Did anyone watch Law 'n Order last night?

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Did anyone watch Law 'n Order last night? (We are not TVaholics, but this is one show we like)

I post this because it has to do with the internet & posting on forums, etc....

Last night it was freaky -

The short version is that in solving a murder case, the lawyers found out that there are private companies who have developed software that can find out your IP address (the address that shows who you are; where you're from on the internet), then follow you to every site you visit & see exactly what you do there (forum postings, chatting, banking, etc.) It gets worse...not only do they gather this information....then they sell it to whoever wants to buy it.

Talk about invasion of privacy - whoosh!

I just wondered if anyone else saw it & what your thoughts were.

-- heather (h.m.metheny@att.net), February 28, 2002


I don't watch tv but what you're referring to is called 'spyware'. I'd venture to say that 80% of the people reading this have spyware installed on their computer without their knowledge. It's installed on your computer through visiting many popular websites. They don't need your IP address for it to work, most peoples IP changes every time they log on to the internet. I run spyware detecting software and usually remove at least one spyware a week from my computer. You can use Ad-Aware from Lavasoft, www.lavasoftusa.com. Use Ad-Aware and you will probably be surprised to see that you've had spyware on your computer all this time.

I'd also recommend running a firewall. Zonealarm is a good one that's free. www.zonealarm.com

Even running those 2 programs you are never 100% secure.

-- Dave (multiplierx9@hotmail.com), February 28, 2002.

If you have a cable modem with Comcast, they are already collecting this information.

-- Sherri C (CeltiaSkye@aol.com), February 28, 2002.

A saw Law 'n Order last night. The collection of public info is true. They took a lot of creative license on how much info broker really have or at least leagally can have.

A number of technical mistakes. Overall not one of the better shows they have done.

-- Gary (gws@columbus.rr.com), February 28, 2002.

I don't see this - whatever you called it? Oh yes. I have one of those machines - worked a few months ago - I tested it.

Dave is spot on about both Ad-aware and ZoneAlarm. Be warned - I had bad experiences with Win95 and ZoneAlarm, but it works well with later versions. At least use Ad-aware regularly; use ZoneAlarm or an equvalent if you can (some of the anti-virus software suites also incorporate an internet firewall); and KEEP YOUR ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE AND SIGNATURE FILES UP-TO-DATE.

Of course, once you post your real e-mail address, they've got you nailed. If you've been posting for a few months, go to www.google.com and do a search on your email address (e.g. darmst@yahoo.com.au in my case). Actually, that was interesting - I tried google and they've changed the way it works - it now appears only to point to one entry in each domain, so one greenspun, one jerrypournelle.com, one seto.org, etc. Others are using the same limitation. I think this is probably a bad thing, but it does make it easier for them to index things, and harder (NOT impossible) for anyone to track everything.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), February 28, 2002.

Heather, you must always assume that your internet contributions/visits are as secure as your telephone, meaning anyone and any person can access it at will, with the right knowledge and equipment.

When my brother the professional computer geek/former hacker installed our computer, he explained it that way to us. Consider everything you say, do or visit on the internet public information.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), February 28, 2002.

Someone sent me this link last week about spyware; interesting reading.


-- Chelsea (rmbehr@istar.ca), February 28, 2002.

If you want to find some other surprises on your system in addition to what Ad-Aware will find for you, try this website: www.cookiesweeper.com These days the cookies you receive leave lots of crumbs and if you think clearing your temporary internet cache clears everything out at the end of a session, think again.

-- Ed (ecpubs@lynchburg.net), February 28, 2002.

microsoft has spyware installed in ME, 2000 and XP windows versions as I understand and commercial sites are routinely using it also.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), February 28, 2002.

Yes, I did see that episode of L & O. We watch that show all the time. I thought it was a well done show. I also liked the quote that we have often heard.... give up liberty for safety and you will likely lose both

-- rbare (rbare@gvc.net), February 28, 2002.

I downloaded the free version of Ad Ware last night and installed it. Guess what? Three programs that were gathering my internet information and supposedly not selling it, but who knows. Deleted all three programs. There were 128 files associated with those three folders. Now my 'puter runs faster and I even installed the pop up stopper and now have no more annoying pop up ads. It works great and you can turn it off if you really miss the pop up ads and want to see them. I would advise Ad Ware if you want to relieve yourself of lots of information gathering like "click throughs, sites visited, how many times you visit a site, when you visit, etc" All that was in a txt file that I opened which said Read ME. Well I was shocked to find out just how much information was being gathered on my doings on the 'net. And I don't buy the idea that they aren't selling the info, but just collecting it and giving it to the sites I visited so they can improve on their site. No one does anything for free these days!

Just thought I'd let you guys know how it worked out for me.

-- Cindy (colawson@mindspring.com), March 01, 2002.

I've had Ad-Aware for a long time, got it after Opt-Out changed. I run it all the time and always find at least 2 spyware things.

-- Cindy in KY (solidrockranch@msn.com), March 01, 2002.

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