From: Ken Masters <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 08:59:43 +0100
Eric is quite right. There are, though, several problems:
1. Not everyone knows that Google Analytics is running (how many
people on this list knew it?).
2. Not everyone knows how to disable it. (how many people on this
list knew it?).
3. Experience of social media has taught us that privacy policies are
not cast in stone, and can change at any moment. (Google and Facebook
are prime examples of this.)
4. The data collected are not 100% safe. (No-one can guarantee that).
5. While many information-gatherers anonymise data, there is no set
procedure or protocol for doing so, and the process of de-anonymising
data is advanced. There there are several studies showing how
successful this process is (and it requires nothing illegal, no
6. Google Analytics is only one. There are hundreds.
Unfortunately, the bottom line is simple. If you're doing any of these:
- using a standard browser (e.g. Firefox, IE, Chrome), without any blockers
- using a standard email account (e.g. gmail, yahoo, or your
university or company account)
- using your standard email address to access ANY public discussion
group (including this one), social networking site, blog or newspaper
comment page, etc.
- not using a secure virtual private network (VPN)
- not frequently and regularly running anti-virus and anti-spyware
software (ignore your institutional safeguards - install your own),
Then you can safely assume that your activities are being tracked and
archived, either by the service providers (and then passed on to third
parties) or by third parties directly.
George Orwell was an optimist. Be careful what you type next :-)
Dr. Ken Masters
Asst. Professor: Medical Informatics
Medical Education Unit
College of Medicine & Health Sciences
Sultan Qaboos University
Sultanate of Oman
E-i-C: The Internet Journal of Medical Education