Greenwald’s Guardian Articles Contain Dozens of Embedded Trackers From Corporate PRISM Participants
Bob Cesca makes an excellent point in a post about a new article by computer security writer Bruce Schneier: Government Surveillance Critics Willingly Accept Egregious Corporate Privacy Violations.
While viewing Schneier’s article, I ran a browser privacy extension called Ghostery, which detects web bugs embedded in a page. The result? 33 different corporate trackers on Schneier’s page, including ads (one from Shell Energy) and numerous analytics services that ascertain detailed demographics and tracking information about my visit to the page: Google Analytics (one the companies that Schneier said had caved to NSA pressure), Google Adsense, Facebook (another tech company in cahoots with NSA), Chartbeat, CoreAudience, Integral Ad Service, NetRatings SiteCensus, Omniture, SimpleReach, Value Revenue and VoiceFive. (For what it’s worth, Glenn Greenwald’s XKEYSCORE article on The Guardian contained 27 trackers, including PRISM participants Google and Facebook.)
Yes, most web pages, including my article here on The Daily Banter, use analytics to determine who’s visiting the site. But we’re not pretending to be self-righteously above it all, nor do we claim to be a haven of personal privacy. We’re also well aware that concerned readers can easily opt out by blocking the trackers.
More broadly speaking, you can opt out of everything, including NSA data collection, by taking basic measures against it: you can go entirely off the grid; you can install encryption software; you can buy prepaid phones; you can load ad-blocker extensions and you can attain other technology to hide your hilarious cat memes from Barack Obama. You can stop using Google, Facebook and Windows Live. Fact: your level of digital privacy is your prerogative.
But I suspect even the most vocal government critics will continue to be willing participants in American corporate/consumer culture, just as Occupy Wall Street supporters voiced their disdain for corporations by tweeting about it via handheld devices constructed in Chinese sweat-shops by exploited workers.
I have the Ghostery extension installed as well, and it confirms that The Guardian’s pages have 27 different corporate tracking widgets installed. So by reading an article by Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian, you’re actually enabling dozens of corporations to track your movements on the web — which websites you look at, which products you buy, etc.
Companies that have much less oversight than the NSA (most have no oversight), and essentially no restrictions on what they can do with your data.