Supercookies Are Super Invasive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re alone sitting at the computer surfing the web, you’re looking up health, financial, entertainment, shopping, and other personal things. 

You feel comfortable doing your thing…you have your privacy and can be yourself without someone looking over your shoulder.
But is the sense of safety real or an illusion?
For the most part, when we are online, we are not safe or in private. 
Like at work, where you get the warning that you are being monitored, when you are browsing the Internet, your actions are being tracked site by site (but this is done without warning)–by cookies–or data packets exchanged between web servers and user’s browsers.
On the plus side cookies are used for identification, authentication, preferences, and maintaining shopping cart contents; but on the negative side, they are installed on users computers to track your activities online.
The Wall Street Journal (18 August 2011) reports that now there are Supercookies! and “history stealing.”
Supercookies are not cookies with that can fly or lift locatives, but rather they are more difficult to locate and get rid off your computer, so they track your activities, but are hidden in different places such as in the web browsers cache.
“History stealing” is done when you visit certain websites, and they use software to mine you web browser history to determine where you’ve visited and then use that to for example, target advertising at you. Imagine though what other profiling can be compiled by categorizing and analyzing your browsing history in aggregate.
Currently, the online ad industry has established self-imposed guidelines to supposedly protect privacy, but they seem wholly inadequate such as “collecting health and financial data about individuals is permissible as long as the data don’t contain financial-account numbers, Social Security numbers, pharmaceutical prescriptions or medical records.” But knowing people’s household finances, credit histories, and personal medical histories is okay–by whose standard?
According to the WSJ, web tracking is not only alive and well, but flourishing with “80% of online display ads are based on tracking data.”
Why should anyone have the ability to track our personal web surfing?
We don’t need ads targeted at us–we are not targets!  We are very capable of searching online for what we what we are interested in and when we are interested in it–thank you!
Session cookies that expire at the end of ones web browsing for session management is one thing; but persistent cookies that collect and mine your personal data–that’s should be a definite no-no.
Like with the advertisements that come unwanted in the traditional mailbox and get routinely and speedily placed in the garbage, online advertisements that are based on intrusive website tracking is not only a nuisance, but a violation of our privacy–and should be trashed as a concept and a practice.

>Wake Up To Advanced Technology

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Yet another air traffic controller asleep on the job today–OMG.
Everyone is upset–as they should be–safety and lives are at stake.

Hello.

Come in…

Is anyone down there?

We need to land.

We have an emergency on board (someone is sick or perhaps the plane is in imminent danger or maybe it’s been hijacked).

I guess we need to call back later.

That’s CRAZY!

Silence is not golden, in these cases.

In the government (as in private sector control rooms), there are a lot of round the clock duty stations–watching our airports, our borders, and critical infrastructure.

We rely on people to be alert for any problems and be prepared to step up to the plate to take necessary action to safeguard our nation.

When people are “asleep at the switch,” they are not only abrogating their basic duty (for which they are getting paid), but they are endangering others and this is obviously unacceptable.

We know this intuitively.

Why has this gotten so out of control lately–Is this a new phenomenon or just one that is coming to light now? Are people taking advantage of the system, genuinely exhausted, or disillusioned with their jobs and giving up–so to say?

There are a lot of questions that need to be explored and answered here and I would expect that these answers will be forthcoming.

Because it is not just a matter of reacting with a doubling of the shift or clamping down on the people involved–although that maybe a good first step to stop the proverbial bleeding; but obviously more needs to be done.

For decades, air traffic control (ATC) has relied on controllers on the ground to guide planes on the ground and in the air, despite new technologies from autopilot to Global Positioning System (GPS) and from on-board transponders to advanced cockpit displays.

Many hardworking government and commercial sector employees have been working to change this through modernization of the processes and systems over the years.

By increasingly leveraging advances in technology, we can do more of what people–like the ATCs and many other of our hardworking watchstanders–are currently being asked to do manually.

This doesn’t mean that there is no human (AWAKE! is the expectation) watching to make sure that everything is working properly, but it does mean that the people may be in some instances an augmentation, rather than the primary doers.

In the end, people have got be in control, but technology should be doing as much of the heavy lifting as it can for us and perhaps, as we are a failsafe for technology, technology can in some instances be a backstop for human error and frailty.

It doesn’t make us weak to admit our limitations and look not only for people and process changes, but also for technology solutions to help augment our personal capabilities.

(Credit Picture: PN.PsychiatryOnline.org)

>Who Needs Airport Body Scanners? An Alternative Approach

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Not sure if this is serious or a joke, but I received an email for an alternative to body scanners at the airports — may seem a bit crude, but then again we need to look for an effective security solution that is less invasive.

This particular idea, attributed to Israeli security, is for a booth that rather than take potentially invasive body scans, will safely (but not for you, if you are a terrorist) “detonate any explosive device that you may have on you.” Poof!

Advantages: deterrence, speed, privacy, justice, and the objective of safe air transport is achieved.

>What’s In An IT Acronym

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In the military and public safety world, information technology is often discussed in broader strategic and operational terms.

For example, in the Coast Guard, it is referred to as C4&IT–Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Information Technology.

In the Department of Defense, they often use the term C4ISR–Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

According to GovTech Magazine, some public safety agencies (i.e. law enforcement and firefighting) often use another version of this, namely 4CI–Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence.

The article provides some simple straightforward definitions for these (although perhaps skewed for first responders), as follows:

“- Command: The authority and responsibility for effectively using available resources, and for organizing, directing, coordinating and controlling personnel and equipment to fulfill a mission.

Control: The ability to issue orders or directions, with the result that those directions are carried out.

Communications: The most essential element. Communications between responders on the ground and command staff are critical to ensure that both groups have a common operating picture of the situation.

Computers: They process, display and transport information needed by commanders, analysts and responders. Today this increasingly includes mobile devices, such as laptops and smartphones.

Intelligence: The product of the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation and interpretation of all available relevant information.”

While these capabilities are all critical to mission performance, I am not sure why we have all these variations on the same theme, but at least, we all agree on the 4Cs or is it C4?