What kind of information does Google Analytics learn about me?

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by DesuMaiden, Jul 5, 2013.

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  1. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    The no-script add-on tells me that Google Analytics is blocked. This is apparently the case on 95% of sites, so pretty much every site nowadays has Google Analytics. I'm using a VPN to post this message (not Tor) so I have scripts enabled and Google Analytics is not blocked by No-Scripts. So what can Google Analytics learn about my browsing habits even though I have my ip address hidden with a VPN?

    I am starting to get creepied out by the amount of Big Data Google is conducting on its users. I still watch a crap tons of Youtube videos. Yes, I'm still a heavy user of Youtube, but I'm feeling a bit comfortable about Google Data Mining all of the Youtube videos I've watched. When I created my Youtube channel, I actually checked off the "Allow Google to personalize my account". Does this mean google can data-mine and build a profile of everything I do? If that's the case, I regret allowing google to personalize my Youtube account, because I don't like Google data-mining and building a profile of every freaking thing I do.

    The two "o"' s in Google symbolize omniscient eyes, which watch EVERYTHING you do. The two o's of Google represent the eyes of Big Brother watching EVERYTHING you do. Big Brother is everywhere, and there is nothing you can hide from him or her.

    The best you can do is create anonymous profiles on every site you use; refrain from posting any personal info on any site; and create a separate identify on every site you sign up for.
     
  2. MyBlackBox

    MyBlackBox Registered Member

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    Hmm... Maybe the Analytics from the direct URL you visited, but what about the nested iFrames? Are you logged into gmail while surfing? If so, the Big Brother knows the basics info from your browser: http://www.irongeek.com/browserinfo.php

    But if you have java enabled or you haven't done any opt-out yet, you are opened to the following retrieval info: http://browserspy.dk/cookie.php and geolocation data, too.

    Does the following link still work? https://www.google.com/settings/ads/onweb You have to be logged into Big Brother to get a rough idea of who they think you are, based on your surfing.
     
  3. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    From Wikipedia:
    Ergo, if a website really wants to know anything private about a website visitor - they won't be relying on Google Analytics to collect that information.

    -- Tom
     
  4. Nebulus

    Nebulus Registered Member

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    True, for a website you own, it's much easier to keep full visitor logs, and you will have all the information you can get about people visiting your site. However, looking from Google's perspective, they can see and aggregate a good part of ALL users data (browsers headers, etc.) that visit all websites that use their services.
     
  5. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    All I can say is it feels a bit "unsettling" when after I play a few similar type youtube videos, for a recent example several on road bike maintenance, and I'm not even logged into youtube, but then afterwards suggested similar type video links are shown on the main page. I can't pin this necessarily on GA or anything Google-related, but I do know it's cookie-related, so now I block cookies outright everywhere and only accept when needed.
     
  6. Carver

    Carver Registered Member

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    Look into getting a cookie Manager https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookies-manager-plus/ , it makes cookie controlling easier.
     
  7. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Yeah, I've thought about that, but I'll try to manage them first without a manager, since it requires another extension. I try to run the browser as light as possible. Thanks!
     
  8. Hermescomputers

    Hermescomputers Registered Member

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    You may want to use the Free Do Not Track Me Firefox ad don from https://www.abine.com/dntdetail.php

    It blocks a lot more than Noscript, and it's easy to view what it blocks, and it's fast.
     
  9. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I will add this to my regular Mozilla Firefox Browser. That way I can increase my anonymity on the internet without having to rely entirely on Tor Browser Bundle.

    I cannot rely exclusively on Tor because I would like to use flash, javascript , plugins and other scripting features that allow me to use live content (like streaming videos and playing flash games).

    Relying exclusively on Tor for anonymous web browsing--while very full-proof--is too limiting because it doesn't allow me to use live content. So browsing the web with Tor is like browsing the internet back in the early 1990s before flash and javascript was invented. Back before live content was available. So exclusively relying on Tor for online anonymity make my web browsing very, very static. I cannot use any live content over Tor. So all the webpages I use are static and I cannot use many of the features many other forum users take for granted. For example, I cannot use the smilie features on the right hand side of the "Reply to Thread" page (which I'm currently using right now for making this post).

    In summary, I want to anonymously use the internet with the ability to use live content.
     
  10. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    You could try a VPN for live content, and even chain it with Tor. SecurityKISS is the best free one I know of, but paid is usually better.
     
  11. hidden

    hidden Registered Member

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  12. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    I actually use SecurityKISS. It is a free service that only gives you 300mb a day. The paid version gives you 50,000mb every month (or roughly 1666 mb everyday) which is essentially unlimited video streaming in my eyes.

    Too bad I don't use it anymore and I have to resort to the crappy Hotspot Shield vpn mainly because I'm too cheap and poor to afford SecurityKISS's full features. I just use the free and unlimited HSS (Hotspot Shield).

    As for google analytics being everywhere that is more or less correct, but is there any point of trying to evading it ? Is it even worth the effort evading it? I don't think so because I don't mind it occasionally tracking my activities. When I feel the need for some anonymity/privacy, I'll just wipe up TBB (Tor) to hide my ip :)
     
  13. Hermescomputers

    Hermescomputers Registered Member

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    As a web site owner, you need to know if a visitor actually look at a web page or not, and what else on the site visitors looked at...

    This is useful to fine tune your message and even to find errors in your design and content. There are multiple solutions available that do not include broad base distribution of data for profit.

    Crawltrack is one and the main tool used on my site. It's a cross between a site protection toolkit and a search engine activity police for your web site. I use it to track downloads and count visitors. The only data it displays is the country of origin (it shows their flag) and tracks visiting search engines, and provides some details as to their activities.

    Google is another type of beasts altogether. It tracks everything, from where you where prior to visiting the site to where you went after you left, then it's aggregating this data. Then it uses this to more or less blackmail vulnerable clients with the Pay per click advertising side of their business.

    For example my site prior to cancelling pay per click advertizing was rated level 8, soon after cancellation, it dropped to level 0 and stayed there for well over a year and a half. Google is not your friend after you cancel them out... and I guess you can imagine the economic impact this had on my business....

    Yet I still remain tall, in business, and defiant!

    To this day, the only exposure I get to my technology or services is via Forums, and other social media, effectively bypassing search engines filtering and obfuscation techniques. Essentially Google chooses who gets seen and by whom and when. They control everything. No wonder the NSA loves them.

    Use crawl-track, its more localized and provide everything you need from protection to some basic statistics and it's basically all you need.

    http://crawltrack.net

    Oh and did I mention that it's Free?

    Now for the use of search engines... All users interested in protecting their privacy should switch to Duck Duck Go!..
    I know the name sounds stupid... and it is.... however these guys care about you and your privacy: Google does not!

    https://duckduckgo.com/

    Alternatives do exist, and should be seriously considered!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  14. Techwiz

    Techwiz Registered Member

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    I can understand data collection for businesses in the context that it will improve customer services, product/service selection, etc. The issue is that there really is no line where companies and data collectors can be expected to stop. What information doesn't a company like Google need to build a profile of us? What I would like businesses to do is ask me for my information. I'm willing to take surveys and fill out comment cards. I'm even willing to tour your store and call out things that I like and dislike. All I'm asking is that companies treat me as a person and not some digit in a computer algorithm or database. This is a working relationship, if you want my attention you need to give me yours. I know companies think their clever using marketing gimmicks, but that doesn't work for someone that shops with a very particular list of items. The only stores that I splurge at are those that don't hound me with marketing gimmicks. Surplus stores are a great place to find stuff and I kind of enjoy digging through the clutter. It's far more enjoyable than walking down nice, orderly aisles looking at shelves. Probably the closet to rummaging other stores get is digging to the items on the back of the shelf that usually have a better code date.
     
  15. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Analytics is crazy helpful. If I cared about the traffic on my site I could really make good use of it. It tells me what page users go to, how long they stayed on the page, whether they left the site or went to another page, the % of new hits, etc.

    I don't get anything personally identifiable from it, honestly. I can see that *a* user uses Firefox, and *a* user looked at a page, but I have no idea if they're the same user. In terms of creepy stuff I really don't get more from analytics than I would from simply looking at IP logs. The rest is just completely impersonal info.
     
  16. Hermescomputers

    Hermescomputers Registered Member

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    Another thing not explained here about (Web site) analytic is the tactical use of analytic for technical products by technological embargo enforced against some countries set by U.S. Policies. Analytic is used to setup discriminatory display based on IP block issuance.

    For example if you are from an embargoed country big software companies that proudly complies with the requirements would block certain software products being displayed, or otherwise provided. All this is based on analytic and profiling systems.

    From a democratic perspective it's pretty clear these technologies interfere to a certain extent with the deployment of blacklisted products to blacklisted countries. Thus attempting to minimize said countries technological emancipation.

    The analog would be similar to the ominous warning in software licence booklets found with most software products, the only difference is if you visit from said country you probably wont even be able to find the products or on the milder side be able to download it or purchase it.

    Conversely these systems also use these same discriminator based techniques to selectively display content to some visitors and not to others. For example if the visitor shows up and the browser language is French then a french translation may be displayed, so the visitors themselves are thus rendered unaware of the discrimination as they assume they are obtaining native information when in fact it is not. Some even go as far as mask the true location of the country of the page being visited to some visitors as to obfuscate the fact that the visitor is not on local ground.

    and the list things done via analytic goes on...
    Essentially analytic is an incredibly powerful things that far exceed simple user identity profiling. Ask any experience web developer who worked with big business there are far more serious analytic system that are far more intrusive than Google by the way.

    For those interested check out webtrends http://webtrends.com/ one of the oldest ones around. and there are many others.
    http://webtrends.com/solutions/conversion-optimization/targeting-segmentation

    This said, it's useful and powerful and invisible and everyone is under it's scope all the time...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
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