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Thread: Is Google Invading Your Privacy?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Exclamation Is Google Invading Your Privacy?

    Hey All,

    I found this to be an interesting read, and thought many of you might as well.
    since we all use google (this pertains more about the google toolbar though) anyways, thought id see if there were any comments if not .. enjoy the read at least. i found it interesting
    Every year, Chris Hoofnagle organizes the US Big Brother Awards under the auspices of a public interest group called Privacy International. "These are awards we give out to government institutions and businesses who've done the most to invade our privacy," says Hoofnagle, who also serves as deputy counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), another public-interest group concerned with maintaining civil rights on the Internet.

    The awards won't be announced until March, but Hoofnagle recently received a nomination that he found particularly worthy of investigation. Representatives of a Web site called Google Watch sent him an e-mail complaining about privacy infringements by none other than the Web's most popular search engine. Basically, the e-mail accused Google of disseminating spyware. Google, the message said, was using its Toolbar application to collect reams of information about the surfing habits of the world's PC users.

    To most users, the Google Toolbar, available for download at Google.com, is simply a convenient means of searching the Web. When you install the app on your PC, it integrates with your Web browser, giving you an unobtrusive command bar with a text-entry box you can use to quickly and easily send a query to Google's online search engine. You type a query into the box, and your browser, jumping to Google.com, immediately displays the results.
    the rest of the story Here

    thats we have Search & Destroy and all that good stuff right ? LOL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    there is more stuff out there about this , i found googlesucks? (maybe google watch) page that had some interesting points a while back ,i guess they create a cookie that expires in 2038 . But with the volume of info that goes through google i wouldnt be to worried unless the powers that be are already looking at you for being naughty . I also read that with the tool bar you have an option when getting it to opt out so it doesnt spy ( saw that somewhere in the news in the last couple of says )

  3. #3
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hrm, if I remember correctly when I installed the google toolbar, it does *offer* you the option to have your searches tracked. However, it's a box you have to check in order for them to activate that option. It is used to track the "most popular" searches. I have Search and Destroy and use it regularly and have never found anything connected w/ google on my computer.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    as do i deb .. and i also never have had anything relating to google come up so i dunno LOL i thought it was weird too when i read the article

  5. #5
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Yeah, advocate groups. out to make a name for themselves and a couple of bucks while they're at it. All under the assumed quest to help you, the lil' guy, out. What a bunch of crap.
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  6. #6
    Senior Member Zonewalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I agree with Korp here..... and to confirm for Deb... Google do indeed offer you the choice of installing the toolbar WITHOUT the tracking features.... they also display a large section of text before you install the toolbar that begins something along the lines of

    'Read this it's not the usual yada yada'

    Google then go on to explain what they will track if you let them. If the user cannot be bothered to read such a message (when Google have obviously gone to some lengths to make you try and read it) and cannot be bothered to opt out of the tracking features where indicated then I really don't think that anyone can complain about google 'invading' your privacy. I mean you can't really accuse google of 'spying' if they tell you up front that they will track your usage now can you....

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

  7. #7
    Senior Member tampabay420's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    google offers two versions of that toolbar software, you can choose wether or not to send data back to google... the spyware toolbar has a few extra tools, nothing spectacular... again- google is not lying to anyone...
    yeah, I\'m gonna need that by friday...

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    This is what is says:


    By using the Advanced Features version of the Google Toolbar, you may be sending information about the sites you visit to Google. This is needed to make services like PageRankô, and other featers that update automatically, available to you.

    PageRank is our unique measure of a page's quality, based in part on the number of links pointing to a page. Knowing a site's PageRank can indicate if it's what it appears to be. For example, if an online news site has a high PageRank, you'll know that others on the web consider it a credible source worth linking to.

    In order to show you more information about a site, the Google Toolbar has to tell us who YOU are (your name or email address), but it does tell us that a user has requested the PageRank for a given site. Google will not sell or provide personally identifiable information to any third parties. To learn moere about the privicy protections we have built into this system, read our Toolbar privacy police.

    Automatic sending of information about URLs you visit is disabled when the pagerank display is not present on the Google Toolbar. We encourage you to try our fully enabled version as it offers several powerful tools. If you change your mind later, simply acces the privacy information page accessible from the Google dropdown menu to turn off advanced features



    Enables advanced functionality and automatically send the URL of the current page to Google.



    We understand and respect your privacy concerns. By selecting this option, you will not have acces to advanced functionality. However, no information about the sites you viset will be communicated to Google.

    So, it's spyware but I think it does'nt do any harme.

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