Tech and privacy: Facebook’s ad platform; CloudFlare’s encryption gift

Once again, we’re making a couple of stops at the corner of tech and privacy.

• Facebook’s relaunched ad platform, Atlas, will allow advertisers to track users outside Facebook, across devices and even “connect online campaigns to actual offline sales,” according to a company blog post. The users supposedly remain anonymous. The tool is being touted as sweeter to advertisers than plain old cookies, which track activity only inside a single Web browser, according to Bloomberg. So in case you aren’t already… um, pleasantly surprised when websites seem to read your mind, get ready for more targeted advertising.

• San Francisco-based CloudFlare is giving websites a gift: It will allow them to encrypt their sites for free. The company is estimating that its action will double the number of sites protected by SSL (secure socket layer) encryption. Ars Technica has the technical details, but in a nutshell, CloudFlare’s offering will make it easier for websites that might have been holding off or unable to configure their own encryption. The offering is available to both free and paying CloudFlare customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU said of the move, which would increase both privacy and security: “It’s huge.”


Photo from Reuters archives


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