Letters - Just don’t go there


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The next time you are tempted to try an internet “quiz”, pass up the opportunity if you value your privacy. Very few people will invent a quiz just for fun. Most are looking for a return on invested time and your personal information is marketable. No hacking required, no pesky firewalls or passwords to circumvent; just put out an enticing quiz to get what you want.

Many of you will have experienced receiving an e-mail or visiting Facebook to find a post that says: “According to this quiz I should have been a (doctor, lawyer, accountant, artist, etc.) or I am an xxxxxx (where do you fit on the political spectrum?) with a link to try the quiz yourself. There are dozens of variations of the internet quiz.

It all seems innocuous and a bit of a break for a giggle or two.

However, by taking the ‘quiz’ you are going to a new web site and the quiz is designed to reveal a lot about what you like and dislike and how you think. It never occurs to you that when the site asks for your e-mail address to receive the results, the objective is to link you to the information you have provided (all in fun). Your personal data has been harvested and kept for future use in selling you things or in sending you political messages as a couple of examples.

You unwittingly and willingly went to a site that harvests your personal information. It is probable that if you try to access the same site a few weeks (or even days) later, it will have disappeared. It has not disappeared at all. The site name and web links will have changed but the harvesting operation continues 24/7.

It is only one of the many ways that your personal information is taken without your knowledge or consent. You get no warning that the answers you provide will be recorded and kept. That is illegal which is why the names and internet links change rapidly and the harvester frequently changes computer servers to avoid tracing and detection.

By the way, what your real personality?

It is tempting, isn’t it?

I strongly recommend you do not go there.

John Feldsted
Winnipeg, Manitoba