Alexa, web statistics, and your personal information

Alexa.com toolbar is a web traffic analysis program integrated into your browser. I always knew that services like Alexa keep track of what websites users visit, time they spend there, and similar general statistics. What I didn’t know until today is that they collect very personal information about you, and they also publish some of it. For example, private pages and links that you visit may appear on Google as Alexa may place them in their site analysis section (sites linking to… and similar). Imagine you write a private blog post where you link to some site you want only your friend to know about, and then few days later you find these links on Alexa site and indexed by Google thanks to Alexa not respecting your privacy! Also, did you know that:

… When the Alexa Toolbar is turned on, Alexa collects and stores
information about the Web pages that you view, the products you purchase
online, and the data you enter in online forms and search fields.

However, please note: Alexa does not collect information entered into
forms while you are on a secure (https://) site, so we do not record
your credit card information when you are making a purchase online. You
should never enter your credit card information on a non-secure site…

Just think about this the next time you browse the net with the toolbar turned on.

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