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The Question No One Is Asking in the Net Neutrality Debate

Yesterday, the F.C.C. voted to move forward on their plan to guarantee a neutral, open Internet. Essentially, the vote was on whether or not a proposed strategy should move forward, but no actual ruling was made on net neutrality. The good news is that a part of that proposal included a measure to open the plan to public comment.

So the four-month public questioning period is set to begin immediately, but what questions can we ask for the next four months? Continue reading

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What A Security Breach Means For SEO

We know you don’t need another carbon copy of Mashable’s “Heartbleed Hit List,” so we’re not going to give it to you, don’t worry. But there are still certainly some things that should be gleaned from this incident, and as arbiters of SEO truth, we’ll take it upon ourselves here at TrafficZoom to explain some of those next-step implications—and answer the question of “What do security breaches do to your SEO?” Continue reading

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Google’s Top 10 April Fools’ Day Pranks

At this point, Google’s April Fools’ pranks are more of a spectacle than an actual prank. By 9am there are already analyses and reports of what Google has done “this year,” and few people are actually fooled—it seems that the pranks are more of a thermometer for how creative Google can still be, versus their ability to really trick people.

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Facebook: Connecting the World to Your Social Security Number

When it comes to storing your information on the Internet, if you’re anything like me, you’re a cocktail of a doe-eyed, blindly trusting child, and a middle-aged conspiracy theorist living out of his Winnebago. You’re quick to save your credit card number, shipping address, and cell phone on your Amazon account, but even quicker to banish to Hell any app that request permission to access your contacts, text messages, or current location. Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day by the Numbers

So if there’s anything we’ve learned from Google Trends, it’s that you can get a pretty good temperature for how the general population is feeling by what they’re searching for. Whether it was the spike on porn searches by Bronco’s fans on the night of SB48, or the searches for love on Valentine’s Day… right?

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Has Your Internet Privacy Become An Oxymoron?

With recent revelations by Edward Snowden about the U.S. Government and NSA surveillance, many people have started to wonder if internet privacy has become an oxymoron. Most recently, a story circulated about a New York family, the Catalanos, who received a visit from the Suffolk County Police Department, a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Twitter also disclosed that it received more information requests from the government in the first half of 2013 than it did in the first half or second half of 2012, respectively. While Twitter obliged approximately 66 percent of these requests, they are hopeful of increased transparency into the secret orders for this information.

Fallout from Snowden’s revelations and stories like the ones mentioned above have led many to wonder what internet users can do to protect their privacy.

To start with, it’s best to sign out of your Google, Yahoo, or other accounts when casually surfing the internet. You can clear out your search history, but a better alternative is to visit the support page for your particular browser and follow instructions on clearing cache and cookies. It will erase your settings and passwords for websites, but if privacy is important to you it’s good to note that this is the primary way internet sessions are recorded.

After clearing cookies, you can open a new internet window in incognito mode. This simple option, which can usually be selected in the toolbar, prevents any internet activity performed in the incognito window from being recorded in your browsing history and deletes cookies once you close the window.

Some who value privacy may find it worthwhile to pay for a reliable proxy server, which serves as a third party, making their IP address viewable instead of the one associated with your own account. As a result, any internet activity through the proxy server isn’t associated with your IP address. There are free alternatives, but quality and reliability are something to keep in mind.

If you just want to make a search quickly with the assurance it will be private, you can look to Google alternative, DuckDuckGo. It’s free and anonymous, and while it doesn’t display the expansive results Google will, it can be a good choice for those who want an easy, fast way to search something they’d rather keep private.

Most people have nothing to hide and value their privacy on principle. In an age of email and cloud storage, the internet and computers are unarguably useful tools in our daily personal and professional lives. The most common sense approach is to be wise about the information and content you store, share, and post about online. The tips mentioned above are a good start to assuring that our personal information and private behavior are not sacrificed at the hands of a technology intended to help us live an easier, more productive life.