arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
[personal profile] arduinna
(If you're just stopping by to see if anything's been added, you can go straight to the final additions based on suggestions from the comments)

In the unlikely event that people haven't heard about Google's new privacy policy, going into effect on March 1: it will merge any Google accounts you have and link them into one account under one privacy policy. (Er, obviously I can't see them being able to link accounts that don't already have some point of connection between them, like a contact email addy -- but if they can find a link, they'll merge them, as far as I can tell.) ETA from comments: Google may also just be looking at cookies left on your computer, and linking accounts that have no visible connection - they consider it a feature, not a bug. Joy.

ETA more, as we inch into March 1: And a clarification on the merging thing: by that I mean that if you sign up for two products using, and, Google may well decide those addresses belong to the same person, because it's working off cookies on your computer, and will treat them as one identity. Google will not merge and into one identity: It's not possible to merge two Google accounts (per Google Help documentation). So the safest way to have multiple identities in Google's eyes is to use Google identities. /ETA

The new policy and what it means for you

(Click here to skip this part if you already know what's going on and just want the options I've found)

Under the new policy, Google will be able to track and connect your movements across a pretty wide swath of the web if you're logged in to even a single Google service; e.g., if you're logged into Gmail in one tab, Google will know what Youtube videos you watch in other tabs, even if you don't have a Youtube account. It will also connect any searches you make through Google to your Google profile, if you're logged in to your Gmail (or Youtube, or Google Reader, or Picasa, or Blogger, etc.) account.

It's not just big sites, either, or things you got to via a Google search; if you're logged in to a Google account and you go to a page that has a Google AdSense ad, or a Doubleclick ad, or uses Google Analytics, Google will know you were there, and will connect that information to your profile in its logs.

It's also going to assign one name across all your accounts -- presumably this is based on the base contact email you provide when you sign up for things (note: that's a guess on my part). So for instance if you signed up for Gmail using your ISP-provided email addy as a contact/alternative address, but picked a user/display name of FanGirl238, and signed up for Picasa using that same ISP-provided email as RealName15 so you could share photos with your family, Google will either turn your Gmail display name into RealName15, or turn your Picasa display name into FanGirl238.


It's worse on smartphones and tablets:

The three crucial sections of Google's new Privacy policy:
  • Device information
    • We may collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number). Google may associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account.

  • Log information
    • When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include:
      • details of how you used our service, such as your search queries
      • telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
      • Internet protocol address.
      • device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.
      • cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account.

  • Location information
    • When you use a location-enabled Google service, we may collect and process information about your actual location, like GPS signals sent by a mobile device. We may also use various technologies to determine location, such as sensor data from your device that may, for example, provide information on nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.

So if you are logged in to even a single Google product on your phone, Google is going to track (and retain records of) your search queries, what videos you watch, who you call, when you call them, how long you call them for, where you forward your calls to, how you send text messages, and what sorts of calls you make.

As for "location-enabled Google service", that includes things like the Maps app that comes standard on iphone (arrrgh I like that app, dammit!) and, yes, Google search, which defaults to tracking your location. So when you search for "Thai restaurants", Google will know where you are when you made the search, and potentially which restaurant you went to. All of that information will be collected and connected with your Google profile, so they have the most complete picture of exactly who you are and where you go and what you do possible.

So for instance, if you're logged in on both your computer and phone, and you search for "what should I wear to an interview for X position?", and a few days later map a route from your house (or current job) to a company you've never been to, Google's going to pretty easily infer that you're interviewing for a job X at Y company. Especially if you stay there for an hour then map your way back home again.

Or if you search for "vaginal rash" and map your way to a walk-in clinic, well hey, now Google knows what you're being treated for. And if you look up the doctor who's treating you while you're there to see if there's anything hinky about him/her, Google now has a good idea of who's treating you for that rash, as well.

The way the privacy policy is written, it sounds like they'll only note your location if you happen to be specifically using a service like search or maps, but the way the director of privacy, policy, and engineering described it in the announcement blog post, it sounds like it's going to be much more widespread/constant:
But there’s so much more that Google can do to help you by sharing more of your information with … well, you. We can make search better—figuring out what you really mean when you type in Apple, Jaguar or Pink. We can provide more relevant ads too. For example, it’s January, but maybe you’re not a gym person, so fitness ads aren’t that useful to you. We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before. People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out.

... I do not actually consider "knowing when I'm supposed to be somewhere" to be "heavy lifting". Nor "knowing how my friends' names are spelled." This whole thing manages to be not only completely creepy, but also completely patronizing.

How to keep this from affecting you -- much

The most effective way to keep this from affecting you is to delete any Google accounts you may have (after exporting your data), and never sign up for another.

I'm not entirely prepared to do that; I like Gmail, I like Google Calendar, I use Google Docs. So I've been looking into options to give me some protection or alternatives that will work as well.

Crucial first step: Purging existing saved information before March 1

Google probably already has a lot of information about you saved, without your really being aware, and as of March 1, that information will be collated and attached to your Google profile. The safest thing to do is to purge as much of that as possible ahead of the new privacy policy. The EFF is specifically urging people to do this.

Purging your Web history:
1. Log in to your google account
2. Click on your name in the upper right corner of the screen, then "Account services"
3. Under the "Services" section, look for "View, enable, or disable web history" and click on "Go to web history"
4. You'll be asked to sign in again; do so
5. Click on "Remove all web history".
6. This will also pause your web history, which means Google will stop storing your web searches. The pause will hold until/unless you turn it back on, so you've effectively disabled it.

(The EFF offers an illustrated guide to removing your google search history.)

When I did this, Google had 13,947 searches saved for my account. Cripes.

If you have multiple Google accounts, you'll need to do this for each one.

NB: This doesn't stop Google from collecting search data going forward, and it doesn't erase your existing searches from any databases. It just means that Google won't store your searches permanently; after 18 months, some of the information associated with the search will be anonymized. It can still be used for Google's own internal purposes, and can still be subpoenaed.

Purging your Youtube viewing and search history:
1. Log in to your Youtube account
2. Click on your name in the upper right corner of the screen, then "Video Manager"
3. Click on the History tab in the left column
4. Click "Clear all viewing history" to clear all the videos you've viewed.
5. Click "Pause viewing history"
6. Click "Search history"
7. Click "Clear all search history" to clear all the searches you've made
8. Click "Pause search history"

(The EFF offers an illustrated guide to removing your Youtube histories.)

Again, you'll need to do this for any Youtube account you have.

NB: As with regular search, this doesn't stop Google from collecting data going forward, and it doesn't erase your existing searches and viewing history from any databases. It just means that Google won't store your information permanently; after 18 months, some of the information associated with it will be anonymized. It can still be used for Google's own internal purposes, and can still be subpoenaed.

Step 2: Browsing more securely on computers

There are several options for browsing more securely.

The first is never sign into a Google product, but again, that's hard. That means no Gmail, no Youtube, no Blogger, no Google Groups, no Google Docs...

The second is to only sign into a Google product in an isolated browser, which will work as long as you don't click on anything. ... Yeah.

One way or another, it's going to be safer to block trackers in combination with any avoidance strategies like that, and to choose search engines other than Google.

Blocking trackers:

Adblock isn't going to do it for this one; you need something designed to block a lot more than ads. There are a couple of extensions that block multiple trackers, though, and that work across many browsers.

My top choice right now is:

Ghostery, which also blocks trackers, cookies, widgets, and pixel-gifs across a wide variety of sources; works on multiple browsers.

When you first install Ghostery, it walks you through a setup that includes telling it what to block; it gives you a ridiculously giant list of things in its blockable list. This also gets regularly updated and gives you the list of new things to choose to block or not when you load your browser.

Under the "3pes" (third-party extensions) tab, I told it to block everything under Advertising, Analytics, Privacy, and Tracking, and almost everything under Widgets (I allowed the Disqus, Tumblr, and Twitter widgets, since I have accounts on all three and want to be able to use them on other sites).

Sorry, people who are using Google Analytics to gauge their traffic! I'm going to be invisible from here on out.

Under the Cookies tab, I told it to block everything under Advertising, Analytics, and Trackers, and almost everything under Widgets (I allowed Disqus and Tumblr).

I've been using it for a few weeks now, and am appalled at how much tracking was going on that I didn't know about. Every page you load, Ghostery pops up a purple box showing you what it is and isn't blocking. (The box placement is customizable, as is the length of time it appears; the default is top-right corner for 15 seconds. You can also get rid of it by clicking on it.) (This drove me out of my mind for the first week or so, but after I cut the linger time to 10 seconds and got more used to it, I stopped really noticing.)

NB: It's blocking some things I wish it weren't, and I can't seem to get around it; embedded videos in particular tend to just show up blank about 80% of the time. But in the long run, it's worth it for me. And I don't think that's a universal problem; I'm not seeing a lot of complaints about it anywhere. It could just be my particular browser configuration.

There's also:

Disconnect, which started out blocking Facebook and now blocks Google and other things as well; works on multiple browsers.

This will block Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Digg from tracking you across the web. I don't know if it's entirely necessary if you install Ghostery, but it doesn't seem to be conflicting with Ghostery, and honestly for Google and Facebook, especially, I'm just as happy to have belt-and-suspenders blocking going on. The downside to it is that it occasionally pops up a more obtrusive box telling you what it's blocking that's a little harder to get rid of.

Using other search engines

I've gotten very complacent over the years and have defaulted constantly to Google. But now that I've looked around, there are some great options out there.

I like Duck Duck Go a lot. It makes a point of telling you upfront that it doesn't track you, doesn't bubble you (= tailoring your results so that you see what the search engine thinks is most relevant to you, which means you tend not to see things like opposing political views, for one thing -- it can create dangerous echo chambers), doesn't send your search terms to the site you go to. It automatically sends you to encrypted sites where possible. It doesn't log or store your IP or any other information about you, so there's no way at all to connect you to your searches. It's not fancy-looking, but it gets the job done.

Here's Duck Duck Go's privacy policy, written by its founder, who links to himself and asks for feedback, which goes directly to his personal mail.

If you use Firefox, you can add DuckDuckGo to your search bar options and then just use that as your default.

There's also Ixquick, which is also dedicated to user privacy. I have less to say about it because I just discovered it. *g*

ETA from comments: There's also StartPage, which again is dedicated to protecting your privacy. /ETA

Lifehacker also has a list of other search engines, including Duck Duck Go but also several others.

Engineers at Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace banded together to write a bookmarklet that de-emphasizes Google's strong preference for Google+ results, but the point of it is to look specifically for social media sites, e,g. to see if someone's Twitter stream is more relevant than a Google+ page about them. I'm almost never looking for a social media site, but if that's your thing, you may want to check out the bookmarklet.

Step 3: Finding a mail alternative

Mail alternatives are harder. I love Gmail, I really do. It's fast, it's flexible, I like the label/tagging structure, I love the spam filters. This is really annoying. I may wind up keeping Gmail and just isolating it in a separate browser, but there is no way in hell I am ever logging into a google product on a mobile device come March 1. Which sucks because Gmail works fabulously on mobile devices. Argh. So I also really want something different for IMAP webmail if I can find it.

A lot of the "alternatives to Gmail" articles out there fail entirely to understand the point of Gmail; the alternatives they list are desktop mail clients, not web-based mail. I have a great mail client; what I need is something I can get at from anywhere, anytime. I've been hunting around lists like that in hopes of finding a few actual webmail programs, and poking through Wikipedia's comparison of webmail providers (which seems to be slightly out of date), and have narrowed down my own choices a bit.

What I'm looking for is something that allows:

* POP3 and preferably also IMAP
* unlimited messages
* a minimum of 10MB for attachments
* a minimum of 2 GB storage
* free with no or minimal ads OR
* under $20/year for no ads

The top options (alpha order) seem to be:

Fastmail.FM: This has four service levels; the free level only has 25MB of storage, and includes ads in outgoing messages. The next level is $5/year, with 100 MB storage; the next level is $20/year with 1 GB storage; the final level is $40/year for 10 GB storage and sending up to 2 GB files. The higher levels come with web hosting as well; they have a lot of features. No docs or calendar, though.

GMX: This looks promising: unlimited email storage and attachments up to 50 MB; IMAP; 1 GB of online storage; no fees; it will pull email from other accounts if you want. I think I'd need to sign up to get the nitty gritty of the features, though, and haven't done that yet. (ETA from comments: at least on the German side, GMX wants personal/demographic info, so you need to work around that. /ETA) (ETA 2 from comments, on March 1: "as far as demographics go on the not-German side, all it required was my first and last name and my country, which you could easily fill in with a pseud if you wanted to. The rest (DOB, gender) was optional. I haven't been asked for my address or credit card information." /ETA)

Hotmail: Lifehacker really likes Hotmail. I just can't bring myself to even try it. I lived through the 90s and early 00s, and to me, Hotmail will forever be spam central. I'm also not keen on shifting from giving Google my info to giving Microsoft my info. Pass for me. Hm. I like the look of this; it's currently POP3 and SMTP only, but is going to be adding free IMAP for all accounts soon (currently in beta, available to anyone who wants to try it). The free version has 5Gb of storage (for email and files you can upload as regular storage); downside is that the free account puts ads in your outgoing mail. They do not scan your mail to target ads at you, though. There are two paid levels: $8.88/year gets you 8 GB of storage, no ads, and daily backups; $29.88/year gets you 30 GB storage, no ads, and daily backups. Every account level gives you email, a calendar, notes, upload storage.

Yahoo: Eh. I've had Yahoo mail, off and on. They're another company who keeps "improving" things in a downward spiral, and are also keen to collect information on people. Pass for me, at least for now. (On the plus side, they seem fairly stable.)

Zoho:This is targeted at business users, but it looks like you can get free accounts and some free services, including web-based email. It also has a documents function (which Lifehacker thinks is better than Google Docs), a calendar, etc. You get 1 GB of free storage for documents. I haven't tried any of it yet, but it looks like it's probably the most complete replacement for Gmail (with the downside that it's not technically geared for individual users).

I haven't settled on any of them yet, and will probably be using Gmail for a while to come, but it never hurts to consider the options.

Avoiding tracking on mobile devices

If you're on an Android phone, this is going to be almost impossible to avoid, as the only way to get or update apps is to log in to Google. You don't technically need to be logged in to make calls or just browse or use non-Google apps, but if you ever want to get more or update what you have, Google will promptly scrape your device info, your phone number, and who knows what else.

If you're on a non-Android phone, you just have to never sign into a Google account for any reason, I think. Some of the wording of the policy makes it sound as though they're going to collect your information even just by visiting sites that use Google products (again, any page that uses Google Analytics, or a Google AdSense or Doubleclick ad, which is, oh, most of the web), but it's hard to see how possible it is for them to get a phone number that way.

I'm assuming that checking your Gmail using your Mail app will count as being logged in, since you're contacting Google's servers with your password.

ETA, as we inch into March 1: According to [personal profile] ghost_lingering, being logged in to Gmail through the mail app is enough to let Google identify your searches. /ETA

I still wanted to be able to block browser tracking, even logged out, just on principle. I thought I wouldn't be able to put anything here since extensions are impossible on Apple's mobile platforms and I'm guessing the same is true of Android, but it turns out that yes, there's an app (or two) for that.

Apologies up front here: I have an iphone and an ipad, but I don't have any Android devices so can't test those. So this is Apple-heavy.

Duck Duck Go has its own (free) search app for iPhone and iPad. It functions as a browser; not too bad, it lets you put things on a bookmarks toolbar, etc. Basic but functional.

Duck Duck Go also has a (free) browser for Android. Again, I couldn't test this, but it exists, at least.

Ghostery also has its own free browser app for iPhone and iPad! Again, with no extensions allowed, they had to actually design a browser to carry their blocking features. It's a more bare-bones browser than Duck Duck Go's (which is significantly more bare bones than Atomic or Safari), but otoh it blocks everything if you tell it to, and if you hit a page where there are things it doesn't block yet, you can add them to the block list.

The default search on the Ghostery browser is Duck Duck Go, too. <3

This is what I'm currently using; the downside is that it's a pretty slow browser, and again, pretty bare-bones. But I really appreciate the lack of tracking.

I couldn't find versions of either Ghostery or Disconnect for Android, but hopefully someone else will have better luck.

If you don't want to switch browsers but just want to use a different search engine than Google in the search bar, check your browser settings to see what's available; e.g.,Safari comes pre-loaded with Bing and Yahoo as well (neither would be my top choice, but they're there).

If you still want to use Google search on your phone's browser, there are things you can do. Even if you're not logged in, Google retains your searches and uses your location by default. You can turn both those things off, though. Open your browser and go to, then scroll down the page to the bottom and click Settings.
  • Under "Search History", Click "Do not save searches" and "Clear"; that will keep Google from storing future searches and will also clear your existing saved search history
  • Under "Device Location", click "Do not allow"
  • Under "Recent Locations", click "Do not save" and "Clear"; that will keep Google from storing future locations (it shouldn't be able to if you turned locations off, but belt and suspenders never hurt...) and will clear your existing saved locations.

Again, as with the computer-based browsers, this won't stop Google from saving some stuff; it will just limit what Google will do with the information, and presumably lead to partial anonymizing 18 months down the road. And if you never log in to a Google account, it shouldn't be able to attach anything to your name.

Dear god, that was long. But at least there are options.

FWIW, here's Lifehacker's take on the best alternatives to Google products. We overlap in a lot of places, but they have a few different choices.

But first, go purge your web history, and your Youtube history, if you have any.


More suggestions from the comments; I didn't want to add them to the body of the post at this point, so people don't have to re-read the whole thing. So:

More browser extensions to help with security:

Do Not Track Plus Another extension to stop trackers (Mac or PC; Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE)

HTTPS Everywhere Sends you to secure URLs whenever possible (stable for Firefox, beta for Chrome/Chromium; no other browsers)

Collusion Opens a tab that creates a steadily updated view of who's tracking you across the web as you browse. (Experimental, Firefox only)

Prevent G-chat logging:

From [personal profile] moonplanet: "If you are chatting on gmail chat, it logs your chat conversations. If you install a chat client like Pidgin and install the OTR plugin ("off the record") on both sides (so you and the person you're chatting with), the chats are logged as unreadable text. Adium (for mac) also has the possibility for OTR."
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Date: 2012-02-28 07:47 am (UTC)
klia: (!)
From: [personal profile] klia
Thanks for this. I somehow ended up with 2 Google accounts, and when I logged in to each and tried to clear history, I was surprised to get a screen with a button saying, "turn web history on."

Btw, a friend steered me to and I've been using that instead of Google ever since. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but I don't really care. I'd rather have more privacy, and get search results that aren't ads masquerading as search results.

Date: 2012-02-28 04:27 pm (UTC)
elynross: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elynross
Oooh, and you can add *it* to your FF, too! Thank you!

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From: [personal profile] klia - Date: 2012-02-29 06:30 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] kore - Date: 2012-03-01 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-28 02:53 pm (UTC)
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycrawford
thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU. *blows kisses*

I was aware of some of these options, but you've given me more -- I hadn't considered that there might be a DuckDuckGo firefox addon, which I've just installed yay, and I haven't seen some of these webmail alternatives. I may try if their interface looks good...

Date: 2012-02-28 04:11 pm (UTC)
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycrawford
Looking further into a major downside of the free 5Gb account, besides the ads, is that it apparently expires if you don't log in for 90 days: ( step 6 on this page). That doesn't apply to the paid versions, though

Date: 2012-02-28 03:09 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
Thank you; am linking.

Date: 2012-02-28 03:52 pm (UTC)
anatsuno: a women reads, skeptically (drawing by Kate Beaton) (Default)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
er... The stuff about logging phone conversations and such, are you sure it's about being logged into a google service from one's phone that you then use as a phone, or doesn't it rather relate to the fact that *there is a google phone service*, and they would be logging what you do with it?

*keeps reading* Thank you for an awesome overview!

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From: [personal profile] faith_girl222 - Date: 2012-02-29 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2012-03-01 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-28 04:17 pm (UTC)
par_avion: collage of intl air mail stickers (Default)
From: [personal profile] par_avion
I like DuckDuckGo a lot.

Huh. I used to have a gmx account (before I switched to gmail). They had dialed everything back to being german-only when I left, I didn't realize there was an english language option again. I signed up for hushmail in a moment of anti-gmail sentiment. It's more expensive than what you want and I'm not sure if I can justify the price.

I've been running ghostery again - I had it installed on Chrome but I've switched to Iron (less tracking). The popup bubble was driving me mad so I eventually disabled it. (Although I hadn't considered making it last less time, that also might have helped).

Wow, I've not reallt thought about theses issues for mobile. That's a bit depressing! But thanks for the suggestions.

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From: [personal profile] jumpuphigh - Date: 2012-02-29 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-28 04:34 pm (UTC)
absolutedestiny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] absolutedestiny
FWIW I use fastmail for IMAP and have done for years now. It's minorly technical if you want to set it up for but it's a very powerful feature-rich mail service imo.

Date: 2012-02-28 05:18 pm (UTC)
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
From: [personal profile] jjhunter
THANK YOU. I'm definitely signal boosting this.

By and by, so far NoScript seems to be doing a decent job of keeping me off of Google's radar - I had nothing under Web History, and the 'search settings' page keeps telling me that I'll need to enable cookies if I want to have my preferences saved. (Um, no, sorry, I'm blocking all your cookies with prejudice.)

I segregate my browsing such that Firefox is signed into Google but has Noscript running constantly, and Safari is not signed into any Google products & is used for accessing content in isolation when NoScript is making things too complicated to access without turning on blanket permissions.

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From: [personal profile] kore - Date: 2012-03-01 01:31 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-28 08:30 pm (UTC)
scribblesinink: Opie looking scary fierce (soa opie fierce)
From: [personal profile] scribblesinink
This is an awesome recap of what's going on and ways to avoid it. I see there are still more things I can do to de-googlefy my own web usage. I've already deactivated Google Analytics on my sites (used it more for my own amusement than anything else, and that's not a very good reason to give Google even more tracking information from visitors). Thank you very much for compiling this.
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From: [personal profile] marahmarie - Date: 2012-03-03 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] marahmarie - Date: 2012-03-03 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-28 09:16 pm (UTC)
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
From: [personal profile] ratcreature
I've had a GMX account for many years and it is a decent service, but they do want a RL name and address, which they don't verify but check for plausibility, e.g. I had to give a street name with the right postal code (at least they do that for German customers, no idea about international). Also for a free account they want information of your demographics, education, income, interests etc so they can send you a targeted advertising newsletter. Obviously you can make up anything and filter their stupid advertising into your spam filter (which I do), but they regularly nag you to control and update your information (every six months or so) in one of their forms.


Date: 2012-02-28 11:44 pm (UTC)
jumpuphigh: Pigeon with text "jumpuphigh" (Default)
From: [personal profile] jumpuphigh
NB: It's blocking some things I wish it weren't, and I can't seem to get around it

Whenever that happens to me, I find that I have to go to the Ghostery options settings and fiddle around with it.

Re: Ghostery

From: [personal profile] jumpuphigh - Date: 2012-02-29 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand

Thanks for this!

Date: 2012-02-29 12:03 am (UTC)
elke_tanzer: autumn web (autumn web)
From: [personal profile] elke_tanzer
Very helpful!

Date: 2012-02-29 01:22 am (UTC)
dorinda: Cary Grant, in "Bringing Up Baby," clutches his head beneath the letters "OMG WTF". (WTF_CaryGrant)
From: [personal profile] dorinda
THANK YOU for writing this! Extremely helpful.

I think I have my home computer better controlled now, thanks to you, but I'm perplexed as to what to do with my iPhone. I mean, I can and will switch to the DuckDuckGo and Ghostery apps, but I don't know what to do about the mail and maps problem.

I really want to be able to check my email from my phone and use a map app, those are both things I use a lot (I am someone living in a large new city--not to mention someone who has a tendency to get lost *g*), and they're both big parts of why I even have the phone in the first place. At the moment I've turned off both of the gmail accounts I check through the mail app, but I don't think I'll be able to keep that up. (And I don't even know if that makes a difference--would I need to delete both accounts entirely from my phone, not just turn them off so they say 'inactive'?)

So, I don't know, what do you think our best/most realistic options are for iPhone use?

Date: 2012-02-29 05:28 am (UTC)
panda: drawing of a panda sitting in a tea cup which has fallen over on its side (Default)
From: [personal profile] panda
I don't know if this helps, but I just got myself a zoho email account and was able to set it up so I could check it on my phone.

their FAQ has instructions about how to be able to check your zoho email on an iPhone. I have a different kind of phone, not an iPhone, so I used the IMAP instructions, but they worked fine for me, so I assume the iPhone instructions would work as well ...

If you look for other email clients that let you use IMAP, you should also be able to check them from the mail app on your phone.

I don't use an iPhone/iPad, but I just searched duckduckgo for "map app iphone" and got this: USA Today: 5 great GPS apps for your iPhone. One is google, and one is expensive, but maybe one of the other 3 would work? I'm sure there must be at least a few decent alternatives to google maps for iPhones. Anyway, good luck!

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From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2012-03-01 07:53 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-29 01:44 am (UTC)
starwatcher: Western windmill, clouds in background, trees around base. (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwatcher
Thank you for this. I can't remember who pointed me toward your post, but I deeply appreciate it.

If you have time, could you explain...

When you first install Ghostery, it walks you through a setup that includes telling it what to block; it gives you a ridiculously giant list of things in its blockable list. This also gets regularly updated and gives you the list of new things to choose to block or not when you load your browser.

I've just installed Ghostery, and it's asking me what I want to block. I have a list that says things like, "Analytics, 205 elements", but it only shows about 8. How do I view the others to block, or leave open? Like you, I don't want to block Discus, but I don't see it anywhere.

Thanks for any help you can give.

UPDATE: I seem to have stumbled across it. The list finally opened up properly -- the third time I tried it. I'm not the best at figuring out new stuff on my computer. *shakes head ruefully*

But I still can't find where to change the time setting of the purple box. Can you help?

Thanks again.
Edited (New user jitters) Date: 2012-02-29 02:35 am (UTC)

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From: [personal profile] starwatcher - Date: 2012-03-01 09:05 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-29 01:56 am (UTC)
silverr: abstract art of pink and purple swirls on a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverr
Er ... apologies for being thick-headed, but does logging into one's gmail via a desktop client like thunderbird (rather than through the web) avoid any of the tracking?

(happily switches from Noscript to Ghostery)

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From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2012-02-29 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] effex - Date: 2012-02-29 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] brewsternorth - Date: 2012-03-01 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-29 02:23 am (UTC)
unfinishedidea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unfinishedidea
Here via [ profile] elynross, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU, holy crap. This is a ridiculously useful post. I've had Ghostery for a while and Disconnect for facebook, but I hadn't realized they'd put out an extension that covered all social media including Google. (Probably redundant with Ghostery, like you said, but for privacy stuff I am firmly of the mindset that you can't be too careful.)

I just don't know if I can move away from Gmail. /o\ Especially since a lot of employers will eye you sideways if you don't use Gmail. SIGH. Something I'll have to slowly work on.

Can I link this, if you don't mind?

Date: 2012-02-29 02:35 am (UTC)
ilthit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ilthit
I would personally not recommend GMX (a friend has it) because it seems intent on splashing a huge dermatology ad on every page you view. Zoho, however, is wonderful. It also comes with a Google Docs like writer app, a small free wiki option, chat, projects, pages... No calendar yet, which is the only drawback. And no ads, not even in the free version. <3

Date: 2012-02-29 02:54 am (UTC)
sol_se: (Caprica)
From: [personal profile] sol_se
Thank you for this!

Date: 2012-02-29 03:10 am (UTC)
softestbullet: Aeryn cupping Pilot's cheek. He has his big eyes closed. (KG/ 21st century)
From: [personal profile] softestbullet
Thank you for all this information! It's gonna be hard to disentangle myself, especially from Gmail. :(

Do you know if Chrome is still okay to use?

Date: 2012-02-29 05:03 am (UTC)
panda: drawing of a panda sitting in a tea cup which has fallen over on its side (Default)
From: [personal profile] panda
afaik, chrome still has its own separate privacy policy (here), so you would have to go over it and see what kind of info they use chrome to gather.

Date: 2012-02-29 04:23 am (UTC)
woldy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] woldy
Thanks for this, it's super useful!

One question: any idea how to protect Kindles? I access my Gmail from it so I'm guessing that leaves me vulnerable to the scary mobile devices policy :-/

Date: 2012-02-29 04:34 am (UTC)
panda: drawing of a panda sitting in a tea cup which has fallen over on its side (Default)
From: [personal profile] panda
thanks for this, its a great info round up.

i just signed up for a zoho account. unfortunately, you need another email account to be able to sign up for a zoho individual email account, so if gmail was your only email, that doesn't help much.

thankfully I already use duckduckgo, now i just need to transfer all my email contacts over .....

ETA: signal boosted.
Edited Date: 2012-02-29 05:04 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-02-29 04:40 am (UTC)
terrio: (Default)
From: [personal profile] terrio
Do you have any feel for how much of this would apply to checking GMail accounts from an iPod Touch using WiFi? It doesn't have anything GPS-ish in it, but I'm not sure if that will save me or not. (I regularly check my email, which includes 3 GMail accounts, before I boot up my computer in the morning, and at other random times when I'm afk.)

Date: 2012-02-29 04:54 am (UTC)
panda: drawing of a panda sitting in a tea cup which has fallen over on its side (Default)
From: [personal profile] panda
quoting from the new privacy policy page:

"Location information

When you use a location-enabled Google service, we may collect and process information about your actual location, like GPS signals sent by a mobile device. We may also use various technologies to determine location, such as sensor data from your device that may, for example, provide information on nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. " [emphasis mine]

I don't know about the mechanisms of how your iPod would register the nearest wifi sources, but ..... I would be concerned, yeah.

for that matter, I'm now concerned that I log onto my gmail account on my laptop, using wifi. frak.

ETA: I guess I'm not sure what a "location-enabled Google service" is, and whether it would just be something like google maps, or whether it would include gmail. They don't clarify in the privacy policy, but to be honest at this point I trust google as far as I can throw them.
Edited Date: 2012-02-29 04:56 am (UTC)

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From: [personal profile] terrio - Date: 2012-02-29 05:14 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] panda - Date: 2012-02-29 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-02-29 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hyarrowen
Here via my flist, and I'm going to print this out and work through it slowly. Thank-you so much!

Date: 2012-02-29 05:04 am (UTC)
secretsolitaire: rose (Default)
From: [personal profile] secretsolitaire
Thanks for this info! (Here via [personal profile] china_shop.)

Date: 2012-02-29 05:05 am (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagasvoice
Thank you for all this info and the directions, very helpful.
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