Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yahoo "Web Beacons" -- An Invasion of Privacy?

I got an alert earlier this evening from one of my member sites, and I'm just going to post the entire alert here, as I got it:

Okay, I hope I don't screw this up too badly. Let me know if I do as I will keep the original email.

Just wanted to pass it on.

If you belong to ANY Yahoo Groups be aware that Yahoo is now using "Web Beacons" to track every Yahoo Group user.

It's similar to cookies, but allows Yahoo to record every website and every group you visit, even when you're not connected to Yahoo.

Look at their updated privacy statement at http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy (no www.)

About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says WEB BEACONS.

Click on the phrase "Web Beacons."

On the page that opens, find a paragraph entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network."

In that section find a little "Click Here to Opt Out" a link that will let you "opt-out" of their snooping.

That's it!

When you are done, don't click the "Opt Back In" button; that will UNDO the opt-out.

Note that Yahoo's invasion of your privacy - and your ability to opt-out of it - is not user-specific. It is MACHINE specific. That means you will have to opt-out on every computer (and browser) you use.

Please forward this to your other groups. You might complain, too, but I'm not sure if anyone is listening..."

Now, I dunno if this is worth all the fuss and feathers or not, but wasn't there a recent news story about Yahoo being one of those directories that were cooperating with the US government, and opening up user account info for data mining?

Would someone with lots more computer savvy-ness than me care to comment on all this?

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