You have value--and not just as a good friend, loving family member, and upstanding member of society. You're also a valuable commodity that companies buy and sell. Your age, browsing habits, and friends lists are all hot properties. And yes, all this data is recorded, packaged, and sold to the highest bidder by your favorite websites.
Stories by Alex Wawro
Your PC's hard drive is packed with your personal data. So when you want to get rid of your system or drive, you should permanently erase your storage device drives before you get rid of them. If your drives are encrypted and you trust the encryption protocol (full disk encryption is pretty safe), all you have to do is delete your encryption keys. If you want to safeguard your privacy further--and prevent data theft down the road--here are a few cheap and simple tools designed to wipe your hard drive, solid-state drive, or USB flash drive thoroughly before you dispose of it.
Microsoft recently filed a patent for a dynamic game avatar system that limits avatar or even gameplay options based on a user's physiological data.