Personally I had never heard of them until today. I got fed up with Windows a couple of years ago, I run a flavor of Linux instead. By no means do I think Linux is the be all and end all. I have regular battles with it, Windows offers a seamless install process, mostly Linux does not.  Of course the Linux weenies will call me out on that. Well weenies, all I have to say is ‘go grep yourself’. The average guy does not want to understand Gunzip, Make, etc, all they want to do is install a program or game.

But, in defense of Linux I do like the fact that there are few viruses associated with it. It seems to me that my wife gets one on windows every few weeks. We are both in the journalism business, so we do visit a large number of sites. I never get Virii, Jan on the other hand seems to collect them like Baseball Cards.

I did notice a problem on one of my computers about a week ago. Suddenly it was acting strange, much slower than normal. Maybe it is is my DSL connection? Or maybe it is just that the other sites are slow? This ‘slowness’ has been bothering me for days. Today began as almost everyday, get up at ‘dark thirty’ make coffee and climb into the computer torture chamber for another fun packed 16 hours.

It was raining, a not uncommon occurrence in this neck of the woods. The Internet though, was acting up. This is something that I am not used to. I am used to “always on” meaning just that!

Could it be the rain?

A few re-boots of the modem and the router seemed to clear up the problem, but BNN was taking an eternity to refresh. On about the third attempt I noticed that the problem was that it was hanging, waiting for some place named b.scorecardresearch.com. Who the hell are these people? I know that I had no clue.

An online search revealed little, they are a ‘market research’ company. They track where people are browsing. But where did www.scorecardresearch.com get permission to monitor my traffic?

A little more digging revealed that our friends at Score Card Research are part of a larger organization www.fullcirclestudies.com, and have a partner further up the food chain http://www.comscore.com/

This comes straight from the Comescore home page:

Full Circle Studies, Inc. is a company that helps with the collection of Internet web browsing data on specific websites that have enrolled in a broad market research effort by comScore, Inc. to create reports on Internet behavior and trends. comScore, Inc. is a recognized authority on Internet and general economic trends, whose data are routinely cited by major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNBC, and is extensively used by the largest Internet services companies and scores of Fortune 500 companies. To learn more about comScore, please see www.comscore.com.

These statements are no doubt true. But who invited them to invade my computer? I am not a beginner, I do read all of the ‘invites’ for spam and pointless internet services that I get. At no point did I invite this company to track my internet habits!

Like most Internet trolls they have an ‘Opt out’ policy, but where is the ‘Opt in’ one? They gave me no opportunity to say NO.

Much is made of Net Neutrality, no carrier should be able to determine the importance of your data, it should have the same level as everyone else. An analogy to that is the Phone System, other than 911, all calls have the same priority. Also we have a guarantee of privacy. Sure there are wire taps! But for the most part, we as regular folks do not need to worry.

So, the big question is. Where does Comscore and its associated companies have the right to spy on what we do online?

The ‘opt out’ option is a bit like saying ‘we have bugged your house, we didn’t tell you, well we didn’t think you would say yes, but, if you don’t like it, we can take the listenening devices out’.

What a pile of doggy doo!

Needless to say, neither ComScore, nor its various ‘down line’ (think Amway) companies have bothered to respond to my E-mails.

Don’t just ‘opt out’ of something you never ‘opted into’, tell these people to go pound sand!

Of course these ‘silent listeners’ are now on my radar, send your stories in.

Simon Barrett

As an adjunct, BNN has not been targeted, it seems to be only my primary computer. But it still has me HOT.

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