Personal Privacy online, in the Internet Age

TALON, the big-brother-like license plate recognition network to track all car movement everywhere

(August 19, 2020) A new initiative, TALON - the Total Analytics Law Officers Network, aims to build a nationwide (USA) license plate tracking system for law enforcement. The company behind this effort, Flock Safety, talks glowingly of the benefit of more efficiently capturing suspects. But what about instances of false identity?

The creepiness of AI-driven content recommendation on YouTube and other websites

(October 3, 2019) How many movies are about an AI driven robot or computer that takes over the world? What used to be the stuff of science fiction is beginning to happen. One example is the YouTube video recommendation algorithm, that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to recommend videos for you to watch. This seems benign enough, and YouTube does a fairly good of recommending videos, but have you stopped to think how much YouTube knows about you and your preferences?

Chrome Incognito Mode hides your identity, or does it?

(February 25, 2019) Web browsers famously support Cookies, and Cookies are widely used by websites to inject identifier tags. One use for this is to remember whether the browser is "logged in" to a website, or not. But there is a nefarious side where we fear being tracked by the cookies injected by the websites. Most/all browsers support an Incognito Mode that is supposed to hide all identifying markers, so we can peruse some websites without being identified. While this is useful a mode has been identified where Chrome's Incognito Mode is not quite Incognito, while Firefox provides more anonymity.

How to set DuckDuckGo as preferred search engine for web browsing

(February 24, 2019) The browser makers and operating system makers generally make a mainstream search engine to be default, rather than DuckDuckGo or other alternatives. Using DuckDuckGo is preferred because of their promise to not track us. So, how then do we implement DuckDuckGo as the default search engine?

Implement 2-factor authentication for Gmail and Google accounts

(January 2, 2018)

Your email account is the skeleton-key to your life, since all kinds of services send emails to verify this and that. Protecting your email account(s) is, then, vital to securing your online life. Since Google's gmail is perhaps the most popular email platform, we'll look at an effective way to secure your gmail account(s). Namely, 2-factor authentication means logging in requires access to not just your password, but to a second device - such as your cell phone.