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back to article Google plays cat and mouse with regulators

Google has faced down one European probe into what it does with people's personal information, only to be challenged with another. Last October, privacy watchdogs in Norway, which is not part of the European Union but has identical data protection laws, asked Google to justify why it retains people's search histories for up to …

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Anonymous Coward

The trouble with Google

When Google refuses to cooperate with legitimate government bodies you have to start wondering where we should draw the line. Any corporation exists at the indulgence of the people, or at least did when a democratically representative system worked. If Google won't play ball it's time we cut off it's oxygen supply - if you can make allofmp3.com illegal I'm sure you can do the same with Google. When a corporation is running contrary to public interest we have a duty to bring them into line. Google is just another set of profiteers with no public interest responsibilities. The fact they refuse to cooperate just demonstrates the arrogance of these companies and show just how much power has been transferred from the state to unaccountable, unelected private tyrannies.

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Don't worry - be happy

Why is everyone so scared?

The only people who will be recorded are those who accept cookies from google... In which case they accept their searches to be matched up to 'them'.

You can google anonymously very easily, refuse cookies, use proxies, etc.. But somehow I don't think googling for song lyrics off the radio, or tech news, is going to have the proverbial poo hitting the proverbial fan anytime soon.

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Look after your own privacy.

Don't depend on regulators. Look after your own privacy.

Use:

Scroogle

http://www.scroogle.org/

to access Google search without leaving a trail.

For frequent use, it can be added to the search bar in IE:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-uk/default.mspx?dcsref=http://runonce.msn.com/runonce2.aspx

and Firefox:

http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html?name=scroogle&sherlock=yes&submitform=Search

If Google's practices irritate you, add 127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com to the hosts file and never see another Google add. For more information see:

Removing Google Ads Using the Windows Hosts File

http://www.techsupportalert.com/adsense_windows_hosts_file.htm

Finally, if you want to surf anonymously, use the free Tor network. Preconfigured browsers for this network include Torpark (based on Firefox) available at:

http://www.torrify.com/

and OperaTor (based on Opera) available at:

http://letwist.net/operator

I hope that this is useful for the paranoid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't worry - be happy

@ Tr0n

If only it were just the cookie question. At least for a while, Google will have the IP address of the person originating the search. And we know that our very own Safety Elephant (Mr Plod/Chales Clarke/John Reid/etc) has required that ISPs retain sufficient information to identify their subscriber using that IP address at the time of the search. Of course for those with fixed IP addresses (often the case with ADSL services) then that address is a super-cookie anyway.

Why are we scared? Because we do not trust the government or big business with all the information they collect about us, and are very likely to misuse, as soon as they have worked out how to.

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Don't be evil? Yeah. Right.

Trust Google? About as much as I'd trust a snake. Or Tony Blair.

Simply blocking Google's cookies is no help, a dynamic IP addy is of little help, and signing up for Google services like GMail or Groups is just asking for it.

The Tor / Privoxy combination is probably your best bet. It's probably also worth filtering the 'referrer' line in your browser header if you click through directly from Google to a site.

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Anonymous Coward

Me and the rest

So Google thinks I have multiple personalities - or have they the technology to detect who is actually using this machine at any particular time!

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