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Google Using DoubleClick Tracking Cookies

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the but-you-can-opt-out dept.

Privacy 175

dstates sends news coming out of the letters the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent to a number of broadband and Internet companies about their policies and practices on user tracking. The committee has now made public 25 responses to its queries, and many companies, including Google, acknowledge using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers. The Committee is considering legislation to require explicitly informing the consumer of the type of information being gathered and any intent to use it for a different purpose, and a right to say "no" to the collection or use. The submitter notes that, while Google denies using deep packet inspection, if the traffic is a Google search or email to or from a Gmail account, Google does not need DPI to see the contents of the message. "The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more Internet companies have gathered data on customers. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said 'Increasingly, there are no limits technologically as to what a company can do in terms of collecting information... and then selling it as a commodity to other providers.' Some companies like NebuAd have tested deep-packet inspection with some broadband providers Knology and Cable One. Google said that it had begun to use the DoubleClick ad-serving cookie that allow the tracking of Web surfing across different sites but said it was not using deep packet inspection. Google promotes the fact that its merger with DoubleClick provides advertisers 'insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign,' as well as 'how many users visited their sites after seeing an ad.' Microsoft and Yahoo acknowledge the use of behavioral targeting. Yahoo says it allows users to turn off targeted advertising on its Web sites; Microsoft has not yet responded to the committee."

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Solution: Opera (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24571281)

1. Turn off cookies globally.
2. Turn on cookies for sites that need it by hitting F12 and hitting 'Accept cookes only from the site I visit'.

Done. No more doubleclick cookies.

Re:Solution: Opera (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571319)

But C is for cookie thats good enough for me.

Problem: (0, Flamebait)

Hibia (1279782) | about 6 years ago | (#24571367)

You're using Opera.

Solution: Options (5, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 years ago | (#24571659)

Or use Firefox and uncheck Accept third-party cookies in the Privacy Options. Or use Internet Explorer and block third-party cookies. Or use Safari and disallow third-party cookies. I don't see any reason to switch browsers just to access a basic feature.

Re:Solution: Options (0, Offtopic)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#24571735)

Ugh, seriously. Some of this browser fanboy warfare has gotten ridiculous. There are very few basic features like cookie options that aren't shared among all of the browsers these days. At this point it's more about esoteric options and plugins / page rendering.

Re:Solution: Options (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24571905)

Well, I wasn't implying that one should switch browsers per se. You're right about the other browsers, except that turning off third party cookies doesn't work the same for IE or Firefox as it does for Opera.

But Opera does give you a finer degree of control. You can actually either set 'Accept cookies only for the site I visit' or you can set 'Accept cookies' for the individual site. From the operawiki.info site cookies entry [operawiki.info] :

If you set the site preference to "Accept cookies", while visiting this domain, in addition to the cookies allowed by the "Accept cookies only from the site I visit" rule, content coming from a remote domain can set cookies for its corresponding domain and subdomains IF AND ONLY IF the remote domain also has a site preference that allows cookies for itself. This means that if you want to allow remote domains while visiting this domain, you need to manually add a site preference for each remote domain and set it to "Accept cookies only for the site I visit" or "Accept cookies".

"Accept cookies" for a site preference DOES NOT cause Opera to behave as if the global is set to "Accept cookies" when visiting the domain. This way you're not automatically getting opted in to remote domains. You have control over what remote domains you want to allow.

This is different then setting unchecking 'Accept third-party cookies'.

Re:Solution: Options (1)

Crovax of 404 (928599) | about 6 years ago | (#24572705)

But Opera does give you a finer degree of control. You can actually either set 'Accept cookies only for the site I visit' or you can set 'Accept cookies' for the individual site.

Firefox has this option too. I'm not sure about IE however.

Re:Solution: Options (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571985)

I use CS Lite extension to block cookies. Works like No-Script except for cookies.

Re:Solution: about:config, not Options (3, Informative)

Kargan (250092) | about 6 years ago | (#24572117)

The developers of Firefox removed the option to disable third party cookies in Firefox 2.0 and later, stating the reason that it was not possible to block all third party cookies with this function.

There are basically two options to disable third party cookies in Firefox 2 versions.

The first would be to disable it manually by opening about:config from the address bar. Search for network.cookie.cookieBehavior and take a look a the value. If it is set to 0 you accept all cookies, 1 means you only accept cookies from the same server, 2 means you disable all cookies. Setting it to 1 has the same effect that the option in the old firefox browsers had: it disables third party cookies.

You could install an add-on as well that blocks third party cookies. One of the many extensions that does that is called CookieSafe [mozilla.org] . This one makes it possible to disable all cookies and allow them only for specific sites (whitelist).

Re:Solution: about:config, not Options (4, Informative)

bakuun (976228) | about 6 years ago | (#24573033)

They added the function again in firefox 3.0, so it is again possible to block third-party cookies without any extensions or other software than just a fresh firefox installation.

Re:Solution: Options (2, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 years ago | (#24572253)

An even better option is the Cookie Button extension for Firefox. It is basically a shortcut to add and remove sites from the exceptions list for cookies. That way you can set Firefox to accept but clear all cookies when closed, except those you elect to keep (to stay logged in to forums etc).

This protects your privacy by preventing tracking over sessions, while screwing things up for advertisers. It would be even better if there was some way to delete cookies over an hour old automatically, as that would prevent tracking ever within the session from being reliable.

Re:Solution: Options (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 6 years ago | (#24572341)

Or use Firefox, uncheck accept third-party cookies, and get the Permit Cookies extension so you can allow cookies on a site-by-site (even internal to site) basis and allow them for a sesson or persistent.

Re:Solution: Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24572821)

Or just put doubleclick in your hosts file.

Re:Solution: ECC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571777)

I want a cookie! [evolution-control.com] (Evolution Control Committee, 37.2 MB, MP4 video)

Re:Solution: Opera (1)

rattlesoft (1086131) | about 6 years ago | (#24571901)

For us Internet Explorer 7 users, IE7Pro features an AD Blocker (Like FF) and it's .... Free

Or use the big hammer (1)

jours (663228) | about 6 years ago | (#24572417)

I've always found something like this [someonewhocares.org] or this [mvps.org] is pretty effective.

You'd better turn off Javascript too (2, Insightful)

MacDork (560499) | about 6 years ago | (#24572499)

  1. Turn off cookies globally.
  2. Turn on cookies for sites that need it by hitting F12 and hitting 'Accept cookes only from the site I visit'.

That's not only overkill, it's annoying. Just do the "Accept cookies only from sites I visit" part and be done with it.

Besides, disabling cookies hardly stops them from tracking you. They could still hit you with a doublescript.js, which can be much more invasive than a cookie. Their server could glean your browser history based on link color, [mikeonads.com] instead of just track you around affiliated sites. And most doubleclick site already drop doubleclick javascripts on you for banner rotation. All doubleclick has to do is change their code a bit if they aren't doing it already. At least with cookies, they have to be affiliated with the website to know you've been there.

You also need to disable swf files because they can store info cookie style too. You might diable cookies, but if you load doubleclick SWFs you're just as screwed.

Personally, I just use Omniweb and since I can filter links with perl-like regular expressions, I just drop everything from doubleclick... among other offenders.

Re:You'd better turn off Javascript too (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 6 years ago | (#24572581)

I also turn off JavaScript, Java and plugins globally too.

Re:You'd better turn off Javascript too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24572809)

How paranoid...

If it ever becomes an issue, I'll just change IP and clean my browser history/cookies.

Re:Solution: Opera (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24572575)

Works in Firefox also. I allow cookies to save for the session, except for a whitelist of about 10-20 sites. You could also disable them completely, except for your whitelist, but sometimes sites that don't work without cookies just act erratically, and don't let you know that you should enable cookies.

Why is this news? (5, Insightful)

vtavares (148447) | about 6 years ago | (#24571313)

Did anyone really believe Google wasn't doing this?

Re:Why is this news? (2, Funny)

haystor (102186) | about 6 years ago | (#24571443)

This is an outrage! My advertising is relevant!

Re:Why is this news? (1)

doti (966971) | about 6 years ago | (#24571959)

Right. This law is enforceable and useless.

The solution is a campaign to educate the general public that "Everything you do online can be monitored, copied, shared. And that includes all date you enter, all sites you visit, all clicks you make, etc."

Re:Why is this news? (1)

Z_A_Commando (991404) | about 6 years ago | (#24571973)

Probably the same people still holding on to hope that the earth is flat!

Re:Why is this news? (1)

snoyberg (787126) | about 6 years ago | (#24572545)

It's not?

"The Committee is considering legislation" (1, Redundant)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#24571315)

Translation: "better start donating to our campaigns."

Cynical? Yeah, I'm cynical. You don't get as old as me without being either stupid, cynical, or both. My bet is the legislation will either die in committee, or be watered down to the point of meaningless, or voted down.

duh (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24571323)

why would they NOT use doubleclick's cookies? Did you think they paid $LARGEAMOUNT for doubleclick just to shut them down?

But But ... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 6 years ago | (#24571435)

their motto is "Don't be evil"

Re:But But ... (1)

jeiler (1106393) | about 6 years ago | (#24571595)

Lessons in Googlespeak:

"Google does it" == "Not Evil."

Re:But But ... (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 6 years ago | (#24571727)

>> their motto is "Don't be evil"
 
...where "don't be" approaches "be" for some values of evil.

Re:But But ... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 6 years ago | (#24572147)

It's a shame that nerds don't really understand what the word "evil" actually means, because then the use of it on Slashdot wouldn't have been watered down into meaninglessness 10 years ago.

Re:duh (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | about 6 years ago | (#24571631)

why would they NOT use doubleclick's cookies? Did you think they paid $LARGEAMOUNT for doubleclick just to shut them down?

"$LARGEAMOUNT" = /s/\/d/$PUREEVIL/;

It's alright (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571325)

I usually just single-click any urls I come across.

And slashdot uses doubleclick & google-analyti (4, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | about 6 years ago | (#24571335)

And slashdot uses doubleclick & google-analytics as well.

Try disabling scripts with firefox "noScript". I think /. is more readable without allowing doubleclick.net & google-analytics.com

Not a problem (4, Interesting)

gamanimatron (1327245) | about 6 years ago | (#24571337)

Ahem. STOP SPENDING MY TAX DOLLARS ON THIS CRAP.

Anyone using a computer who doesn't understand why they shouldn't accept all cookies and scripts and click on everything shiny deserves (yes, really!) to have their actions remotely monitored and the resulting data sold to the highest bidder.

I don't want to drown in regulation just because some idiots can't be bothered to pull their collective head out before they use their systems.

Mod parent up (0, Redundant)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24571695)

n/t

Re:Not a problem (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | about 6 years ago | (#24571747)

What if your ISP just starts to monitor all your traffic by IP? Do you have any reasonable expectation of privacy on the internet?
1)ISP gives you a static IP
2)Monitor all traffic to/from said IP address
3)Sell for profit
That would be OK with you?
What if they also decided to block any and all encrypted traffic?

Re:Not a problem (1)

doti (966971) | about 6 years ago | (#24572061)

What if your ISP just starts to monitor all your traffic by IP? Do you have any reasonable expectation of privacy on the internet?
  1)ISP gives you a static IP
  2)Monitor all traffic to/from said IP address
    3)Sell for profit
    That would be OK with you?

Yes, it would.

Or better: yes, it is.

What if they also decided to block any and all encrypted traffic?

No, that's not OK, but at least I would know about it.

New Motto: (1)

Urger (817972) | about 6 years ago | (#24571341)

Be Evil.

Ummm (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#24571351)

Ummm, isn't this exactly what we would expect them to do with all that information? The only people who should be surprised by this are the ones who have no idea how the internet works. That said, there are plenty of workarounds, including limiting accepted cookies only to sites you specify, or having your browser clear everything out upon closing. Sure it doesn't totally fix the problem (assuming you consider it a problem), but it certainly does limit the amount of tracking they can do.

Re:Ummm (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24571737)

Or just not accepting any cookies at all from Google or Doubleclick.

A missprint in its mission statment. (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#24571353)

"Don't Do Eval". not "Don't Do Evil". The guys at Google wanted to make sure all the employees wouldn't use the eval command to create possible security holes by executing string.

Opt out if you're worried (4, Informative)

SiliconEntity (448450) | about 6 years ago | (#24571361)

Google makes it easy to opt out of the doubleclick tracking cookie:

http://www.google.com/privacy_ads.html [google.com]

"Anyone may opt out of the DoubleClick cookie (for both the Google content network and DoubleClick ad serving) at any time by clicking the button above."

Re:Opt out if you're worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571455)

"Anyone may opt out of the DoubleClick cookie (for both the Google content network and DoubleClick ad serving) at any time by double clicking the button above."

Google: "Ha ha, suckers!"

Re: Opt out if you're worried (4, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | about 6 years ago | (#24571467)

"Google makes it easy to opt out of the doubleclick tracking cookie"

Or you could put doubleclick.net & google-analytics.com in your hosts [someonewhocares.org] file and point the entries to 127.0.0.1 The advertisers still don't get it, intrusive adverts like on television don't work on the Internet

Re: Opt out if you're worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571993)

What the paranoid geeks seem oblivious to is that if you opt out of targetted ads, that's when you get the bottom-of-the barrel general public ads like Zwinky, smilies and shit like that. I'd rather get something relevant than that crap.

Nothing wrong with cookies. It's not "private data". My name, credit card and home address aren't included. I WANT websites to know my desktop resolution, screen depth, and even processor speed if it means the website is presented in a manner tailored for and best suited to my needs!!

I'll change my mind when they start tracking national IDs, bank accounts and capturing my webcam streams without my permission.

Re: Opt out if you're worried (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 6 years ago | (#24573221)

Nothing wrong with cookies. It's not "private data". My name, credit card and home address aren't included. I WANT websites to know my desktop resolution, screen depth, and even processor speed if it means the website is presented in a manner tailored for and best suited to my needs!!

I'll change my mind when they start tracking national IDs, bank accounts and capturing my webcam streams without my permission.

The problem is, a disturbingly small amount of information is needed to distinguish you from everyone else, creating a virtual "national ID" without you even being aware of it.

Let's do some math.

With 300 million people in the US, as few as 28 bits suffice to uniquely identify you (this assumes that the bits are independent in both source and distribution; in practice some redundancy will be required to make up for the fact that neither is strictly true). Now let's look at how many bits are contained in commonly tracked or easily trackable items:

  • Your zip code, 16 to 30 bits
  • Your gender, 1 bit
  • Your age, 6 bits
  • Your birthday, 8 bits
  • Your first name or nick, 10 to 30+ bits
  • The fact that you are on the internet at all, 2 bits
  • When you were on the internet, 10 bits or so each time
  • System details, 4 to 20 bits (fewer bits for generic MSWin boxes)
  • Your IP address, 32 or 80 bits (inet vs. inet6)
  • Your MAC address, 48 bits
  • Your interests, 4 to 30+ bits
  • Your browsing history...?
  • You address, 25 bits

It doesn't take too many of these to add up to the 30 or so needed to uniquely identify you, "national ID" or not.

--MarkusQ

Re: Opt out if you're worried (1)

dw604 (900995) | about 6 years ago | (#24572935)

Yeah, that's why Google is going out of business.... err wait. Quite frankly I don't mind ads and I won't block them. If I don't enjoy or trst the content I simply don't click the ads. If I do trust the content I will -consider- clicking an ad, but am only likely to if I'm actually considering purchasing a product.

Re:Opt out if you're worried (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 6 years ago | (#24571471)

Damn and I'm all out of mod points

Re:Opt out if you're worried (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | about 6 years ago | (#24571743)

I think they just stop serving what they call "customized ads". Not sure they actually stop tracking you...

Re:Opt out if you're worried - Shuuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571793)

Funny : the "opt out" allso uses a cookie.

Whats worse is that, according to *their own info* I have to 1) accept *ALL* third-party cookies and 2) lower my security-settings to enable those cookies to work.

Somehow I get the feeling that this "medicine" is, at least in my case and as far as I can tell, worse than the desease.

And I'm not a 100% sure I understood the whole "cookies" thing, but as far as I can tell that "opt out" cookie can be used (assuming some sort of unique number is stored in it) as easily for tracking purposes as any other cookie.

So, anyone knows what the contents of this "opt out" cookie are (my guess there is some sort of unique number stored in there (so they do not mix-up your opt-out with anybody elses ...) ) ?

Re:Opt out if you're worried (1)

PetriBORG (518266) | about 6 years ago | (#24571817)

A useful link.

Funny thing is that when I clicked on Opt-out I got the following error:

DoubleClick DART cookie opt-out error

An error occurred assigning the opt-out cookie. Possible causes include manually rejecting the opt-out cookie when it is assigned or that your web browser is configured to reject cookies automatically. Check your browserâ(TM)s configuration settings, and please try again. Note: you will get this error message if your browser does not support cookies.

Apparently their opt-out is cookie based!

I find that a little ironic that my use of cslite (cookie safe), and noscript prevent my opt-out of their cookie scheme. (I do allow google.com to set cookies and use script for gmail).

Re:Opt out if you're worried (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24572053)

What would you suggest they do?

I opted out (I don't care enough to whitelist) and the content of the cookie is innocuous (literally, "OPT_OUT").

Re:Opt out if you're worried (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24573041)

I'm not sure what they should do, however, storing the opt out as a cookie, means that the person wishing to opt out will probably delete the cookie eventually. Not a very effective opt out system.

not a problem .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | about 6 years ago | (#24571389)

Not a problem as I don't ever see adverts, as I use Firefox, nscript and customised userContent.css and userChrome.css files. At least while I still have legal control of my computer.

Which cookies to block? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571403)

I used to always block doubleclick cookies. I'd hate to lose all my stored google cookies, so which ones do I need to block?

I can turn off targeted advertising... (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | about 6 years ago | (#24571445)

...With or without Yahoo's option.

AdBlock Plus [adblockplus.org]

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571489)

Google collects data that is the core of their business model using all possible legal means!

How dare they! I'm so *totally* shocked.

Block all cookies by default (2, Informative)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 6 years ago | (#24571491)

In this day and age, just block all cookies by default, and allow ones from sites you use. This will even block "doubleclick" cookies as those aren't from the site you are visiting.

This doesn't address IP address, but it is a step.

Privoxy or a Blocking hosts file is your friend. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#24571493)

Honestly, I dont care about the legit uses anymore this stuff is so out of hand that I am helping lots of people non techy and techy alike to install blocking hosts files and privoxy on their home computers to eliminate this crud.

Friends dont let friends surf the net without adblocking.

False Zone file, DNS Server, Wildcard records FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571831)

For a medium sized network, I often run a DNS server where I create false zone files for infamous domains with wildcard records, such as the ones associated with the doubleclick service.

On the positive side, I see far less ads on the net. On the negative side, when I go to a web site that makes use of the associated cookies, I get javascript errors. The src location of the javascript script is on one of the domains, ad.doubleclick.com.

Steve Gibson would say.. 'instead of running javascript on all sites, only turn it on for sites that you trust'. Oh well.

Re:Privoxy or a Blocking hosts file is your friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24572631)

I can understand popups or those stupid fucking overlays (I'm looking at you IMDB) but for the love of God what is your phobia of ads? I bet if Gmail started charging for service a shit load of you guys would jump ship. How do you propose some sites fund themselves to even break even on the internet. How inconvenient is a text ad on the side of the screen when you're searching the web or using google's email service. Some of the more annoying Flash ads with sound I most definitely block but if it's non-intrusive, subtle enough, and targeted, why do you give a shit. Blocking every ad is a shitty thing to do, especially if you're going to a site and consuming their content that they don't charge for. Sure they don't have a God given entitlement to make a profit but don't be surprised when more sites start restricting their content to premium users because of paranoid ad blockers like you.

Use CS Lite if you're using Firefox (2, Interesting)

HomerJ (11142) | about 6 years ago | (#24571503)

CS Lite [mozilla.org]

This will let you block all those types of cookies, and as well give you MUCH better cookie management in Firefox. It lets you just deny cookies globally and just enable them for sites you want, without being a total pain in the ass

Combine that with Adblock Plus, with the tracking filters, and you can get past all this tracking stuff without having to use no-script, which considering how javascript heavy most sites are today, is like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer

DFP (3, Interesting)

binaryseraph (955557) | about 6 years ago | (#24571507)

After they sort this cookie stuff out, I hope they hold a House Commity on forcing DoubleClick (google) to make an ad-server that doesnt crash every 5 minutes (or at least one that you can log-into with firefox). -Disgruntled Ad Trafficker

Disingenuous much? (3, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 years ago | (#24571525)

I find it ironic that this government, who greedily gobbles up vast volumes of data at every opportunity, would be barking up this tree.

Re:Disingenuous much? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 years ago | (#24571763)

"Do as I say, don't do as I do".

It's not just for religion anymore.

Re:Disingenuous much? (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24571813)

The US does not have a parliamentary form of government. The adminstration (the "government" in European parlance) is distinct from the Congress, which is what is holding these hearings and is controlled by the opposition.

Re:Disingenuous much? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#24571823)

They have to make it look like they're against this sort of thing so that they can keep on doing it themselves. That way the sheeple will believe them in 2015 when they say they aren't doing anything wrong even though there's mountains of evidence pointing to a national database full of illegal surveillance information and biometric data on every citizen.

Not the same (4, Insightful)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | about 6 years ago | (#24571565)

Google's targeted advertisements seems reasonable; When you decide to use their free services, you should know that advertising is a part of the deal.

Broadband providers using DPI, on the other hand, is like the USPS opening your private mail and then profiting off of what they learn about you. It's all about the expectation of privacy. Broadband providers need to transfer bits and stay out of the content business. If they start doing this, there will be no way to use the internet with any modicum of privacy.

And Doubleclick doesn't need DPI either... (4, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | about 6 years ago | (#24571583)

You see, they don't just get the cookie, they also get the referrer field, so Google doesn't just get to see that it is "Nicholas Weaver" who's surfing the web, but can see that I am composing a reply to this article, because the referrer field in the doubleclick adds and google analytics on slashdot allow them to know this!

Re:And Doubleclick doesn't need DPI either... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | about 6 years ago | (#24572971)

Just block the referrer field using a firewall (assuming it has that option).

DoubleClick?? DENIED! (1)

Jager Dave (1238106) | about 6 years ago | (#24571655)

I've been blocking any and all traffic from DoubleClick in my router's hardware firewall practically since the day I bought it. Sometimes I'll click on a link to something completely innocuous, the firewall says "Blocked", and after doing a little investigation, I see it was trying to track my click from DoubleClick. Just say NO to Big Brother's Cookies.

Evil... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24571671)

It seems like DoubleClick is Google's evil twin. When Google wants to get something using "do no evil" it is Google, if they want to do something that is evil, they use DoubleClick

Obvious? (1)

statemachine (840641) | about 6 years ago | (#24571677)

The submitter notes that, while Google denies using deep packet inspection, if the traffic is a Google search or email to or from a Gmail account, Google does not need DPI to see the contents of the message.

Google can read your Gmail? Shocking! Who doesn't know this?

Tinfoil hats are the way to go (2, Insightful)

pseudorand (603231) | about 6 years ago | (#24571687)

This isn't news to me. I proudly wear a tinfoil hat and therefore have always assumed Google and every other search engine does everything technically possible to track my internet usage. And I behave accordingly. Firefox deletes ALL private data each time I close it. I don't do ANYTHING on the Internet that would be upsetting if it were public knowledge.

So, you see, those of us wearing tinfoil hats aren't recluses that hide in the forest and survive on nuts and berries to avoid the grid. Instead, we are people who simply avoid the grid if and when we do want privacy and don't get upset when we get some confirmation of what we've known all along: the grid ain't private.

And as for targeted advertising, everyone's got it all wrong. Targeted advertising is the ONE thing that I DO want them to track me for. After all, seeing ads for things I might actually want to buy rather than crap I don't want is a Good Thing. Targeted Advertising IS consumer friendly. It's feeding the data into health insurance eligibility and credit scores and potentially inaccurate data into legal proceedings that's scary.

So everyone needs to stop worrying about advertising and start demanding that congress pass a law stating that if a company collects information about you and shares it with a third party without your explicit consent, that information is considered "public" in that it can count towards liable claims. Don't worry about what they share. Worry about your right to sue them if sharing the info causes you harm.

Re:Tinfoil hats are the way to go (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | about 6 years ago | (#24572643)

And as for targeted advertising, everyone's got it all wrong. Targeted advertising is the ONE thing that I DO want them to track me for. After all, seeing ads for things I might actually want to buy rather than crap I don't want is a Good Thing. Targeted Advertising IS consumer friendly. It's feeding the data into health insurance eligibility and credit scores and potentially inaccurate data into legal proceedings that's scary.

So everyone needs to stop worrying about advertising and start demanding that congress pass a law stating that if a company collects information about you and shares it with a third party without your explicit consent, that information is considered "public" in that it can count towards liable claims. Don't worry about what they share. Worry about your right to sue them if sharing the info causes you harm.

Hear hear! I think this every time someone goes off on someone doing targeted advertising. "Oh noes they might show me something I want to buy, whatever shall I do???" If its done in a non-intrusive, and non-prejudicial manner, and its based on the current session, then its better then getting random crap like broadcast television.

An observation (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 6 years ago | (#24571691)

Maybe it's just me, but has anyone else noticed the pattern of a roughly daily "Google invades your privacy" story?

I'm not saying they're accurate or not: for all I know it's just an astroturfing campaign. It's just a significant trend around here.

Could be worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24572403)

They could go back to the three times daily "Comcast is f*cking with the internet" stories.

Re:An observation (1)

STrinity (723872) | about 6 years ago | (#24573021)

Hmm, could it be that there are so many of these stories because Google is invading our privacy?

Why is this method bad? (1)

Scotteh (885130) | about 6 years ago | (#24571739)

Even if Google is doing this, why does it matter? How is this affecting privacy? I don't care at all if Google knows that I did a search on ATi motherboards or NASA's R&D or how to pronounce Russian words.

If they want to do this to improve targeted advertising, go ahead. I'd rather targeted advertising than random advertising since no advertising isn't an option.

Re:Why is this method bad? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#24571885)

I'd rather targeted advertising than random advertising since no advertising isn't an option.

I suggest you refer to several of the above posts, and perhaps to a Google search on the subject. (Virtually) no advertising certainly is an option.

Re:Why is this method bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571911)

Of course no advertising is an option. You must be new here.

Re:Why is this method bad? (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 6 years ago | (#24572207)

It's bad because most of the people here figure they are entitled to a internet free of any kind of advertising or charges whatsoever, as if it is some geek right.

Which, of course, is wholly ironic because many of us here also work for organizations that either create the bits, move the bits or serve the bits up - and expect to get paid at the end of the week.

Re:Why is this method bad? (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | about 6 years ago | (#24572367)

Even if Google is doing this, why does it matter? How is this affecting privacy? I don't care at all if Google knows that I did a search on ATi motherboards or NASA's R&D or how to pronounce Russian words.

You might not care, and Google might not care, but others may very well be interested, and that is where the privacy concerns come in.

Imagine instead if you were doing a search on terms like "boxcutters", "American Airlines R&D" and "how to speak Farsi". There are quite a few entities out there that, after seeing that, would be very interested in getting to know you a little better.

I'm fine with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571749)

If it can figure out that I don't ever want to see any ads from Microsoft, Adobe or RealNetworks, then it can't be all bad.

Full Disclosure. (2, Insightful)

Ohrion (814105) | about 6 years ago | (#24571759)

Full Disclosure is the only thing I think Google needs to have, which it appears they already do. If you disagree and want to opt out, there is an easy solution (use another search engine). What I personally care about, is if my Internet Provider starts doing this. I believe there is a big difference between the 2.

Re:Full Disclosure. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24572173)

Why would you need to use a different search engine? Theirs works fine without any cookies or scripts.

But isn't Google already opt-in? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24571775)

while Google denies using deep packet inspection, if the traffic is a Google search or email to or from a Gmail account, Google does not need DPI to see the contents of the message.
..
Markey said he and his colleagues plan to introduce legislation next year, a sort of online-privacy Bill of Rights, that would require that consumers must opt in to the tracking of their online behavior and the collection and sharing of their personal data.

Isn't DELIBERATELY having all your email intentionally sent to Google, about as opt-in as things can get? We have known all along that Google reads the email that the users opt to have sent to them.

I am starting to really get pissed off at the weirdo "modern" privacy movement. It used to be that we worried someone was watching us. But now we're taking active steps to push our "private" information into other people's faces, while still expecting them to not pay attention to what we are giving them. It's starting to get really absurd.

The first step to protecting your privacy isn't to regulate the spies. No, the first step is to stop cooperating with the spies. If you won't take that step, then your privacy obviously doesn't mean jack shit to you, so quit crying to the government to do something about it.

Stop sending I-looked-at-this-webpage packets to doubleclick. Stop sending your private email to Google, and stop sending your search requests to Google. You are giving them this stuff. You fucking opted in.

Re:But isn't Google already opt-in? (1)

Carlosos (1342945) | about 6 years ago | (#24572377)

I agree with you that Google/Microsoft/Yahoo are opt-in but NebuAd, for example, has it's servers at the ISP facility and tracks everything (not just it's own network websites) and only sometimes are opt-out options offered. If you want to have Internet access then you have to accept often the spying and selling information about you. I have no problem if my ISP would say, "for a $2 discount on your bill we will use this system to track you and provide better targeted ads". That way each user can decide if they want that service (and without money involved most customers wouldn't want to get spied on).

Dear Slashdot: Any good alternatives to GMail? (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 6 years ago | (#24571955)

GMail is great so long as you feel you can trust Google. They aren't quite at the point where I distrust them, but they're heading that way, and it's just a matter of time anyway. (And once you no longer trust them, it's too late because they own your old mail.)

So what are some decent alternatives to gmail? I want something independent of my ISP, and it's going to have to be a pay service since I don't want ads. They have to have a decent privacy policy, secure IMAP, and be likely to exist for 5+ years without being bought by MSyahoo, etc. Does this exist?

Damn, gmail was so seductive.

Re:Dear Slashdot: Any good alternatives to GMail? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24572263)

myrealbox.com may be a better 'in the meantime' than Google, but they might not exactly match your needs:

http://myrealbox.com/ [myrealbox.com]

(Note that I use Gmail, but that service offers at least some of the stuff you want, decent privacy and secure IMAP)

Re:Dear Slashdot: Any good alternatives to GMail? (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 6 years ago | (#24572605)

I did use myrealbox until Novel dropped them. Last I checked they were being run by some mysterious operation across the border in Canada (with who knows what legal ramifications). That was a while back.

Re:Dear Slashdot: Any good alternatives to GMail? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 6 years ago | (#24572343)

Run your own or suck it up. Asking for someone else to host your email is asking for them to read it.

Re:Dear Slashdot: Any good alternatives to GMail? (1)

Carlosos (1342945) | about 6 years ago | (#24572537)

You could stay with gmail by getting the Gmail Premier Edition for $50 a year. That provides more function and you can turn off the spying/ads. http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/editions.html [google.com] Otherwise I would say you can go to pretty much any domain provider because most also sell email accounts with the domain.

insisting that Google adhere to your EULA (1)

Benjamin_Wright (1168679) | about 6 years ago | (#24572309)

If Google can assert its legal terms just by publishing them (on something less than its homepage), then users can assert their own terms of privacy protection just by publishing [blogspot.com] them! What do you think? --Ben http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2008/05/google-privacy-policy-terms-of-service.html [blogspot.com] [This is not legal advice for anyone, just a topic for public discussion.]

"Revelation"? (1)

Doorjam (770005) | about 6 years ago | (#24572485)

Google is Doubleclick on steroids. They know more about you from their own cookies and services than from Doubleclick trackers. If you're concerned for your privacy, don't use Google tools, period.

Deep Packet Inspections (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 years ago | (#24572707)

"Deep Packet Inspection" is a buzzword from dumbasses who don't understand technology. It means "we had this information before, now we're looking at it." DPI means that rather than forwarding a packet, they forward AND examine it. This is like being handed a clear plastic bag full of pot to deliver to the guy in the next town, and claiming you're not aware of the contents; it's RIGHT THERE if you take a look. No special tools or manipulation of any persons or machines. It's just THERE.

I always thought (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | about 6 years ago | (#24572827)

That people who used Gmail for anything remotely personal are fucking nuts. 5 years, 10 years down the road do you really think that all of your personal Gmail information won't be either a) sold to advertisers, insurance companies, and financial institutions and b) stolen by hackers?

The original Google founders have no idea what a monster they are creating. An essential, and most times helpful monster, but a monster none the less that will someday turn on everyone. I'm looking into only using a proxy for all Google searches, you should too.

Suprise suprise (1)

hardlyleet (1293492) | about 6 years ago | (#24573149)

Does it really surprise everyone that Google invades people's privacy...

I wonder (1)

BCW2 (168187) | about 6 years ago | (#24573243)

Does Google still accept the old Doubleclick opt-out cookie?

doubleclick.net TRUE / FALSE 1920499288 id OPT_OUThome

it is the only cookie that loads when my browser starts.
Of course Firefox had to change with 3.0 so I can't read the cookie file now, dumbasses. Why does it have to be sqlite instead of text? It doesn't get saved anyway.
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