If I Could Say One Thing

ABC The CheckoutI represented Electronic Frontiers Australia on the ABC consumer affairs show The Checkout. In my “If I Could Say One Thing” segment I discussed ways of dealing with Internet tracking by advertisers and third parties.

Here is the script, including links:

Hi, I’m Dr Sean Rintel, Chair of digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia.

I could say one thing, it’s that if an online commercial service is free, then you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

Many online services make money from selling who you are and where you go to advertisers and third parties.

When you’re logged in, some services can track almost everything else you do online.

When you ‘Like’, ‘share’, or sometimes just access content, you can be tracked even when you are logged out.

If that bothers you, there are some simple steps you can take.

Install a browser extension like ‘Disconnect’ to both visualise the amazing number of sites tracking you and, better still, block them. Or the similar plug-in, Ghostery, which can also be installed on your smart phone.

Look for HTTPS in your address bar – the S means Secure. The browser extension called ‘HTTPS everywhere‘ forces sites to use a secure connection that blocks third party tracking.*

And don’t use those convenient buttons to log in to one service with the credentials from another. Separate service, separate login.

With a little effort you can reduce the amount of your personal information that’s bought and sold by people you don’t know.

It doesn’t matter that you may have nothing to hide, it’s that you should have a choice.

* Note: HTTPS Everywhere can only work when the website has enabled it, so it can’t force literally every site to be secure. It might also break some site functionality. See the HTTPS Everywhere FAQ for more details. Further, this does not fully prevent all third party tracking. When used on a search engine, for example, it prevents an unauthorised third party seeing the details of the search and results. The search engine itself may still authorise some third parties to see search results.