photo credit: mirkuz via photopin cc

photo credit: mirkuz via photopin cc

I’ve long given up the delusion of privacy on the Internet. But it’s still jarring to learn that corporate espionage on citizens is even worse than most of us realize.

As the The Washington Post revealsboth AT&T and Verizon use things called “supercookies,” which despite the tasty name are thoroughly nauseating. These supercookies  track our activity without any consent – and switching to “privacy mode” won’t help you. In fact, changing your browser settings will do nothing to protect you from the prying eyes of Big Telecom.

Using supercookies, these companies monitor your online activity and track your habits and interests. This makes you an easier marketing target, so cellular behemoths cash in by selling your info to advertisers. Never mind that the true cost is your privacy.

“There’s a stampede by the cable companies and wireless carriers to expand data collection,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “They all want to outdo Google.”

If Verizon and AT&T can get away with tapping our phones with supercookies, we can expect more corporations to follow suit, and this unchecked invasion could become the norm.  I’d guess government intelligence agencies are already drooling over the technology.

Security advocates like Chester, according to the Post, “say that without legal action, in court or by a regulatory agency such as the FCC or FTC, the shift toward supercookies will be impossible to stop.”

Thankfully, some are fighting back. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for instance, is speaking out against the supercookie to the FCC, and considering legal action against Verizon.

I hope they do it, and I hope they win.