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article imageQ&A: Eliminating your digital fingerprint to protect your data Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 10, 2018 in Technology
Politicians and businesses frequently use tracking technology on their websites to track and analyze potential voter or consumer behavior. For those concerned about this, TrackOFF provides a solution.
TrackOFF uses a unique algorithm that shreds a person's identity each time they visit a new website, making the visitor look like a new user each time and effectively hiding their data from potential cyber criminals. This technology is described by the developers as especially impactful during heightened cybersecurity risk periods, such as during elections.
To find out more about the technology, Digital Journal spoke with TrackOFF CEO Chandler Givens.
Digital Journal: How important is data for businesses?
Givens: It’s not an overstatement to say at this moment data is the most valuable asset for businesses. This is the root cause of the overarching privacy concerns we’re witnessing--companies will stop at nothing to get our data because they understand its value.
DJ: Is this also true for politicians?
Givens: Even more true for politicians. Good businesses have a long time horizon, so exercising discretion is important to avoid losing brand equity. For politicians it’s a zero-sum game. Those that are willing to walk right up to the edge are going to collect and exploit as much of our data as possible to gain an advantage.
DJ: How do organizations track and collect data?
Givens: Well, the technology is fairly sophisticated but conceptually it’s pretty straight forward. Every time you go to a website, that website can detect certain identifiers about your computer and browser that can be used to identify and track you. Imagine everywhere you went you needed to scan your passport to enter, and all your subsequent activity at that place was tracked and associated back to your passport information. That’s basically what’s happening as you browse.
DJ: How are meaningful patterns drawn from such data?
Givens: I get concerned when I hear people say “I’m not doing anything interesting online so companies will find my habits boring.” The most meaningful patterns that are drawn by data analytics companies come from hundreds, sometimes thousands of sources--online and offline. The result is a picture that reveals our most intimate preferences and interests.
DJ: What can people do to better protect their privacy?
Givens: The technology used to track and analyze our digital lives has become so advanced that it’s nearly impossible for most people to protect themselves online. That doesn’t mean folks should lose hope. It’s a shameless plug, but our software brings together the very best protection against ALL types of new online tracking in a form that’s simple to use and understand.
DJ: Why did you develop TrackOFF?
Givens: More than ever you can feel that people are frustrated they’ve lost all control of who has permission to collect, maintain, and use their personal information. The answer isn’t waiting around for companies to change their ways -- they won’t -- or for politicians to pass laws -- they have no motivation to do so. Consumers need tools to help them reclaim control. That’s why we started the company in the first place.
DJ: How does TrackOFF work?
Givens: It starts with the understanding that privacy threats are invisible, so you really can’t appreciate how prevalent they are until you’re seeing them in real-time. Our proprietary technology shows users each time there is an attempt to identify and track them. That’s one. The second is that we’re the only company with patented technology to stop the latest tracking threats without creating headaches for users while they browse. This point is critical--most people aren’t willing to sacrifice convenience for privacy protection, even if it’s desperately needed in these times.
DJ: How well has TrackOFF taken off?
Givens: We’ve been really fortunate in a lot of ways. First, I’d put our team up against any in the world. We live and breathe this stuff -- we’re obsessed with figuring out how users’ information is being tracked and helping find ways to stop it. The other is our timing has been good. We’ve grown 300% this year alone. Partly it’s because our technology is second to none, partly it’s because we’re riding a wave of consumer sentiment around online privacy.
DJ: Is there a particular industry or demographic that TrackOFF appeals to?
Givens: For the most part those 40 and older tend to be most inclined to seek out and use our software. But there are signs that the younger crowds aren’t far behind. More and more millennials are using ephemeral social media, like Snapchat, or encrypted messaging. These are trendlines that suggest to us they do care about online privacy, despite what many people say.
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