From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 28 Nov 06 - Online Privacy / Switch to Broadband?
Should you be concerned if your phone number and address can be found in online phone directories? Are you handing over your email address to spammers? And what's the right time to switch from dialup to broadband? Today's TOURBUS answers all your questions - read on!
A reader from Iowa wrote and asked about online privacy:
> I just did a search for my phone number on Google and was shocked
> at the results that popped up. It showed my name, street address
> and a local map with a big arrow pointing to my house! One more
> click and I saw a satellite photo of my house, with the car in the
> driveway and the dog in the back yard. How can I remove personal
> information from Google and other online phone directories?
I agree it can be a bit of a shock to learn that some information you thought was private, is in fact very public. You've known all your life that your name, address and phone number are in the phone book. It's common sense that your neighborhood can be found on a map of your city. And satellite photos are nothing new. But websites that combine all of this information, and make it easy to find and act on... that's unsettling news to a lot of people.
But should it be? Read on for the pros and cons of living in a more open and less private society... the TWELVE sites you must visit to remove your listing from online phone directories... and tips on boosting your personal privacy. http://askbobrankin.com/remove_phone_listing.html
Do you see commercials on TV telling you to switch to broadband, and wonder what that means? Does all the talk about DSL, cable access, satellite hookups, bandwidth and megabits further confuse you? If so, I agree with you... all the terminology surrounding internet access is unnecessarily confusing. So let me simplify things a bit for you.
Dialup connections are fine for casual email usage and visiting the occasional website. But today's rich-media websites and online video can make surfing with dialup a frustrating experience. So should you switch to a high-speed broadband internet connection?
Read on for some plain-English descriptions of the many options that are available, along with speed and price comparisons that will help you decide which option is best for you:
Exactly how do spammers get their grubby hands on your inbox? Can just visiting a website reveal your email address, without your knowledge or permission? It's a common MISCONCEPTION that simply viewing a website with your browser will reveal your email address to the operator of that site. But it's simply not true, even if your Cousin Vinny lives next to the police station in a major city, and he heard about it from the desk sergeant, who swears it happened to a friend of a guy he knows.
Really! Unless you do something to explicitly provide your email address, there is no way for a website to glean that information without your consent. Really.
It *is* true that visiting a website does make certain bits of info available to the site owner. Read on to learn why this CANNOT be used to personally identify you... and how you MIGHT be handing over your email address to spammers without even knowing it.
For further reading about online privacy and security, see:
* Identify Theft http://www.askbobrankin.com/identity_theft.html
* Is Privacy History? http://www.askbobrankin.com/is_privacy_history.html
* Does IP Address Reveal my Physical Location? http://askbobrankin.com/does_ip_address_reveal_my_physical_location.html
* Clearing Browser History http://www.askbobrankin.com/clearing_browser_history.html
That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin