So glad I'm evaluating other email providers and use Privoxy for ad-blocking.
I always believed Google was successful because it was pushed and advocated for by geeks, I feel that those days are coming to an end.
I use DDG and I think it's a pretty solid alternative, although it requires a little more effort when looking for certain things. Non-tech types have been curious about why I don't use Google, they seem to be getting the tracking is not good thing.
Those days ended the day Google went public, and quite possibly well before then.
There may be a way to get these things from DDG, but I'm haven't had the time to look for them yet.
Still DDG is pretty good, and obviously will get better the more we use it.
It's also a self fulfilling prophecy though - as my threshold to scroll through results on DDG has dropped markedly from when I first started.
You can't just educate everyone. The law need to change to make this sort of thing illegal. Personal data should be limited, and controlled by the person involved. You should not be allowed to sign it away.
"it requires a little more effort when looking for certain things"
What type of things?
1. Older results. DDG's recent (<~5 year) results are pretty good. Going older than that for online content, not so much.
2. Books and journals. Google Books, Google Scholar, and Google Ngram Viewer are phenomenally useful tools, no doubt about it. There's no single resource which can substitute for them. Worldcat (library search) is good, if you've got access to various search databases (usually via an academic library) that's useful, and content access itself is possible (with questionable legality) via Sci-Hub and LibGen. The Internet Archive has less content, but greater legality.
3. Specific technical queries are generally less well answered by DDG, but easier to direct (via bang queries) to the appropriate source. StackExchange, Debian, Debian packages, Ubuntu, Microsoft KB, etc., are (I think) all covered. The ease of filtering from a general case to a specialised search is a real win.
4. Date-bound searches. I very frequently want to look for something between specific dates.
5. Less-prominent content. I use various sites (Ello, Reddit) as filing cabinets of a sort, and being able to search my own posts there is useful. Reddit's post search is good, Ello's not so much. DDG doesn't index (or retain) Ello results well.
Given there's no tracking (feels a bit odd saying that nowadays with any kind of seriousness), do they monitor which queries people use !g for, and try to optimize their engine for these?
One feature I do like though (I'm not sure if Google etc offer this nowadays), is they'll often provide the top-answered StackOverflow answer in response to a query above the search results. That has proven handy a fair few times, esp. for some of the shorter answers (e.g. arcane command lines, git invocations etc).
Google does something like this when it shows images or scientific articles on top of other results.
DDG could even predict that it needs to fallback to Google in last resort.
DDG's auto question-answer stuff is pretty good. Not quite as polished as Google, but IMO far less annoying. Google thinks it knows better than I what I want. DDG seems willing to allow me to provide reasonable prompts. "Weather" and "what is..." queries, for example.
When it comes to this, it's too late. The dollars have already won in the highest court.
They aren't complicit, they're ignorant. Capitalism breaks down if the customer has no idea what they're buying.
There is no such thing as a tech/engineering company.
It's not about developers being perfectly pure and moral, it's about an organisation holding themselves up to a standard that they have set themselves.
And a standard which I expect them to meet and exceed.
Then you're a fool. If you want to slam people for not meeting standards, they'll have to be objectively defined. There's no sense of "evil" you could ever hope for people to agree on.
Your complaint is similar to the chorus of people complaining that they voted for "hope" and Obama let them down. They should have known that would happen when they saw that his slogan was "hope".
Google is a massive company that provides immense value to billions, and they do much of this for free (monetarily to you as the end user) while providing advertisers a great platform that allows for efficient matching of products to consumers. That is a fine standard for a company in my opinion.
Please don't paint broad unsubstantiated strokes over all "non-developers and non-software engineers". You mention Facebook as an example that's not engineering focused but fail to mention that their equity structure is such that Mark Zuckerberg has control effectively through the votes his shares represent which means MZ, an engineer/hacker, is responsible for the decisions of the company.
Google is not a company whose mission it is to preserve people's privacy. They are out to solve search and organize information and in order to reach their goals, they have to find a way to attract the best talent in the world. This requires making tradeoffs in order to get the capital required to invest in changing the world in the way they think will be better.
The engineers at sister companies who were working at the time on an offshore gas terminal were in the same position. Those companies are very much not engineering driven.
It's so strange to be old enough to see the same mistakes of the AOL days repeated again at a much larger scale. I don't want your garden, I want my privacy, thanks.
..... only to find that you have problems delivering email to Gmail users, who are everywhere. :/
I experienced this same problem when moving to a new hosting provider and IP set. couldn't sent mail to Google properties/hosted accounts until my IP's email reputation score was high enough to be approved by whatever lurks in Google.
I was looking into ProtonMail and Riseup as well. There are lots of good alternatives to Gmail.
So no need to inform everyone, just use your new address when you're asked.
People are moaning about Microsoft tracking with Windows 10 which is mostly on home devices. In reality Google is worse, they are tracking us 24x7 via our smart phones.
1. Cyanogen Mod: This inherits too many of Android's fatal flaws.
2. FirefoxOS: Oh well. (It's dead, Jim.)
3. Ubuntu Mobile: It's still alive, though small.
4. Windows Mobile: Not my thing.
I may head to a small-form-factor notepad. I really like the concept of a folio-format tablet + bluetooth keyboard, though nobody seems to be making a general 9-10" device. I prefer this to an integrated & hinged laptop, or a smartphone type device, especially in WiFi-only capabilities. The basic hardware of my device is acceptable. The OS, lockdown, user-hostility, surveillence, intentionally broken crap, and App store ecosystem dyfunction are irredeemable.
Plus your post made me a bit sad again remembering webOS. How I miss it!
2) I can't forgive Microsoft the 1980s and 1990s.
I'm leaning toward the idea that a terminal and emacs is about 99% of what I really need.
> Cyanogen Mod: This inherits too many of Android's fatal flaws.
Well, Google is hyped here on HN (a technology forum) a lot, also in the positive sense. So perhaps HN should start hyping different, more ethical correct, companies?
If the developers and the software engineers cared about other people's privacy and saw anything beyond dollar bills the nons' would not have anything to sell.
I think Google always was an ad company, using technology to push ads and never a engineering company using ads as a source of income.
But, anyway, moving to another company won't help. Unless it's something that is specifically prohibited by contract (and not unilaterally editable), companies will eventually do it if it makes them money. Individuals have zero leverage.
What we need is a massive corporation for all people that will negotiate contracts on our behalf. Oh, wait, that's what governments are for? Governments are so 20th century.
I find it to be not that easy to find good alternatives.
In the long run good products require money, and money is massively flowing at advertisement currently.
That's why the big players are Google (ads), Facebook (ads), and I suspect that's why Microsoft is starting to massively collect user data (from Windows 10).
Building good competition requires money flowing at them, and people don't seem willing to pay for such products.
The only alternatives I see currently are:
- A change of rules (laws) regulating advertisement and personal data.
- A change of the funding system to give more opportunities to people to unite and bootstrap their own initiatives (basic income?).
- A subscription-based subset of Internet were you pay $10-$30 each month and can access to a high-quality service providers (news, email providers, etc).
- A major actor benevolently sponsoring such efforts (states or other wealthy entities with funding capabilities).
Yet Google still finds itself held in such high regard that criticism of their advertising tactics are dismissed as trolling in many cases. And here we are.
Why do you think all engineers do?
For the record, I'm an engineer, have almost nothing to do with web development, and my honest opinion is actually against so-called privacy advocates. At the same time, a lot of marketing people that I meet actually argue against me on this.
If you see a corellation between a profession and political opinion, it does not signify causation.
"But they offer sooooo much money" is not a moral argument.
We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with your
personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in
Depending on your account settings, your activity on other
sites and apps may be associated with your personal information
in order to improve Google's services and the ads delivered by
To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the
Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and
uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history
and activity from websites and apps that use Google
services." You can also delete past activity from your
There are separate controls for data collection (e.g. turning off Web History).
Hum, not exactly. With these new TOS, you can't assume that their will be a clear way to opt-out. ("it will depend on your account settings" is rather vague)
Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention", a study which explains in great detail the distractions and risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on the web [Page, 98]. It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media [Bagdikian 83], we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.
Somehow in this new age of technology companies we have forgotten that corporations, in the long run, will always converge on what is most profitable, regardless of the values of their founding team, who will eventually retire or have their influence diminished.
For that reason, I always pay more attention to a company's incentives than I do what they say about values. If a company derives the vast majority of their income showing me targeted ads, I can expect that that will take priority over any notion of privacy, and we all know that privacy is the bane of targeted advertising. Unless there is some seismic shift in Google's core business in the next several years, we should only expect more moves like this.
And as we head into the new era of "intelligent personal assistants," let's keep in mind which companies are pushing this most aggressively: two ad companies and one that wants us to make it easier (perhaps even not a conscious activity?) to buy things from them. It does not take a lot of imagination to see what these assistants are most interested in assisting us with.
That's why, for all of the valid criticisms of them, I still use Apple products. I'm just more comfortable with their incentives, which are, as of now, mostly to sell me shiny new hardware. Sure, this has led them to do some things that annoy me like lock down their iMessage platform so I can't use it to communicate with my Android-using friends. Still I'll take that sort of behavior over a wholesale disregard for my privacy.
Yes. Incentives matter. Google thought they could ride the tiger. The tiger's riding them.
Oh, yeah, I remember that. I totally clicked "Ok, whatever."
How does one not be herded like cattle by the corporations, without making a full time job of resisting it?
Legal protection is necessary, and that's what works in other industries. It's not a fair negotiation, between a company's teams of engineers, management, and attorneys on one side, and a lone individual on the other. Financial firms, for example, can't just put whatever they want in agreements or do whatever they want.
EDIT: The solution of informed consent doesn't work. Consumers don't have time to become informed, which requires not only reading every click-wrap agreement but understanding the technology (remember the solution must work for all users, not only the HN crowd but people who don't know what a web browser is), and understanding privacy and its consequences, and then starting that process over again to find an alternative that meets their needs - for every technology in the stack. It's unrealistic in theory, and in practice obviously doesn't work: Almost nobody, even the HN crowd, is informed.
There may be an instant-gratification payoff, but you'll regret it at leisure.
Or, would you take a free sample to munch on if they first presented you with a 34-page legal agreement?
They were literally a joke (several, actually) at the time. Consumer reports was overflowing with complaints. The only people I knew who didn't regret it were the ones who were cheating.
> They relied on people repeatedly forgetting to opt out, not the blatant subterfuge of modern business models.
I understand that others see things differently, and if you liked them, great for you. But businesses who rely on customers making mistakes about their own best interests are slime, in my view, and in that of many others.
I figure it's a start.
The strangest feeling will come after you “reset” but everything and everyone else around you is still connected. That’s when you notice how different things have become.
Good luck. It’s a nice feeling actually, nothing to be nervous about. It gave me perspective and changed how I respect time and other people. I also appreciate technology a lot more, but it’s now in balance.
As a musician, the "no music" part is really disturbing to me. It sounds like a strict religious cult at that point. I mean, even before I could walk or talk my parents would sing to me sometimes (I'm told).
Then there are times I can't go an hour without playing something. Losing music for a year though wouldn't be a noticeable change in my life.
If I wanted to listen to music, I went to local shows. That was the mentality.
It's the web I worry about.
(And maybe smartphones, but I've yet to own a smartphone. And, speaking of screens, I don't particularly like LED back lights: I use only fluorescent back lights with my computer.)
Some things I do to reign in my use of the web:
I wrote a command that disables my browser (by compressing /applications/firefox.app/contents/macos/firefox).
I wrote another command that uncomments any commented-out lines in the last paragraph of my /etc/hosts file (then restarts the browser to flush certain caches). Both of these "minor roadblocks" or "speed bumps" are easier to deploy than they are to undeploy.
HN was a big part of the inspiration  and the few articles I've read about Tristan Harris have filled me with a desire to reclaim my life. We're in sort of a planning stage right now and are realizing there's quite a few things we're going to have to buy, which seems intimidating, but it'll be nice that my egg timer or flashlight won't become out of date in a few years. I was looking at a wristwatch  I feel embodies how I'm feeling I should live life lately. It seems a little silly at first but it really struck me as a timepiece that makes a particular statement.
We don't form memories of what life was like at 12:07 PM or 12:09 PM, at most we need to know the general time of day. I feel like even the exact time of day might be too much information. I've started checking email at work once a day and disabled the always visible clock in OSX and have yet to have any issues with this. If someone really needs me real time they'll come talk to me or send me a message on Slack.
I'm thinking about blogging about my experience, but it feels like that might be against the spirit of what I'm trying to accomplish. Then again blogging is a different sort of communication than writing 144 character responses, and may be appropriate to get the word out.
I started with games that don't have an ending but realized I didn't personally have the self control to stick to it. Especially with a small child every minute is precious and I'm not going to get to have all these "firsts" again. This was really, really tough though. Maybe when I'm older with more free time I'll jump back into video games, I bet they'll be super cool and even more addictive by then.
At least now I accept that I don't have to finish games. That it's ok to even uninstall one after a couple of hours of play if they don't bring me any more joy.
Also, there needs to be a category of game guides for those of us who prefer small quality gaming experiences over fillers.
But yeah. Board games are the best way to free yourself from screen addiction, in my opinion. And there's tons of interesting board games out there nowadays.
And if we're including things like D&D and Pathfinder, that's easily months of entertainment.
Addictive open ended games, sandboxes and competitive online games quickly lead to severe existential depression so I just don't play them. Sometimes people ask me to join them on MMOs. I have to refuse.
I'd suggest if you're really dreading games so much, try giving them up for 3 weeks. That's about how long it took me to stop freaking out that I wasn't spending every waking moment playing Diablo 3 or literally ANY game. I felt really awful. It really surprised me how negative my initial reaction was, but lately I've been finding myself reading books for pleasure again, and I'm going out with my family more often. I realized I was implicitly choosing video games over spending time in the real world with actual people.
I've been trying to use my long commute to work to increase focus and be less agitated by distractions.
I just read about noprocrast mode on HN, I might turn this on too. I guess it lets you spend 20 minutes on HN every 3 hours.
> I don't think tech is bad, just a lot of it is designed as a feedback loop of addiction.
Totally agree with this. I turn off all most notifications on my phone and tell people that if they really want to reach me, a phone call or SMS is still the best. I've also been calling people more because generally we can arrive at solutions in a minute of talking instead of 10 minutes of half-minded replies.
Sometimes I feel like the best balance of technology/attention was around the early 2000s when things weren't totally vying for our attention. When there was a clear distinction being being online and offline. When you would type "afk", then go do other stuff uninterrupted.
Of course it's easy to romanticize as that's also the era when I personally started surfing the information superhighway.
https://www.startpage.com/ or ixquick is a better option in terms of results.
I think people react that way to it because it is more literal, a la Google several years ago. I prefer that; I'm used to it and find that Google frustrates the hell out of me when I'm looking for something specific because of all the 'help' and the heavy bias towards recently changed pages. There have been times when I simply couldn't find things with Google that were much easier to locate in DDG.
Still wish there were an engine with a clone of Lexis-style searching. Yes, you have to learn how to use it. But it is incredibly useful.
And that's all before getting to Google's increasingly invasive behavior, and the reason why I refuse to use Chrome, block a lot of their utility-domains, etc.
Really, I just like using products of companies that try to do "the right thing". Anything from the Mozilla Foundation and DuckDuckGo are two examples.
I'd say I do a Google search once or twice a month.
1. Results close to as good if not better than Google.
2. No tracking.
3. Bang searches. With the "too clever by half" search dialogs many sites are implementing (Wikipedia, Internet Archive, Google Ngram Viewer) it's often superior to the native on-site search as I don't have to set focus 2-4 times to actually type in the bloody search dialog.
4. No tracking.
5. Did I mention no tracking?
6. Proxy bang searches, e.g., StartPage.
7. Search customisations -- light page (good for console and commandline search), night mode, and others.
8. Unmangled URLs. I can copy/paste URLs straight from DDG. No-can-do with Google.
Or even Google.
I've seen comments online about DDG providing only an illusion of privacy. I haven't dug into this deeply. From what I've read this comes down to DDG (including bang searches like !g and !sp) stripping identifying information, which provides protection from tracking by entities like advertisers and social networks, but not law enforcement or agencies like the NSA that may have legal options or extralegal access. Is my understanding generally correct? Any corrections/additions/clarifications appreciated.
But if you're using Google through DDG you're probably missing the point.
It's faster to do that, in further irony, on Firefox rather than Chrome (on Android), because Chrome/Android doesn't allow specifying DDG as a default search engine.
(I prefer Firefox for multiple features including extensions (adblock, hul-fucking-lo), and Reader Mode, but motherlovin' heck is Firefox every laggy and slow on Android...)
I'll run a DDG search, for all the reasons stated above, then re-run it to Google if I must. It's still faster than finding Google's search page and entering a search (and clicking past multiple nags and seeing multiple distracting animations).
Two more reasons for Google:
1. Specific date-bounds on search.
2. Counts of results by domain (Desktop only)
Rob, Bron, and the FastMail guys are the best in the world at what they do. I have zero affiliation with FastMail except for as a happy customer. And with these guys, you are the customer, not the product. The do email, calendaring, etc. better than any other company out there. I've been in IT for 3 decades and I can tell you that the level of quality and care the guys at FastMail deliver is so very, very rare. Money more than well spent.
The cheapest solutions I like currently are posteo.de and mailbox.org. I have not started using either of them, but plan to move soon. Posteo does not support custom domains (it is heavily privacy focused and refrains from collecting or storing customer data as much as possible). So your only choice is to use one of many posteo.x domains for the email address. On the other hand, mailbox.org supports custom domains. Both support IMAP, web mail, migrating email from other providers, etc. Both these services and their websites are worth a look, IMO.
It's great apart from that, but this is a fairly big negative if you want to use a bunch of email accounts. There are some other negatives as well, but apart from this, it seems ahead of the pack.
I checked perhaps a week or two ago and found that this has been in the "it's coming" stage for a couple of years, and Protonmail didn't seem to be willing to disclose when this may finally come (they may have good reasons for that).
Back in the day, Gmail's driving appeal was it's pro features, and I'd argue that FastMail makes Gmail look basic. Also, I've opened two support tickets this week to ask questions and got responses within an hour or two.
Sometimes it's hard to explain Sandstorm because they have a wide variety of good use cases for it, and there's really not a lot of comparable software packages to it. (It's like ownCloud but it's not like ownCloud, it's like Docker but it's not at all like Docker, etc.)
The managed hosting for Sandstorm is a good step in the direction, because it's very easy to me to move between Sandstorm servers, but I'm not super confident on running my own right now, and it's still in early development as a platform. But Sandstorm on their servers runs the same as Sandstorm on mine, and unlike leaving Google, where I have to figure out how to transplant my data from their proprietary apps to other apps, I can move my apps and data perfectly between Sandstorm servers.
I do place a high degree of trust in Kenton Varda (founder of Sandstorm.io) specifically to keep Sandstorm doing what they should. If I ever feel that trust is misplaced (and I keep a close eye), I'll move.
Google's path to the dark side hit a major milestone with Gmail, and the fact that you now had a reason to personally and identifiably log in to your search engine provider.
No, no, no, nope, fucking bloody hell no!
I'm thinking it's hard time to give https://Sandstorm.io a really good looking at.
If Google is part of your life, it's too late for you.
I hope I can fully remove Google from my life in a few years.
And you can opt out of ads here https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated
It only tells you that it will actually result in less privacy if you scroll down and read the fine print.
That’s seriously misleading.
They say what your last sentence said, so I'm guessing this is the podcast you're thinking of.
Strangely I don't care that Google (and others) know about me. I probably should but I have just sorted have accepted the lack of privacy today.
What really bothers me isn't the privacy its them using that data to create a completely unfair advantage to continue the oligopoly that is quickly consuming all markets.
I used to be such a capitalist but as of the last few years watching what companies will continue to do to not just grow but grow exponentially with unfair and unethical leverage in every direction.
I'm curious if others share that feeling or is that just me. Or is it just invasion of privacy?
If you can conceive of such a moment, then you must care now as well. Once the switch is flipped it is always on. It will become increasingly difficult to turn off. Just for that moment in which you or someone you care about actually do value their privacy.
People tend to want decentralised alternatives partly for privacy, partly for competition, partly for resilience (hurricanes, wars).
Lots of arts people I speak too also talk about cultural diversity - the lack of competition is part of that.
Capitalism has always been regulated. More than 10% of any market used to mean a monopoly. It should still.
There's nothing wrong with capitalism. What's wrong is the weird idea that a democratic state shouldn't/doesn't regulate it to stop extreme outcomes.
I run Redecentralize which is where I've got the needs from http://redecentralize.org/about/
What if Google tags someone as homosexual and in 50 years, we get a new extremist party that claims that information for a genocide? Google knows a LOT about you. Your weird porn fetishes, your political affiliations, your religion, your beliefs. Your friends, family and THEIR political affiliations.
It sounds impossible but it's not. Take a look at 1960’s Afghanistan to see how a country can really change in a few decades.
Imagine for one second that this goldmine of information existed in 1942. Who can say how 2042 will be...
Neither possibility seemed remotely likely during the salad days of LiveJournal in the early 2000's.
Google wants to serve you "effective ads". What does that mean?
It wants to serve you ads that you see and take some new action or think something you didn't before. In other words, Google wants to manipulate you to do things you otherwise wouldn't do.
It is very much in Google's interest that you spend money with its advertisers, think things its advertisers want you to think, and do things that its advertisers want you to do, and in such a way that you don't realize you are doing it.
Do you want to make them better at that?
That said, there are plenty of other reasons to value privacy other than not wanting to be served effective ads.
What interest of yours do they have in mind? What interest of society's?
Have you ever searched for information on an ailment that might disqualify you from anything if you actually had it?
Have you ever spoken ill of a government official or policy?
Have you ever visited a location where government dissenters have visited before?
Have you ever searched for a history book about revolutions?
Any of these activities could be shared with other companies or the government and used against you in the future, if things should turn sour. People die in other countries where dissent is not allowed. Is there a reason you trust your future life to a marketing company in the present?
I also think assuming that you know this can't hurt you yourself is naive, but it's just easier to point to people in more vulnerable spots.
It's not entirely implausible that, within your lifetime, your country's leadership takes a turn to conservative Christianity, and the mere fact that you actually bought D&D material will have some negative consequence.
Now obviously in this case I wouldn't worry about it, but I'm just trying to point out that even something as 'innocent' (to us) as D&D is considered actively dangerous by a non-significant group of people who are also generally more comfortable with imposing their views on others (because it's not theirs but Gods).
One thing that took me a while to understand is that the problem is not primarily that your behavior is essentially public, but rather that it's recorded and stored 'forever'.
You want to protect your privacy so that in the event that you become politically interesting, they don't have a backlog of your data. Furthermore, you want to protect your data to not be dissuaded from any (even subtle) actions that you might take if you weren't affected by a chilling effect.
You want any person who hasn't been previously cognizant of the dangers of privacy to not have that hang over his head, in case he becomes politically interesting (even not on purpose, like could be the case with whistleblowers), or become politically interesting, like an activist, journalist, etc. Any free society needs this. To do this, everyone needs to have privacy.
Finally, even for the first group to have privacy, everyone has to have it. It's not something you can just give to specific people.
I'm assuming you know that there are plenty bad things can be done with data, if someone is willing. I hope that's evident. Not mentioning what criminals could do with it, or how corporations can abuse people with it. As they routinely do.
For a general case of the harms of privacy invasion, I recommend reading relevant chapters off of Schneier's Data and Goliath. Brilliant book.
But privacy is more about power and governments getting access to the data companies collect is the worst thing that could happen.
So to make it fair we should give small players special treatment while continuing to have big corps have no restrictions.
Which small players get to receive the treatment?
Why not make it simpler and have more restrictions on big corps?
> But privacy is more about power and governments getting access to the data companies collect is the worst thing that could happen.
I'm not sure I follow what you are saying. These companies at this point are bigger and more powerful than most countries below the G8. I have exactly the concern you are mentioning.
While people generally like that google, apple, fb don't give data to the US government I can see it equally bad that they keep it to themselves and use it to leverage the government (they are already doing it with money).
To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services." You can also delete past activity from your account.
Links from that paragraph:
* Activity controls: https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols
* My account page: https://myaccount.google.com/
* Delete past activity: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/465
It all serves to make me happy that I'm using Firefox with uMatrix as my daily driver, and only use Chrome (with uBlock Origin) for the rare things that I can't get to load properly because of all the cross-site dependencies.
It's just that Google shows it to you, rather than not telling you anything.
Any sufficiently big Android/iOS app has the very same system in place so that they can see what people are doing with their app and anticipate interesting features, down to the location of your finger when you touched that button, the wifis you were seeing at the time, the battery level etc.
Admitedly though, Google has such a wide reach in all your day-to-day life that they gather an immense amount of data.
But don't be fooled, anyone else is also doing it. And they are far less open about it.
That is blatantly false. The policy page here describes what is sent for each data feature in Firefox:
Mozilla does not have tracking cookies scattered through-out the web tracking you. Google via Google Ad's and Doubleclick does (as does Facebook via their social features).
Neither the Chrome browser nor Firefox sends "your browsing habits and all clicks and actions you performed" to their respective companies. If you turn on History sync, the clients encrypt all this data before uploading.
Disclaimer: I work at Mozilla.
edit: Chrome can send all history unencrypted to Google if you ask it to, under Privacy Checkup, Web & Web App Activity: "Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services". Supposedly this is to make the search more relevant. This was unchecked for me by default though.
Starting today, that is on by default, and existing users get a screen asking them to enable it – I just got it pushed to my Android phone, asking me to enable that.
Facebook is now getting into trouble in the EU for breaking their promise about not sharing WhatsApp data, and yet Google still goes ahead and does this. I hope the European Commission adds this as one more charge against Google.
Without real enforcement the companies will continue to do whatever the hell they want.
Yes they deliberatly block chrome extension on mobile chrome, as then ublock usage on mobile would explode. Together with myth of mobile ads.
Do not evil. Riiiight. As long as it does not hamper our profit.
I'm not sure why you think this has changed.
Actions speak louder than words.
For me, the bigger issue with a hosts file is that it doesn't cover conditional cases. For instance, there are times when I want to read some comments or play a video, or even unblock a single page element, but otherwise I want to block that stuff entirely. Facebook comments is one example.
My recommendation is still to do both. Hosts file covers other apps nicely like stupid in-app banner ads, while using Firefox or something with ad-blocking extensions still lets you browse the web without breaking some sites entirely.
There should be a safety net remover that simply strips all safety net API calls off a program and inserts all valid flags by default.
SafetyNet actually sends its results to a Google server, which validates that they’re properly signed, and then sends a message to the backend of the app.
The only way to successfully break it is by emulating or replacing SafetyNet on the device, but as part of it runs in TrustZone, that’s not easily possible.
E.g., my Samsung Galaxy Tab A.
Fuck Google. Fuck Samsung. Fuck Android.
I would like to mention my search engine as another privacy-focused alternative: https://solveforall.com/
1) Does not track user activity. Hosted in Canada.
2) Does not leak referrer to visited sites
3) No ads. Will be considering affiliate links, a paid API,
and/or "good" ads -- ads people want that don't compromise privacy
4) Integrated feed reader which also provides search results
5) Activation codes (like DDG bangs, so ?g instead of !g)
5) Plugins written in JS/data to be searched can be added at any time.
6) Deep search -- get results from the search results page of several sites at a time. Try https://solveforall.com/answers.do?q=rx+480&client.kind=web&...
There clearly a lot more work to be done, and I plan on open sourcing this soon, but please try it out and let me know any feedback you have!
One thing I was never willing to do though, and I had an instant emotional reaction to not doing, was allowing them access to all my email.
They can have my GPS coordinates at all times, my web search history, etc, but they can't get into the inner workings of my life and my thoughts.
So back before I had any real use for it I just registered email@example.com and used that for my email address. It felt like a natural move. It does bother me still that a lot of the people I email do use gmail, so google still ends up siphoning of a lot of the contents of my email.
I see a lot of people talking about FastMail instead of GMail, but I don't know why more geeks don't register their own domain name which has several advantages (including looking better and more professional). The one downside is that mail search sucks. I'd love to get some decent search without giving up privacy somehow.
But what I did do, about a year ago, was move my email usage over to an address at my own domain, which was then forwarded to Gmail. By lessening the references to my Gmail account, it made it easy to switch elsewhere. ...I just repointed my domain to FastMail's email service.
And because I control the domain name people send email to me on, it's easy for me to move it again in the future if I have a problem with FastMail or find something better.
The more I learn the worse I feel about my digital privacy and security. The one thing I do right now is to compartmentalize my accounts and services, but I can't help to think it's only stopping smaller fish from getting/triangulating my data.
Tin foil hat apart, I also don't like to give away my data for free.
Having a system that manages such critical info in a seamless way is huge. I'm acutely aware that free services are not truly "free," so if there is a good alternative that has a reasonable premium subscription plan, I would seriously consider it.