Author Topic: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?  (Read 1362 times)

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Offline Beamin

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The google data collection has crossed the line for me. I'm now starting to get targeted ads that seem to know way too much about my sexual orientation and gender. It's not quite spot on it thinks I want to date farming men, ok so its pretty far off, but still what if I was still in the closet or other people were to see me innocently using my email? And so we are clear: I do not talk about sex, or send nude pictures, go on dating sites, or have even downloaded one porno picture on this computer (I never thought I would say that but my preferences have changed as I got older) or any computer where I have used that gmail account or any others. I'm guessing its smart enough to figure out you're the same person from your IP. 

Not only this its really knows a lot about my medical conditions and disabilities since I do email my doctors(Imagine 20 years ago thinking the email service would be used for something as important as talking to your doctor?!). I wonder how far its going to go as new laws are going to give us less and less privacy. At least target hasn't told me and my father I'm pregnant... yet.

I'm not sure what email I should use to replace it, free is coming at a very large cost. The ironic part is I have never been one to buy things I see in ads, not just because I'm like the rest of you who buy obscure things and don't have regular hobbies, but because ads just don't work on me. I have had jobs in the past where I sold mortgages and other things from cold calling people. To this day I can't imagine giving my credit card number let alone social security number out to some random ass person calling me, but people gave them to me every day.

Does anyone know officially what it collects or what kind of creepy ads does it send you? It has about 1,000,000 data points and 10,000,000 inferred data points on you, you could probably form a profile better then a psychiatrist could. Scary stuff as we become more of a police state.  :scared: 
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Online rstofer

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 12:12:34 am »
AFAIK, Google collects every scrap of information it can glean from any source it can find.  Every single bit.  So, deal with it!

I use AdBlocker and that stops the targeted ads on web pages.  I use Chrome but I also use the Incognito feature from time to time.  I have a gmail account on my cellphone but apparently it is required by Android.  I don't use it - ever.  My ISP provides email services so I don't use Google for any of that stuff.  I may get a couple of Google ads on my cellphone from time to time but I dump them without reading.

I simply don't get unsolicited ads on my computers and my ISP is doing a really good job at blocking junk mail.  I don't get any - none!
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 12:37:28 am »
I'm thinking that blocking ads might be the easiest way to discourage tracking for advertisement purposes. If they can figure out that you block ads, they'll realize that whatever effort they put into targeting ads will be wasted because you block the ads.

Ideally, then combine that with software to generate fake traffic and throw off whatever analysis they might do.
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Offline Marck

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 12:52:59 am »
I use a VPN on all my personal devices most of the time and my work devices tunnel all the traffic through there own gateways .  I also use apple devices not android and heavily limit location services where its convenient. 

I still get some targeted advertising but its vauge at best.  Where i do notice it is when i am with others.  One example is i went with a friend of ours to help them buy a car.  We used FB messenger to coordinate a place to meet up and then went looking.  After that I had new car adds for a while.  So the web is wide. 

 I think that mass surveillance is unfortunately part of modern technological life.  And as things like facial recognition become much much more main stream your life will become more transparent to the world. 

One example that i came across a little while ago was when my wife wanted me to use whatsapp so we had messaging available when we only had wifi in some places.  When I installed it it requested access to my contacts and i declined it.  So it stops you using the service if you don’t give it access .  So 10 mins reading on the internets and it revealed a worrying clause in the T&C’s that when you use the service that you will share your contacts and that you have permission to do so. 

So in short if you use it on a work phone that you are claiming to have permission to share personal information of anyone that you deal with and have that info saved in your contacts.

As far as i know its not permitted in Oz to share personal information of customers / employees with out explicit permission. 

So are you breaking privacy laws just by having whatsapp installed on a device that you use for work?

M
 
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 01:19:57 am »
One example that i came across a little while ago was when my wife wanted me to use whatsapp so we had messaging available when we only had wifi in some places.  When I installed it it requested access to my contacts and i declined it.  So it stops you using the service if you don’t give it access .
LineageOS (and CyanogenMod before that) has a feature to "fake" giving certain apps permission.
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Offline edpalmer42

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 05:03:26 am »
Just google for < google data download >.  You'll find info on how to get a copy of everything that google knows about you.  I don't allow google to collect any info on me so the download was something like 20 KB of totally trivial stuff.  I first read about this in an online article.  The author's download was something like 5 GB.
 

Offline MagicSmoker

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 02:18:37 pm »
I despise Google's creepy ad targeting so much I have dumped its search for DuckDuckGo (which has made enormous strides in the last year in the quality of its search results, btw - at least for technical stuff) and edited my hosts file to redirect requests to the google analytics domains to the black hole 0.0.0.0.

To do the latter open notepad as an administrator and edit the hosts file located in: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Then add the following two lines to the end:
0.0.0.0 google-analytics.com
0.0.0.0 www.google-analytics.com

Save and reboot.

 

Online SeanB

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 03:29:46 pm »
If using Chrome or the Microsoft fork in Edge, there are hard coded IP links to Google servers, used for both tracking, and for analytics, along for detecting DNS poisoning and redirects.
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 03:39:55 pm »
send your self a text or email, google will go nuts
trying to identify who the unknown is
you will be told to update your logins. re-enter phone numbers.
that may go on for weeks as google try's to fine the missing part of the puzzle.
I will not say how to do this, but it works.
Hobby of evil genius      basic knowledge of electronics
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2019, 03:41:39 pm »
Why anyone wary of Google would use Chrome to begin with...?

And yes, to this day and AFAIK, Google doesn't directly sell any user data to third parties... (to this day!), but your data is still used indirectly. For now, there is no direct link between you and a third party. Google is always in between (which incidentally helps maximize revenue for Google).

Is that ever going to change? Who knows.

Oh, and "no third party" means no private third party. Google will share your data with any government agency if asked to. It's slightly better for as long as you trust your government.

And frankly, I would recommend against using a gmail account to discuss medical things, and using e-mail in general. If you can't avoid it, use GPG or equivalent to encrypt your messages. (If your medical doctor doesn't accept it or doesn't offer any other means of securing your medical conversations, they are just... *bip*)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 03:43:20 pm by SiliconWizard »
 

Online rstofer

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2019, 03:49:01 pm »
I'm thinking that blocking ads might be the easiest way to discourage tracking for advertisement purposes. If they can figure out that you block ads, they'll realize that whatever effort they put into targeting ads will be wasted because you block the ads.

Ideally, then combine that with software to generate fake traffic and throw off whatever analysis they might do.

This capability already exists.  I often get pop-ups when I first hit a site asking me to shut off my ad-blocker before proceeding.  In most cases, they simply won't allow access while the ad-blocker is functioning.  So, I go elsewhere...
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2019, 04:30:41 pm »
Just google for < google data download >.  You'll find info on how to get a copy of everything that google knows about you.  I don't allow google to collect any info on me so the download was something like 20 KB of totally trivial stuff.  I first read about this in an online article.  The author's download was something like 5 GB.

How do you do that? Wouldn't that kill all of googles revenue if you did that? For somethings I understand: Such as google maps traffic delays and road closure features wouldn't work if everyone using it wasn't sharing location data with them, but other things I was furious with like when I requested the data uber collects: They sent me a thousands of lines long excel spread sheet with my location of every where I went for how long and when. Then they figured out where I was living (a place I NEVER write down as my address) and started getting junk mail from them and then other companies. The only way anyone got that was watching my gps, and even though I always close uber you have to use it to get to your house but in the data you could clearly see the time I forgot to close it. I called them and told them I was in the witness collection program and they were going to get me killed. I did get some free rides out of it.

Quote from: jonovid
send your self a text or email, google will go nuts
trying to identify who the unknown is
you will be told to update your logins. re-enter phone numbers.
that may go on for weeks as google try's to fine the missing part of the puzzle.
I will not say how to do this, but it works.

You mean just send an email to your own email? I do that all the time, so are you saying edit the metadata like in the good old days when it was easy to send an email to anyone as anyone using the anon mailer app(or program as it was called at the time, "downloading programs" doesn't sound as sexy as "getting the app")? At one point you could do that with text messages with any phone number you wanted. I abused the hell out of that playing jokes on people but then the phone company wised up to that.

At first it was kind of fun to try and outsmart this stuff, now its like a full time job and I just want to send a damn email without everybody knowing and trying to profit off it.
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Online German_EE

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2019, 04:54:59 pm »
Rather than blocking Google there is another approach to use if your Internet connection is not charged by the Mb. Some browsers have plugins that send a continuous stream of enquiries to Google using your account, one moment it may be asking the melting point of asphalt and the next enquiry could be the population of Manchester NH.

It's a better approach, poison the well, submerge them in so much information that they can't tell good from bad. The moment the servers think that you're a thirty year old housewife from Phoenix or a twenty something from Paris you will know that you've won.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2019, 06:42:46 pm »
This capability already exists.  I often get pop-ups when I first hit a site asking me to shut off my ad-blocker before proceeding.  In most cases, they simply won't allow access while the ad-blocker is functioning.  So, I go elsewhere...
Nowadays, adblockers have the capability to disable those popups. Or do a F5 and ESC loop to break the script. (They deserve the bandwidth usage.)

Then there are "stealth" adblockers that are undetectable by design since they merely cover the ads, the tradeoff being that they cannot block tracking or save bandwidth.
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Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2019, 08:40:41 pm »
[...] Some browsers have plugins that send a continuous stream of enquiries to Google using your account [...]

Have you got an example of a plugin like that?
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2019, 09:25:57 pm »
It's likely those noise generating plugins don't help. People seem to forget that Google is one of the biggest experts when it comes to distilling useful information from large datasets in ever increasingly sophisticated ways. It'd probably be naive to think that such a crude attempt to introduce noise will cause them trouble. It does illustrate people don't really understand what and who they're up against.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2019, 01:00:35 am »
So few people will be doing the "noise" that it won't be worth their while to develop countermeasures...

 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2019, 01:39:34 am »
So few people will be doing the "noise" that it won't be worth their while to develop countermeasures...
They don't need to. It'll get filtered out with the rest of the real world data they're not interested in. Data science works a lot more indirectly than people seem to generally think.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2019, 01:57:19 am »
They have no way of filtering out, for example, if you search say 10 different destinations on Google Flights, where you only actually care about one of them.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2019, 02:45:01 am »
They have no way of filtering out, for example, if you search say 10 different destinations on Google Flights, where you only actually care about one of them.
Yes they do. It's not someone looking over your shoulder looking at what you do. It's all about finding patterns in data and behaviours and those are essentially impossible to fake convincingly. You can't and won't know what they pick up on. People are stupendously naive when it comes to these things.

An story already half a decade old is how Target figured out a girl was pregnant by her purchases. It weren't purchases blatantly related to pregnancy but patterns they saw in other pregnant women. Data mining techniques have become a lot more sophisticated since and companies like Google have much more extensive datasets. Third parties may very well know of a serious illness you have before you do.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2019, 03:54:53 am »
What if you take some real data and replay it? I can see it being pretty easy to "magnify" certain interests to make them look bigger than they really are. Or split your different categories of searches into different sessions to make it look like multiple users on the same IP, each with their own sets of interests. (Or even better, route searches through a VPN or Tor with a fresh session every time.)

All in all, blocking ads should be the first thing to do if you care since getting rid of a big financial incentive would go a long ways to discourage it. (I'm not sure how effective "stealth" adblockers would be at that.)
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Offline TERRA Operative

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2019, 05:55:25 am »
Here's what I have done to try to mitigate various online tracking:

- Installed NetGuard on my phone to firewall everything but the few apps I want to allow access.
- Installed Pi-Hole with DNSSEC encrypted DNS stuffs on a raspberry pi at home.
- Installed a Synology NAS at home for all my backups (no cloud crap being used).
- Migrated to Proton Mail for email.
- Installed Ublock Origin, Decentraleyes, Privacy Badger, No Script, HTTPS Everywhere and Don't Track Me Google on my browser.
- Using Waterfox browser instead of Firefox to reduce Mozilla tracking.
- Set ALL Google history and tracking off in my Google account (I still need a Google account for some stuff including Youtube channel unfortunately).
- Used the ADB Shell function to debloat my phone of all apps I don't need, especially the Google and Facebook stuff.
https://www.xda-developers.com/uninstall-carrier-oem-bloatware-without-root-access/
- Unsubscribed and closed all accounts and email mailing lists I no longer use.
- Closed my Facebook account ages ago before they made it borderline impossible to do.
- Searched for my name and stuff on all search engines to see if I forgot anything obvious.
- Periodically nuke my Reddit history to help prevent the chance of doxxing and data mining.
https://github.com/j0be/PowerDeleteSuite/



It's not perfect, but my digital footprint is a lot smaller now.
Undoubtedly there is a lot of metadata still behind the scenes that I can't do much about, but I'm doing all I can for now.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 12:16:58 pm by TERRA Operative »
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2019, 07:44:00 am »
A first step:

1) Delete Chrome and empty the trash and use Brave browser (*): https://brave.com/
2) Configure duckduckgo as default search engine.
3) delete the 8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4 DNSs in your TCP/IP setup, and put somebody else's DNS there instead.

Not many people realize that 3) is the biggest source of info for Google, because it's telling Google in real time every site you navigate to, no need for cookies, trackers, anything. Yes, with that DNS in your TCP/IP settings you're simply *telling* them *directly*.

(*) By Brendan Eich, ex Mozilla's CTO and inventor of the JavaScript language.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 07:49:57 am by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
git diff *
 

Offline MagicSmoker

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2019, 10:51:32 am »
...
3) delete the 8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4 DNSs in your TCP/IP setup, and put somebody else's DNS there instead.

Not many people realize that 3) is the biggest source of info for Google, because it's telling Google in real time every site you navigate to, no need for cookies, trackers, anything. Yes, with that DNS in your TCP/IP settings you're simply *telling* them *directly*...

Jeez, I totally forgot about choosing another DNS besides Google's "free" ones in my earlier reply and you are absolutely right this is a huge source of data for Google.

I personally like DNS.Watch, but OpenNIC and a few others are also good choices depending on your location.

Good instructions on how to change your DNS on Windows 10 (maybe earlier versions - didn't check) are here: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-change-your-pcs-dns-settings-windows-10

And more info on DNS.Watch is here: https://dns.watch/

 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2019, 11:53:43 am »
Quote
but patterns they saw in other pregnant women.
That's easy. Pregnant women stop  buying products they used to use once a month
The more bogus searches that "you" are not really interested in is fed to google the more "your" interests get obscured. It doesn't make a dent to the data google collects from everyone else, but "you" stop being as "well defined" in google's eyes.
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