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From the NY Times today:

“Americans yearn to be young. So it is little wonder that RealAge, which promises to help shave years off your age, has become one of the most popular tests on the Internet.

According to RealAge, more than 27 million people have taken the test, which asks 150 or so questions about lifestyle and family history to assign a “biological age,” how young or old your habits make you. Then, RealAge makes recommendations on how to get “younger,” like taking multivitamins, eating breakfast and flossing your teeth. Nine million of those people have signed up to become RealAge members.

But while RealAge promotes better living through nonmedical solutions, the site makes its money by selling better living through drugs. “

As Sunbelt’s Eric Howes says, “Not all online privacy threats come in the form of malware/adware/spyware. And it is still true that one of the easiest ways to get people to do things they would not normally do (e.g., cough up sensitive medical history data) is to construct an appeal to fear or vanity, or both.”

Alex Eckelberry