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I agree. Mrs. P & I dine at certain restaurants on a monthly basis because they treat us like family, and we are able to reserve the same table each month. Some of the chefs prepare complementary dishes for us that aren't on the menu, & we share our wine with them. We are also friendly with the servers, and request the same server each month when possible. When some of our regular servers are off on the day that we dine, they will call the server who is taking care of us to tell them that we don't like to be rushed, and to take good care of us :) We appreciate them as much as they appreciate us. That is much better than going to some huge conglomerate restaurant where nobody knows you & the staff changes weekly. There are too many restaurants out there to waste our time at some place where they don't appreciate our patronage.

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Okay, maybe not creepy. But in lieu of my being a regular whose tastes are known, if any place tried looking at my browsing history (which I suppose is possible), much consternation would ensue on their part and hilarity on mine. Because of the variety of books I work on, I look at sites that have no apparent single line straight through them. And even where we are somewhat regulars, I doubt there's a discernible ordering pattern that would lead them to be able to second-guess us successfully.

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Browsing history isn't available unless you're the NSA or an ISP.

 

Unless someone was leaving a digital trail by using a consistent and known user ID no "civilian" outfit could track you or me.

 

Of course if Google opens up a restaurant I'm in real trouble.

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Every business you deal with is either stupid or collecting and using this information. Often badly, it's true.

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Browsing history isn't available unless you're the NSA or an ISP.

 

Unless someone was leaving a digital trail by using a consistent and known user ID no "civilian" outfit could track you or me.

 

Of course if Google opens up a restaurant I'm in real trouble.

What? It's anonymized, but your online behavior, including on mobile devices, is absolutely available via cookies, java scripts... And there are tools which will connect your identity across devices. Did you never search for a new power drill online and get followed by weeks of ads for power drills?

 

If you're curious about who's tracking you, download ghostery.

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Right.

 

Simplest example - MFF knows which IP Lex is browsing from right now, and it could share that information with any third party - even ones who do not enjoy the all-knowingness of Google or FB.

 

Worse yet - MFF can collect information on Lex's browser, plugins, screen resolution, color rendering, mouse movement regimes, etc. that would let such a third party identify Lex with great certainty. MFF can also correlate anonymized data from google analytics with known information to keelp tracking Lex even if he's logged out and is using a different IP.

 

And those "I am not a robot" captchas - they're really "I am Lex" captchas.

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Right.

 

Simplest example - MFF knows which IP Lex is browsing from right now, and it could share that information with any third party - even ones who do not enjoy the all-knowingness of Google or FB.

 

Worse yet - MFF can collect information on Lex's browser, plugins, screen resolution, color rendering, mouse movement regimes, etc. that would let such a third party identify Lex with great certainty. MFF can also correlate anonymized data from google analytics with known information to keelp tracking Lex even if he's logged out and is using a different IP.

 

And those "I am not a robot" captchas - they're really "I am Lex" captchas.

 

I'm really interested in all of this. I'd like to know what risks I'm running. Could you (or someone else) supply a couple of links to articles or sites which would describe the areas of vulnerability in more detail? At this point I'm not getting very much of a "customized" Internet experience.

 

Exception - A few weeks ago I did some Googling for a certain type of light fixture. In the next few weeks I noticed some ads on various sites mentioning that type of fixture. That seems to have stopped. I've never seen that before. For years I've Googled different restaurants and cuisines but I've never gotten ads that relate to my food searches.

 

Youtube and Amazon, OTOH, regularly link to content similar to things I've viewed or purchased before.

 

ETA - My Google Feed pops up articles that relate to searches and sites I've viewed before. I've always assumed that Google tracks that type of information and by extension could share it with the government and law enforcement. Because I live an unexciting life I haven't worried about that.

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I knew that too. They also have a record of your IP address. That's how some boards identified users who re-registered under different user IDs.

 

I'm trying to learn enough so I can make logical decisions about privacy - to chart a middle ground between "nobody knows who I am" and "everybody knows everything about what I do."

 

Sure - I accept the idea that the government can see everything if they want to bother. I'm really much more concerned about Internet marketing companies selling my browsing history.

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Right.

 

Simplest example - MFF knows which IP Lex is browsing from right now, and it could share that information with any third party - even ones who do not enjoy the all-knowingness of Google or FB.

 

Worse yet - MFF can collect information on Lex's browser, plugins, screen resolution, color rendering, mouse movement regimes, etc. that would let such a third party identify Lex with great certainty. MFF can also correlate anonymized data from google analytics with known information to keelp tracking Lex even if he's logged out and is using a different IP.

 

And those "I am not a robot" captchas - they're really "I am Lex" captchas.

 

I'm really interested in all of this. I'd like to know what risks I'm running. Could you (or someone else) supply a couple of links to articles or sites which would describe the areas of vulnerability in more detail? At this point I'm not getting very much of a "customized" Internet experience.

 

Exception - A few weeks ago I did some Googling for a certain type of light fixture. In the next few weeks I noticed some ads on various sites mentioning that type of fixture. That seems to have stopped. I've never seen that before. For years I've Googled different restaurants and cuisines but I've never gotten ads that relate to my food searches.

 

Youtube and Amazon, OTOH, regularly link to content similar to things I've viewed or purchased before.

 

ETA - My Google Feed pops up articles that relate to searches and sites I've viewed before. I've always assumed that Google tracks that type of information and by extension could share it with the government and law enforcement. Because I live an unexciting life I haven't worried about that.

 

 

There's a paper and a related site that demonstrates some techniques:

 

http://uniquemachine.org/

 

Of course if you use another browser or change the browser extensions you'll get different results, but for example their machine fingerprint survives using an incognito window.

 

There's another nice description of some methods here:

 

http://jcarlosnorte.com/security/2016/03/06/advanced-tor-browser-fingerprinting.html

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A number of years ago, I worked on a biography of the Prophet Muhammad. Every time the phone rang and there was no one (seemingly) at the other end, before hanging up I would always say, "Goodbye, Mr. Ashcroft." You never know. :ph43r:

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Yeah, I should know this, but what's with those phone calls where you pick up and then there is a pause and then two or three beeps, and then you get disconnected?

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