Top 10 Privacy Issues for 2011
Social media and location-based technologies top the list of concerns.
We know different parts of the federal government are considering a "Do Not Track" mechanism for the Internet that, in principle, would be much like the national Do Not Call Registry in that it would prevent online advertisers from tracking user activities online. Congress and two different agencies in the executive branch are working on proposals for the measure.
It's a good start, of course, but at least one former Google engineer has decided that we need not wait for the legislative process to resolve the issue. ReadWriteWeb reports Brian Kennish is working on an extension for the Chrome and Rockmelt browsers that will help users "block the larger scope of tracking devices on the increasingly social Web." He calls the extension "Disconnect."
According to the story:
Disconnect ... blocks a number of third-party widgets from sites like Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, as well as de-personalizes search at the cookie level, allowing you to remain logged-in to services like iGoogle or Gmail without having your search queries attached to your Google profile.
The idea came after another Chrome extension Kennish developed, Facebook Disconnect, shot to the top of the list in no time. Since October, the extension has garnered nearly 75,000 users. It is designed to "block all traffic from third-party sites to Facebook servers, but still lets you access Facebook itself."
As for the government's efforts at "Do Not Track," Kennish says:
[It's] a bad model for defending online privacy because phones ring and get your attention, where Web bugs are invisible and go unnoticed.