Scanning millions of private mail accounts, mysterious floating data centers on both coasts of the U.S., helping the NSA to spy on boy American citizens as well as people of other countries, etc. etc. etc.
This is not work of a good company. They've gone drunk, and evil with their power and money. I have a GMail account also that I'm in the process of migrating from.
They're not good guys anymore people, and there should be a movement to encourage people to get away from them. They're truly Orwellian, like some something out of a 70s or 80s SciFi movie.
[quote]helping the NSA to spy on boy American citizens as well as people of other countries, etc. etc. etc.
I've been saying so for years, OP. Glad to have you aboard.
I like you, r1.
I don't use Google because I have been warned sometime ago that they keep files on everything you do. It's ridiculous that they are doing this and sound like a bunch of controlling crooks.
How do you get away from it if, like most of the world, you have a gmail account or two?
Ha R1! Obviously a typo but I would be okay with it just being boys also. ;-)
Outside of turning Amish, you can't really get away from any of it, R5. Assume every keystroke has been "noted."
Fortunately, I'm really, really boring.
There are many better alternatives than using Google for anything - use Bing or Yahoo! for search, and there are many other email providers out there.
Which email provider would you recommend?
For searching, I use GoodSearch, "powered by Yahoo" -- every time you perform a search, it contributes to the charity of your choice (& you can nominate a charity that's not already on their list).
For e-mail, I use ATT/Yahoo & Hotmail.
For email, check out outlook.com ... it's seriously pretty good.
If you use Windows at all, it's even better... your outlook.com email is basically your "Microsoft Account", which also gives you free SkyDrive storage, and syncing across all Windows 8 PCs (as well as devices like Xbox and Lumia phones)... get Windows 8, and you get free Xbox Music streaming too.
Outlook.com is a really good email service, an easy to use UI on the web, and decent clients on all platforms.
And, perhaps this needs its own thread -
What are the best, most safe and respected for pay web-based email providers out there?
I assume Apple would be one.?. Are there others if not? If one just wanted to bite the bullet and pay for mail, aside from paying for your own domain and setting up something via GoDaddy, what other email services are out there besides the free ones, all of which no doubt mine your emails...
Appreciate it, R10/R11
MacMail if you're using a Mac.
I way too emotionally invested to part with Google. Yes, I know the bastard spys on me, reads my mail, and follows my every move. But there are times when he just gets me. Do you know what I'm saying? He knows what I want and what I'm looking for, even when I don't. He's helped me find me.
You know, the only way they can get your personal information is if you give it to them. You can set up email accounts and even Facebook accounts with out using your real name.
Outlook.com and Bing don't mine your data as relentlessly ... Microsoft makes its money in ways OTHER than advertising and selling your info.
Few people understand that Google was set up by the NSA as a separate legitimate company to spy on people.
I've been using DuckDuckGo instead of Google for a while now.
In terms of data mining and potential profiling by the NSA I trust Microsoft as much as Google or Yahoo: Not at all. They have bigger fishs to fry in DC than our privacy concerns. I doubt the government even has to fight hard to get access. Microsoft won't waste all the money for lobbying and then "fight" the government about issues that are not theirs. They try to cosy up to the government. Offering free data is a great currency for favorable policies.
Facebook is just as bad, if not worse, and people turn over their lives (address books, phone #s, photos, discussions)to that site. They are truly evil.
People have always worried about "Big Brother" looking into their lives, but it's "Big Business" that should make them feel more anxious.
The new Google is rapidly becoming like the old Microsoft.
Does anyone know if using a Swiss vpn (which does not keep records) will prevent Google tracking users? I would never use a Gmail account (because Eric Schmidt is a walking semaphore red flag) but I do use Google search. I restart the vpn to have a new, foreign ip every time I search. I often end up on the Swiss Google, sometimes other countries. Will this help keep them from tracking me? I'm not actually hiding anything, but I won't surrender to this shit, either.
What does Safari's 'private browsing' feature do?
I don't understand what the big deal is here. The only way Google can get your private info is if you give it to them.
R26, the problem is, you're not always aware when you're giving it to them. It's not always obvious.
Don't use the internet.
God, all this schizo-outrage over the lack of privacy in the information age. How is anyone surprised by this?
I'd like to know that too, R25.
R27 How can you not be aware the information you are giving them is private?
Do you still need a gmail account to use an android phone?
Like someone already said - unless you're Amish - live your life assuming you have no privacy.
The reason I asked if someone knew more about the private browsing feature, is that I have gone to sites like Amazon and others that recognized me.
.... While I had private browsing 'on'
I'll never understand the absolute obsession with privacy in this country. What do you think they're going to do with your information? Why do you care? Are you doing anything illegal or something that would warrant suspicion? No? So shut up. The NSA shifted through data, they didn't go over all the massive bulk of info with a fine tooth comb, that would be impossible.
Don't worry, Mary. The NSA doesn't care what porn sites you've subscribed to or what dildos you've bought off EBay.
For those of you who don't think they are giving personal information to Google, haven't you ever noticed when you are using Chrome as a browser and are in gmail that you are sometimes served an ad that is something out of the ordinary that you recently referred to in an email to someone? I have more than a few times, and it freaked me out. (This is just one example....there are other instances.) You may not be giving them information in a form when they request it, but they are going in and getting it off of your Internet actions.
R34, it might not seem important now, but 20 or 30 years down the road, who knows how this information will be used (and it will be).
R34 do they care about conspiracy theories?
[quote]haven't you ever noticed when you are using Chrome as a browser and are in gmail
I dont have a gmail account, so no, I have never noticed this. If I was to get a gmail account, I would set it up the same way I have set up my present e-mail account. As far as Yahoo knows, my name is Jack Smith and I live at 123 Evergreen Terrace.
It's not just Google. Every tech company spies on its users. The worrisome part is that our government has acted like the worst authoritarian regimes and not only sweeps up the entire internet, but forces private companies to turn over their records in secret, and they can't even divulge that the government has required the records under the law.
We must repeal the Patriot Act. We must revisit all of the laws that pertain to privacy protection, or perhaps more accurately stated, the laws that have chipped away at our privacy. We must observe the Fourth Amendment again.
A very smart friend of mine set up an account one time with a fake name and address, and never used any personally identifying information in anything he used that account for.
He didn't use it much.
Later, years after, he was setting up a personal account, having sorta given up on the privacy thing, and when prompted to connect to people he knew, sure enough, his other account came up. It still knew it was "connected" to him, even though he did everything he knew of to keep it isolated and anonymous. This account also came up for his sister, and his best friend. Nobody else. Somehow it knew not only him, but his connections, even though he was really careful.
Private browsing does not allow for cookies to be dropped in your computer (to track your searches and page landings) and does not keep a history of your activity - but only on your computer. Private browsing is more to keep others from looking at web activity on your actual, physical computer. It is hardly private, as Google and others can bypass this formality, I'm sure.
There is hat odd disconnect I don't get. You wouldn't let your neighbor read your email. You wouldn't even leave the password of your email account to your partner. You shut the blinds when you shower or have sex (well, most do). And yet the government ca see it all? Why would you let them but not your partner?
The moment you sign on, it's no longer private. It's that simple. Everything you do on here is NOT private.
As they say, "If you don't want your grandmother reading it..."
[quote] It still knew it was "connected" to him
But it wasn't connected to him, it was connected to the fictitious identity he created.
If you use goodsearch.com you get a good search engine and for every search a contribution goes to the charity of your choice. I picked God's Love We Deliver. So far got them $163.00. Not much but better than nothing which is what Google would give.
R44, you're missing the point.
The 'system' knew his fictitious identity was connected to him, his sister, his friend... duh.
R46 I'm not missing the point, unless there is something you are leaving out. Connecting him to the fictitious identity is not the same as saying he is the fictitious identity. Two totally different things. His friend and sister were connected to that identity because he contacted them using it. If they don't have his name, there is no way they will ever connect the real him to those contacts.
[quote]I'll never understand the absolute obsession with privacy in this country. What do you think they're going to do with your information? Why do you care? Are you doing anything illegal or something that would warrant suspicion? No? So shut up.
You're wrong. There's a lot of potential for misuse of your data that can affect you in ways you are not even aware of.
Here's an example: Some insurance companies have been using this kind of information to determine premiums. Certain kinds of search behavior in your profile can deem you a high-risk candidate in their eyes and they will give you a higher rate for coverage.
Now do you care?
[quote]I'll never understand the absolute obsession with privacy in this country. What do you think they're going to do with your information? Why do you care?
I think some people think that there's basically a file on them with all the websites they visit and all the people they contact (is there?), as well as all their vital info like SS# and credit cards, and that somehow, even in the mundane, perfectly legal lives that most of us lead, the information could somehow be used against them -- potential employer finds out info about them and doesn't hire, landlord evicts them, or simply someone uses info to embarrass them. Also, obviously, people are concerned with people getting their info and getting into their accounts, stealing their identity, money, etc.
All of this COULD very easily happen, and surely does happen sometimes, thus that's why I think many people get paranoid, even though the vast majority of people probably aren't going to have their private info used against them in any sort of substantive way. But, since you can never know for sure if you will be one of the "chosen", people get obsessed with privacy.
[quote]I'll never understand the absolute obsession with privacy in this country. What do you think they're going to do with your information? Why do you care?
Usually things you haven't thought of yet.
It's a slippery slope.
The problem with a lot of STEM-graduates (especially the kind who work for a company like Google), is that they, despite their upper-tier problem-solving skills, tend to be naive about or indifferent toward social and cultural issues. They are often solely interested in what they are able to technologically accomplish and don't think of the negative consequences their products might have.
Just think of the people who created the first atom bomb, they were so caught up in the 'high' of creating their scientific masterpiece, that they didn't realise their weapon could destroy the earth and mankind. Only when they saw the aftermath of Hiroshima did they manage to snap out of their ego-trip.
You see the same problem in the banking world with the 'quants', the people (often math-graduates) who kook-up all the financial products, that no-one really understands but quants themselves. For instance: in their mathematical modelling they never took into account that so many people would be dumb enough to buy houses they could not really afford and that their sales-colleagues would be evil and callous anough to trick these people into getting loans they would never be able to pay back. They honestly thought Joe-Sixpack would reason the way they would. They just don't realise most people aren't as smart and rational as they are.
I think maybe companies like Google should hire more psychologists, sociologists, philosophers and artists: people who can look beyond the black box of technology and who have a sense of ethics, an intuitive and professional knowledge of human behaviour and the cultural context of it all.
Another good private search engine to use is Startpage, or their sister company Ixquick. A really great feature that they both have is a built-in proxy function that allows you to go to sites using them as a sort of third-party go-between. You can't post or enter any information when you visit a page through their proxy function, but it's a good way to just browse safely and privately.
When you, well at least whenever I come on DataLounge, google places a tracking cookie on my computer to track me. I am guessing the same happens to you. So those of you claiming you don't use google might as well be, if you come here they are tracking you.
I've set up a mail.ru email account. I know the KGB (or whatever stands for it nowadays) and other Russian secret agencies can read anything I write but the last thing Putin will do is deliver/sell intelligence to any country of the Atlantic Alliance. Of course the communication is also encrypted.
I do know that NATO secret agencies will always be able to decypher and access the data if they really really really want to access it, but I'm just happy to make it a little bit harder for them.
 Yes, everything that requires interaction and data exchange, like posting a comment (and that's when the real sensitive information comes into play) requires a scripting language (or Java applets). The old fashioned Java applets are still used though in company-specific applications and for scientific purposes. CS students are still taught how to program applets in every JAVA programming class.
Using TOR reminds me of dial-up in 1993.
Here's an real-world example of how insignificant momentary decisions about what you say and do can be used against you. About 20 years ago, I wanted a magazine subscription but didn't want to deal with the numerous accompanying marketing techniques that come with it, so I subscribed in my cat's name. Then, when mail came addressed to him, or someone on the phone asked for him, I knew what was up. Okay, cut to about 5 years ago, my little guy long gone, and said subscription long since lapsed. I get a letter from my auto insurance company, saying I had a teenager living with me and driving my car, and my rates were set to nearly triple, if they even allowed me to keep the policy since I'd lied and said I had no children.
Well, it took about 50 phone calls and hours of wasted time to get to the bottom of it. It turned out that my insurance company -- Allstate -- had cross-correlated previous addresses, found the magazine subscription, did the math and violà, came to the conclusion I had a teenager. The kicker was that Allstate would not tell me where they had acquired the data, but pointed me to another data collection firm, who of course denied the matter. But then I got the right person on the phone and in a moment of candor, they revealed where the data had come from. And even then, I had to dig with that data aggregator to find that they had cross-referenced the address and inserted this nugget of data into my "permanent record," and it was only due to the fact that they used my cat's (rather human-sounding) name in an offhand remark to me that I was able to connect the dots.
The frustrating part was that I had to prove that my cat was not a human being, and despite SNL's skit "Toonces the cat who drives a car," my boy had never been behind the wheel, unless you count the day when he was a kitten and I took him to the vet tucked inside my jacket because I didn't have a carrier yet. My insurance agent got a good laugh out of it, though, when I sent him pictures to show him who his company thought was this teenager driving my car.
[quote]I had to prove that my cat was not a human being
How do you go about proving a negative? You can prove that something is, but how do you prove that something isn't?
I sent pictures of my long-since passed cat to my agent, and ultimately had to sign an affidavit that I had no children living in my household or was allowing any teenager to drive my car. It was a pain I the ass. I threatened to leave them, and they said the information would follow me to whatever insurance company I chose. I almost had to hire an attorney to take up the matter with Allstate, but they finally relented and corrected the information. I'm still with them, the same agent, and they haven't tried to pull anything like this again, knock wood. But my agent certainly remembers me, and always sends a Christmas card to me in my dead cat's name.