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On Pinterest, User Tracking & Tin Foil Hats

Posted on 7.28.2013

I'm having an increasingly difficult time at cocktail parties these days. Once people find out who I am and what I do, they inevitably have a few questions and ultimately want to talk about the topic du jour - tracking and their privacy in particular.

It seems like everywhere you go and everything you do leaves a digital footprint and its fair game for companies to track that personal activity. My typical response is that the safest way to protect your privacy is to not use the Internet or a phone, and that tin-foil hats come in particuarly handy (that's said in jest of course). It's part of the busienss and technology landscape and beleive it or not - whether you realize it or not - most people actually appreciate the result of all the tracking that's taking place. 

In a blog post introducing its most recent update, Pinterest spelled out what its latest addition -- the "Edit Home Feed" option -- means for its users' privacy. Basically, you can now tailor your feed to provide you with content related to what you've been pinning. Additionally, Pinterest can track your activity on other sites (so long as they feature a "Pin It" button) to suggest boards based on your interests, though users can easily opt out under their account settings. With public concern over online tracking at an all time high (Thanks, PRISM!), Pinterest evidently didn't want to get caught on the wrong side of the divide.

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