Posted on Oct 21, 2016 by Caleb Chen

Google is now tracking your private, personally identifiable information from all sources possible (ie; Gmail, Chrome, DoubleClick) by default




Since this summer, new users are now being tracked to Google’s fullest potential unless they opt-out. Google has bought many tech companies over the last few decades. One such purpose, in 2007, of DoubleClick, prompted many concerns. Google, which had the promising slogan “Do no evil,” back then, promised that they would not combine Google’s already monolithic stack of user internet browsing history data with new acquisitions such as DoubleClick. DoubleClick is an extensive ad network that is used on half of the Internet’s top 1 million most popular sites. Now, Now that DoubleClick’s data is available to Google, Google can easily build a complete profile of you, the customer. This profile could include name, search history, and keywords used in email, all of which will expressly be used to target you for advertising or handed over to the government at the drop of a rubber stamp.

Google’s slippery slope of Privacy

Back in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin even specifically tried to assuage the growing concerns by promising that privacy would always remain the “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

It’s possible that Google has no new kinds of advertising products left, and is now dipping into stored sources of data, like an animal that buries food for the winter. For privacy-minded individuals that have already started ditching Google’s suite of tracking products, this might not seem like news; however, experts say that this represents a point of no return for consumer privacy on the Internet. Paul Ohm, of Georgetown University Center on Privacy and Technology, told ProPublica:

“The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand. It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy. That wall has just fallen.”

How to protect yourself from Google tracking

While there may still (for now) be protections for us that keep this data from being sold to less scrupulous third party advertisers, the fact that Google compiles this personally identifiable information and attaches it to our real names means that all of that information is available to government agencies. Consider leaving Google’s centralized services entirely and only connecting to the Internet via a VPN and with the proper tools in place on your browser. Check out PrivacyBadger by the EFF.

If you can’t leave Google’s playground, you’ll have to opt-out of this Google tracking. To do so, go to the Activity controls on your Google Account page. Once there, you will unmark the option that says “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.”

About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master’s in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.


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2 Comments

  1. Antimon555

    Google does way more evil than they admit or anyone outside knows. It seems like they deploy screen-recording spyware and somehow know which computers are on the same network, even when a VPN is being used.

    https://integritetsnytt.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/googleyoutube-seriously-creepy-tracks-me-across-systems-and-off-line-though-i-have-no-account/

    It’d be great if some people with deep knowledge of networks, operating systems, communication- and web protocols, etc. worked together to find out exactly how and what Google is doing, and publish the findings.

    1 year ago
    Reply
  2. Antimon555

    I wrote this a few days ago, but it was blocked and not approved, I’ll try again without a link:

    Google does way more evil than they admit or anyone outside knows. It seems like they deploy screen-recording spyware and somehow know which computers are on the same network, even when a VPN is being used.

    *Link to my blog post on this, now removed*

    It’d be great if some people with deep knowledge of networks, operating systems, communication- and web protocols, etc. worked together to find out exactly how and what Google is doing, and publish the findings.

    1 year ago
    Reply