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Researcher Finds Majority of Sites Leaking User Data

ONLINE PRIVACY—U.S.

October 12, 2011

Reuters reports on a Stanford University researcher's finding that dozens of companies are gathering and selling bits and pieces of presumably "anonymous" data on users. Researcher Jonathan Mayer says that 61 percent of 185 sites surveyed shared user information with other sites. And opting out of behavioral targeting doesn't stop the data collection, Mayer says of do-not-track efforts, adding, "It's a fact of life that information is going to leak to third parties." FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says tracked information "could be traded through an invisible lattice of companies, snowballing into an exhaustive profile of you available to those making critical decisions about your career, finances, health and reputation."  

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