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Why You Can’t Win at Privacy Whac-A-Mole | WSJ

Why You Can’t Win at Privacy Whac-A-Mole | WSJ

(dynamic brass music) – You cannot have my info! You cannot have my purchase information! Don’t send my Facebook information! – Whack those personal data sucking moles! Kill those web trackers, those
hungry social media networks! – What? You’ve never heard of this
good old fashioned game before? I call it Whac-A-Tracker,
and it’s just a blast. Tech companies and advertisers pop up and grab your personal info: what you do on your devices, where you go, heck, what pills you might take. You hit back and turn on privacy settings, thinking you’ve stopped them, but nope. They pop up again with
new ways to get your info. It’s nice that, in the last few weeks, Google and Facebook have
talked about new privacy goals at their developers conferences. – This is the next chapter. – But they still put too much work on us, and there are too many loopholes. Look, we’re probably never
gonna win at this game, at least without some better privacy laws, default privacy protection,
and some more transparency, but that doesn’t mean we
shouldn’t keep on whacking. (alarm ringing) Think of each of these
machines as a company wanting to get your
information for advertising. You’ve got Facebook over
here, Google over here, and lots of other apps and companies that suck up your
information for advertising. Then think of each of these moles as the different ways they
pop up and grab your data. This little guy here is in charge of watching everything you do on the web. This cute one here, he looks out for your phone’s unique ad identifier. It’s like your own personal
flag that you unknowingly wave to the companies that
want to sell you stuff. This mole, he hides in
your downloaded apps. This little one, he stalks you
ever move in the real world via GPS and other location data. (playful music) So you get out your
privacy settings mallet to try and whack those moles forever. You jump from app to app, menu to menu, and switch on protections. But how do they keep popping back up? Well, take these examples. You can turn off location tracking, but then companies figure out another way to track your location,
say with your IP address. Or you turn off cookie tracking, but they use fingerprinting, a technique where they
put together other info from your device, like what
wifi or cellular networks your on, or time zones,
to figure out who you are. Using a special software proxy tool, my colleague Mark Secada
and I tested 80 apps, many of which Apple
promotes as Apps We Love. In all but one of them, we
found mobile ad trackers sending data without any
indication to the user. One of our findings: meditation apps are sucking up a lot of data,
averaging six tackers each. How zen. Yes, it’s a lot of moles, but at least I can help
you whack some of them. Do this right now. You can limit web cookie
tracking to a degree. The best thing you can do is use a privacy-focused browser
like Firefox or Safari. If you use Chrome, download the EFF’s Privacy Badger extension,
which shows you what trackers are being used and lets you block them. With both Google and Facebook, go through their privacy checkup tools. On Facebook specifically, turn off everything under ad settings. On Google, turn of the
location history tool, which logs everywhere you’ve been. The best thing you can
do is limit tracking at the operating system level. On the iPhone, go to settings,
privacy, advertising, and toggle on Limit Ad Tracking. Make sure you’ve turned
off location tracking on the apps that really
don’t need your location. On Android and iOS, go into settings and find that location setting and disable access for the apps that really don’t need the info. Okay, sure, I’ve made this all out to seem like a game, but
at the end of the day, our dwindling privacy
is anything but that. Despite new promises about privacy and giving us new controls,
the tech companies have continued to put too much
of the privacy onus on us. And like a game of Whac-A-Mole,
I mean Whac-A-Tracker, it feels like it may never end. – All right, we have a winner! You win a tracker! Congratulations! – Thank you.
– Hey, remember, they’re always watching you. Congratulations! Have a great day! Thank you for playing! (upbeat jazz music)

36 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Win at Privacy Whac-A-Mole | WSJ

  1. But wait it gets worse! Not only is there tracking but also software in newer vehicles tracks the driver and car. Any where a debit, or credit is used is tracked. The federal government also has the capability to track anyone almost instantaneously from satellites, government phone tracking, and other data. We are limited today to cash and older vehicles to avoid some elements of tracking. Or perhaps leaving the country for some jungle would eliminate most of the tracking. Good luck with that too. Don't forget to take the prophylaxis!

  2. The only hope for the future is if every piece of data has to be purchased from the owner. In other words you become the owner of all data you generate and it only can be collected if you consent and you are reimbursed.

  3. Dear Wall Street Journal,
    News Flash:
    Any device with an IP Address can track you.
    I want to play
    "Hock-A-Loog" measure the distance it goes and win a prize. 💧 …. 🚩
    " Oh yeah, those are fun for the whole family "
    John Candy
    Quote from the movie "Summer Rental" 🎬🎥
    Love from Michigan USA 💝
    Peace ✌

  4. This video made me unsubscribe from the Wall Street Journal youtube channel.
    I wish I was kidding but I'm genuinely not. The gimmickry is far too childish for what the company brand stands for.

  5. All the US companies are complying with NSA and US government orders so there is no such thing called privacy if you use their products. Good luck with winning at privacy whac-a-mole.

  6. Whac -in On public property
    Where we can see you I think it’s illegal
    In 50 States😉

  7. Yea maybe stop blaming the Chinese when the US companies are stealing all our shit everywhere. Can't the US stick with bugging Merkel's phone?

  8. I'm using Firefox… So I'm protected, at least from web trackers 'cause on my phone Google tracks me, and the other apps too

  9. So, basically this video blame social media companies for changing their way to let us control what data is sent to them? This is stupidity. They give us the choices and yet, you demand they do more?

  10. Never watch this high… im very confused, that does data, advertising, web trackers… what does that have to do with why i woulnd never win at wack a mole? I though there was a trick like hit every other mole to get more moints, or use the other hand to smak them…

  11. READ FOR THE ACTUAL FACTS……Check out the Librem 5 phone by Purism. I have no affiliation with that company. This post is to get accurate information to the masses because the information in this video is false. Let me explain why. Every phone on the market now has the same basic hardware design. The communications circuitry (Cellular, Wifi and Bluetooth) is on the same board as the main processor. That means no matter what privacy settings or privacy apps you use will stop the spying. Nothing will work because the communication circuitry can simply skim any data it wants from the main processor. That includes any and all data the travels through the processor. That means anything that you do on your phone can be seen by all these privacy snoopers. There is nothing that you can do to stop it. Its in the design at the hardware level. The Librem 5 is a phone that has been totally redesigned. The communications circuitry is on a separate board from the main processor. This means the communication circuitry can't skim data from you whenever it wants to. There are going to be actual hardware kill switches for Cellular, Bluetooth, Wifi and the microphone. This mean that when you turn any of these off they can never be turned back on behind your back. The OS will be based on Debian Linux. Android is based on Linux which was based on Unix and Apple is based on FreeBSD which was based on Unix. These are both rock solid operating systems when it come to dependability. The problem with any Android or Apple device is the spying capability is built into the operating system coupled with the hardware design. This new phone will not be hardware or software capable of spying on you unless you actually install an application on your phone to spy on you. It is going to have a user replaceable battery, headphone jack and lifetime updates. This will be the end of needing a new phone every year or two. The Librem 5 is suppose to be available sometime this year. I know I'm buying one because I have had it with companies and government in my personal business. I hope this information helps privacy concerned people. 😉

  12. Is there anything more Wall Street Journal than going to a carnival and buying every game of Wack-a-Mole at once?

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