Some information and resources to enable a greater degree of Internet privacy for any and all.
The Internet is a bit like Mos Eisley spaceport, namely, as Obi-Wan tells us, "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Most, if not all of the services you use on the Internet, gather every iota of personal information they can get their grubby little hands on and sell it to anyone who is offering so much as a goat in exchange. What's the big deal you ask?
Or for a much more comprehensive and rigorous examination of the online privacy... situation, for lack of a better word, there is this in depth Internet privacy series by the Wall Street Journal.
So what can we do to stop the madness. Well, at the very least you can protect yourself. As a first step by using Firefox with various addons to decrease your exposure to drive by data theft. Addons like the effective yet unobtrusive Adblock Plus or the amazingly powerful NoScript. But as helpful as tools of this type can be, using a service like Facebook or Google is still just handing over your data.
In order to truly free yourself from the dangerous bandits on the information highway, you likely need to switch services altogether. A scary proposition, but desprate times, etc. And who knows, maybe a search engine like DuckDuckGo has more to offer than you'd think. Perhaps Diaspora* is shaping up to be something greater than Facebook or Google+.
Go out now that you have been taught, go forth and be protected. Make it known that there is a better way, a brighter and more private future for us all if we but embrace it.