The Internet you see is based on your visual portrait -- who do advertisers think you are?
But, says Reitman, there are ways to fight the system. By supporting her organization, for one: EFF pushes websites from Facebook to Google to OkCupid to clarify who gets to see your data, tighten up chinks in your privacy armor, and delete people's information promptly when it all gets to be too much and they opt out of a network entirely. Currently, the group is working on a campaign to encourage the government to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a dinosaur piece of legislation that was created in 1986 — a time when we hardly could have imagined the multifarious ways we live online today.
You can also opt out of certain attempts to track you easily by going to the Do Not Track site, an online relative of the Do Not Call directory. My Google Chrome doesn't support the service — but that didn't come as any surprise. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari do, however. And for a more free and open search function, check out DuckDuckGo, a search engine that eschews cookies and does not save your search history or personal information.
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