Is Google Spying?

Seventy seven percent (77%) of Google Users are not aware that Gogle is spying on them and neither was I.

I tried researching the topic but didn’t find much information. I knew that Google used email filters and linked advertising to the content so that when Cousin Ed told you that Auntie Mame died, your email might include an advertisment for coffins and flowers. While that may be cool technology, I avoided it by avoiding a Gmail account.

Even after I read accounts that I would be 92 when my Google cookie expired and their new privacy policy would delete all records after 2 years unless requested to retain them longer by law enforcement, I wasn’t terribly concerned. I mean I have seen the use of Google Cookies which contain my IP, Hotmail account, my surfing habits to other sites and all my porn cookies so fore warned is fore armed and defend yourself. After all these are browser side records and can be erased and wiped when you close your Browser (with quite a bit of effort).

All this changed when I had the need to sign up for an email account under my own name instead of Mr. Daimon, fatsavage or other ficticious names. I cleverly opted out of email advertising so I could avoid coffin offers when my mother dies and did a minimal sign-up with minimal information even avoiding address and location. I didn’t think much about it and only used it for commercial activity under my own name. I only signed up with GoogleTalk to track my email because that’s faster than signing in on their web page and going to their rather slow site only to find you have no mail.

Last week I had the need to sign up as a Google Developer so I paid more attention to their site. Seems there is a button in the upper right that allows you to sign in to Google and that happens rather automatically when you sign in to GoogleTalk or at least it did for me. It showed I have an account and a history which I know I never signed up for.

The history has been keeping track of me more or less since the day I signed in for my Gmail account. It is the default option which you have to work to turn off. Naturally, I checked my history and was appalled. I’m doing a Sans Security Course and am looking up various penetration tools. I am also blogging about some pretty nasty sites. Of the hundreds of searchs I do a day, my Google history only registered the ones which make me out to be a pervert or a security risk.

Of course, I deleted the records but all that means is that I will no longer see them. They already have my IP, my email account, cookies from all accounts, the record of cookies from sites visited etc. I really didn’t accomplish anything by turning off their blatent record keeping. They still have all the rest and have publically stated they will keep it for two years.

It would appear my only real option is to stop using their services. To many that would be a tough choice, but if they have already blocked access to your site and Ask.com is doing a pretty good job of searching and you have no commercial revenues from the web, I can’t think of a serious downside.

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One Response to “Is Google Spying?”

  1. Screw Google or Scroogle « Tickling the Tiger’s Tail Says:

    […] Google nothing is returned. When you put “Is Google Spying?” in the two search engines, The Tigerstail post is number 2 in Google and does not appear in Ask.com. It would appear that Ask has to do a little […]

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