They’re all around us — the number of people being tracked as suspected terrorists will soon cross the one million mark, Reuters reports:
The number of names on a highly classified U.S. central database used to track suspected terrorists has jumped to 875,000 from 540,000 only five years ago, a U. (Read more…)S. official said. Among those was Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose name was added in 2011.
Maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, the highly classified database is not a “watchlist,” but a repository of information on people whom U.S. authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world.
The “Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment” is a master database which agencies use to build other catalogs of possible terrorists, like the “no-fly” list which prevents people on it from boarding airplanes.
Karen Greenberg, an expert in counter-terrorism policy at Fordham University, questioned whether the growth in the database’s size made it easier for officials to spot threats before they materialize.
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Lifehacker has a rundown of recommendations for simple browser add-ons (such as Disconnect, Do Not Track Me, and the adorably-mascotted Ghostery) for keeping your online browsing and communications safe from tracking:
Anti-tracking and anti-cookie extensions have exploded recently. Disconnect (Firefox/Chrome/IE/Safari) is our pick because it continues to add useful features and improve its database, and its secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization features aren’t available in other tools. It blocks third party tracking cookies and gives you control over all site scripts and elements from a simple-to-use toolbar menu. It also protects you from tracking by social networks like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which use your browsing even off-site to collect data about you. (Read more…)
HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox/Chrome) is a must-have regardless of what other security tools you opt to use. Once installed, the extension will shunt your connection to SSL whenever possible, and will try to find secure versions of the sites you visit.
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