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Old 03-14-2016, 08:57 AM   #1
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Google Privacy

When the Google Privacy settings popped up, I naturally went to the information site.
After spending a few minutes trying to understand the various check boxes and links I felt that the more I looked and clicked, the less I understood. Instead of some simple check boxes about what to share, the site reads like an inexplicable legal form with confusing explanations as to what would be shared.
Some boxes to be checked, some to be unchecked.

My windows 10 computer now takes almost 2 minutes to load all of the Google features. Not so with windows 7. My tablet is now filled with Google apps which I don't use, but they interrelate so that even if I block them, some other functions don't work.

I fully admit to being less "smart" about computing, but seriously wonder if Google may be overstepping the "first, do no harm" creed.

A side note... I am close to many of the people in my CCRC... Most have computers. When I ask how they use them, I find that except for the few clicks that bring them in to Email, or Facebook, many say that they don't do other things because they are afraid they'll lose access to the internet, and will have to wait for their kids to visit in order to get back online.

Based on some of the recent posts here on ER, many of the more "savvy" computer users spend a lot of time closing potential security loopholes.,, especially with the release of Windows 10. This is beyond the capabilities of many of my friends.

Much of this came home to me yesterday, when I clicked on a website which brought up an official looking warning that my security had been breached, and that in order to continue, I had to click on a link to verify my identity in order to restore access to my files. Since I just shut the computer down and have not experienced further problems, I don't know what clicking the link might have done.

Anyway... back to the Google privacy links... I was ok until I clicked on some of the explanations which went into more detail than I needed, and confused me. Am thinking that when programmers write programs for programmers, it's information overload.

... end of rant.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:06 AM   #2
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I came to the same conclusion a few years ago, and limit our exposure to Google as much as possible online (PC/laptop/tablet). We replaced our Android phones with iPhones almost two years ago because of Google's ever increasing privacy intrusions. Apple is a lesser evil IME - they use personal data, but they don't keep as much or sell it to third parties like Google.

And as you note, Microsoft has become decidedly more aggressive with respect to privacy 'demands' as well. We do not use many of their new "free" services for just that reason.

I've posted detailed whys and wherefores from my perspective before, so I won't repeat them all here at the outset...
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
When the Google Privacy settings popped up, I naturally went to the information site.
After spending a few minutes trying to understand the various check boxes ...
How about some baby steps? Can you give an example of ONE check box that you are concerned about - maybe we can all learn something by dissecting it a little at a time? That might be more helpful/enlightening than a general 'rant'?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I came to the same conclusion a few years ago, and limit our exposure to Google as much as possible ...

I've posted detailed whys and wherefores from my perspective before, so I won't repeat them all here at the outset...
Maybe I missed it, but from what I recall, when I asked you for specifics on your concerns, your reply was 'google it! There are examples all over the web!.

Well, OK, you probably said "Enter the terms in a non-Google search engine..."

At any rate, I'd be interested in specifics.


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Old 03-14-2016, 01:27 PM   #4
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Google privacy is an Oxymoron.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:49 PM   #5
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It's getting ridiculous these days to fend off blatant unwanted intrusions by Google. Microsoft, Facebook and many others.

Just went to windows 10 (came with the new PC), had to pull some serious trickery to shut off the most intrusive stuff. Several hours went into it. And I have no illusions, I'm still being tracked. In addition all the unwanted 'helpfulness' detracts from what I actually try to achieve with my computing devices.

To cover just the absolute basics I needed to:
  • Track down a lot of settings scattered through the OS and basic software. Tell it I'm not interested in ads, reporting updates on software I don't use nor want, new offers, usage tracking. In addition I had to tell it I'm on a slow and metered connection to put a lid on the remaining tracking you can't shut off
  • Download firefox, do the same with their settings
  • Install some privacy plugins for firefox, making sure I installed those that actually improve privacy vs. intruding even more. Switch over default search engine
  • Get a few anti-spyware programs, install them. Make sure I get those that aren't bundled with spyware (!). Run it to get rid of the stuff already there (it's a new laptop ...).
  • Uninstall pre-installed tracking apps by the manufacturer
  • Empty my gmail account roughly three times to make sure it's actually gone. Not that it's actually gone now, but at least I won't see it anymore.
Now I have a system that sort of leaves me alone and acts relatively clean while still warning me about criticial security updates (actual security updates).

The advertising model is utterly broken but apparently not enough to effect a change.

I'm hoping we are at the stage where spam was a decade ago: Things will improve right when they are getting worst.

I hope.

*end my rant*
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:08 PM   #6
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It's getting ridiculous these days to fend off blatant unwanted intrusions by Google. Microsoft, Facebook and many others.



The advertising model is utterly broken brutally efficient and unrelenting .


*end my rant*
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
How about some baby steps? Can you give an example of ONE check box that you are concerned about - maybe we can all learn something by dissecting it a little at a time? That might be more helpful/enlightening than a general 'rant'?
I can't find the "pop up" that set me off, but in essence, it was a recap of this:

https://myaccount.google.com/security

The boxes shown, were pretty straight forward, until you clicked on the "more info" or "arrow" links, which in the popup site didn't really correlate to the simple checkmarks that looked so simple in the beginning. In any case, I'm pretty sure that my (even) older friends would have some troubles completing the entire privacy check up.
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:30 PM   #8
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Bottom line...if you are online, then you have no assurances of privacy. NONE. Be it Google, Microsoft, or even (God will strike me down for saying it, I am sure!) Apple. Look at how many millions (and the latest, close to or over a BILLION) of dollars have been ripped off from the banking industry in just the LAST FEW MONTHS. If the worlds largest banks can't defend themselves, then guess what? You are outgamed and if you play, you could lose.

Hackers' $1 billion bank theft may still impact consumers - Chicago Tribune
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
I can't find the "pop up" that set me off, but in essence, it was a recap of this:

https://myaccount.google.com/security

The boxes shown, were pretty straight forward, until you clicked on the "more info" or "arrow" links, which in the popup site didn't really correlate to the simple checkmarks that looked so simple in the beginning. In any case, I'm pretty sure that my (even) older friends would have some troubles completing the entire privacy check up.
Can you be more specific - I looked there for my account, I didn't see anything unexpected?

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Old 03-14-2016, 08:58 PM   #10
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Bottom line...if you are online, then you have no assurances of privacy. NONE. ...
I don't disagree, I just don't understand some people who single out Google.

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Old 03-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #11
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I don't disagree, I just don't understand some people who single out Google.

-ERD50
Perhaps I may have misspoke, but I certainly wasn't calling out Google...I am actually a very big fan of Google and use many of the products. I understand the risks and mitigate as much as feasible. I get more annoyed at the group of Apple fans that feel as they are untouchable.



Sent via mobile device. Please excuse any grammatical errors.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:51 PM   #12
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Perhaps I may have misspoke, but I certainly wasn't calling out Google...I am actually a very big fan of Google and use many of the products. I understand the risks and mitigate as much as feasible. I get more annoyed at the group of Apple fans that feel as they are untouchable.
No, I thought you were clear in not singling out Google. Fan or not. But some other posters to this thread do seem to be focusing on Google.

It's always prudent to be concerned, skeptical and aware, but I personally just don't see any specific problem with whatever data the Google 'bots are gathering.

I normally use ad-blocker extensions on my main computer/laptop, but I have not loaded those on my Android tablet. I have noticed that when surfing on my tablet, it will serve up ads based on all sorts of things I've done, google searches, maybe Amazon searches? But it just isn't a big deal to me that some 'bot decided to serve up an ad for hospital beds, because I was searching for them for my Mom. I didn't do anything to try to hide the fact that I was searching for hospital beds, so why should I care if a 'bot serves up ads for them when I'm doing other web browsing? This seems to really upset other people, but I don't know why.

If you want to search for something that you want privacy on, I'm pretty sure that 'Incognito' mode will accomplish that - but I don't know for certain, I haven't searched for anything I care to hide.

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Old 03-14-2016, 10:58 PM   #13
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I came to the same conclusion a few years ago, and limit our exposure to Google as much as possible online (PC/laptop/tablet). We replaced our Android phones with iPhones almost two years ago because of Google's ever increasing privacy intrusions. Apple is a lesser evil IME - they use personal data, but they don't keep as much or sell it to third parties like Google.

I've posted detailed whys and wherefores from my perspective before, so I won't repeat them all here at the outset...
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Maybe I missed it, but from what I recall, when I asked you for specifics on your concerns, your reply was 'google it! There are examples all over the web!.

At any rate, I'd be interested in specifics.
Sorry you missed it, but the one thread you reference was after I'd posted several times in other threads - repeating a detailed explanation of one's POV more than a couple times on one forum is

So did you look for yourself? The differences between how Apple and Google treat user information/data has been described and discussed extensively online, it's hardly an obscure topic where articles are difficult to find. And presumably you're likely to learn more by reading credited authors views vs random forum posts. Here is one primer, the embedded links are probably more thought provoking.

Apple vs. Google: The Privacy Revolution Rumble

I am not suggesting you should satisfied with one source, if you're really interested, do a little research yourself...
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:34 PM   #14
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Sorry you missed it, but the one thread you reference was after I'd posted several times in other threads - repeating a detailed explanation of one's POV more than a couple times on one forum is ...
Well, there are many, many threads here at er.org, while I read many of them, I don't have instant recall of all the data presented, I don't even claim to have an above average memory. So yes, some repetition is needed to make a point.

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So did you look for yourself? The differences between how Apple and Google treat user information/data has been described and discussed extensively online, it's hardly an obscure topic where articles are difficult to find. And presumably you're more likely to learn more by reading credited authors views vs random forum posts. Here is one primer, the embedded links are probably more convincing.

Apple vs. Google: The Privacy Revolution Rumble

But I am not suggesting you should satisfied with one source, if you're really interested, do a little research yourself...
Well, I'm not personally interested in comparing Google to Apple or anyone else, I just want to know if my personal data is in danger in absolute terms.

So I looked at your links (and I think I may have seen these before, but I do recall saying my memory is not so great). I don't see anything that really concerns me. Mostly 'scare-lines' (scary headlines), IMO. OK, so Google 'collected' all sorts of stuff from wi-fi networks with their street view cars. But if you peel the onion back, it's just a by-product of their overall analysis. Was any of this data ever used in any nefarious manner? I see no evidence of that.

If Google wants to use 'bots to read my emails to serve ads up, I really don't have an issue with that. It's not like any person is looking through my emails to target me specifically, it's just a nameless, faceless algorithm, and I am nameless, faceless to them (other than linking the two). And as far as I can tell, they have never targeted an ad based on my emails, only my searches.

edit/ad: BTW, here is Goggle's response:

https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010...on-update.html

Is there any evidence that we should be concerned about this as individuals? I just don't see it. Show me the light, if it exists.

Couldn't you say the same about your ISP? All your data runs through them, they see it all. Does that concern you?

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Old 03-15-2016, 04:39 AM   #15
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Not an Apple fan, I own none of their products and probably never will.

There is however a substantial difference.

Most of Apple's earnings are from customers buying their products directly. Most of Facebook, Google earnings are from advertising companies (>90% methinks?).

That's why Apple is profiling itself heavily as security and privacy minded, and acting on it. As far as I know, none of the products of Apple support or serve ads, nor analyze you to offer better targeted ones, nor push you to share "everything with everyone" (It's Facebooks slogan in Dutch, right on their homepage).
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:42 AM   #16
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And as far as I can tell, they have never targeted an ad based on my emails, only my searches.
Just to clarify, Google does.

From their terms of service:

Quote:
Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:48 AM   #17
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It must be me or the fact that I don't use MS or Apple software products.

I have a Google Chromebook and have been 100% Google/Cloud for the past 4 years (email, photo, documents, spreadsheets, music). I do not see any of the issues mentioned here.

Ironically, the only place I get ads based upon my searches is on this site coupled to the constant reminder ad here telling me that "Obama wants me to refinance my home".

Otherwise, I never see popups, slow loads or any 'privacy intrusions'.

Of course, I do realize that I gave up all privacy the second I entered the internet world back when it was accessed by C prompts in the early 80's.

Again, I wonder if this is more prevalent on MS or Apple products.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
And as far as I can tell, they have never targeted an ad based on my emails, only my searches.
Just to clarify, Google does.

From their terms of service:
I understand that their 'bots do this, I'm just saying I've never personally seen any evidence of it. The targeted ads that I've seen on my tablet, or on specific pages where I have disabled the ad-blocker on my laptop, seem to be from searches. Maybe my emails are just too boring from a "product placement" viewpoint?

Either way, it doesn't bother me. I really just don't care if a 'bot scans my emails or searches for keywords to serve up advertising in that way. I think it's a non-price to pay for their products/services. And I'm pretty sure I can go 'incognito' if I did have a particular concern.

If it bothers others, then they can choose not to use those products, it's good we have competition. But I really don't understand the problem. I get (physical/snail) mail in my mailbox that targets me - it's based on my zip code, or the stores that we do business with. That doesn't bother me either.

Does anyone think those 'bots are interested in anything you write, or would use any information against you, other than just looking for keywords like maybe "shopping - new - car" and such? Do you think they are going to snoop and turn you in if they suspect you got 'creative' with your tax deductions? Does anything they do cause me a problem?

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Old 03-15-2016, 09:40 AM   #19
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I think one issue is that targeted ads might reveal personal information about you that you would prefer to keep private. E.g. that you're pregnant, sexual orientation, medical conditions, a birthday gift for a spouse, etc. Sometimes it obvious how what you are searching for links to the ad and you can turn on private browsing but not always. Or you may just forget once to switch private browsing on...

Also employees at the companies that collect this data do have access to the individual searches (needed for development). However there will be various safeguards and restrictions as to who can access it and when, but as we discovered with AOL's data release, even severing the link between user id and search history does not guarantee privacy.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:48 AM   #20
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I think one issue is that targeted ads might reveal personal information about you that you would prefer to keep private. E.g. that you're pregnant, sexual orientation, medical conditions, a birthday gift for a spouse, etc. Sometimes it obvious how what you are searching for links to the ad and you can turn on private browsing but not always. Or you may just forget once to switch private browsing on...
Sure, but I don't think anybody but the 'bot is 'looking' at that info. I personally don't care what some machine might 'think' about any personal data like that.

Quote:
Also employees at the companies that collect this data do have access to the individual searches (needed for development). However there will be various safeguards and restrictions as to who can access it and when, but as we discovered with AOL's data release, even severing the link between user id and search history does not guarantee privacy.
I'm not familiar with the AOL issue, but I'm pretty sure that Google is sensitive to the issue, and if they make a mistake, will put protective measures in place ( like they did with the wi-fi data that the camera vehicles collected). I just don't see anything to have any great concern about. Email isn't really 'secure' anyhow (from what I understand), so you need to be careful with sensitive data in any case.

edit/add: Is this the AOL issue?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_leak

Goes back to 2006, looks like only one person (or 'several'?) was actually identified, and corrective action was put into place.

For me, this is ho-hum stuff. But if it bothers anyone else, then try to avoid anything like this. And while Apple may not be deriving income from searches/ads, they may have your stuff in 'the cloud' - I'm not sure that's any better. And a common vector for theft is through iTunes accounts. I think the risks are everywhere, not unique to Google.

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