US privacy advocates and consumer bodies are seeking the creation of an opt-out list for internet users who do not want to be tracked by advertisers.
The “do not track” list would prevent companies from tailoring adverts based on a user’s web habits.
I really like this idea. If I want something, I will search for it. My web habits are unlikely to turn up anything I want to actually buy as while they are indicative of my interests… most of the stuff that would show up would end up being DVDs or toys or any number of other things that I would only buy with money I had spare.
And of course, when I fancied buying non-essential luxury items.
Plus I’ve never liked the idea of being tracked. If advertisers want to find out my habits and interests, they can damn well send me a questionnaire. I like those.
Facebook Opens Up To Public Search
One of the great features of Facebook was privacy. You could be assured that what was in Facebook remained in Facebook. However, that illusion might be ending soon.
Tonight, Facebook launches a “public listing search” which allows anyone to search for a specific person. The company says that the information being revealed through these listings is minimal and much less than the information available to someone logged into the Facebook network.
Apparently, this started back in May, but I was blissfully unaware until now.
I…don’t know how I feel about this one. I know for a friend of mine, the whole it being private thing is really important. On the other hand, I’ve always thought that anything you stick on the internet can never really be private and that you shouldn’t put it out there if you don’t want someone finding out.
It would have been nice for this to be a bit more publicised though. However, much like most of the stuff that pops up on my facebook homepage, it probably would have been ignored if it did (and it may well have!).
Having just upgraded from uh… 9.01, I have to say this speed-dial thing that Opera now has is pretty nifty.
The only problem I seem to be having is that the shortcut Ctrl+# doesn’t seem to actually bring up speed-dial or in fact do anything at all. However, that’s easily solved as Ctrl+t opens a new tab and Ctrl+n opens a new window, both of which will open with the speed-dial as default.
So, I’m having a go at using the BBC’s iPlayer. Which undoubtabley is cashing in on the Apple trend of sticking a small “i” infront of anything to make it hip and aimed at young people with money to spend.
Anyway, it’s going ok so far. I’ve not had any of the problems that other people on the iPlayer forum seem to have, though I do have a software engineering degree, which one commenter said was what you needed to be able to install the thing.
As for downloading stuff? Well. It takes a while. But downloading anything that size does. And at least the stuff the BBC is giving out actually PLAYS. I tried channel five’s tv downloading offering and after spending what seemed like days trying to download the latest episode of CSI… got nothing. I couldn’t watch it AND they’d made me install a bunch of crap on my computer that took up needless space.
And the BBC does have the whole free thing going for it. Well, it’s not really free. You do have to pay your licence fee. But unless you don’t watch TV, everyone does that.
I’m looking forward to when this really gets going and they have even more content on offer. There is a fairly wide selection on offer already, but it on the whole doesn’t interest me – though that could be related more to my general lack of TV watching.
Google would consider keeping a user’s search data for longer than 18 months if they had explicitly consented, one of the firm’s key executives has said.
The web giant currently anonymises a user’s search history after 18 months.
I have always been suspicious of Google. Ever since I noticed that their cookies don’t expire for like… a bazillion years, I have been fairly wary.
It may just be a over-healthy sense of paranoia, but I don’t like the idea of some company in another country knowing who I am and what I do in so much detail.
And keeping all this data on people can’t be good.
At some point, I suspect nearly every blogger interested in technology will mention it. It’s just one of those things. Even the BBC is getting in on the act. I know a short while back they ran an article on the BBC news site about it and just the other day I was contacted to see if I wanted to appear in a tv show or news item about people who spend a lot of time in Second Life (I don’t think I spend nearly enough time there to count I suspect and they were looking for people whose lives had been changed by it in some way).
I’ve been an on and off resident of Second Life since last May (coincidentally, my Second Life “birth” day is only the day before my real birthday) and it’s been a lot of fun, even with the lag I suffer from. I spend a little over a week in January playing the Smokin’ Aces Assassin game in SL, desperately trying to shoot assassinate people who had already moved from where I could see them and failing to run away from people trying to assassinate me!
There are also a lot of nice looking sims to visit – including one I spent the last weekend wandering about in, which was a replica of an ancient Roman town.
The only real problems I have with SL are the lag I experience (mostly due to being on a wireless network and not exactly the fastest broadband connection in the world), the time it takes for stuff to rez and the odd occasion where my avatar’s hair or shoes randomly move. Then there’s also the resources that the SL program sometimes decides to eat up.
Mostly, all this means for me is that I don’t go into busy areas and try to get into SL in the morning GMT time, when the US is asleep and not in SL. It’s also limited my activities at the moment to just sightseeing, rather than roleplaying, opening a shop or buying land and constructing a house.
“When we’ve had to contact Google about issues (such as the suspected fraud), we’ve received intelligent customer service and the problems were quickly resolved. Contacting PayPal customer support, on the other hand, has been a complete nightmare. Automated response hell, followed by canned responses that didn’t address our issue, followed by silence.”
That alone is enough to tempt me into using Google Checkout. Any alternative to paypal is worth a look actually, though I’m going to have to investigate if and how I could use this with ebay. Even without being able to use it with Ebay, it could certainly be useful for selling on forums and on my journal. Something to think about.
Young drive ‘radical media shift’
Sixteen to 24 year olds are spurning television, radio and newspapers in favour of online services, says the regulator’s study.
I can’t say that I’m surprised really. Most people in that age group would probably have grown up with computers and the internet. Personally I used to watch hours and hours of tv when I was younger, but in the last 4 or 5 years the amount I watch has really dropped off. Whether it’s because the content on tv has got less interesting, or because the content online is more interesting… I don’t know. The only time I really watch tv is when I’ve checked the tv guide (online of course) and there is something I want to watch on. I don’t watch just for the sake of watching anymore.
As for radio and newspapers… I still listen to the radio, but mostly in the car and the reception for the station I like to listen to isn’t that great anyway. Newspapers… perhaps on a train journey, or I’ll flick through the paper that my mum gets on Saturdays. I’ve always got my news either from television or radio, so the change to getting it online and from multiple sources wasn’t that much of a stretch. The Internet is quicker for news, especially you’d only really get a newspaper with the previous day’s news in it, rather than what is happening this very second.
I just read an interview by TechDigest with one of the founders of Egg, the internet bank. It discusses the subject of who might have your personal data – things like your address, date of birth and name as well as other data that might be held by various companies.
In Britain, the Data Protection Act allows you to ask any company for the data they have on you and they have to respond to your request within 40 days. Tom Ilube, one of the founders of new company garlik, says “We decided to create a large-scale consumer-facing company that will help people understand what’s out there about them and how to manage it.” According to TechDigest:
Initially, this will boil down to a service that rounds up all the publicly-accessible data on a person, including their credit file, but also the records kept by private companies.
This all strikes me as very useful. I’m only 22 and just out of university, but I’ve been hanging out online for about 7 years and in that time I’ve done a fair amount of buying stuff online and signing up for websites and things. Not only that, but I shop in regular stores too! Now, I don’t have a credit card because I’m not yet entirely comfortable with spending money that I don’t already have – but I’m sure various companies must have information on me from my limited dealings with banks and building societies. Add to that various competitions I’ve entered over the years and there could be loads of companies that have my personal data, even though I tick the boxes that say that my information can’t be passed on to other companies. It’s all very interesting and I’m curious to see who might have data about me.