Tracking Browsers Without Cookies Or IP Addresses?

The EFF has launched a research project called Panopticlick, to determine whether seemingly innocuous browser configuration information (like User Agent strings, plugin versions and, fonts) may create unique fingerprints that allow web users to be tracked, even if they limit or delete cookies.

Preliminary results indicate that the User Agent string alone has 10.5 bits of entropy, which means that for a typical Internet user, only one in about 1,500 (2 ^ 10.5) others will share their User Agent string.

If you visit Panopticlick, you can get an reading of how rare or unique your browser configuration is, as well as helping EFF to collect better data about this problem and how best to defend against it."

Twitter Intros Local Trends

Sick of all this Apple Tablet talk? Why not switch your Twitter Trending Topics to something more localized? Actually, the new feature is still confined to major cities, so odds seem pretty good that, no matter where you go, most people will be breathlessly tweeting about Steve Jobs and company.

The new feature, rolled out last night, lets users "localize" their top trends, by country or by city. The spot reserved for Trending Topics on the right hand column of the site now reads Trending: Worldwide. Users can change locations with a pull down menu.

Countries include Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, the UK, and the US. On the city side, the service is largely confined to the US, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonion, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. London and Sao Paulo are also on the list.

Twitter is currently working on adding more cities.

Facebook, Attorney General of California, and Web 3.0

An interesting discussion/interview with a Facebook employee regarding their data retention policies. Cliffs notes: Never put anything on Facebook you don't want stored forever, even if you delete it.

Due to overwhelming privacy concerns, many large web companies are now employing a new position: CPO "Chief Privacy Officer." Chris Kelly is Facebook's CPO, now running for AG in California.

The interview touches a bit on "Web 3.0" and the direction things are headed. Worth the read.

Read the whole interview:

How you can find SmartBox??!

Speaking at a conference over the weekend in Orlando, the most frequent question I was asked was "How can we contact you for more info on your services?"

Well, the easiest way is simply to Google us.  Like this:

Or, if you can't remember the name of my business, try just my name:


The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

The NY Times has an interesting report on the iGeneration, born in the '90s and this decade, comparing them to the Net Generation, born in the 1980s. The Net Generation spend two hours a day talking on the phone and still use e-mail frequently while the iGeneration — conceivably their younger siblings — spends considerably more time texting than talking on the phone, pays less attention to television than the older group, and tends to communicate more over instant-messenger networks.

'People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,' says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. 'College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.' Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, says that the iGeneration, unlike their older peers, expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and don't have the patience for anything less.

'They'll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have growing up,' says Rosen.

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