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My privacy everyday

Nothing to hide? It's just as well… from the time we get up in the morning until we climb into bed at night, we leave a trail of data behind us for others to collect, merge, analyze, massage and even sell, often without our knowledge or consent.

Trail of data we leave behind everyday
Time Data
7:30 Text a friend – even if you delete the text, it still leaves a digital “print” (and also remains on your friend’s device if they don’t delete it) and could still be accessible and tracked down.
8:15 Download an app to your mobile device – online technologies take note of information like your e-mail address, credit card information and what kind of apps you like. Apps can collect all sorts of information about you, including your location and contacts in your address book.
8:42 Late for soccer game – call coach to let team know. Cellular phone calls can easily be intercepted; mobile phone technology signals your whereabouts to satellites to deliver calls.
9:11 Play a shift in game – people could be recording videos and taking pictures of your game with their mobile phones. They could post these on their favourite social networking sites, tagging your name.
10:37 Send personal e-mail to mom at work – this can be read by mom’s employer; simple deletion does not erase it from the computer’s hard drive or the company’s network.
10:40 Drive car to coffee shop – your geo-location device plots your route and records your vehicle location at all times.
10:43 “Check in” in at coffee shop – you do this on your favourite social networking site, so all your friends know where you are. Anyone with access to your profile can see where you are (and where you aren’t) and, later, you receive personalized marketing recommendations that are based on that particular location.
10:47 Use bank machine at coffee shop – system records details of transaction, cameras overhead or in machine record your behavior.
10:55 Log onto Internet from computer at coffee shop – Your choice of chat groups and your messages can be monitored and a profile assembled by anyone, including police; some web sites keep track of your visits. Coffee shop could also be monitoring your traffic.
11:00 Post pictures from the party last night on your favourite social networking site – pictures and comments you post can be accessed long into the future, possibly by future college and job interviewers. If the geo-tagging features are enabled on your device, your photo will be tagged with your location. Anyone who can see your photo – and anyone they share the photo with – will know your location. If they know that location is your house, they will know where you live.
11:30 Return some jeans you bought yesterday – for the return you are required to give your driver’s license for the clerk to scan and to fill out a form that asks for your phone number and home address.
11:53 Buy a birthday gift for a friend – credit card records details of purchase, retailer’s loyalty card profiles purchase for points and directed discounts; banks may use spending patterns to help assemble complete customer profile.
1:00 Buy a fast-food meal – security cameras record your arrival, your debit card purchase is recorded, loyalty card tracks selections for marketing and targeted discounts.
2:12 Realize you forgot your mobile phone at fast-food place – if your device isn’t password-protected anybody could pick it up and gain access to any and all personal information on it. If they choose to text or e-mail from it, they could even pretend to be you.
2:32 Return to fast-food place – security cameras record your return.
4:30 Listen to phone messages – your phone has recorded callers’ phone numbers and displays your number when you call others, unless you enter the code to block the display.
5:13 Accept someone you don’t know that well as a “friend” online – if you haven’t set up different privacy settings for different lists of friends, you may be giving that person access to a treasure trove of your personal information.
7:30 Play a videogame online with some virtual people you have never met – many types of personal information can be collected through online gaming: everything from names, addresses and credit card information for billing purposes, to email addresses and IP addresses, down to feedback rankings from others, digital images and personalized profiles.
9:05 Order some clothing and books online – company records personal details and credit card number and may sell the information to database-list-makers. Next time you visit that company’s web site you may see ads tailored directly to your interests, based on what you purchased at this visit.

Increasingly, living a modern life seems to mean there is nowhere to hide. In our search for security and convenience, are we hitching ourselves to an electronic leash?

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