June 12, 2010

It Is No Secret...

...those things you do...

Ha! Bet you thought I was singing, "It Is No Secret What God Can Do", didn't you? Nope. Actually, I don't know that one after the first line.

It's funny, several of my latest articles came about because of a sudden, late inspiration. I seldom get an inspiration to write on a Saturday morning, but something happened just before bedtime that gave me the idea to write this morning. (No, I'm not talking about that, get your head out of the gutter.)

It is no secret what you do online. Well, for most people. I had a guy arguing with me on Twitter last night about an article I wrote. (Do you know how annoying it is to try to have a serious discussion on Twitter?) I have a service that tells me the basics of visits I get. I made the comment about the town he's in, and that he's using Firefox (my regular readers know that I like Firefox). He got nervous, or pretended to get nervous (I think this guy was setting me up, but I will not go into that). Then I discussed it with Hal the Hacker.

Yeah, I know, my writing is a bit disjointed. Waiting for the second cup of coffee to kick in. Sorry.

Now, take a look at this:
See, you don't need a site visit tracker. The point is that your information is available wherever you go. You are "giving" it every time you visit a site. Whether they monitor that information or not is another matter. Want something even more alarming? (No, I'm not going to send you to something that will hurt you. What do you think I am?) Click here, then "view more details"; quite a bit about your browser and system is easily available. Wish I could find the one that told me what software was installed on my system, that was alarming, too!

"Why are you shooting off your mouth this morning, Cowboy Bob?"

Because shooting my guns at this hour wakes the neighbors, shooting off my mouth is actually quieter.

I do want people to know that there is nothing to be alarmed about. Your information is readily available, and you've been spreading it all over the planet when you're using the Web. Some people say, "Don't use Google, they store everything you do." Yeah, big deal. So do the others. But think of this, that there is a great deal of information to sort through. It might be useful for legal actions, but not to the average user, capice?

If you're worried about identity theft or want to protect your online privacy (maybe you're doing undercover work for The Circus), you can check here, here, here, and do a general search on something like "protect my identity online" or similar.

Addendum: The article is less than an hour old, and I'm adding on... I asked a friend of mine for his comments since he's an expert in the field. Here is what he said:

The location information comes from databases saying IP address range 1.2.3.4-1.2.255.255 are given to ISP XYZ, Inc. And they are in Sacramento, or even just collected data saying Comcast has all these IP ranges, and this certain one is in a range known to be given out in Boise. They're not always accurate either, for a long time the IP address I had showed up for a town a couple hundred miles away.
Another site for IP lookups is http://ipchicken.com/ which is just funny but easy to remember. Doing support for ***** smart phones, we'd have the users go there to give us their IP range.
I was also thinking... "there's so much noise on the internet, unless you're doing something that screams look at me!!, you'll never be noticed because no one really cares."

By the way, sometimes you need a quick reference to your IP address, so having it reflected back to you can be a plus. Sites like this are performing a service. Also, it has useful information to ease your mind.

So... it's happening, it's been happening and I don't think it's that big a deal. But I must add that if you're transmitting financial information, use trustworthy connections (not the computer at the library, f'rinstance). I'm not going into that, so if you need that information, click here and here.

If you'll excuse me, I have a weekend to fulfill.

Oh, shoot. It's raining. Book time!

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