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Defeating Google's Perpetual Search Logging 251

Posted by Hemos
from the do-slightly-less-evil dept.
heretic108 writes "Google's policy of storing everyone's search histories forever is causing concern amongst many, especially since Google stores a cookie on everyone's PC expiring in 2038. But at least one user is fighting back. His short and simple guide tells you how to set up any decent web browser so that it routes Google requests through an anonymous proxy, while sending everything else direct to the net for full-speed surfing. Follow these steps and get Google's nose out of your business once and for all."
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Defeating Google's Perpetual Search Logging

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  • but still accepts cookies from Google, even if it just for the session.
    Besides, not one word about JavaScript......
    • But if I delete the cookies, I can't disable safesearch. What use is Google then?

      Hey, if this is just a thread to promote software, the Proxomitron [proxomitron.info] can do similar things for you, plus block advertisements, fix formating, ... Works with all browsers that support proxies. Only real problem is that it needs wine or windows.

      Advertisement ends. Proles [newspeakdictionary.com] will now resume purchasing.

      • ARTICLE IS INCORRECT (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm posting this in reply to an unrelated comment, because it seems important enough to have visible near the top. I don't know why this hasn't been mentioned by other comments.

        IMPORTANT

        The settings in the article are wrong, and if you use them you are likely under the mistaken impression you're going through TOR when you're not.

        The correct wildcard setting should be something like "*google.*/*" (this is conservative, meaning it'll catch some things that aren't from google.com, but at least the google addr
    • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:29PM (#15895470) Homepage Journal
      Not only that, but I find it just so picturesquely Slashdot that the summary says "tells you how to set up any decent web browser" and the actual article explicitly only works with Firefox. IE/Safari/Opera users just laugh at the submitter and "editors".

      That, and who thinks they are fooling anyone by doing this? If you have a Google account for other services like Gmail, then you must allow Google to set a cookie, and you are still identifying yourself. You're also giving up the ability to customize your searches (safesearch, number of results, languages, etc).

      Depending on how your cookie settings are set, the only thing Google will know is what you're searching for. If you're really that worried about it, just delete the Google cookie when you're finished for the day/week/month. If all you use is Search, then just blacklist google.com in your cookie settings. That, or you can send all your traffic through an anonymous third party who has no accountability. If you're concerned about absolute privacy with regards to Google, it seems unlikely you'd give the same information to some anonymous others.
      • That, and who thinks they are fooling anyone by doing this? If you have a Google account for other services like Gmail, then you must allow Google to set a cookie, and you are still identifying yourself. You're also giving up the ability to customize your searches (safesearch, number of results, languages, etc).

        This can be circumvented as follows:
        It's true that if you don't accept a cookie from google.com, you can't login into Gmail. I've solved the issue by allowing google.com's cookie, but using google.ro

      • > That, and who thinks they are fooling anyone by doing this? If you have a
        > Google account for other services like Gmail, then you must allow Google to
        > set a cookie, and you are still identifying yourself.

        An amazing but true fact: some of us do not have Gmail accounts, or use any Google service other than search.
        • Another amazing but true fact... That doesn't negate the GPs point. If you want to use their services and use them by their rules, you can, on the other hand, you can opt out of using them. I'm fairly sure that that was covered by the original statement.
      • gMail is about the only (non-ISP) web mail service that also
        provides access via eMail clients, eg, Eudora, OE, etc.

        So, using a "real" eMail client, no cookies aer required.

        QED ;-)
        • gMail is about the only (non-ISP) web mail service that also provides access via eMail clients, eg, Eudora, OE, etc.

          I don't know about others, though I think with Hotmail you can use one, Yahoo! allows you to use an email client.

          Falcon
          • Hotmail can only be used with Outloook Express, and to get POP access with Yahoo mail you have to pay.
            GMail is the only free web mail service that I know of that you can access through any email client.
            • Hotmail can only be used with Outloook Express, and to get POP access with Yahoo mail you have to pay.
              GMail is the only free web mail service that I know of that you can access through any email client.

              I figured that about Hotmail, I used to use it but that was way before MS bought it. I started using Yahoo! mail when I joined some clubs, now called groups, years ago. But I didn't know you had to be a paying customer.

              Falcon
            • Hotmail can be used on any POP email client (I use seamonkey) with "Hotmail Popper". I have been using this program for years. It used to be free but there may be a nominal charge for it now.

              This allows some junk email addresses that can be used as required without needing to log into Hotmail periodically. i set mine to check hotmail every 30 minutes or so and have my dominant email addresses every 5 or 10 minutes.

              Just google for it and choose what you wish to know about it with 57,000+ google hits.
      • Cookie myth (Score:5, Insightful)

        by megaditto (982598) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @07:05PM (#15896016)
        'Deleting the cookie' does nothing to remove your stored search history crosslinked to your IP address

        Having a dynamic IP does not help if you use your computer regularly to check email, log in to slashdot, or visit your unique collection of news sites: anything that can link your particular IP-of-the-day to your identity.
        • Re:Cookie myth (Score:3, Informative)

          Megaditto

          'Deleting the cookie' does nothing to remove your stored search history crosslinked to your IP address

          Having a dynamic IP does not help if you use your computer regularly to check email, log in to slashdot, or visit your unique collection of news sites: anything that can link your particular IP-of-the-day to your identity.

          Oh, but there's more. It's not just searches. Just today I noticed that Google is serving css and javascript from www.google.com for third-party sites such as blogs.

          So in ot

      • I use Google, I use Gmail, I use Firefox, I only ever allow Google to set session cookies. That way I simply close my web browser and my searches become just so much noise. Why is everyone making such a big fuss about this? Session cookies are the answer :)
    • Or you could just block cookies from Google.com. How hard is that? They can't track you if you block cookies and also have a dynamic IP. I suppose there are only a limited number of IP addresses that you could have with most ISP's, but it will be divided enough to make tracking impossible unless Google teamed up with your ISP, which is doubtful.
  • Pffff... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Five Bucks! (769277) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:28PM (#15895249)
    Using their service gives them the right to log your search... it's in their business model. Quite simply, if you want Google to keep their nose out of your business, you should keep your nose out of theirs.

    Use MSN Search instead! Ha!

    • Re:Pffff... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jasen666 (88727) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:58PM (#15895340)
      Troll? My ass.
      He's absolutely right. Do you honestly beleive that other search engines do not save the searches you type into THEIR server? What just happened with AOL? At least Google is honest about it and made it publicly known that everything is saved, thus giving you the option to not use them if you don't like that.
      They're providing a free servivce to you, if you don't want them to know what you're searching for, don't use the service. Or waste time setting up proxies and whatnot. But as has been mentioned, you better proxy everyone, because every web service you use probably saves some information about you.
      Personally, I have too many other important things in my life to worry about other than the fact that google saved that search for "hentai porn" last week.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Personally, I have too many other important things in my life to worry about other than the fact that google saved that search for "hentai porn" last week.
        ... would you mind posting your 5 favorite sites so we don't have to search for them?
      • Re:Pffff... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shawb (16347) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:57PM (#15895570)
        Exactly. I believe that Google is at least ATTEMPTING to minimize any evil that may come from storing that data. They have shown some backbone in dealing with warrantless requests for that information from the DHS, unlike just about any other organization.

        If you believe that storing the information is in and of itself evil, then you are free to attempt to set up competing services. If you aren't using the information garnered about users to deliver targetted advertising, you are likely going to have to charge a fee as internet search (and the other goodies that Google delivers) are fairly expensive to do. Very few people would be actually willing to pay for internet search when they can get it free (or advertising supported, to be more accurate) from many other places online, so your costs would be distributed among just a few people, meaning the per user fee will be quite high. Or you can simply not use Google, MSN search, Yahoo, etc. Good luck competing in today's society that way.

        I haven't seen Google do anything major to break the trust that they have earned (besides going public, which does mean that choices are in some way no longer strictly under their control.) Untill such time as they show otherwise, my experience is that they are more concerned about my privacy than any other data amalgamating corporation out there. I have decided that for me, the benefit gained from using Google is worth the risk that the data gleaned from my use presents. There are going to be people in other fields with other... shall we say interests for whom this does not hold true. I this is the case, be careful what you search for, and assume that anything you search or allow Google to search on your computer if you use Google Desktop or similar can be used against you. Anonymizing proxies and others may help to some extent as long as you are careful not to give any link to yourself through the proxy. And remember, sometimes being TOO paranoid mades you stick out and "THEY" will start watching you simply because "THEY" think you have something to hide... then you have to go VERY deep under cover, which means you no longer have a personal life, only a cause.
      • Personally, I have too many other important things in my life to worry about other than the fact that google saved that search for "hentai porn" last week.
        Right. Like the fact that your comment will soon be one of the top ten searches for "hentai porn" because of Slashdot's pagerank.

        The Googlebot awaits you ; )
      • Re:Pffff... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mikiN (75494) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @07:59PM (#15896173)
        Simple solution: use a meta search engine. That way Google will still log what you type in the search box, but it will be linked to the IP(s) of the meta search engine server(s).

        (What meta search engines are and what their URLs are is left as an exercise for the reader)
      • "Do you honestly beleive that other search engines do not save the searches you type into THEIR server?"

        Aggregate information sure - but if its tied to a specific user its against european law at least.

        "They're providing a free servivce to you, if you don't want them to know what you're searching for, don't use the service."

        No, if they are being immoral they have no place on the net and can get the hell of - free or not.
      • Re:Pffff... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by siriuskase (679431)
        It may be naive, but I'm gambling on the fact that Google's database is large and I'm probably a very small, uninteresting part of it. If I do want to conduct research in <secret>**********</secret>, I'll invent a new pseudonym or access using my neighbor's open wifi.

        You have more to fear from slashdot's awesome comment saving system. All the baddie's must do is pay the nominal subscription fee and they have access to every inane comment you have ever posted here.
    • Re:Pffff... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob the Bold (788862) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:51PM (#15895549)
      Using their service gives them the right to log your search... it's in their business model.

      What's with the "Pffff"? Pshaw right back atcha!

      Anyway, the topic really isn't Google's right (or desire) to log your searches. It's about anonymizing your Google searches. They've still logged it, just not tied back to you in any way. If they're logging for purposes of statistical analysis, it's no problem for them, is it? Where's the agreement that I have to search under my own identity?

    • Re:Pffff... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      The best thing to do here would be to poison the well. Create a simple script that runs Google searches on random "hot" words.

      Se it up as a distributed.net style program and spread it all over the world. Within a few weeks, the top searches would be on words like "bomb" and "incest" and "child porn". Within a few months, Google's search analasys would be worthless. Not only that, but anyone trying to log the data to find a terrorist would be completely swamped.

      This could work for phones too. Set up Sky
  • Why only Google? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:29PM (#15895251) Homepage Journal
    If you are going to the trouble of setting up a proxy, why not use it for all of your web traffic? I mean, there are websites out there that collect just as much information as Google does, why do you want them collecting information about you?
    • by Jeff Molby (906283) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:39PM (#15895281)
      The summary itself answers your question, and TFA goes even further to say
      If there are any other sites that may be unduly logging your activity...add some entries for these sites into your anonymous proxy matchlist in FoxyProxy.
      Next time spend atleast 30 seconds reading before you post.
      • But what about those sites that you don't even know are monitoring you. I think it is far easier to proxy all basic webtraffic rather than trying to list every single site that collects information about you.
        • Yes, it would be easier to proxy everything, but it reduces your speed to the 56k neighborhood. Most of us aren't paranoid enough to want to take that hit. It's much more effective to proxy only the sites you don't trust.
          • Yes, it would be easier to proxy everything, but it reduces your speed to the 56k neighborhood. Most of us aren't paranoid enough to want to take that hit. It's much more effective to proxy only the sites you don't trust.
            But I trust Google way more than other sites. If you do not trust Google, how can you trust all of those other sites out there?
    • Its not technically feasible for every to route all traffic through anonymous proxies. It is feasible to send a message to website companies that we dont want this crap by blocking google traffic.

      At the same time however the article says that your search' you send to google are your business but in fact they really are Google's business.
      • It seems like a write-in campaign would be a more direct means of sending them a message. Why not use another website? Personally I do not have a problem giving Google my personal information, but I understand that others do.
    • Surfing through a proxy is slower than surfing directly. Surfing through Tor could potentially be much slower, even, because you lose the caching nature of the web's TCP/IP route-finding and because data is constantly being encrypted and decrypted. FoxyProxy (mentioned in the article) provides the ability to selectively use Tor or another proxy based on the URL, which is just the right amount of choice I'd like.

      It's annoying, however, that the HOWTO includes the step "Set Firefox so that it only keeps coo

    • by pavon (30274)
      This uses tor as the proxy, which bounces your (encrypted) traffic through a bunch of other computers, before getting to the site you want, making it practically impossible to track where the original request came from. It adds a ton of latency to the transaction, so while it is okay for lean pages like google, it is slower than 33.6 modem for pages with a bunch of linked content (images, iframes).
      • Doesn't it seem much easier just to use one of the other half dozen search engines? AllTheWeb and other sites are perfectly valid choices for Google haters.
        • Doesn't it seem much easier just to use one of the other half dozen search engines? AllTheWeb and other sites are perfectly valid choices for Google haters.

          Not if you're concerned about being tracked, I'd bet most if not all search engines track people. They have to as most of them survive on advertizing and advertizers want to be able to track users or at least get an idea of who is clicking their ads.

          Falcon
          • But I thought that the problems that people were having were largely Google-specific, thus the title of the writeup. It seems that lots of people who hate Google refuse to stop using it. There are alternatives out there to most of what they offer. Personally I am a Google fan, but I have tried most search engines at one time or another.
    • Re:Why only Google? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by prattle (898688)
      If you are going to the trouble of setting up a proxy, why not use it for all of your web traffic?

      Some folks say that tor browsing is slower but I haven't really noticed that. What I have noticed is that, when I surf slashdot through tor, I bump into the "can't login 'cause this ip is banned" thing much more often. Go figure: tor surfers are also slashdot abusers. :-)

    • What if the proxy is a honeypot that is monitoring you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:29PM (#15895252)
    Protect Your Privacy from Google

    Abstract

    A simple HOWTO for stopping Google from logging your search history.

    The Problem

    While Google.com is a brilliant search site, and while its proprieters claim to abide by their 'do no evil' motto, there is one practice that threatens to expose you to much evil down the track.

    Google places a cookie on every user's computer, timed to expire in 2038. With this cookie, they can track you and log your entire search history. In fact, Google has recently indicated that they won't be deleting people's search histories.

    While this cookie may not directly identify you by name, an analysis of your search history over time can definitely help an attacker (or abusive government authority) to identify you personally.

    Many people fight back by setting up an anonymous proxy for all their web surfing, but this can slow down their accesses terribly. Such slowness sooner or later drives most people to revert to direct non-anonymous internet access.

    A Solution

    In summary, the solution is to clear all long-lasting cookies, set your browser to not keep cookies between restarts, and divert all google requests out through an anonymous proxy.

    This will protect your privacy as far as google is concerned, but allow you to enjoy full-speed browsing with other sites.

    Follow these simple steps:

    Get access to an anonymous web proxy. A common favourite is the Tor network

    Be using Mozilla Firefox.

    Install the FoxyProxy extension for Firefox

    Within FoxyProxy configuration, add an entry for your anonymous proxy. Within this proxy, add 2 whitelist wildcard rules, with the patterns:

    http://.google.com/* [google.com]

    http://google.com/ [google.com]

    Clear out all your browser cookies

    Set Firefox so that it only keeps cookies till you close Firefox (Edit/Preferences/Privacy/Cookies)

    If there are any other sites that may be unduly logging your activity, and don't have a refular log deletion policy, add some entries for these sites into your anonymous proxy matchlist in FoxyProxy.

    With these measures in place, all your regular web requests will go out directly to the internet, while all requests for *.google.com will go via the Tor anonymity network. Also, since your cookies are getting deleted every time you close/restart Firefox, then Google will no longer be able to build a history of your web surfing.

    I appreciate that for some amongst us, this is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. But at least we can arrest the extent of the privacy violation which Google is perpetrating.

    Conclusion
    The searches you send out to Google are your business. You have the right to prevent Google from accumulating a perpetual history of your web searching. Use that right.

  • Is this a plug for Tor, FireFox, or FoxyProxy?
    I'm sort of confused how this is news?
    • Hmmm, It's filed under "Your Rights Online", it talks about your right to privacy and how Google is invading that right. Then, it talks about one of the ways that you can mitigate that invasion. Seems like /. got this one right to me.
      • "...how Google is invading that right..."

        Using information you freely gave to the service for the "right" to use that service.
        • Correct, sort of. Perhaps I should have said that Google invades your privacy. Considering that, at least in the United States, the right to privacy only applys to your right to privacy from government entities (even that is a right bestowed by the SCOTUS rather than being spelled out in the Constitution), one really has no right to privacy from a private or even public company.

          However, Google is an advertisement supported service and they still collect the search queries, even if they are annonomized. So
  • slow site (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:29PM (#15895254)
    The site seems to be slow. Anyone got a link to the google cache?
  • Oh goodness (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:31PM (#15895258)
    So what you're saying is that if I allow Google to store a cookie on my computer to track the history of all searches I make, they'll... track the history of all searches I make?

    Heavens to betsy! This is big! How is it no one ever noticed this "cookie" thing before this Slashdot article?

    I wonder if any other websites are doing this as well.
    • I was going to but I found a hash in my cookie.

      Then i became obsessed with finding snacks & shiny objects.
    • The Getting Started Guide [geocities.com] for my Rapidweather Remaster of Knoppix Linux has sections on how the three web browsers in the remaster handle the ~/.mozilla, ~/.opera or ~/.flock that are created while the browsers are running.
      All three browsers are set by default to delete the cookies and browser history, cache when they exit, but two of the browsers take an extra step, they delete the entire ~/.opera and/or ~/.flock.
      Firefox retains it, giving the user a choice to restore ~/.mozilla for use next time, even tho
    • H__v_ns t_ b_tsy!

      You watch your mouth, young man! This is a family-friendly site, and we'll just be keeping the strong language to a minimum.
  • gmail? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:34PM (#15895267) Homepage Journal
    If you log into gmail then won't your search be linked anyway? (since mail.google.com would be proxied)

    In the end, the simplest is to stop using google if you feel your privacy is compromised and try to find a company with a better policy.
    I tend to trust google enough to keep my search history, so what that they know you search for killing your wife or drowning barbie dolls, let them assess all they want, because you cannot be found guilty of thinking about a crime.
    • For now, they have been trustworthy. But sooner or later, we are going to find that the U.S. government wants those records bad enough, and the Supreme Court may decide they can have them. Now what?

      Most of us want to keep the goverment out of our bedrooms. I'd like to see them kept out of my searches, too. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot that is effective that we can do about it. Aren't Yahoo! searches actually done through google? I thought I read that somewhere, and I don't care enough to loo
    • I don't really know how to work it into the procedure that this article uses, but with PithHelmet (for Apple Safari on OS X) you can set up rules for various URLs/domains that includes blocking cookies, resetting them after quit, etc. The best part is that you can base the rules on regexps, and you can set different rules for domains and subdomains. So you could allow a persistent cookie from mail.google.com/mail (or whatever) and have all the other Google cookies reset on quit.

      It's possible Google could st
    • Re:gmail? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:08PM (#15895382) Homepage Journal
      because you cannot be found guilty of thinking about a crime.

      A group in Canada was arrested for thinking about bombing a Hudson tunnel. A group in Miami was arrested for thinking about bombing buildings in Chicago. Not only didn't they have bombs, they didn't have materials or knowledge of how to put one together. They didn't even have money or connections, just that, as sick as they were, they wanted to perform bombings, at the time of the arrests, they simply didn't have any capacity to carry it out. Given that these were effectively pre-crime, it's not much of a leap as you think.
      • Thinking is not the same as talking to other people about it, buying equipment/manuals, getting ready to execute the plan. What do you think these tinfoil hats are for, fashion?
    • Re:gmail? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Capybara (70415)
      you cannot be found guilty of thinking about a crime.
      Oh really [wikipedia.org]?
    • Don't worry, we know they aren't storing all that data they collect in a giant database because that would go against the Amazon patent. Right?
  • Simple Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rangeva (471089) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:35PM (#15895270) Homepage Journal
    Use Customize Google:

    Customize Google For Internet Explorer [cg4ie.com]
    Customize Google For FireFox [customizegoogle.com]
    Both will anonymize your google cookie, click tracking and much more.
    Both are free open source projects.
  • I wrote a while back about concern's with Google's Desktop search, as it relates to HIPAA regulations, but never thought much about my own right to privacy when using Google's searches. I guess there could be a future version of a Joe McCarthy witch hunt, where the government could supoena Google and force them to release search data.

    I bookmarked his site and will implement the methods at my workplace, since Google's responce was less than satisfactory, IMHO. It was along the line of "no patient informa

  • clusty (Score:5, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:39PM (#15895282) Homepage

    Clusty [clusty.com] has an excellent privacy policy. I'm going to try using them for a while and see if the results are comparable in quality to google's.

    And before anyone says that you don't need to worry if you aren't doing anything illegal, try reading up on the history of the FBI. They had a massive file on Einstein, who, e.g., belonged to "communist front" organizations like the the American Crusade to End Lynching. Check out the Wikipedia article on COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org], especially the part about the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo (by a carload of Klansman with an FBI agent riding along), and the FBI's subsequent smear campaign against Liuzzo.

    • They had a massive file on Einstein, who, e.g., belonged to "communist front" organizations like the the American Crusade to End Lynching.

      Meh. Einstein still did what he was put on this Earth to do, never got sent to any torture sites, and in fact inspired a major government research program. Just saying "the FBI has a massive file on so-and-so" is just FUD, because unless you're somebody important they'll never bother to use it, and even for imporant people like Einstein they never did.
  • by tksh (816129) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:41PM (#15895288)
    His short and simple guide tells you how to set up any decent web browser...

    No it doesn't. It tells you how to set it up with Firefox and only Firefox via the FoxyProxy extension. That's a far cry from what you're claiming; no instructions for Safari or Opera.

  • Or if you're using FireFox you could just put google.com in the list of Exceptions for Cookies...or just delete the Cookies google sets or... ...what's the point of this?
    • Cookies are the easy part. The hard part is that they log the IPs/hostnames and can link your searches to you without any cookies. Now, one IP != one user, especially in a NAT office/school environment, but can be quite accurate for home users.
  • by DosBubba (766897) <dosbubba-slashdot@dosbubba.com> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @03:42PM (#15895294)
    A Proxy AutoConfig (PAC) script is well suited for this task:
    function FindProxyForURL(url, host)
    {
    if (shExpMatch(url, "*http://*.google.*"))
    return "SOCKS 127.0.0.1:9050"; //Proxy here
    else
    return "DIRECT";
    }

    Place the above in a text file, and set it as the automatic proxy config file for your web browser (for Firefox users, Preferences>General>Connection Settings).
    The matching string *http://*.google.*" should be used instead of http://.google.com/* [google.com] as a foreign proxy will cause Google to redirect you to its respected cctld.
  • You don't thing google can't follow your personal query
    signature across any number of proxies? Google has you
    in thier database. They got your number. Don't fight it,
    they even know what's best for you.

  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:02PM (#15895361)
    To be fair to G, it's your nose that is in their business ;)
  • I have my cookies set to expire on exit, except a few I've added to the permanent ones like slashdot. What does google have then? A bunch of random searches from an IP that may or may not be static, that might be a NAT network (for all the know) and if I connect in a new way they'd have lost me completely. Unless you're searching for things that'd redflag you with the NSA immidiately, what harm is there that your IP is showing? This sooo reminds me of the "WARNING: Your computer is broadcasting an IP addres
  • So, instead of sending your search results to Google to be recorded, you're sending them to both Google and some unknown third-party?

    Explain to me how giving some stranger all your search results will protect your privacy, Slashdot.

  • "We want to protect our intellectual property."

    Isn't that what SCO's been saying for the last few years? Whatever amazon plans to do with this (I promise you they DO have plans), probably won't be good for anybody. Best case scenerio, they'll charge up the ass for someone that wants to do something useful with the data. More likely, it'll be used for really intrusive and annoying "services" [aclu.org], or possibly another horrendous secret government-corporation collaboration [eff.org] to "protect" us from "terrorists". W
  • I've been happily using Privoxy [privoxy.org] + Tor [eff.org] + i2p [i2p.net] together for quite some time now to browse the web, Google and other sites of interest.

    I also have 2 transparent Squid proxies in front of my LAN here (on my side) running with squid-prefetch, and they too use the same privoxy and tor and i2p setups for prefetching. This way, duplicate requests from anyone inside my network don't HAVE TO go to the live site, if it already exists in the Squid cache. Since its transparent (done at the router with iptables), the us

  • How many times have you searched for your own name, just to see if anyone famous/rich has the same name.. or to see what kind of info about you is available.. now your name is in there with your search history!!

    and like the time I searched for my phone number, and social security number, and license plate number, and my street address... all that info is saved in there with my search history too!!
  • Maybe someone should set up a web site where people can submit and borrow random cookies. That would cause higgledy-piggledy.

  • Can't you just set the exception for cookies in firefox to not allow anything from the domain google.com and gmail.com to not allow cookies ever?
  • by kahrytan (913147)
    But I got nothing to hide from Google or the authorities.
  • Guess what? A proxy server passes on an HTTP connections request headers, including the cookies. All that it Masq's is the IP address. This way you can use a proxy server with websites that require session tracking. This issue isn't about google keeping track of your IP address, it's them tying all your queries to one identifier, using longterm cookies. To protect yourself from this, configure your browser so that it clears your cookies each time you reload it.
  • by MBC1977 (978793) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @04:43PM (#15895522) Journal
    There is a real easy solution (for those who have a problem with Google's practices)

    1) Use a different search engine: Google (and most businesses) I'm sure will not care what you say until a critical mass
    of users using other search engines (or any other product) lose customers. Of course, since they have not changed their
    business model or practices since their inception, I don't think that is really going to happen anytime soon.

    2) Execute a technological workaround: However that has the drawback of if (and I say if) Google decides to become nasty,
    they just ban you from their system, which they could legally do, since you are violating their company policy (which again forces
    you to use another search engine, but this time not by choice).

    3) Complain: Perhaps they may listen, perhaps they may not, but as a soverign business unless it affects their revenue stream
    (which I don't think will happen, as they happen to be one of the best at execution of both their software and business practices)
    I don't personally see their revenue slowing down anytime soon.

    Last thing about this subject, it is true there is no such thing as a totally secure system, but Google does a pretty good job at what they
    do, why hassle them when nothing has happened (not that it won't), but for now let Google run its ship, and just be happy with the service they
    provide.

    As one reader said earlier... you could use MSN Search.

    Regards,

    MBC1977,
    (US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How about instead releasing a program that thoroughly pollutes the user's search history regularly with so many randomly generated search phrases that it becomes impossible to link anything back to your particular searches?
  • If you have a computer that can't run the OS of your choice in vmware you can stop reading now.

    For others ...

    1. Get a "mini" install of your OS of choice in vmware - DSL is damn small. Now that vmware server is free, there if no reason not to snag it.
    2. Tar/zip/whatever the contents of the installed directory to a file somewhere. My "mini XP" is less than 400M compressed.
    3. Use this install for all activities you feel threaten your privacy/sanity/etc.
    4. Once done with said activity, delete the directory and
  • by btempleton (149110) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @05:45PM (#15895743) Homepage
    One useful feature of Mozilla is "profiles" You can create alternate user profiles, with their own set of passwords, cookies, history, and proxy. So set up one profile to use your anonymizing proxy and give it a distinctive theme, so that you can be clear about when you are doing anonymous surfing and when you are doing direct surfing.

    Then keep one window available with the anonymous browser and use it when you want to be private. Keep others around when you want the speed of direct connection.
  • If you use Amazon's A9.com [slashdot.org] search, they give you ~1.5% off on your Amazon orders. I guess they know my price!

    Of course, they get to correlate your searches and purchasing habits, but they do pay you for it.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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