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NEW YORK (CBS) ― Ever notice how when you get onto certain websites they seem to direct you to pages that have the things you already like? As though it’s being targeted directly to you?

That’s because it is. And you’re paying the price with your privacy.

But CBS 2 HD has ideas how to get it back.

Google, Facebook and MySpace, websites many of us click through daily, are also places where a staggering amount of personal information about us is being gathered — and shared.

“If you search on Google, Google knows a tremendous amount about you. It’s the reality of the digital information,” said Lance Ulanoff, editor-in-chief of PCMagazine.com.

Ulanoff said even the most innocent-seeming of websites yield a treasure trove of very valuable data about us and our habits — all to be exploited by business.

“Your interests, who you are, the things you like to do, where you live,” Ulanoff said.

And all of those valuable nuggets of knowledge are highly sought after by advertisers.

It’s information like this — who you are, what you like and what you like to do — that advertisers find so valuable. They then target their marketing directly to you hoping to get you to buy.

But you can fight back against all that data mining. For starters, to reduce just how much they know about you, turn on the privacy settings on Facebook, My Space or any other social networking site. Then you can control how much you share and with whom.

And when setting up accounts on any website that ask for maiden names or birth dates?

“Never use any real information to set up your privacy settings. Make it up and remember what it is,” digital technology guru Shelly Palmer said.

“I think it’s a slippery slope and I would like simpler privacy settings,” said Aida Del Valle of San Rafael, Calif.

“I think people think they still do have some semblance of privacy on it so if that keeps disappearing and people don’t realize that’s probably going to become a problem,” added Jen Flax of the Upper East Side.

It’s a problem that for now can be better controlled with time and patience at the computer.

(© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

NEW YORK (CBS) ―

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

 

Ever notice how when you get onto certain websites they seem to direct you to pages that have the things you already like? As though it’s being targeted directly to you?

That’s because it is. And you’re paying the price with your privacy.

But CBS 2 HD has ideas how to get it back.

Google, Facebook and MySpace, websites many of us click through daily, are also places where a staggering amount of personal information about us is being gathered — and shared.

“If you search on Google, Google knows a tremendous amount about you. It’s the reality of the digital information,” said Lance Ulanoff, editor-in-chief of PCMagazine.com.

Ulanoff said even the most innocent-seeming of websites yield a treasure trove of very valuable data about us and our habits — all to be exploited by businesses.

“Your interests, who you are, the things you like to do, where you live,” Ulanoff said.

And all of those valuable nuggets of knowledge are highly sought after by advertisers.

It’s information like this — who you are, what you like and what you like to do — that advertisers find so valuable. They then target their marketing directly to you hoping to get you to buy.

But you can fight back against all that data mining. For starters, to reduce just how much they know about you, turn on the privacy settings on Facebook, My Space or any other social networking site. Then you can control how much you share and with whom.

And when setting up accounts on any website that ask for maiden names or birth dates?

“Never use any real information to set up your privacy settings. Make it up and remember what it is,” digital technology guru Shelly Palmer said.

“I think it’s a slippery slope and I would like simpler privacy settings,” said Aida Del Valle of San Rafael, Calif.

“I think people think they still do have some semblance of privacy on it so if that keeps disappearing and people don’t realize that’s probably going to become a problem,” added Jen Flax of the Upper East Side.

It’s a problem that for now can be better controlled with time and patience at the computer.

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