The New York Times offers tips on how to get rid of online tracking programs set up for targeted behavioral advertising:
A number of tools can minimize tracking, but using them requires considerable effort and tech know-how. […]
Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission is examining the effectiveness and usability of these tools. It is trying to determine whether something simpler for consumers, like a do-not-track registry akin to the federal Do Not Call Registry, is feasible. The agency’s commissioners plan to make their views known this fall, says Christopher N. Olsen, assistant director in the agency’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.
Until then, here’s a guide to keeping the snoops at bay.
Online publishers, retailers and other Web sites you visit often let advertising companies place cookies, a small bit of software, on your computer to track your online activity. You can remove standard cookies using the features of any major browser, but consider deleting these ad-related cookies manually to avoid trashing those set by your favorite Web sites intended to save passwords and personal preferences. We have the instructions online for blocking cookies on four popular browsers. […]
[Some] privacy advocates recommend a free plug-in known as Taco, available for both Firefox and Internet Explorer, from the privacy-software start-up Abine. Taco helps Web users manage and delete standard cookies, Flash and DOM supercookies and Web bugs. It also lets you see who is trying to follow your online movements and helps you decline targeted ads from more than 100 ad networks. […]
And be careful what information you give out about yourself, whether on site registration forms, online surveys or on social networks. Interests you volunteer will undoubtedly be used to tailor ads you see around the Web.
Web searches can also be used to inform advertisers about your likely interests. Google says it does not use search history in directing specific ads, but both Microsoft and Yahoo do.
Read more tips at the New York Times.