Digital tracking is growing threat to privacy

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — We lose a little more privacy every day.

With the increased use of the Internet and smart phones, both business and government are tracking our activities and communications in ways most of us do not even know about. Today’s age of “big data” also is compiling massive amounts of information about each of us, and our ability to control that personal information is eroding quickly.

Americans are rightly concerned about the widespread government surveillance being done by the National Security Administration and the data breaches that have plagued many large financial companies and retailers, but we also need to pay more attention to information we knowingly or unknowing give away in our digital lives.

For example, how many people know that the nation’s largest mobile providers have been attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from their users’ smart phones. These unique codes are passed along to every website a person visits and combined with personal information that a user might volunteer name or phone number could provide a digital fingerprint as powerful as a Social Security number…

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