In the wake of the news that the EU has given the go ahead for the government and the police to hack into anyone's PC at will, here is a chilling little message for anyone who, like The GOS, uses Yahoo! Groups to discuss their hobbies and interests with like-minded people.
Yahoo! is now using something called "Web Beacons" to track every Yahoo Group user. It's similar to cookies, but allows Yahoo to record every website and every group you visit, even when you're not connected to Yahoo.
Look at their updated privacy statement here. About half-way down the page, in the section on "cookies", you will see a link that says "WEB BEACONS". Click on the phrase "Web Beacons". On the page that opens, on the left find a box entitled "Opt-Out."
In that section find "opt-out of interest-matched advertising". Click it and then click the opt-out button on the next page, but be careful that you do not 'opt in' again.
If there's any doubt in your mind that this is meant to track all your internet use, be aware that Web Beacons isn't user-specific. It is machine specific. That means you will have to opt-out on every computer you use, and also in every browser if, like us, you use more than one (for the IT-less-than-literate, a browser is the programme you use to connect to the internet. Internet Explorer is the most common, but there are others like Firefox and Opera. A bit patronising, that. Sorry).
Still, we suppose we can console ourselves with the knowledge that all this will help in the war against terror, and that if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear.
You know, like train-spotters taking photographs …
The GOS says: We'd love to hear how successful Windows Firewall or ZoneAlarm or other firewall software will be at protecting us from government or police snooping. And whether anti-Trojan software like Ad-Aware will pick up Yahoo's little cookies.
Any IT experts out there?
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
Copyright © 2008 The GOS
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