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How Serious Do you Take Your Privacy?
Written by Bout Time Software
Created / Updated on Thursday 18th of March 2021

Many people seem completely ignorant about their own data privacy. They not only actively share it with websites such as Facebook and other social media, but they are also inadvertently share it because of what they either allow on their computer, or simply don't understand and are oblivious to. Hopefully this article will help highlight a couple of overlooked concerns.

Social Media - Facebook

Everyone should know by now that content you add to Facebook will be sold by Facebook, especially your personal information (name / address / phone / email or anything else you have chosen to provide). Many people I talk to think that Facebook just sell advertising space so if they build a profile about you then it's just to serve you more relevant advertising, catering to your interests. Now I'm sure that's all true but that's not just what is happening.

Facebook use a service they call "Pixel", and that allows any website (could be a clothing store, or a news agency, or a garage door company) to sign up for Facebook pixel. Then on their own website pages, they add Facebook Pixel code. When a visitor views that page, the facebook code executes and facebook will then look to see if that visitors data (ie do you have a facebook cookie on your computer) is in their database. If yes, they will sell *ALL* your personal data to that company who's website you just visited.

Now I have to re-iterate this. It means that any website you visit on the internet could be paying Facebook for your personal information. This also allows Facebook to track every website (that Pixel is running on) that you visit too.

The Australian show 4 Corners dedicated a complete episode to how Facebook Pixel operates, so if you have not seen it then you might still find it on iView.

Summary. The mere fact that if you have a facebook account and have used your computer to login to that account at some stage, then Facebook will either use the cookie stored on your computer, or your computer and IP meta information, to uniquely identify you and build a profile of your internet usage and sell your personal information to any website that you visit which is paying for "Pixel" services! What a disgusting company, but once again You did read all the Facebook terms and conditions before you signed up.. RIGHT?.

Software

So many programs that you install on your computer want to constantly update. Your web browser (firefox / chrome / microsoft edge) all constantly want to check for updates. They are so disgusting that they do not even allow you to disable updates anymore. At best you get an option to allow automatic updates or constantly nag you until I say yes to allow updates. Now you *have* to ask yourself, what is the purpose of this. Just imagine if a browser company has millions of instances of that browser in use each day, that is millions of requests to the update servers. That has to result in a lot of bandwidth and yet these programs are free to download and use? Who is paying for all this bandwidth? So if we are not paying with money, what are we paying with? It has to be our information. What exactly are these programs transmitting back to their servers each time they "Check for Updates". The companies won't disclose that and the fact that they are all forcing you to do this must mean it is of benefit to them. Where is the benefit to the consumer? The amount of update checks that exist it can't all be just fixing security issues with the programs. Are the programs really that buggy, or is it as we expect, there is an ulterior motive for all these unnecessary update checks.

As a test I set my firewall to deny all requests from my browser and log. With the browser loaded (and not a single website visited), the browser (Firefox) attempted to make 60 connections to the internet over the course of a few hours. These connection attempts were primarily being made to Google / AmazonAWS and Akamai IP ranges. The only question is WHY. What is even more ironic is I have a computer with Firefox and Chrome installed, but the computer is not connected to the internet at all and each time I use one of those browsers on that computer they complain that my copy is damaged because they can't check for updates? They are not even smart enough to see if there is an internet connection available before they attempt to connect. They really must be working under the assumption that every computer is on the internet at all times!

Operating System - Windows

Windows is another program that constantly wants internet connection. Not only does it constantly do the "Activation" check throughout the day, but there are so many background tasks running on windows that are constantly updating. One of these is the Microsoft Store. Even if you have never used the Store, it is constantly keeping itself updated. Windows is another program that does not want you turn of updates, even though the vast majority of updates windows performs are not security related. If you do manage to turn off windows updates, the program is obnoxious enough to turn it back on without notifying you!

Now the instant you turn on your computer, if there is an internet connection, Windows connects to Microsoft. Once again we have to ask the question, who is paying for all this bandwidth. With the number of instances of windows running around the world and the number of internet connections each instance makes, that equates to a huge amount of bandwidth. Yet you only pay for Windows once, how can they justify the cost of running all the update servers? What data is your computer transmitting back to Microsoft every time it connects? If we are not paying with money, what are we paying with?

When you install Windows 10 now, it wants to force you to create an online account, which then also logs you onto your computer. That's absurd and it means that each time you log into your computer, you are also logging into microsoft and the store. That is just another level of tracking that you should be aware of and the fact that once you have your computer logged into microsoft that in effect is giving permission for your computer to transmit whatever it wants to your microsoft account online. That is just absurd. You should only log into a service IF and WHEN you need to use it, not be forced to make it mandatory to be *always* logged into that service!

Nothing is done to benefit the consumer, it's done to exploit the consumer. Remember that the next time you let your computer connect to the internet, or you sign up for a so called "FREE" service or cloud storage.

Trusted Installers / Trusted Vendors / Digitally Signed Vendors

** Coming Soon in our next article **
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