Ramblings of an old Doc

 

Most people are concerned about their digital privacy. Most people also don’t read the privacy statements for the services they use. Face it, your info is a valuable commodity, and not just to you.

OK, so March first was the big day for Google. They changed their privacy policy to unite all your info across all the services of theirs which you use. They aren’t collecting more data. They’ve always collected that data. They’re just using it differently. The ad selection will work across all their services, not just in each service independently.

It’s also important to note that Google Books, Chrome, and Wallet will maintain additional, independent policies as well as the unified policy.

So, you’ll be tracked no matter what. The sneaky “bypass cookie” they slip your browser might end up getting nixed by the government, but in the meantime, it’s there. So, I’ve told you (in the past) how to change and clear your Google web history. If you didn’t, here’s how: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57382925-285/how-to-remove-your-google-web-history/

I’d suggest you go to your Google dashboard (you can do that by just signing into your gmail). There you’ll see all the services on the left side with the choice to manage next to them. Go through them and maximize your privacy.

A valid point is “so what?”. You’ll get ads better suited to you. Less wasted time, right? Yes and no. The ‘no’ being that choices are removed and pushed further down in the results you do get, with paying advertisers being higher up (and the cost per click to them will raise the prices you pay). Also, in my searches, I use duckduckgo  (thanks, tazgecko) which takes that element out.

So what about “In Private” browsing? Well, it’ll work for some things and not for others. Here are some suggestions:

I also use Dragon Comodo Browser (http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php) which gives me security and privacy by using their incognito mode. That stops cookies and improves privacy by using their portal. Also, the browser has its own security features:

  • Has privacy enhancements that surpass those in Chromium's technology
  • Has Domain Validation technology that identifies and segregates superior SSL certificates from inferior ones
  • Stops cookies and other Web spies
  • Prevents all Browser download tracking to ensure your privacy

It’s also very fast and free.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has a good article from 2006 “Six Tips to Protect Your Privacy” (https://www.eff.org/wp/six-tips-protect-your-search-privacy) which is well worth your time.

OK. So you’ve gotten this far, don’t give up and scream. Only Google will hear you (just kidding).

Get some extensions: “Do Not Track +” is a very good one. So are “Ghostery”, “Keep My Opt Outs” from Google opts your browser out of online ad personalization (but not statistical tracking), FaceBookBlocker (blocks fb content from appearing on other websites), Disconnect (stops third parties and search engines from tracking the webpages you go to and the searches you do) also, FaceBook Disconnect which stops fb from tracking the webpages you go to.

OK. Now your phone. Turn off the location tracking. Do the same for your iPad, etc.

Your Computer: Passwords (at least 12 characters long, and using numbers, letters and capitals) are a good thing. So is “Prey” (http://preyproject.com/) great free, open source which can give you full, remote control. After the fact? If you suspect foul play, check your Windows Event Viewer:

  1. Head to the Start menu and type "Event Viewer" in the search box. Hit Enter when its option comes up in the menu.
  2. Double click on Windows Logs in the left sidebar, then click on System.
  3. Right click on System and choose Filter Current Log.
  4. In the window that pops up, look for the Event Sources drop down. Choose Power-Troubleshooter from this dropdown and hit OK.
  5. Look at the middle pane of the Event Viewer window. At the top, you should see all the applicable recent events, in descending order of time. Find the time you suspect your computer was used, and see if there are any events. If there are, you can click on them to see more details, like what woke up your computer, in the bottom middle pane. http://lifehacker.com/5873538/how-to-find-out-if-someones-secretly-been-using-your-computer

If you have additional suggestions, please contribute. Points will be awarded for positive suggestions… “Positively no facebook account” will not get points.

Sources:

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57388626-285/five-ways-googles-unified-privacy-policy-affects-you/?tag=contentMain;contentBody;3n

http://lifehacker.com/5890117/your-privacy-kind-of-sucks-fix-it-up-this-weekend

Addendum (edit - 3/4/12)- 

 

@tazgecko: As usual, taz - you're most helpful. I forgot to include virtual browsing (http://www.vtunnel.com/)(http://www.virtual-browser.com/), Comodo Dragon (which I use and is greased lightning even with the extensions I use) and proxies (http://www.hidemyass.com/proxy/) and a way to browse anonymously (http://www.wikihow.com/Surf-the-Web-Anonymously-with-Proxies). 

 

You can test your anonymity (IP address) here http://www.stayinvisible.com/ .

 

There is another search engine which browses anonymously: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/yauba-anonymous-search-engine/ in addition to duckduckgo (http://help.duckduckgo.com/customer/portal/topics/97624-add-ons/articles), which I use.

 

Apology to all - was coming down with a virus when I wrote the OP, and overlooked being as complete in my treatment as I usually try to be.


 


Comments
on Mar 03, 2012

Grey text is very hard to read from the elemental forums

http://forums.elementalgame.com/419194

on Mar 03, 2012

mark for reference

on Mar 03, 2012

Heavenfall... chose black. Will try to darken it.

Hope that helped.

on Mar 03, 2012

Thanks Doc.  I'm going to come back to this later and study it when I have more time.

on Mar 03, 2012

Also if you are interested in protecting yourself from internet surveillance have a look at Tor

on Mar 03, 2012

DrJBHL
Heavenfall... chose black. Will try to darken it.

Hope that helped.

Both GC2 and Sins forums use a black background.

There's just no winning, is there?

on Mar 04, 2012

Yeah it helped alright Doc, it's so private i can't read it!!

on Mar 04, 2012

The solution would be to come to WinCustomize or to JoeUser to read the article, but I do understand that another solution should be sought. 

I'm thinking spray paint. Dayglo.

 

@tazgecko: As usual, taz - you're most helpful. I forgot to include virtual browsing (http://www.vtunnel.com/)(http://www.virtual-browser.com/), Comodo Dragon (which I use and is greased lightning even with the extensions I use) and proxies (http://www.hidemyass.com/proxy/) and a way to browse anonymously (http://www.wikihow.com/Surf-the-Web-Anonymously-with-Proxies). 

You can test your anonymity (IP address) here http://www.stayinvisible.com/ .

There is another search engine which browses anonymously: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/yauba-anonymous-search-engine/ in addition to duckduckgo (http://help.duckduckgo.com/customer/portal/topics/97624-add-ons/articles), which I use.

Apology to all - was coming down with a virus when I wrote the OP, and overlooked being as complete in my treatment as I usually try to be.

on Mar 04, 2012

DrJBHL
Heavenfall... chose black. Will try to darken it.

Hope that helped.

Not sure if serious or trolling. The background is black.

on Mar 04, 2012

Moderators don't troll, Heavenfall.

I don't visit Elemental Forum, so I didn't know the background color.

This is clearly a situation where I can't win by changing text color. 

Perhaps (as I suggested) going to JU or WC to view the OP. 

Alternatively, you could use https://urandom.ca/nosquint/ and redo the colors with this firefox extension (probably works in Pale Moon as well, though I haven't tested).

on Mar 04, 2012

Dark blue generally works on any background that isn't dark blue, in my experience.

Forest green is also an option.

on Mar 04, 2012

I think just about everyone adjust their settings for the forum they are posting from.  

on Mar 04, 2012

DrJBHL
This is clearly a situation where I can't win by changing text color.

Just needs all the colors stripped out of it so that it inherits from the site (which I've done).

on Mar 04, 2012

Yay kryo!

on Mar 04, 2012

DrJBHL
Moderators don't troll, Heavenfall.

DrJBHL
I don't visit Elemental Forum, so I didn't know the background color.


I cannot imagine that it's possible you don't realize this? When a moderator is viewed from anywhere but there native site IE, the site they are a mod on, the moderator tag on their avatar is gone.
So it may well be HeavenFall was not aware your a mod Doc, especially without a visit to wincustomize to see.

You are most certainly already aware of that already, just thought i'd note it.

<edit> ohh and btw...fantastic post too, i will get into this later! thx!! <edit>

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