How to Fight Privacy Pirates

You can take steps to block online tracking, or you can profit if you play along.

From your smart phone’s signals that show where you are and where you’ve been, to “tracking cookies” that deposit themselves in your Web browser’s files, to the one-way mirrors in the mall, companies are attempting to shadow your every move. “The average consumer doesn’t realize the extent to which information is being gathered,” says John Simpson, director of the privacy project at Consumer Watchdog, in Santa Monica, Cal. “Everywhere you go, the sites you visit and what you see are all being tracked.”

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Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of, is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.