My wife and I have this…ahem…”discussion” alla time about whether the internet has ultimately been good or bad for humankind.

My position is that there is evidence to support both arguments equally. Which is to say this latest invention of our collective culture is much like all the other innovations through the centuries.  The yin/yang nature of the human mind can find nefarious or beneficial uses for:

  • the wheel
  • fire
  • telephone
  • photographs
  • airplanes
  • websites
  • machetes
  • radar

….and the list goes on.

For every advancement there is someone waiting to usurp the idea.  Then the original innovator protects against the usurper.  To which the usurper advances a counter-measure, and the innovator (or his support system) develops yet more protections.

So it is with today’s internet.  Trolls, tools, and Twitter.  For every effort to pay it forward, there’s a naysayer looking to go viral with a hate-meme.

Too bad that the new digital frontier suffers some of its deepest intrusions based on the innovations of its most foundational members.  Apple.  Google.  Micfosoft.  FaceBook.  Since they’re writing the script, and the script outpaces the laws of any one nation to regulate it, their tools often feel like over-reach. 

Thank goodness for the counter-innovators looking to bring some semblance of control back to the individual.

Below, a list of online sites that help us look for how we’re being shadowed online and how to control it better. 

_____________

Tor: it’s a browser that is designed to keep your privacy, and prevent tracking. 

https://www.torproject.org/ 



Privacy Badger: a browser extension that lists what’s tracking you on any website and gives you the option to block the domain, refuse cookies, or let it be. 

https://www.eff.org/privacybadger 



Panopticlick: runs a test to see if your browser is safe against tracking. 

https://panopticlick.eff.org/ 

Panopticlick was most alarming. They mention “browser fingerprinting” which is a ton of information about your browser that makes a user identifiable based on the massive amount of information, like: the fonts stored in your browser, screen size, and time zone. 


Signal: encrypted text messaging 


https://whispersystems.org/ 


Need more?  Check out WNYC’s Privacy Paradox site:


http://www.wnyc.org/story/privacy-paradox-tipsheet

CourVO

[my thanks to fellow internet sojourner and Excel expert Oz D du Soleil for the tip on these resources]

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