Earlier this month, I ran a short test on Breadcrumbs Privacy Software (Beta) – Free Breadcrumbs Beta – Slaps Down Data Miners – which, according to the developer “……. automatically creates a Bogus Identity for you, thus preventing trackers from analyzing your real browsing information, leaving them with useless data.”
So, is this fair – is it OK to screw with so called “data miners”? Undoubtedly, you’ll make up your own mind on this – but, I won’t hesitate to state my opinion – “You’re damn right it is!”
Data miners, in an attempt to camouflage broad scale privacy intrusions, conveniently refer to their activities as predictive analytics, customer profiling, customer segmentation, predictive modeling, lifestyle clustering – yeah, right.
While predictive analytics, predictive modeling, etc. (you have to love how these guys paint privacy intrusions), may well be allowed under existing legislation – from a moral and ethical perspective, it’s reprehensible in my view.
Consider this – you’re cruising the Net and a tracker, or trackers, records every action you take, every motion you make –recording the type of sites you visit and revisit, time spent on sites, your shopping and spending habits, your political views, your marital status, and much more. All of this builds a profile of your browsing habits so that the data (your personal data), can be sold, bartered, and traded.
But don’t look for any sweeping legislative changes which will rein in these parasites any time soon. By and large, regulatory authorities have neither the moral courage, or the technical acumen (they simple fail to grasp the essence of the technology) necessary to enact appropriate consumer protection laws.
If you object to this type of intrusion into your privacy, then consider installing Breadcrumbs Privacy Software, and give these intrusive jerks the heave-ho. It may not be a perfect solution but, it’s a definite step in the right direction.
Create your bogus identity – Breadcrumbs bogus Identity feature automatically creates a Bogus Identity for you, thus preventing trackers from analyzing your real browsing information, leaving them with useless data. Read more
The Do Not Track Me stamp – Once enabled, the Do Not Track Me stamp identifies you as a Breadcrumbs Protected User. It tells trackers that you do not wish to be tracked, and also lets them know that they will be fooled by your Bogus Identity in case they decide to track you anyway. Read more
Watchers Analytics – Breadcrumbs Watchers Analytics feature enables you to see who is watching you online. It’s an easy way to block ads and prevent trackers from tracking you across the Internet. Read more
Installation is simple and the application settings are limited, but effective. Click on the graphic to expand to original.
The dashboard will give you the opportunity to “watch the watchers” and block selectively. Click on the graphic to expand to original.
The most interesting feature of Breadcrumbs is the promise that it will build a “‘bogus identity” which will mislead watchers. Click on the graphic to expand to original.
According to the developer –
“In order for the feature to work it first needs to “learn the user” then it will synthesize what bogus data should be added in order to mask your real data and identity (so give it a few more hours/days). All of the learning process is encrypted and is done on the client-side, hence no one can see or use it but the software (and in the future you).”
In the following screen capture the expandable “Page Watcher” panel is shown – (shown expanded). This feature is selectable under “settings”. Click on the graphic to expand to original.
Current Version: 22.214.171.124 (Beta) – release date: May 24, 2011.
Changes in this version:
Better performance (CPU + RAM)
64 bit support.
Enhanced security to the automated Bogus browser.
Tray notifier which notifies when privacy protection analysis ended, and when a new software version is available.
Added the option to turn watchers blocking on and off through the Watchers Analytics Panel in your browser, this feature is very helpful in cases you are not sure if the page is not loaded correctly because a watcher is blocked (so you can just turn blocking off and see if that is the problem) – the panel appears in red in case blocking is turned off.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista and Win 7. Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or above. (Breadcrumbs installer will alert you in case .NET Framework installation is needed)
Supported Web Browsers: Internet Explorer 7 or above. (including IE9). Firefox 3.6 or above. (including FF4). Google Chrome.
Download at: Developer’s site (Breadcrumb Solutions)
Breadcrumbs Usage and Demo: Video 2:26
I often hear from people who feel that since the information being mined is anonymous, no real invasion of privacy is taking place. While that may have been the case previously, that’s not the case currently.
Consider reading – Privacy: reidentification a growing risk.
Browser fingerprinting (a method used to identify you specifically) – Consider taking the Panopticlick test which analyses your browser to see how unique it is based on the information it will share with sites it visits.
My test results:
Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 1,546,722 tested so far. Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys at least 20.56 bits of identifying information.
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