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Google Privacy Updates Vs. Your Privacy

If you missed the uproar, Google recently changed their user privacy policies to simplify users’ experience while using Google sites. What changed with Google’s policies was pretty simple. Basically, every Google site you use will now combine your user data (searches, likes, etc.) and sell that data for use of advertisers. This means you can expect more specific and precise ads, and a user profile that is eerie close to what and who you are.

The EU was none too happy with this, and even tried to stop the policies from happening. If you happen to prefer privacy over having your personal data on display in front of any advertiser willing to throw ads at you, there are a few things you can do to keep your info safe.

1. Don’t sign in.
Simple enough. Whenever you use a Google site, don’t sign in. this includes Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, Feedburner, Orkut, Android (which might be a little more difficult), and several others. Just don’t sign in.

2. Review what Google knows about you
Go to your dashboard and manage your settings and profiles manually. You can also delete parts of your browsing history you don’t want Google to keep. This will let you see what Google knows about you, and even let you edit some of it.

3. Use an Anonymizer
There are sites out there that defend you from forms of network surveillance that threaten piracy. Tor is one of these, and it’s free. You can use it to make your searches invisible and private.

4. Be someone else for a while
PCWorld recommends a tactic to confuse and trip Google in its tracks: lie about your identity. That’s right, lie. Their idea is that if you should sign in with an alternate name for every site you use. They write:

When a site asks you to open an account, use a different login name and address than you’d need to buy something. Tell Google you live in Seattle; tell Bing you live in San Jose. Tell Twitter you live on a different planet.

If it confuses anyone trying to keep track of you online, it serves them right. No one has the right to follow you all the time without your consent. No one has the right to know everything you do. No one has the right to insist you always tell the truth when they’re asking intrusive, manipulative questions without answers to which they won’t give you the free service they promised when you hit their site in the first place.



  1. Schadenfreude says:

    I actually don’t care about this; so they track your browsing preferences, throw ads at you that they think match your profile, and this is harmful to me how? Like I’ve said repeatedly, it’s only the paedophiles and terrorists that need to freak out over such issues. Or tinfoil-wearing paranoid asshats.

    Still, maybe I’m being overly naive. If someone could elaborate on how and why I should find google’s tactics alarming, do enlighten me.

  2. ShadowTek says:

    Regardless of whether you choose to thwart their efforts, it’s good to be aware of what their doing.

    My only concern is not what Google will do with the information, but what hackers or the government can do with it once it’s in their hands, and it will be in their hands sooner or later, even on demand as far as the government is concerned.

    Hackers could use this consolidated data to assist in social engineering attacks, and the government could use it help identify dissidents. Of course that depends upon the government you’re dealing with, and some are a lot worse than others about cracking down on dissent.

  3. pirataloco says:

    I find offensive the comment from Schadenfreude about my tin-foil hat, its benefits are clinically proven! protecting me from satellite broadcast and mind invasion.

    That said, i gave myself to Google Machine a long time ago; Privacy died in 2001

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