Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You

It’s 2015—when we feel sick, fear disease, or have questions about our health, we turn first to the internet. According to the Pew Internet Project, 72 percent of US internet users look up health-related information online. But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores. It’s happening for profit, for an “improved user experience,” and because developers have flocked to “free” plugins and tools provided by data-vacuuming companies.

…WebMD is basically calling up everybody in town and telling them that’s what you’re looking at

Source: Looking Up Symptoms Online?  These Companies Are Tracking You

Not really news.  There was news about Wikipedia being used a while back.

Girl Scout Cookies Can Be Bought Online as of Dec. 12/14

No word on if they accept bitcoins.

The Digital Cookie online platform, which will kick off nationwide on Dec. 12, won’t replace traditional door-to-door and booth sales, Soper said.

Instead, it will teach participants the five skills associated with the cookie program — goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics — with a digital spin.

…Each girl has her own site, but you can’t search for your local troop on the Web and find a direct link to each scout’s digital store. The girls are encouraged only to share the Web address of their store with people they know in real life. They are also asked to take safety precautions like using just their first name and not sharing personal information.

Source: Girl Scouts taking their cookie sales online for the first time

The article highlights the thought that went into making this safe for girls.  According to ArsTechnica, someone has the title of “chief digital cookie officer”:

If you aren’t directly nagged by a scout with a digital sale offer, consider grabbing the non-profit’s Girl Scout Cookie Finder app for either iOS or Android.

Scouts are encouraged to raise all their activity funds through cookie sales and other fundraisers (they’re allowed to do things like car washes, too). The point of that being to teach skills in planning, money management, etc. I know of one troop who planned a trip, then figured how much that would cost and set cookie sales goals accordingly. The girls decided what they wanted to do, figured out how to make that happen, then did all the work – exactly what a youth program should do.