta remember too, that there are still patriot wackos in Idaho suing the government for making them put license plates on their cars. - MC

I’m not all that concerned about some computer company knowing that I visit the SDMD frequently. Or that I bought a couple books from Barnes & Noble.

But yesterday I received a bill from a medical group b/c our insurance company hadn’t paid my husband’s bill. I called the doctor to make sure they had the correct information, and when the lady asked me what the account number was, I was a tad disturbed that it was his Social Security number. So not only do they have his name and birthdate, but every data processor at the billing center has easy access to every patient’s SSN. Not a very secure system, IMO.