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Fri Aug 23, 2019, 10:01 AM

I Visited 47 Sites. Hundreds of Trackers Followed Me.

Earlier this year, an editor working on The Times’s Privacy Project asked me whether I’d be interested in having all my digital activity tracked, examined in meticulous detail and then published — you know, for journalism. “Hahaha,” I said, and then I think I made an “at least buy me dinner first” joke, but it turned out he was serious. What could I say? I’m new here, I like to help, and, conveniently, I have nothing whatsoever at all to hide.

Like a colonoscopy, the project involved some special prep. I had to install a version of the Firefox web browser that was created by privacy researchers to monitor how websites track users’ data. For several days this spring, I lived my life through this Invasive Firefox, which logged every site I visited, all the advertising tracking servers that were watching my surfing and all the data they obtained. Then I uploaded the data to my colleagues at The Times, who reconstructed my web sessions into the gloriously invasive picture of my digital life you see here. (The project brought us all very close; among other things, they could see my physical location and my passwords, which I’ve since changed.)

What did we find? The big story is as you’d expect: that everything you do online is logged in obscene detail, that you have no privacy. And yet, even expecting this, I was bowled over by the scale and detail of the tracking; even for short stints on the web, when I logged into Invasive Firefox just to check facts and catch up on the news, the amount of information collected about my endeavors was staggering.

The session documented here took place on a weekday in June. At the time, I was writing a column about Elizabeth Warren’s policy-heavy political strategy, which involved a lot of Google searches, a lot of YouTube videos, and lots of visits to news sites and sites of the candidates themselves. As soon as I logged on that day, I was swarmed — ad trackers surrounded me, and, identifying me by a 19-digit number I think of as a prisoner tag, they followed me from page to page as I traipsed across the web.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/23/opinion/data-internet-privacy-tracking.html

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Reply I Visited 47 Sites. Hundreds of Trackers Followed Me. (Original post)
Zorro Aug 23 OP
dalton99a Aug 23 #1
keithbvadu2 Aug 23 #2
Mosby Aug 23 #3
BigmanPigman Aug 23 #4

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 23, 2019, 10:31 AM

1. To cut down on the bullshit, put these on your browser:

uBlock Origin and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 23, 2019, 10:58 AM

2. Immediately after looking at Jeeps, I had ads for Jeeps. Fast action results.

Immediately after looking at Jeeps, I had ads for Jeeps.

Fast action results.

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Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 23, 2019, 02:06 PM

3. I sort of like that

I have been watching a lot of videos about watches and I recently bought an automatic at amazon. Now all the ads I see are pics of high quality mech watches.

Can't complain about that.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 23, 2019, 08:02 PM

4. It IS fast...and creepy!

If I Google a Swatch watch from the 80s within 24 hours Swatch and other related items flood my tablet. If I read an article on my tablet about Mick Jagger's newest great grandchild I get Jagger related stories coming at me right and left for a week. I hate it!

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