Author Topic: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?  (Read 1344 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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Offline 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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Online 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.
 

Online 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.

 

Offline 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 »
 

Offline 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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Offline 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?
 

Offline 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...

 

Offline 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.
 

Offline 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 *
 

Online 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.
   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2019, 02:44:23 pm »
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.

True. But people are also naive regarding how their data could be useful.
In the example above, why filter out? If you're compulsively looking for flights on Google, Google gets to know you are interested in travelling by plane. That's already pretty useful information about you. Now of course they can get to "know" more based on everything else you look for by finding further patterns. But even just knowing you are looking for flights is useful.

And finding patterns is easier than many think. If all of your searches for travelling are for other means than flights, it may be inferred that you either have a fear of planes, can't afford flights, or never go very far away from your home. Your other searches could quickly help favor one of these options.

Properly "tricking" Google by looking up bogus stuff can be harder than many think as well. It would need some serious discipline, and to pretty much never use Google for things you're really interested in.

And "thanks" to various means of Google tracking (unless you can disable them all), Google can get to know stuff about you even when you're not actively using their services.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2019, 03:18:49 pm »
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.
Nope. What likely gave it away was the girl buying less heavily scented products. The sense of smell changes when women get pregnant and the products they choose change accordingly. You buy everything you normally buy but just a different brand of say shampoo and deodorant and someone might correctly infer you're pregnant before you know yourself. Again, thinking the inferred conclusions are obvious when you look at the products is naive. That's not how this process works. You take datasets of non pregnant and pregnant women and compare them to unknowns and through the magic of modern statistics you can pick up behavioural changes the women themselves may not even be aware of. You don't even need to know what the actual change is for the data to reveal that you somehow match group X or Y. That's also why intentional noise is very unlikely to change anything as your behaviour is still present.

As many people will have figured out by now these techniques can also be used to spot illnesses or other weaknesses in people using very mundane data. Subtle changes in your diet or interests may be indicators of serious conditions. You don't even know or can't even know your profile is a match but Google does.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2019, 05:03:31 pm »
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/

Data mining doesn't work by magic...  it is, when all is said and done, simply statistics...  and the results depend on the data they have.

So, I don't see how you can argue that adding noise to the data (consistently, over time) is not going to lower the "signal to noise" ratio for the data mining job?

 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2019, 06:56:12 pm »
Quote
Data mining doesn't work by magic...  it is, when all is said and done, simply statistics...  and the results depend on the data they have.

There is a chance google has managed to overcome the old adage "Garbage in, garbage out".
Then again ...they might have not.
   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2019, 07:41:36 pm »
Data mining doesn't work by magic...  it is, when all is said and done, simply statistics...  and the results depend on the data they have.

So, I don't see how you can argue that adding noise to the data (consistently, over time) is not going to lower the "signal to noise" ratio for the data mining job?
Read my previous post as it's explained in some detail. This isn't your basic statistics class. Data science is a quickly evolving field and even scientists are caught out by what data can be derived from seemingly harmless datasets they released to their peers. There's a reason data analysts are in very hot demand and that's because they can distill data from massive and often unstructured sets. People here seem stuck in very outdated paradigms.

https://mashable.com/article/anonymous-data-sets-easily-de-anonymized/
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2019, 07:43:09 pm »
There is a chance google has managed to overcome the old adage "Garbage in, garbage out".
Then again ...they might have not.
Except that it's not just garbage. As you're a real person your real behaviour is in there.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2019, 08:18:25 pm »
Data mining doesn't work by magic...  it is, when all is said and done, simply statistics...  and the results depend on the data they have.

So, I don't see how you can argue that adding noise to the data (consistently, over time) is not going to lower the "signal to noise" ratio for the data mining job?
Read my previous post as it's explained in some detail. This isn't your basic statistics class. Data science is a quickly evolving field and even scientists are caught out by what data can be derived from seemingly harmless datasets they released to their peers. There's a reason data analysts are in very hot demand and that's because they can distill data from massive and often unstructured sets. People here seem stuck in very outdated paradigms.

https://mashable.com/article/anonymous-data-sets-easily-de-anonymized/

I have re-read your posts, and you haven't actually explained anything in detail at all -  you are saying (repeatedly) that it is possible to extract information from patterns in the data - subtle patterns, even - which nobody is disagreeing with.   Furthermore, nobody is disagreeing that you can pick up useful information from unexpected "side channels" that most people are not really consciously aware of.

But this kind of analysis is not immune to noise.  The cleaner and more trustworthy the input data for the analysis is, the more accurate the results will be.  Conversely, the more noise you add (including into the "side channels"), the harder the job gets.  This is just common sense and I don't understand why the notion is contentious at all.


 

Online MagicSmoker

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2019, 08:20:58 pm »
....People here seem stuck in very outdated paradigms.

I was going to tell you to dial back on the condescension, but upon reading some of your post history I suspect that's a wasted cause.

After all, most of here are engineers, not statisticians, and shouldn't be expected to be capable of doing Google-level data manipulation.

I don't care how Google, Amazon, etc., figure out what I want before I even know I want it; I don't want them figuring it out in the first place.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2019, 08:34:37 pm »
I have re-read your posts, and you haven't actually explained anything in detail at all -  you are saying (repeatedly) that it is possible to extract information from patterns in the data - subtle patterns, even - which nobody is disagreeing with.   Furthermore, nobody is disagreeing that you can pick up useful information from unexpected "side channels" that most people are not really consciously aware of.

But this kind of analysis is not immune to noise.  The cleaner and more trustworthy the input data for the analysis is, the more accurate the results will be.  Conversely, the more noise you add (including into the "side channels"), the harder the job gets.  This is just common sense and I don't understand why the notion is contentious at all.
Your real behaviour is still in there. Everything other than what they're comparing you to was filtered out anyway so adding a tiny bit on top makes no difference. Of course your "noise" is likely blatantly obvious.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2019, 08:45:00 pm »
I was going to tell you to dial back on the condescension, but upon reading some of your post history I suspect that's a wasted cause.

After all, most of here are engineers, not statisticians, and shouldn't be expected to be capable of doing Google-level data manipulation.

I don't care how Google, Amazon, etc., figure out what I want before I even know I want it; I don't want them figuring it out in the first place.
I don't think many people are comfortable with being tracked and profiled in great detail but it's how the world works right know. Knowing how data is mined is the only chance you have preventing it from happening. Please refrain from personal insults.  :)
 

Offline DimitriP

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2019, 09:31:56 pm »
Quote
Except that it's not just garbage. As you're a real person your real behaviour is in there.
I'm sure my social security number can be composed by page numbers of "War and Peace" too. But I'm not worried :)


   If three 100  Ohm resistors are connected in parallel, and in series with a 200 Ohm resistor, how many resistors do you have? 
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2019, 10:34:40 pm »
I have re-read your posts, and you haven't actually explained anything in detail at all -  you are saying (repeatedly) that it is possible to extract information from patterns in the data - subtle patterns, even - which nobody is disagreeing with.   Furthermore, nobody is disagreeing that you can pick up useful information from unexpected "side channels" that most people are not really consciously aware of.

But this kind of analysis is not immune to noise.  The cleaner and more trustworthy the input data for the analysis is, the more accurate the results will be.  Conversely, the more noise you add (including into the "side channels"), the harder the job gets.  This is just common sense and I don't understand why the notion is contentious at all.
Your real behaviour is still in there. Everything other than what they're comparing you to was filtered out anyway so adding a tiny bit on top makes no difference. Of course your "noise" is likely blatantly obvious.


Well, you real behaviour - as in your actual purchasing transactions - is something that you cannot really hide.  This data has been used for advertising purposes for years. 

E.g. see:  https://www.businessinsider.com/credit-cards-sell-purchase-data-to-advertisers-2013-4

But what we are talking about here is ads that follow you around depending on what you have recently searched for - at least, that's what I thought we were talking about! :-)

I have noticed that searching for stuff while logged in on eBay means Google ads will follow you around from then on.  So eBay is obviously passing data on to Google, based on your account ID.   The ads are completely based on what you searched for on eBay.  There isn't much intelligence involved, it seems.

Data is also passed from Google to Facebook, and vice versa.  I have proven that by using 100% isolated browsers, where a search on eBay in browser A results in being stalked on Facebook in browser B (on a different computer).

Everyone that has data, is in the business of selling it...  it seems.   Surveillance capitalism, gotta love it.

What's new with Google/Facebook/eBay etc. is that they are tracking people at the individual level, not anonymizing anything, it would seem.

Of course, we live in a free country, and you can simply choose not to use any modern Internet services, if you don't like it...  right?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 10:38:44 pm by SilverSolder »
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2019, 01:49:07 am »
  I have a gmail account on my cellphone but apparently it is required by Android.  I

You can run Android without a gmail, its not required.  Some phones will have an extra setup that asks for it but for Android itsself you van get away without it.
I ran my old table for about a year with no google by using f-droid to install apps, and using my own e-mail and file.calendar service (Owncloud).
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2019, 02:15:30 am »
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.

If your stuck on windows and chrome then use Chromium which is the same source as chrome without any google.
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2019, 10:07:15 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.

I used to live in Manchester NH. Its NH's largest city with two tall buildings... well 2 1/2 if you count the one with the microwave antennas on it. Why did you pick that city? No one has ever heard or been to manchvegas as the locals call it. My ex girlfriend Mel, was actually "Miss Manchvegas" one year which is like a state wide beauty pageant. God she was dumb and every time I went out with her guys would hit on her, and the best part was when drunk guys would try and fight me because I was short. Yes that  will win her love. So glad I don't live in that state anymore. 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2019, 12:08:24 am »
Well, you real behaviour - as in your actual purchasing transactions - is something that you cannot really hide.  This data has been used for advertising purposes for years. 

E.g. see:  https://www.businessinsider.com/credit-cards-sell-purchase-data-to-advertisers-2013-4
There is a way out of that - buy stuff with cash or cryptocurrency.
Quote
But what we are talking about here is ads that follow you around depending on what you have recently searched for - at least, that's what I thought we were talking about! :-)

I have noticed that searching for stuff while logged in on eBay means Google ads will follow you around from then on.  So eBay is obviously passing data on to Google, based on your account ID.   The ads are completely based on what you searched for on eBay.  There isn't much intelligence involved, it seems.

Data is also passed from Google to Facebook, and vice versa.  I have proven that by using 100% isolated browsers, where a search on eBay in browser A results in being stalked on Facebook in browser B (on a different computer).

Everyone that has data, is in the business of selling it...  it seems.   Surveillance capitalism, gotta love it.

What's new with Google/Facebook/eBay etc. is that they are tracking people at the individual level, not anonymizing anything, it would seem.

Of course, we live in a free country, and you can simply choose not to use any modern Internet services, if you don't like it...  right?
Simply use adblock to break the last link. Now their effort is wasted. It would be harder to sell data if there's less profit in doing so.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: What does google know about you? What does it know about everyone?
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2019, 05:46:54 am »
I deliberately feed Google (and other sites) false information, that even if they could join the dots between them all, the information is often fabricated or contradicts one another. One moment Google thinks I'm in Melbourne, the next it puts my location as in a totally different state.

I like to keep the algorithms guessing ;-)
 


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