Wanna Protect Your Online Privacy? Open a Tab and Make Some Noise

from Wired

I JUST GOOGLED “alarm dust,” “alibi sweatshirt,” and “sleuth intelligence.” Then I shopped for industrial dehydrators, scanned a Pinterest page for concrete decks, and read something about nuclear war.

The thing is, I’m not in the market for a new dehydrator. Concrete decks aren’t really my style, and I still have no idea what “alarm dust” is. I didn’t visit any of these web sites of my own volition—a website called Internet Noise did, all to obscure my real browsing habits in a fog of fake search history.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to let internet service providers sell your browsing data on the open market. This decision angered a lot of people, including programmer Dan Schultz. After reading about the vote on Twitter at 1 AM, he turned off Zelda and coded this ghost currently opening tabs on my machine.

Internet Noise acts like a browser extension but is really just a website that auto-opens tabs based on random Google searches. Schultz isn’t a hacker but a concerned do-gooder trying to get Americans to understand how much their online privacy is at risk. “I cannot function in civil society in 2017 without an internet connection, and I have to go through an ISP to do that,” he says.

More here.

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One Comment

  1. I use the internet quite frequently, as does most of my generation. I, admittedly, am on social media more than I should be. I love to shop online, and am on many different websites doing homework, and studying for exams. In the technological world we live in, it is almost impossible to not use the internet. Online searches have become extremely inherent in my daily routine, which is why the somewhat recent ruling of the House of Representatives to “to let internet service providers sell your browsing data on the open market” really upset me (Dreyfuss 3). This ruling occurred in March of 2017. I am writing this post in November of 20018, and have really seen the impact of this ruling. It scares me how much the internet knows about me. Sometimes, I am having a conversation with an acquaintance about something, whether it be a place I want to travel, or a product that I am looking to purchase. Seemingly in minutes, I receive an advertisement regarding this product. The extent that advertisers have gone to create advertisements that relate to the user they are showing them to is not ok. They have gotten rid of all privacy that any individual has had, and it really needs to stop. Luckily, there are people who are also fed up with the relentlessness of advertisers, and are doing things to change the practices of advertisers, as well as regain a bit of their privacy. In the article, “Wanna Protect Your Online Privacy? Open a Tab and Make Some Noise,” the author, Emily Dreyfuss, discusses a man who is one of these aforementioned individuals trying to change the practice of advertising, and allowing the users of his program to regain a lot of online privacy. Dan Schultz is a programmer who was quite angered by the House of Representatives’ Ruling. To combat them selling his personal information, he created a program called Internet Noise. “Internet Noise acts like a browser extension but is really just a website that auto-opens tabs based on random Google searches” (Dreyfuss 4). I think that this program is absolutely genius. It basically types random searches into Google to mislead the internet service providers who have been allowed to sell our information. Basically, instead of an advertiser showing me an advertisement for a clothing brand I shop at frequently, they may know show me a fishing rod, something that I would never search for. I understand that this program may come with risk. As our information is still being sold, some risky keyword searches may alarm the internet service providers tracking our information. However, in a game of privacy, I am willing to take the risk to win the game. I believe this program is fascinating, and I will definitely look into using it in the future!

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