Forums > Social Discussion > Google Chrome - and other privacy issues re. Google

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FireTom
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Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
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Posted:Google seems to overtake Microsoft on the fast lane... unfortunately not in regards of courtesy but in regards of spying on its users...

Creating a full profile of me, based upon my browsing habits, is not what I prefer my browser to do and experts fear that at some stage I could be identified by what I enter and how I do it... much like a digital fingerprint.

So far I am using Google for most - if not all - of my searches, hence I am strongly reconsidering being part of a 'silent support group'...

I shalt look for alternatives to Google...

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1222664582)
EDIT_REASON: tile edited - topic expanded


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

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Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
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Posted:How about an interpretation of "best interest of the shareholder" as operating the company in a way that will not damage the karmic balance of the shareholder?

And really... would you prefer that the information kept by Google was free to be accessed by anyone? One of the least trusted groups of people for me are the people in power. The desire to control rarely comes from something altruistic.

Honestly... the media has sanitised to some degree on all fronts pretty well since the inception of a mass produced medium of communication, most of the media is controlled by only a handful of companies... and anything with a high circulation tends to get someone rather rich and as such, tends to be owned by someone rich, meaning that if they were to sanitise the content, it would be in the interests of right wing authorities.

I suppose my main point here is that we can't single out a single company for monopolising a particular area of the market... pointing pistols at a potential for abuse that has not yet reared its ugly head probably isn't the best use of energy.


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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:Originally Posted By: Pyrolificbut I'm not convinced Video has been *good* for anything really...definitely not spinning

why do you think video hasnt been useful for spinning?


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Pyrolific
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Posted:style cloning has become much more prevalent.

I'm one of those people that think that cultural diversity is actually a good thing...even in spinning.

this is just my personal preference. I guess its kinda like the read a book vs watch the movie thing.


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FireTom
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Posted:Okay, vid or not - we got the Web now where we got it - and there is a need to regulate it to some degree...

There might not be any system that cannot be abused as such - it's only that we can make it more easy to be abused or narrow it down and maybe it's even true that you can't have too much good without something bad.

Then again regulation naturally kicks in by the time that either insurances loose money, the industry looses money or by strong user/ customer demand (critical mass). The latter is my preference.

Maybe I should alter the title of this thread and generalize it but I feel that it gets clear what the point is:

if Google Chrome would have its default set to: "Don't make and don't keep records" and you'd have to flag "make and keep records/ share them with whoever" - maybe I would be less sceptic.

I don't hail Google as "the enemy" over Microsoft, General Electrics, Halliburton or any multi-billion dollar corporation that dominates its market - at the same time I don't care whether they have been "the guys next door" or not - they didn't live next to my door, that's for sure. Why should I trust them (more than any other)?

This is to let people know that there is something going on and if they don't want it, they either stay away/ don't use the product or they need to make adjustments (which I would have expected otherwise from "the guys next door" who allegedly care for o/s and the user community of the internet.

I mean, HELLOOOO - these guys made their immense wealth by exactly doing that: mining data and selling it in some ways... why would I trust them?

People do criticise Bill Gates and Microsoft - did you know that Gates founded the largest transparent charitable trust on the planet? ("Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" if you like to google it... wink ) Briefly checking Googles directors (who are amongst the top 10 richest people in the US) I miss information about any activities in charity... not that this would change much, but still.

Why is "Gates=bad boy" and "Page/Brin=good boys"??? confused2


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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:personally i think the style cloning you talk about still happens without videos.

cultural diversity in spinning, is that the same as people in a certain area cloning each other?

ive not been in the scene that long, but ive talked to people who have been around for years.

they all seem to point to the fact that poi has accelerated in terms of variety/technical level since videos have become more prevalent. cultural diversity has been replaced by a single world culture where someone in australia can post a video that influences someone in america who in turn posts a video that influences someone else.

i think its an awesome thing, i couldnt imagine hop without the video section.

i dont think its the same as reading book vs. watching movie for the simple reason there is no unified language in which to read the book.

i think the ability to have embedded videos in webpages is incredible, the technology is mostly used for humour/silly things mostly but thats no bad thing.

Originally Posted By: FireTom Briefly checking Googles directors (who are amongst the top 10 richest people in the US) I miss information about any activities in charity... not that this would change much, but still

personally i think funding projects that further advance the technologies we have is just as worthy a way of investing money as giving/setting up charity. especially when those projects are based on the philosophy of open source.


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FireTom
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Posted:so you believe it's as valuable to invest in "projects that further advance the technologies we have" as it is to invest in "enhancing healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and (in the United States) to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology"?

I notice you said "as worthy" - how does that affect the equation "Gates=bad//Page/Brill=good"???


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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:obviously healthcare and eradicating poverty are worthy causes, but are they something that should depend on private charity or public government?

its not as simple as one person good or bad. i do know that bill gates does not embrace open-source and his philosophy is charging ridiculous amounts for his product. his operating systems cause computers that are more than capable of performing most functions required of them to be outdated simply because they cannot run the latest windows operating system.

the effect i use on my desktop that i showed in the screenshot earlier can be used on a pentium/pentium 2 computers which are more than 10 years old.


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Stout
Stout

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Posted:I guess I've gotten pretty good at ignoring the targeted ads by google however I just got back from tribedotnet and every tribe I visited that was built around local content had an ad for the Scientology video channel. Now I know this doesn't say something about me personally, but it sure says something about where I live, or at least says something about the content of the posts on those tribes.

So what data can google actually mine then ? Other than my browsing history ? Not much as far as my reading goes.

Rather than using the example of banks using Google earth to check out your house ( possible, but what for ? banks are in the business of loaning money and that process is tied to your credit rating ) a better real world example would be your potential employer using Facebook etc. to check out "what kind of person you are"

If you're applying for that job as a youth at risk counselor with the local Catholic charity, don't be surprised if they deny you the job because of your "profile" showing you posing naked with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Likewise, don't expect to curry favour with an "interesting" email address. ie, don't cite your email as being something like giantschlong@whatever.c0m.

It's "privacy" issues like that which are going to have the real effects on your life, not your browsing history.


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Pyrolific
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Posted:Originally Posted By: simta

they all seem to point to the fact that poi has accelerated in terms of variety/technical level since videos have become more prevalent.



yes - the variety has become - beginner == you cant do inverted hybrids to expert == you can do inverted hybrids.

and yes - there is much more technical spinning these days.

Originally Posted By: simta

cultural diversity has been replaced by a single world culture where someone in australia can post a video that influences someone in america who in turn posts a video that influences someone else.



yes - so you agree then that video is blurring / rubbing out cultural distinctions.

Originally Posted By: simta

i think the ability to have embedded videos in webpages is incredible, the technology is mostly used for humour/silly things mostly but thats no bad thing.



yeah I like it too - but in terms of spinning now instead of people on four continents trying to work out what a fountain is and coming up with 4 different versions (me thinks this is / was a good thing), you have one person posting a video of it, with 4 others watching it and trying to do it the same. Can you see the diversity issue there?

I understand that there are people who think that the best possible world is one in which everyone spins really well - but my definition of spinning well, is different than the mainstream I guess.


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simta
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compfuzzled
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Posted:it is rubbing out cultural distinctions but i dont think thats a bad thing, sooner everyone considers the human race as one the better in all things.

you say cultural distinction, id say its just cloning in a smaller space. you might have one person work out the fountain but then other people around them are just going to clone their style, how is that any different to someone watching a video and learning a fountain from there.

without videos you are isolating a HUGE amount of people. if i didnt have videos to watch i wouldnt have been able to learn, there are hardly any spinners in my area, and the few that are around cant do much, so your cutting off a massive amount of people that might learn something off a video but they can come back with a variation and stick that video up to feedback into the community.


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTom"Gates=bad//Page/Brill=good"???

windows builds backdoors into its products google doesnt. If you watch the biographies on Bill Gates you will see that he is a competitor who wants to win at any cost, his philanthropic streak comes from his mother. Personally i think Bill Gates has done a huge amount for the PC industry, this is often overlooked by media who like to crucify those who are successful.

If you took the time to look at the character of Brin and Page you would see that they are focused on building something useful that has a good user experience.


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Pyrolific
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Posted:Simta, I worked as a web developer in the online learning field for 7 years - I do accept that you can learn from video, and its a powerful distance ed tool - but can you see that even if you only have this localised cloning you are going to have more diversity in the world of spinning than if everyone watches just a couple of different videos?

I think there are very few people who are that isolated; 90% of the western world's population lives in cities - there is always someone out there who has travelled or is travelling and does poi that you can learn from. I think video allows people to learn, but its not the same as evolving - sure its faster.

Video I think actually acts to isolate people too. Why? they dont feel they need to actually get out and meet people, they learn in their bedroom...

I guess I see spinning as a vehicle to life improvement, rather than just a hobby.


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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:Originally Posted By: Pyrolific
I guess I see spinning as a vehicle to life improvement, rather than just a hobby.


i feel quite similarly, and i can tell you plain and simple i would not have been able to improve without videos, and you are going on the fact thats there only a "couple of vids" people will learn from. because its so easy to do now, anyone can put a video up so theres so many out there, and so many are different.

people who might feel they dont need to get out there and meet people do miss out on a big part of what spinning is to me. but what you say that there is always someone out there to learn from just isnt true, just because you live in a city doesnt mean there is someone there for you to learn from. there might be someone there, but how can you find them? not everyone who spins is on hop, in fact the majority of spinners i meet about the place arent on hop.

localised cloning doesnt necessarily mean more diversity.

anyways, i think you see technical spinning as a barrier to diverse spinning, whereas i see good technical spinning as a springboard to diverse spinning.


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

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Posted:Well... I must say, video on the internet has been my lifeline. Poi has helped me immensely, its taken up the majority of my life now, I am using it to improve all my weak points...

This relates to video in that I have never been taught a single thing by a person in the flesh, its all been on forums or video. It could be argued I could still get past this isolation with only bulletin boards but I really wouldn't have understood as much, wouldn't have achieved the sort of flow that sets my heart and mind free...


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simta
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compfuzzled
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Posted:to get slightly back on-topic

this site lists open-source alternatives to popular commercial programs
http://www.osalt.com/


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FireTom
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Posted:Ben, thanks for that info (even though it's "news" from 1999). Very
interesting indeed...

Maybe it appears as if I would support Bill Gates and Microsoft vs. Google - which is definitely not the case. I was simply wondering why some people demonize one and hail the other - when in fact they are operating on the same side (maybe with slightly different methods, nevertheless).

(Bill Gates and Microsoft have done something for the community of users... but I would have preferred the AMIGA lineage. [/sidenote])

I'm somewhat puzzled about the call on Open Source and that the Googlers are more trustworthy or ethically less questionable because "they subsidize o/s"... O/S does not equal "free" - right? It does label software in which you can view the source code... but it doesn't say anything about rights to modify and/or share said software... it further doesn't define whether or not modifications have to be published or the original developer needs to be notified about changes...

Open Source is NOT = Free...

But "Open Source", as much as "vids on the net influencing culture" and such might be worth their own thread...

However, thanks for participating in this discussion. So far I have learned some useful things smile


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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTom
I'm somewhat puzzled about the call on Open Source and that the Googlers are more trustworthy or ethically less questionable because "they subsidize o/s"... O/S does not equal "free" - right? It does label software in which you can view the source code... but it doesn't say anything about rights to modify and/or share said software... it further doesn't define whether or not modifications have to be published or the original developer needs to be notified about changes...

Open Source is NOT = Free...


it does say everything about the right to freely modify, distribute and modifications do not have to be published (although any modifications help to feed back into the community) and the original developed does not need to be notified.

full definition of open-source terms http://opensource.org/docs/osd
br>
**aside** in computing terms the abbreviation o/s is usually reserved to refer to operating system, open-source is usually kept to that to avoid confusion **


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ben-ja-men
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Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTomI was simply wondering why some people demonize one and hail the other - when in fact they are operating on the same side (maybe with slightly different methods, nevertheless).

the media did also do a good job of demonizing Microsoft when they where having their antitrust case


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ben-ja-men
ben-ja-men

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Posted:
Non-Https Image Link


wink


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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simta
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compfuzzled
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Posted:laugh3 ben, thats a great poster.

**reference to the abbreviation thing before, open-source software is usually abbreviated to OSS in capitals**

EDITED_BY: simta (1221905482)


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FireTom
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Posted:laugh3 communism in the true sense of the word wink

thanks Simta - indeed I've been confused at some stage about o/s and OSS...

I'm neither hailing one or the other as the ultimate good, nor the ultimate evil... There are just people - end of (my) story. And 'just' because someone does charity or finances communism "ittsotw" (in the true sense of the word) doesn't automatically turn them into saints...

(Especially since someone can use OSS to develop his own software and then sell it for bucks... )

Neither do they become devils just because they follow a certain (business) strategy - I opportunistically favour one over the other in certain situations... wink

But who knnows? Maybe my FF shares all relevant informations about my browsing habits to Mozilla already, maybe my Windows does already check the content of my harddrive for certain keywords... ? shrug

@ Ben - sure, the media very often create scapegoats for the sake of revenue themselves... and they rarely follow up on their own headlines - which is one reason I don't take a headline too serious anymore.


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simta
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compfuzzled
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Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTom
(Especially since someone can use OSS to develop his own software and then sell it for bucks... )


companies have been taken to court over this, i read of a couple of cases on the ubuntu forums, ill try and dig out the link for you.


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aston
aston

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Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTomEspecially since someone can use OSS to develop his own software and then sell it for bucks...

This is one of the things that many OSS licenses specifically prohibit.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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simta
simta

compfuzzled
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Posted:http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/linux/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204702709
br>
artcile about verizon and other companies being taken to court for not obeying OSS rules.


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Seye
Seye

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Posted:I suppose its about time I dipped into this conversation.

I am currently using Chrome as well as many other Google products. (Sketchup is outstanding - I even know engineers that are adopting it as a tool!).

I also use Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, VLC, etc. When I design websites I usually use Joomla, PhpBB, Menalto Gallery, Coppermine, Drupal, etc. as a base.

I am (and have been for nearly 10 years now) fully immersed into open source culture. If it wasnt for the fact that I need to use industry specific tools I'd be running Ububtu too. I try my hardest to give back to the comunity by offering support to others and by alpha / beta testing.

OSS is the single most important thing to have come from the internet. Groups of like minded individuals sharing their skills to achieve a common end.
Google is an incredible company that pours millions (if not billions) into these projects. They are on the verge of releasing a FREE O/S for phones which will soon have 100's of free applications. That should hopefully bring Apples absurd prices back down to earth.

I cannot ever understand people laying into Google. Every site you visit mines your data. I could tell you the last 10 sites that you've been to by directing you to a link on my server. I could then store that and use it profile you. It is happening constantly.
Google are ethical about the way in which they store this data. They dont sell it and are extremely reluctant to even give it to government bodies. To make money they let people post adverts on their site (or their ad service) which interprets who to show them to on its own.

And yes Microsoft have done a great deal of good for the PC world. They have also held it back incredibly. The diversity of software has been massively reduced by hostile take overs and general corporate bullying on MS's part. The only minor blessing is that in the struggle to stop others making money from software they accidentally pushed the OSS community to the surface. (Ubuntu was a direct result of this).

I'll stop ranting now. Sim: I blame you for that. I was going to leave this topic well alone until you mentioned it wink


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FireTom
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Posted:Originally Posted By: simtaOriginally Posted By: FireTom
(Especially since someone can use OSS to develop his own software and then sell it for bucks... )


companies have been taken to court over this, i read of a couple of cases on the ubuntu forums, ill try and dig out the link for you.

Simta: Taking someone to court and winning the case are two different events (at worst) - let's see where this one is going and then hail the day wink

Originally Posted By: seyeI cannot ever understand people laying into Google. Every site you visit mines your data. I could tell you the last 10 sites that you've been to by directing you to a link on my server. I could then store that and use it profile you. It is happening constantly.

Welcome to the discussion smile See there might be many misunderstandings, that can easily be clarified (Privacy is past - let's get over it). Which is why I'm happy having started this thread - learning a lot here, especially from expert input.

"Every site you visit, mines your data" - that exactly how? I usually get the message: "'blablabla' wants to set a cookie." I reject it 99% of the time (except for services that require it - like Yahoo, Flickr and such - to get access to their site). So how exactly do they mine my browsing history (or future)?

I'm about to make it a mandatory to scan my pc after every session with AVG and delete all tracking cookies that it finds and

I'm usually not following links on websites (but am checking the URL and type it into a new window/tab manually) - except those of my search engine... which makes it a sensitive part of my session then.

Whether Google is ethical about the data mined or not, is not even the top question, why would I give them the opportunity to disappoint me (if I can (easily) get around it)?

"They don't sell (my) data." Well, how exactly they make their money? "they let people post adverts on their site (or their ad service) which interprets who to show them to on its own." Meaning that they (mine my data and then) custom tailor the ads (and maybe even search results) presented on their page, whenever I hit "Google it!" Right?

I have no objections re. general ads - just to clarify this again - what I am objecting is active profiling, interpreting/processing my personal data (as in browsing habits) and storing these results. I am happy to receive random ads but when it comes to "hey Mr. Tom, we know you've been out shopping for some [fill in random], and here we got something for you, that you may like." or worse - if someone would link (for say) the content of my eMail-inbox and all other information I key in under a nick (like here on HoP) - to render any kind of profile, then it's simply going too far.

Nobody so far could tell me a justified reason why the community of users should accept such practices (other than being ignorant to the entire topic). Maybe you can help out?

As said before, just the fact that Microsoft and Google do charity or invest billions of Dollars into OSS projects, don't automatically make them saints. Dunno about the US tax system, on this side of the Atlantic, a company deducts such charity or investments from tax 100%...


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Seye
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Posted:Quote:"Every site you visit, mines your data" - that exactly how? I usually get the message: "'blablabla' wants to set a cookie." I reject it 99% of the time (except for services that require it - like Yahoo, Flickr and such - to get access to their site). So how exactly do they mine my browsing history (or future)?
At the very least every time you browse from one page to another (regardless of whether you click a link or type a URL) the previous URL is available to both servers. This means that any page you browse from or to will know the last and next pages that you browse. Assuming that you have a history log in your browser this is usually accessible to any server that you access. I know I used to be able to see the last 10 pages viewed by any user of one of my sites (I havent bothered to check this recently but I assume that it is still the same). This can be used for 'instant profiling'. I'm not entirely sure why this is a problem though. It just means that the links (or potentially content) that you are offered can be tailored to what you are doing at that moment in time.

These details can then be tied to your IP address or a unique identifier on your machine allowing the details tied to you as a user to be logged on the server over time. (cookies are not strictly necessary for this - they are simply a more polite way of mining data).

From you logging in to a site the server can see:
Country Region O/S (including version numbers) Browsing History Browser (including version) IP Address And much more!

Quote:
Whether Google is ethical about the data mined or not, is not even the top question, why would I give them the opportunity to disappoint me (if I can (easily) get around it)?

"They don't sell (my) data." Well, how exactly they make their money? "they let people post adverts on their site (or their ad service) which interprets who to show them to on its own." Meaning that they (mine my data and then) custom tailor the ads (and maybe even search results) presented on their page, whenever I hit "Google it!" Right?


Google (to the best of my knowledge) does not sell your profile (or its contents) to third parties. The information is only available to google's own programs. In fact google have actively resisted giving up these details to government bodies. Even the US who are usually happy to pay large sums of money for such information.
While on this subject Google also took a stand against the Chinese government about freedom of information. They did lose in the end but they made a stronger statement than any western government has.

Quote:
I have no objections re. general ads - just to clarify this again - what I am objecting is active profiling, interpreting/processing my personal data (as in browsing habits) and storing these results. I am happy to receive random ads but when it comes to "hey Mr. Tom, we know you've been out shopping for some [fill in random], and here we got something for you, that you may like." or worse - if someone would link (for say) the content of my eMail-inbox and all other information I key in under a nick (like here on HoP) - to render any kind of profile, then it's simply going too far.

I'm not entirely sure why this is seen as a problem? You are offered information that is relevant to you. Advertisers have been doing it for years. Sweets and toys have always been advertised during childrens programmes. Halfords sponsor Top Gear on Dave (still the worst name for a TV channel ever!). This is just an extension of that.

We are not talking profiling in the CIA / MI5 sense. Its simply offering you relevant adverts.

If this really upsets you download Chrome and use the 'Incognito Mode'. No data will then be stored on your machine from websites and the data that is sent to them will be limited. This is Google's peace offering to those who share your concerns.

Quote:
Nobody so far could tell me a justified reason why the community of users should accept such practices (other than being ignorant to the entire topic). Maybe you can help out?

I personally dont see it as a problem. I'm not concerned about giving up these kind of personal details. In fact I see it as a positive step in the evolution of the internet. This is why I love Amazon. It is good use of available technology. 99% of internet users will agree, especially if they understand that there are no sinister motives behind this.
If you want to opt out you have been given the tools.

Quote:
As said before, just the fact that Microsoft and Google do charity or invest billions of Dollars into OSS projects, don't automatically make them saints. Dunno about the US tax system, on this side of the Atlantic, a company deducts such charity or investments from tax 100%...
Googles sponsorship of OSS is not a simple tax write off. They dont just donate to projects. They fund them wholesale. I cannot think of another company who employ so many people to release FREE software and then allow ANYONE to contribute to or alter it.
Google actively promote community spirit on the net. They also work incredibly hard to make our lives easier (Gmail, Docs, Sketchup, Chrome, etc).
Google also allow us the benefits of their data through accurate searches as well as services like Trends.


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Pyrolific
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Member Since: 10th Jan 2001
Total posts: 3288
Posted:Seye - could you elaborate on the application you used to capture 'the last 10 pages of surfing history' from a single request? I certainly wasnt aware of such apps existing outside of companies like doubleclick with multi domain tracking and the such. Sure you can get the referrer info and the like, but 10 pages history is something I'm not aware of.

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Pyrolific
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Member Since: 10th Jan 2001
Total posts: 3288
Posted:I'm amazed noone thinks its a problem that Google is moving to monopolise the information service provision market. If a single private corp moved to buy and secretly control access to all the books in the world, would you be worried then?

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simta
simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings
Member Since: 11th Apr 2006
Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTom
Simta: Taking someone to court and winning the case are two different events (at worst) - let's see where this one is going and then hail the day wink

Originally Posted By: previous articleIn September, director Eben Moglen filed suit against Monsoon Media in a case that was settled out of court Oct. 30. On Nov. 19, the center filed suits against High Gain Antennas and Xterasys for violations of the GPL.

the bolded text shows the cases that have already been won.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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