How Google is tracking you, and how to avoid it

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by MrBrian, Jun 7, 2014.

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  1. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    From http://www.ghacks.net/2014/06/02/google-tracking-avoid/:
    I'd add Ghostery or similar. Be aware though that Ghostery doesn't block googleapis.com because a number of websites don't work if it's blocked.
     
  2. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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  3. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Stack Exchange is one of those sites. It's quite a contradiction that they'd discuss the privacy risks of Google APIs on a site that uses them. They should read their own pages.
    Ghostery might not block Google APIs but Request Policy does. I've taken a layered approach to blocking Google and several others. My Firewall, Kerio 2.1.5 has a "custom address group" feature that lets you create rules that apply to all the addresses in the list. I've added all of the IP ranges that I'm aware of for Google, Twitter, Facelessbook, LinkedIn and a few others to that list and have blocked them for everything but the Tor exit. I've also added them to the adlist in Proxomitron which blocks any link that contains their names. Between those and Request Policy, I don't see any content from any of them. On those rare occasions that I need to see something from Google, I'll view it through Tor.
     
  4. KeyPer4Life

    KeyPer4Life Registered Member

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    There are several ways you could block Google from tracking you:

    Use an IP range blocking list.

    Use Keyword or URL settings in router/modem

    Use a blocking filter (PAC) file and run it through your browser connection settings.

    e.g. (|| dnsDomainIs(host, "google.com")
    (|| dnsDomainIs(host, "google-analytics.com")


    Also remember that Google is contacted through browsers built-in Phishing and Malware
    protection settings when enabled.
     
  5. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    From How Our Browsing History Is Leaking into the Cloud 2 (2012):
     
  6. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Fortunately I don't have those. IMO, relying on any service to catch malicious sites and phishing is not only futile, your trading your privacy for pseudo-security. If your browser is configured and equipped properly, it should resist most malicious sites. I wouldn't rule out Google DNS as a big tracker, whether they acknowledge it or not.

    I realize that most users aren't going to blacklist Google, Facelessbook, Twitville, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. I also realize that most users aren't browsing through Tor, VPNs, or proxies to protect their privacy. There is a way for users of FireFox and other Gecko browsers who use those sites to have the best of both worlds. Take a look at the autoproxy extension. You can automatically proxy the sites of your choosing. The last time I tried it, it worked with filtering proxies like Proxomitron and worked with Tor. It should be able to work with VPNs with a bit of effort.
     
  7. KeyPer4Life

    KeyPer4Life Registered Member

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    Forgot to mention also that if one blocks 'Google' you won't be able to scan files on
    'virustotal' if you want to use that service. Then of course there is 'Youtube' which Google
    acquired in 2006. Google is all over the web.

    KeyPer4Life.
     
  8. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    For me it is pretty simple. First, I do my best to not use their services, unless I really need them (for some complex searches, Google Search cannot be avoided). Second, I block every domain related to their tracking/advertising programs from my DNS resolver. For sites that require googleapis.com I have a slightly different approach: instead of blocking Google API from DNS, I use NoScript on a site by site basis.

    This way, I can still use their services when I need them and I can limit their tracking, especially when visiting a 3rd party site.
     
  9. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    No one ever mentions, that tracking can be actually a good thing. Google recommends me ADs, videos and searches, that I would never think about.
     
  10. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Most of tracking I believe is done by using it on smartphones.
    Frankly, I gave up because it offers lots of good services when out.
     
  11. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    You can use a Google proxy such as Disconnect Search to do complex Google searches. StartPage works also except it doesn't necessarily show all Google results.
     
  12. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    I try to use StartPage every time I need Google results, but sometimes old habits die hard :)
     
  13. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Another great thread! Thanks MrBrian for all the work you do with your posts. I've come to really appreciate them (not that I understand everything).

    SOme time ago we were talking about getting a list of all the various dregs google gets on your system and setting up a blacklist. Has anybody got a list?
     
  14. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    You're welcome :).

    If you want me to, I could reinstall RequestPolicy to see what Google-related domains I had blocked. The problem though is that if you block some of these, some websites won't work.
     
  15. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Request policy does have a allow temporarily feature as well as the ability to allow one item on just one site, such as Google APIs on stack exchange only.
     
  16. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Yes please. It is so irritating that 1/2 the web it seems runs on google. :gack: I want to do everything I can to thwart the google monster. I refuse to "join" anything google. The one downside is I do use youtube. Someone mentioned about HTML5 but I dont understand that or know how to instantiate it. Im surprised you can still watch youtube without having to register or login. Meanwhile Ive blacklisted google cookies in FF but theyve probably done a gazillion other things to circumvent that. Thats why I come to this forum, to learn and why threads like these are so helpful. I also use startpage. I find it absolutely despicable and creepy that search engines log all your search terms.
     
  17. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    IMO, Facebook and Twitter should be added to that list. The other day I used a friends PC and was disgusted with that lousy "Like" button turning up everywhere. Been using Proxomitron for so long, I'd forgot just how ridiculous a lot of sites have become.
    Do you mean a list of IP ranges that Google and others use? I'll gladly add the ones I know.
     
  18. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Just looking into to disconnect... should I be worried?

    hxxp://techcrunch.com/2013/10/07/disconnect-search-built-by-ex-google-and-ex-nsa-engineers-lets-you-use-google-bing-and-yahoo-without-tracking/

     
  19. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Noone, yes I think thats what I should have said, so Id be grateful if you would. Thanks.
     
  20. KeyPer4Life

    KeyPer4Life Registered Member

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    Google:

    Doubleclick
    AdSense
    AdWords
    Google-analytics
    Googlesyndication
    Google Maps - Google Earth
    Google Apps ( Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Drive, Groups, News, Play, Sites, Talk, and Wallet)
    Youtube
    Google Search Engine
    Virustotal
    googleadservices
    googletagservices
    googlepages
    clients1.google
    googleapis


    Just to name a few.
     
  21. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    The IP ranges below for Google most likely include YouTube.
    Google
    64.18.0.0 - 64.18.15.255
    64.233.160.0 - 64.233.191.255
    66.102.0.0 - 66.102.15.255
    66.249.64.0 - 66.249.95.255
    72.14.192.0 - 72.14.255.255
    74.125.0.0 - 74.125.255.255
    173.194.0.0 - 173.194.255.255
    209.85.128.0 - 209.85.255.255
    216.239.32.0 - 216.239.63.255

    Facebook
    66.220.144.0 - 66.220.159.255
    69.63.176.0 - 69.63.191.255
    69.171.224.0 - 69.171.255.255
    173.252.64.0 - 173.252.127.255

    These are by no means a complete list. They could also contain errors.
    edited, had errors
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  22. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    Thanks guys. OK so I have ABP, NoScript and Request Policy, and the bit of tweaking I did was ages ago. They seem to overlap and not sure which is the best way to block all this.
     
  23. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Names such as those supplied by KeyPer4Life are best suited for browser extensions, hosts files and filtering proxies.
    IP address ranges are used in firewall blocklists, peerguardian, and routers. The best is the one that matches the tools you're using. The tools for each use different methods so they don't conflict. I use both.
     
  24. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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  25. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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