Why

Why should you free yourself from major web companies deciding to show us what it thinks we want? Why should you free yourself from being followed everywhere?

When you are browsing in a real physical shop, you are in control of the information you divulge and when, you would also probably notice if someone was following you around making notes. Unfortunately on the Internet when you browse there are whole gangs recording who you are, what you are doing and when.

Put simply two main problems face everyone on the Internet: bubbles and trackers!

bubbles trackers
What bubble?
Here we are talking about a specific ‘filter bubble’ which has been built up around your unique experience of the web. A big part of the problem is you do not know what is being hidden from your view.
Who is tracking me?
Everyone – from the websites you used and the advertising companies they have chosen to use – all placing their little tracking cookies on your computer to follow you around the web.
illustrative examples: dontbubble.us illustrative examples: donttrack.us

Fingerprints

An Internet fingerprint is a combination of as much identifying information available to them at any particular time – it takes just 32.6 bits to identify you!

Here’s a typical interaction with a major search engine, assuming you are not logged in (if you are: replace ‘fingerprint’ with ‘user id’), the user is interacting with a search engine and also the advertising system utilised by that search engine and possibly the selected search result:

  1. user goes to web address of search engine
  2. search engine reads or creates tracking cookie and fingerprint
  3. advertising system reads or creates tracking cookie
  4. user submits search query
  5. search engine reads tracking cookie
  6. search engine records your fingerprint and search query
  7. search engine returns search results based on your fingerprint filter bubble
  8. advertising system records your fingerprint and search query
  9. user clicks appropriate result from list
  10. search engine reads tracking cookie
  11. search engine records your fingerprint, search query and search result selected
  12. search engine forwards search query to select result
  13. advertising system reads tracking cookie
  14. advertising system records your fingerprint and search result selected
  15. user gets selected result

As a result of this major web companies have built a huge database of personal information about what you and everyone else has done through them on the web. This data is being fused together with others to build more knowledge about your experience and use of the Internet!

Internet Service Providers

Even ISPs have been seen to trick web applications to make them think that each side has reset the connection and others have released large quantities of data – which you can still browse and find who searched for what and when!

So what can you do about it?

The pages on How to free yourself will show you how to help protect yourself by making a conscious decision about what web services you use and Resources will let you see how easily you are being identified, even through private browsing options!

You can also Discuss with others to find out what works for them and help improve the information provided here at gx.qx.cx!  In fact, why not get involved in one of our Projects too?