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Privacy Concerns Over Google On the Rise In Germany

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-being-evil-we-promise dept.

Privacy 63

An anonymous reader writes "After protests from several sources, major German news site Spiegel Online has dropped Google Analytics. 'Google gathers so much detailed information about its users that one critic says some state intelligence bureaus look "like child protection services" in comparison,' they say. Spiegel Online no longer uses Google Analytics. 'We want to ensure that data on our users' browsing patterns don't leave our site,' says Wolfgang Büchner, one of Spiegel Online's two chief editors." The article covers a wide swath of German concern over Google's data-collecting and -handling policies, including a local rebellion against Google's Street View survey vehicles that threatens to go national.

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Not a single comment!? (0, Offtopic)

echucker (570962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25619443)

Color me stunned - not even a FP troll. Was this story improperly formatted when it was posted?

Re:Not a single comment!? (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25619547)

I guess Google Analytics must be more powerful than we thought.

Re:Not a single comment!? (2, Funny)

Si-UCP (1359205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25619947)

Yep. I fear that Google Analytics has gone self-aware. But I'm sure we'll have nothing to worry ab

Re:Not a single comment!? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#25626195)

Just don't mention the Scientologists...

Re:Not a single comment!? (1)

End Program (963207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627755)

I didn't know that Scientologists are self-aware.

Re:Not a single comment!? (1)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25621259)

Maybe the low number of posts and such is the result of the Cogent/Sprint peering agreement falling over?

(It's strange, but it seems any time anybody releases their cloud, the internet gets cratered with peering trouble. It's particularly interesting because a cloud's selling point is strongly tied to its centrally-managed reliability, and a sputtering internet connection effectively negates that advantage over locally managed desktop apps. The biggest losers of this are Google and Amazon, as their business models are dependent on a good-smelling internet, not Microsoft... even though they are the most recent entry. Last time this happened there were announcements that major datacenters would be built...)

I guess if you wanted to be conspiracy-theoretical about it, you could say that Google Analytics became self aware and prevented any negative posts about it.

Re:Not a single comment!? (1)

Buck Fuddy (1400237) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631409)

I guess if you wanted to be conspiracy-theoretical about it...

Have you noticed how NoScript blocks google-analytics.com from almost every site you visit, including Slashdot?

weird (3, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25620247)

Germans accept that the German government tracks and records their entire lives: connection tracking, on-line surveillance, unique identifiers, mandatory carrying of identity cards, government registration of where they live and work, and even registration of their religious affiliation. This data can be mined, exchanged, and used by different government agencies.

It seems quite weird for Germans to get upset about ad tracking. Between Google and the German government, I'd be much more concerned about what the German government might do with that data; their history is, shall we say, less than stellar.

Re:weird (3, Insightful)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25621107)

I don't think they're worried about being tracked but rather that its a third party. It does seem silly but remember how they handled the outlawing of hack tools. Pure irrational thinking at its best :-S

Re:weird (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633189)

And they handled the outlawing of hack tools how? Enlighten me, please.

Re:weird (1)

slater86 (1154729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635609)

Its against the law to possess things like nmap.
So basically they can decide your now a terrorist and take action against you because you have scary hacktools.

/. covered it here http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/31/1629259 [slashdot.org]

Anti-Americanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625349)

Its mostly, not totally, but mostly paranoia, anti-corporatism and anti-americanism at work. I am german, I know what I am talking about.

Though they won't admit it of course.

It's comparable to the guy who asked if he should get a Facebook-Account and "become part of the Orwellian nightmare society", just that in Germany much more people think like that guy. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, but it's getting ridiculous.

Re:Anti-Americanism (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628971)

Its mostly, not totally, but mostly paranoia, anti-corporatism and anti-americanism at work. I am german, I know what I am talking about.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Re:weird (3, Insightful)

cpghost (719344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625479)

It's all about accountability. German government is held accountable for its actions, while Google, as a foreign company, isn't. At least not from a German perspective.

That's exactly the same reason why CAPPS-II-like [eff.org] data transfer of airline passenger data to the US is very much frowned upon in Germany: people are afraid that those data won't be handled with the same care in the US (probably by some commercial contracted entity) than by their local government authorities.

Difference in attitude between USA and Europe? (3, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625559)

I guess that's one of the big differences between European and USAian attitudes. Here in the USA we treat governments with the same level of mistrust (and, in the case of some agencies, a higher level of mistrust) than corporations. In Europe, it almost seems to be the reverse.

Re:Difference in attitude between USA and Europe? (1)

(pvb)charon (685001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25626375)

I guess that's one of the big differences between European and USAian attitudes. Here in the USA we treat governments with the same level of mistrust (and, in the case of some agencies, a higher level of mistrust) than corporations. In Europe, it almost seems to be the reverse.

It's changing rapidly though, at least here in Germany. With all the new laws that are being put into place that increase the government's right to spy on people (some of these in clear violation of our constitution), people get a lot warier of what they are told.

Alas, the "war on terror" sloshed over here as well and made for a great excuse for a lot of braindead decisions.

Re:Difference in attitude between USA and Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628619)

Well... with Bush as President... I totally understand why you don't trust your government!

I am still waiting for those Iraqi WMD!

Re:weird (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797341)

It's all about accountability. German government is held accountable for its actions, while Google, as a foreign company, isn't. At least not from a German perspective.

Google is subject to European data protection laws when operating in Germany.

Contrary to what Germans think, the US has strong data protection laws and got them many years before Germany.

I think the difference between the US and Germany is that Americans don't trust their government to follow the law. Germans seem to have a blind trust in their government. Perhaps that's why Germany's history has been so troubled.

Re:weird (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625611)

Germans accept [...] and even registration of their religious affiliation.

Man, is this coming from America, the one country in the West where you the government is allowed to record your political affiliation when you register to vote?

Government registration of residence and workplace can be abused, but generally serves a number of legitimate purposes, as do ID cards (which are not a tool of the Big Brother, as some privacy Quixotes would have it). What is exactly the reason for the government knowing what you vote for?

Re:weird (2, Informative)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625689)

It's my understanding that you register your party afiliation to vote in the primaries

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25626623)

You can choose not to declare party affiliation when you register to vote (you'll be registered as an independent). The primaries are state by state. In my state you don't have to register with a party to vote in the primary, but when you go to vote in the primary you have to request one ballot or the other (republican or democratic).

Re:weird (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628505)

You only have to record your party affiliation in states that have closed primaries (i.e. primaries in which only people registered to that party may vote). Many states (like Minnesota, for example) have open primary/caucus systems, where anyone may show up and make their voice heard, regardless of their party affiliation. In fact, when I registered to vote here, there wasn't even a box on the form to record your party preference.

Besides, even in states that have closed primaries, you're still allowed to register yourself as "Indedpendent", (i.e. none of the above).

Re:weird (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628665)

Yeah but if you say you are independent then you cannot vote during any of the party primaries.

independent means you can only vote in non-partisan, etc

Re:weird (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632657)

Which is another weird thing. Why do states and public institutions meddle in the primary process of a party?

I voted in primary elections held my country (which is one of the great things we got from America, granted), and no one ever came close to the idea of involving any public office in the process. To vote, one had to give a minimal contribution of 1 euro and give proof of identity. Those were the first nation-wide primaries ever in my country, and 4,311,149 voted (including people abroad, like me: I voted in Stockholm), whereas just one million was considered a dream on the day before. All organised by the coalition that later won the elections, and worked just fine (except for a politician murdered on the way home from the vote).

Re:weird (1)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25626287)

Well... it's a wee bit more complicated than you suggest. But basically, a voter in the US is never required to declare their political affiliation when they register to vote.

Trouble is, this is handled differently by each state in our federal republic. So please do forgive me that I didn't go off and research into 50 states (and assorted territories) to confirm this.

But you are quite free to refrain from declaring your political affiliation. This puts you in a special sought after group we call "Independents" (everybody wants your vote). Now you could easily make a worthy point that the act of not choosing to affiliate with a particular party could be held against you depending on your locale. But if that's the case since you've likely got more to worry about since your registered party affiliation need have no bearing on your actual voting.

It does seem registering only affects your ability to vote in primaries and to participate in party activities (like run for office). Indeed, it seems that some states even permit open primaries where any and all can participate (you know... vote early, vote often). This itself produces strange oddities (like lots of Republicans trying hard to ensure Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination).

Re:weird (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633153)

But basically, a voter in the US is never required to declare their political affiliation when they register to vote.

Got as much. Yet, just because you can register, this can be turned into a requirement (see the old argument about the ID card being made de facto obligatory if required in enough places). Suppose your state administration is in the hands of the Coprolitan party, and you are trying to be on amicable terms with them (you need some sort of license for your business, or you work for the administration, or you want to be hired, whatever). Everybody knows that Coprolitan politicians are sleazy corrupt bastards, and will consider your allegiance when making decisions about you.

Are you going to register independent, or even register as a voter of the opposing Four-Unemployed-Losers-For-Freedom party, and jeopardise your economy and your family's? You shouldn't even come close to this kind of decision, there is a reason why ballots are anonymous.

Furthermore, aren't employment laws very "flexible" in America? What if some PHB, in layoff season, decides to fire people of the opposite political party?

Re:weird (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797497)

You don't have to register your party affiliation with anybody in order to vote. Furthermore, if you do register, the registration doesn't constrain who you vote for in the election. Many registered Republicans probably voted for Obama.

The primary system is a system by which political parties select their candidates. It is an alternative to the party-internal processes that are used in many other systems to select candidates. Primaries have their own problems, but they are better than backroom deals.

Given the legal form that German parties have, as well as their tax status, effectively, the German government has at least as much information about German party membership as the US government has about US party membership.

Government registration of residence and workplace can be abused, but generally serves a number of legitimate purpose

Of course it does. That is, until another generation of jack booted thugs hijacks the government, when these records will be used--again--to persecute minorities. The last totalitarian government in Germany ended only 20 years ago. Based on German history, Germans should be highly suspicious of their government, but they keep thinking "this time, we can really trust this government".

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25625729)

It's no different Google having this info from the German government having this info.

If the Germans want this info from Google, Google will talk. The Germans haff vays of making them talk.

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25626047)

Germans accept that the German government tracks and records their entire lives: connection tracking, on-line surveillance, unique identifiers, mandatory carrying of identity cards, government registration of where they live and work, and even registration of their religious affiliation. This data can be mined, exchanged, and used by different government agencies.

[..]

I think you are wrong here. There are very strict data protection laws for German authorities. You can argue, if they should be more strict or not, but access to all the data you mentioned is regulated by laws and every authority gets only the data it needs. I am working for a data protection commissioner in a state of Germany and as someone controlling the data processing of authorities, I can assure you, that it is not as bad as you described it. It can always be better, of course ;).

Google is another issue. Google cannot be controlled here. The data is .. where? If you ask google (not enter sth. at the google homepage, but really ask), they claim, all data belongs to google USA. We have laws here, which rule, if IPs are allowed to be logged, for which reason and for how long. It's another issue, if everybody follows those rules. But google does form our POV not follow the laws here. Same for google street view. This is personal data. Period. And you are not allowed to publish a picture of my house according to the laws, if I did not allow that.

People like google for various reasons, so the concerns are not so big. But if German authorities would do sth. like this (or MicroSoft), nobody would accept it.

Re:weird (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628931)

Well, for starters the largest constitutional complaint ever is under way against the government's draconian data retention program, with more than 30,000 plaintiffs.

Re:weird (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629031)

I'd be much more concerned about what the German government might do with that data; their history is, shall we say, less than stellar.

Many Germans share your concern about their governments' less than stellar [wikipedia.org] history. We all know that once the data is accumulated, it will be used. Therefore it's important to prevent such massive data collection, among other things.

It's not that hard to explain (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629069)

Actually it's not that hard to explain:

We still have the government largely under control, and the parties have to work for their votes. The very system is so geared that no party has an absolute majority, and the best they can manage is to form a fragile coalition that has the majority. But even then the coalition can form the other way around over night, moving a party from head of the majority coalition to head of the opposition. It doesn't happen often, but the threat is there. Politicians know better than to even hint at serving any other interests than their voters', and at the mere hint of something like that, if the guy doesn't resign by himself, the party will drop him like a hot potato.

It does have its own shortcomings -- nothing ever is perfect -- but by and large it still works for the people.

At any rate, the government is still under control, and it is a _tool_ we use. It's how a big community (say, country sized) organizes and governs itself.

It's a bit like, dunno, having a big dog. You could go, "OMG, I must keep it away from me and my family, it could go rabid when you least expect it!" That seems the American view, based on the limited sample I have. The European view is more that since it _is_ your dog, it's your job to make sure it doesn't.

There are clear laws about what the government can do with that stuff, and under what circumstances can most of that data even be accessed at all. E.g., while you can moan about "online surveillance", in practice even a law enforcement officer needs a warrant from a judge to acess those logs at all.

In practice it seems to me like actually that's more privacy than you'd expect in the unregulated USA, where companies routinely sell customer data to the highest bidder, and the government has already worked out backroom dels with telcos and ISPs to spy on its citizens. So, how's that better than in Germany? Do you really think your data is more private if you don't have some clear laws about what the government and everyone else can do with it?

As for the last jab at the German government, let's just say that it's record has actually been pretty damn good since 1945. Yes, the Weimar republic had some weaker safeguards and it did fail once. We learned from that mistake and fixed the system.

Re:It's not that hard to explain (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797635)

Lots of parties, a parliamentary system, coalitions, and massive governmental data collection was what got Germany into trouble in the 1930's. What reason do we have to believe that it will be any better this time?

Germany has ex-communists and ex-Stasi in its parliament, and Nazi sympathizers have significant political influence.

n practice it seems to me like actually that's more privacy than you'd expect in the unregulated USA, where companies routinely sell customer data to the highest bidder

The US is not "unregulated". The US had data protection laws decades before Germany, and both governmental and private uses of data is regulated.

And you're naive if you think that the government and private dealing in personal data isn't going on at least as much in Germany. The difference is that in the US people make a stink about it.

Do you really think your data is more private if you don't have some clear laws about what the government and everyone else can do with it?

I think my data is more private if I don't have to give it out.

As for the last jab at the German government, let's just say that it's record has actually been pretty damn good since 1945. Yes, the Weimar republic had some weaker safeguards and it did fail once. We learned from that mistake and fixed the system.

The Weimar Republic itself was only the outcome of WWI. Democracy after WWII was imposed and managed by the victors, and has never faced any serious economic or political crisis. There were a few previous attempts at democracy, and they also failed. Furthermore, half of Germany was living under totalitarian rule until the 1980's. Germany's record on democracy is poor; that's not a "jab", it's a fact. And some aspects of modern Germany are disturbingly like the Weimar Republic.

Re:weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25632541)

Actually carrying an identity card is not mandatory. You only have to possess either the ID card or a passport. You do not have to have it with you inside Germany. That's different in some European countries, e.g. in the Netherlands.

Re:weird (1)

JSchoeck (969798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638167)

You are right. My fellow Germans, as a majority, accept and frankly hardly care about their personal data at all.

Luckily, with the recent data loss scandals, it MIGHT start to get better - but the only political parties that really care about personal information security and data protection are the Green and the "Socialist" party.
Most people vote conservative or mildly leftist, so we - the people who care about freedom of information and such things - can't do much more than protest (as for example at the big demonstration "Freiheit statt Angst" a few weeks ago).

Re:weird (1)

V for Vendetta (1204898) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638839)

Between Google and the German government, I'd be much more concerned about what the German government might do with that data; their history is, shall we say, less than stellar.

No, because we Germans know quite well that our government (or our politicians, for that matter) are plain stupid, whereas some really smart asses work at Google. ;)

On a more serious note: most of what you mentioned stems either from EU regulations (data retention, i.e.) or is common practice in other EU countries as well.

Not that I like all of it, but some things sound much more scary than they are in practice. Mandatory ID, for example. I just came back from a ten day vacation trip to the U.S.A. In these 10 days, I had to show my ID more often to non-officials (sales stuff, etc.) than I ever had to do in my whole life in Germany to officials (police, etc.) which are allowed to ask you for your ID without any reason whatsorever, let alone non-officials.

And while you find it amusing that we accept mandatory registration, I, for example, find it amusing that a U.S. citizen has to register himself in order to be able to carry out his most basic democratic right: voting.

Re:weird (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797775)

And while you find it amusing that we accept mandatory registration, I, for example, find it amusing that a U.S. citizen has to register himself in order to be able to carry out his most basic democratic right: voting.

In Germany, you don't need to register to vote because the government already knows so much about you anyway. Furthermore, Germans seem apathetic about it.

Voter registration exists in the US because the government doesn't know who you are, and it only involves the minimum amount of information necessary for the election. And it's an issue that people examine in detail every election.

Not that I like all of it, but some things sound much more scary than they are in practice.

In day to day life, those things indeed don't matter. They start mattering when the government starts abusing its power: politicians blackmailing rival politicians, totalitarian politicians coming to power, etc. By the time those things start mattering to you, it's too late.

Umm... Urchin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25620263)

Don't they realize they can get the same reporting as Analytics via Google's Urchin? They'd just have to (GASP!) pay for a license and host it themselves.

Forbidden (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#25620535)

Actually, transmitting data about a person outside the country without the explicit permission of the person is forbidden by privacy laws at least in Austria, and I assume in Germany too.

Google Analytics definitely falls in this category.

Of course, webmasters don't care or know about it and since everyone is using it, it is hard to find regulations at this point (as jurisdiction has to analyze the new situations that the web brings up).

If Google Analytics would be seen as a web bug having information from most web sites, you would be worried too, but since a lot of people are webmasters and like to look at the nice graphs and ignore the risks (for the users).

Re:Forbidden (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25621287)

Austria and Germany can forbid whatever they like, and Google will do what the hell they want, and will do it because they CAN. After all, most sites are hosted in the US over lines that go to the US and primarily run in the US. This is apparently transparent to most users who never realize while hackin away at their terminals in Trier, Deutschland, that their favorite site is actually maybe in Joplin, Missouri, USA. Google Analytics does not use only 'cookies'. It also seeks to take over al the browsers it encounters by causing the target browsers to treat it as a 'trusted site'. This allows Google complete administrative access to the target machines, just like a virus. Windows' IE is bread on the window, available anytime! IE users are never notified that Google Analytics is requesting 'trusted access' to their computers. Likewise for Firefox. The only browser that correctly catches Google Analytics in the act of criminal privacy invasion is Mozilla's old suite and some older versions of Sea Monkey. New stuff from all of them have bought Google/People's Republik of China Military Intelligence Service has all been bought or threatened off. Mozilla and early sea monkey flag the attacks of the Google Chinese spy worm and bring it to the notice of the computer owner along with a decision choice, allow or reject. The way Mozilla/sea monkey choose to do it is defective in a way though, as the request can and is often brought up again and again, just like cookie requests in old IE browsers until the computer owner either makes a fatal typo and allows the poison in, accepts the fatal invader willingly out of fatigue or foolishness, or dumps the browser by quitting the program one way or another. I say fatal typo or fatal acceptance because that is what it is. Once you accept Google Analytics as a trusted site, you cannot later retract your stupid act. The only way to restore your system then is to take your hard drive and reformat it, then shred it, then take it to a car wreckin yard and have it picked up by one of the crane operated electromagnets used to pick up wrecks and drop them in the compactor, then low level format it, then shred it again thirty six times...you get the drift......take it to the nearest freeway in New York City and put it under a large re-election picture of George Bush and leave it there.

Re:Forbidden (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25622771)

drink or die

Re:Forbidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25631621)

...what?

Of course Google, Inc. can do what they want without regard to German laws. Google Deutschland can't, although they may not be involved in Google Analytics; in any case, the sites USING GA (such as Spiegel Online) can't, either.

That's what counts.

And "most sites are hosted in the US"? I'm not sure where you get that impression, but it simply isn't true. Honestly, it doesn't even make any sense in theory.

Re:Forbidden (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624259)

Shouldn't that be "verboten"?

Re:Forbidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25647249)

He gschissena hoit di babbn, I reiß da ane dass da vierzehn dog da schädl wogglt.

Re:Forbidden (1)

tremby (962560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629673)

the thing is, it's not Spiegel who is transmitting the data -- it's the visitor. Google Analytics provides a script (JS), a pointer to which is included in the website's HTML. when the visitor's browser comes across it, it fetches the script from Google's server (as long as they're not running Noscript or similar with suitable rules to block it). the request for the script itself provides some of the data that Google Analytics stores (referring page, for example). the browser then executes the script and obediently sends various data off to Google. the Spiegel server itself isn't sending any data to Google Analytics whatsoever, so i don't see how they could get in trouble.

then again, IANAL.

Re:Forbidden (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633969)

The exact technical process doesn't matter, it matters that the Spiegel website initiated that process.

Re:Forbidden (1)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630967)

Nope, the USA (really IT lobbies) has a special deal with the EU where we can use your data as if its in the EU but without the same laws applying. Its called Safe Harbor [export.gov]

Re:Forbidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25647797)

Yes, with the users consent to store data at the companies site. And even then, only within the same company.

We Can Serve You Wholesale (1)

tashammer (905647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25622173)

It occurs to me that Google and co have been and are putting together a series of products to warm the cockles of any dictator, cabal. secret police, star chamber etc even to the details and location about individuals in a street. Rather like a super market. Or a squad of semi-military police who knock on your door ask your name and check you off against a google shopping list. Does it make you feel warm inside to know that all that information is in such kind hands?

This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (3, Insightful)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25622929)

This story is about to fall off the front page with about 10 comments. If you think about it, you understand why it troublesome. Shouldn't there be about 100 or so comments? Its as though no one care about privacy.

Re:This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25623983)

Soldier: This is the worst part; the calm before the battle.

Fry: And then the battle's not so bad?

Soldier: Oh, right. I forgot about the battle.

(I'm not trolling..)

Re:This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624395)

I can easily opt out of google's services by adding their netblocks to my black-hole. Unlike the government who can kick my door down. If it wasn't google doing this stuff, it would be microsoft. Think about that.

Re:This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629259)

Breaking news, someone is upset over how much data Google stores.

Its not that we don't care, its that it isn't news, everyone who reads slashdot knows this already.

Re:This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25631145)

sadly the select few who both know and care think that if they can do a little more than everyone else they are safe. They think that if they delete the cookies Google will not bother to put together their useragent, ip address, search patterns, and email address together.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist......

...When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Re:This is troublsome, not with google, but.... (1)

cunnilingus (706302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25637729)

what is privacy?

Firewall and Hosts file (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25624271)

Added google-analytics.com to Zone Alarm zone control, router URL block, and Hosts file. Problem solved.

Overkill, you think?

Re:Firewall and Hosts file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25630981)

yes, just add it to the /etc/hosts file on dd-wrt and your entire house is protected. That doesn't help when you're traveling.

My preferred method:
- Firefox
- NoScript plugin
- AdBlock+ plugin

Don't have javascript enabled when you're surfing unless it is a site you really, really trust. You still block the extra javascript for the add-on sites.

For even better peice of mind, I have a Puppy Linux VM that just runs the ISO "live CD". In it, I'm free to go anywhere on the internet with minimal concern over viruses and hacks. At reboot, I'm fresh as a daisy. If that is too limiting in capability, load Ubuntu into a fresh VM and start a new snapshot just after booting. Do whatever, then delete the snapshot when you're done.

publication of privacy terms (1)

Benjamin_Wright (1168679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25625999)

A few months ago Google claimed it could impose its legal terms on the public just by publishing the terms. Maybe members of the public can impose their own terms of privacy protection on Google just by publishing [blogspot.com] those terms! A person might -- for example -- say in her published privacy terms that analytics engines cannot keep records of her activities longer than a week. --Ben http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2008/05/google-privacy-policy-terms-of-service.html [blogspot.com] My ideas are not legal advice for any particular situation, just fodder for public discussion.

Few posts? Not very surprising... (1)

ctdownunder (816383) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628121)

Since most people here still think Google is so great. My guestimate: In less than 10 years we will all find out that Google is not that cool. This is criticial thinking not mindless flamebait. Why? Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Simple solution? (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628309)

Want to browse without getting registered by google analytics? Simple:

1) Install Firefox

2) Get the NoScript plugin

3) Browse to site using google analytics

4) Choose Forbid google-analytics.com

5) ???

6) Profits!!!

Only one problem: Many (most?) people can't be bothered and may not even care at all.

Re:Simple solution? (1)

tremby (962560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629735)

Only one problem: Many (most?) people can't be bothered and may not even care at all.

i'm included here. there's nothing sent to Google that personally identifies me, and i have no problem with webmonkeys knowing which OS and browser i'm using or which country i'm in. i maintain a bunch of websites and i find my Google Analytics data very useful indeed. i'm happy to allow GA on my own Noscript since it helps out others like me.

so to recap... (1)

elex (1325997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631397)

Okay, so the story goes Der Spiegel picked Google to help them help themselves to people's data, and then made a big deal about helping themselves some other way because Google might end up mining the data. I'm missing the part where consumers are protected.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686289)

I thought everyone had google analytics AdBlock-ed by default?

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