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back to article Google tells Congress it's not Phorm

Google wants you to know that in targeting online ads, it doesn't use Phorm-like deep packet inspection. But it still refuses to acknowledge its own massive threat to the privacy of humankind. Early last week, amidst the ongoing controversy over data tracking ad firms like Phorm and NebuAd, some Congressional big wigs asked …

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Why no HTTPS?

How come they don't offer encrypted version of their site? That way only Google and I know what I am searching about? Not only would it offer some level of privacy from Phorm using ISPs, but would it no make their advertisement more valuable since only they will have data on what I am searching for? Or would that be considered anti-competitive?

Anyways it's only a matter of time before encryption for everything takes hold thus rendering deep packet inspection a moot point. At worst they will know what sites you are visiting, but only the sites themselves will have a clue at what you actually looked at. I already use encryption for messenger, trying to get as many of my friends as I can to use it, I also encrypt e-mails whenever possible. I set FF not to keep history, clear cache and cookies as soon as it is closed, user noscript and adblock addons and generally do wtv I can to keep people out of my personal business, when I can of course.

It's only a matter of time before corporations catch on of the value of using completly encrypted http sessions.

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Anonymous Coward

In all fairness to google

most of their systems, allow for an opt out, or a history clear.

urchin tracker is an odd one though, that might be the Achilles' heel, though the irony is I used google to look up how Achilles was spelt :)

And of course they do keep the search terms, it is not so much private personal data, it is being privy to all the macro data, at any given time google has a fair impression what most people are thinking overall.

Sure, most of us could guess the big topics, but they can see many more than nearly any company on the planet, this is echelon and an early warning system all out there in the open. Respect to them, nice search engine, most of their projects are cool, and they use technology well, but the temptation for them to do evil must be huge.

I wonder what their internal data access setups are like, perhaps no one person or group owns the keys to all the data, but who knows could be like the San Francisco drama, there could be a few god key keepers wandering the corridors.

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Alien

Google Government Affairs ...... a Non-State Actor or Spooky Tool?*

"..we feel it important to state clearly and for the record that Google does not deliver advertising based on deep packet inspection," Google public policy and government affairs director Alan Davidson said in a letter..."

That would then suggest that Google are engaged in changing Preferences and ultimately also Perception with the Supply of Random Advertising? Although that would be most unlikely with it being more likely to be specifically targeted to Third Party Requirements/Executive Orders.

I think the Phorm Model of Future Supply based upon Virtual dDeep Packet Inspection XXXXtrapolation is the Better Beta Model, At least then, Customers/Societies would be more Likely to Get what they want rather than what somebody else, and an unknown IDEntity to Boot, wants to give them.

* A GIGgle AIModule.

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Spies, lies & controls

>ensuring that we can keep our users' trust is an essential constant for building the best possible products.<

Well since privacy looks to be the next big thing to hit the wayside, perhaps the corporations like BT, CW, Sky and Virgin Media should keep the above sentence as a company mantra.

I notice, from supermarket.com - another data gathering site, natch, that BT's stock is going down whilst Sky (not attached, as far as I know, to any phorm like spying) is rocketing upwards -

>According to its quarterly figures, Sky has added more than 200,000 new customers in the period from April-June compared to 103,000 for BT, 62,000 for O2 and 41,000 for Carphone Warehouse ... BT by contrast saw its share price slump when its 103,000 new subscribers were announced<

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Confused

Man Joseph you really care about privacy!

Never really understood the big deal. If google know my searching habits then they can give me better ads, that seems to be a plus to me?

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Anonymous Coward

Silence on analytics

The analytics script has always been the one that worries me with regard to data collection. Yet not a word about this.

As long as Google continues with its stance of 'does not correlate data regarding use across our products to offer advertising' I will rest a little easier.

For the rest, it is interesting that Google feels a need to obfuscate the unique cookie ID which could identify an individual. Will other users of unique cookie IDs follow suit?

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Black Helicopters

Soooo....

'Our users trust us'

Which two individuals would that be I wonder?

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Anonymous Coward

Google is planning to take over the world

They need to sort out (be forced by EU law?) their uber-cookie.

Now instead of expiring in 30 odd years it will expire a year after you stop using Google. Which for most people will be when the company folds. In which case you can guarantee they will sell and give out all the information before they have a chance to destroy it.

So in effect what they've done is made a cookie that never expires. Meanwhile, half of the computer users out there don't even know what a temporary cookie is, or the fact that Google saves everything they type in.

Also, it is not clear when using many sites internal search engines, that the enquiry goes through Google.

Lets face it, if Viacom got that ridiculous amount of information from Youtube then I don't see Google holding out much longer from other companies or governments. They might as well hand it over. Why did millions of pieces of irrelevant, private data concerning innocent people have to get passed on ???

If they wanted to know how many more people watched illegal videos versus legal ones, the total viewing number alone would be enough.

They are collecting too much information anyhow, without making it clear. Millions of people are using sites every day, 'agreeing' to terms and conditions they cannot see, let alone agree to. The information is being collected automatically without informing the user. Very personal information. Even if you do find a privacy policy or terms of use, it's likely to be extremely vague, and will undoubtably contain the phrase "we at _____ take your privacy VERY seriously" but it doesn't even matter because by then it's too late, and you either agree to the ridiculously invasive T+C and uber disclaimers on every site, or you basically do not go online at all.

The sites need regulated in regards to privacy and data collection.

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IT Angle

I know who I would trust

If advertising is going ahead I know who I would trust more between Googles method and Phorm DPI method.

Google are not on your Internet network giving you very little chance to avoid DPI.

Google do not intercept your browsing as soon as you type in an url.

You can sign in on google giving what persoanl data you wish or like me never auth just use the search.

Google do show which results in the search results are paid for adverts so you can choose if you wish to click on them.

Google didn't stealth into your ISPs network then become a front porch which you have to be strip searched every time you access the internet.

If you don't trust Google then you can not visit or use them but with DPI behavoural advertising you cannot it is out of your control and your privacy is on show to third party advertisers..

Just who would you trust?

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Happy

RE Confused

Yeah, and Joseph has also checked that his Mom's basement doesn't appear on Google Maps, otherwise The Man would know where his secret hideout is.....

/need icon for Bruce Willis's "Yippeekayah, muthaf*cker"....

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Pirate

There is a sneaky alternative...

Use SCROOGLE SCRAPER. Its made by some guy with a beef with google, but his animosity is others windfall.

It uses google as a search engine, strips out your data, and passes the results of the search on to you. Like a metaengine that only uses one search... sort of.

Give it a go.

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Pirate

Alexa

Isn't Alexa still buried in Internet Explorer. It sends every URL you browse to Alexa and you have no choice whether you use it.

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For the paranoid among us...

https://ssl.scroogle.org/

The "Customise Google" FF extension also has a very nice checkbox in the options: 'anonymize Google cookie.'

I don't think they're out to get me - I'm just prepared in case they change their mind. (",)

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Alternate

I like to load www.ask.co.uk as my default homepage as I feel it helps stop Google being the only search engine. You could do similar and use Yahoo or someone like that. Ask is similar to Google in that the front page does not take an hour and a half to load so it is a good homepage. I normally use google but set Ask as my homepage and load that every time I open my browser.

I don't want privacy issues to have an impact on my life but I feel this applies just as much in respect of going out of my way to avoid handing over details as it does with my data being handed over without my control.

This is really about the government taking control of the Internet.

RE- perhaps the EU should regulate... why do you think ISP's and other Internet organisations go to all the trouble of collecting your data in the first place? Are they trying to run a profit making company and is it free for them to collect and store your data and to buy and write and manage all of the software and to run all the datacentres required to support all of this data collection... I think not... so I conclude that the snooping is a result of regulation and is not going to be solved by additional regulation unless that regulation simply says that no data collecting facilities may exist anywhere on the Internet and that the only data collected must be handed over by the individual at the time of entry and with the users knowledge and consent. That will never happen.

I don't support the idea of 'nothing to hide, so why not' - mistakes will happen. You will be locked up for a crime you did not commit. You will lose your job, your wife, your home and your children while men from the Government probe your life looking for evidence to bang you up. If you are detained without notice and without charge then this scenario is entirely possible. If you really have nothing to hide then it will be assumed that you are trying to hide something and that you have deliberately covered your tracks. It will take them longer to investigate.

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"The bedrock

... of our privacy practices are three fundamentals: providing transparency, choice, and security."

Nu labouriouspeak is contagious.

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@amanfromMars

> I think the Phorm Model of Future Supply based upon Virtual dDeep Packet Inspection XXXXtrapolation is the Better Beta Model, At least then, Customers/Societies would be more Likely to Get what they want rather than what somebody else, and an unknown IDEntity to Boot, wants to give them.

Antennae up for Phorm then. But what do Them want? Choice is not permitted - only the illusion of choice from a hyperreal dropdown selection list. But were it not so, what a funny way it would be to provide Them with what they want - two subterfuges in cascade to arrive at the truth (Phorm and The Lie). Function composition involving functions with opposing side-effects is of course equivalent to redundancy. But double negation is not always equivalent to assertion in every logical system. Take your pick.

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Alien

Google is run by the Illuminati

Thought I would throw this one in for good measure.

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Anonymous Coward

Phorm - totally out of order

Sitting on an open plan loo in the courtyard of four blocks of flats gives more privacy than the Phorm's BT / DPI / WebWise interception of our data.

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Black Helicopters

What Google said was

that they do not deliver ads based on deep packet inspection.

They did not say that they aren't doing DPI.

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@Luther Blissett

"Nu labouriouspeak is contagious."

"Antennae up for Phorm then. But what do Them want? Choice is not permitted - only the illusion of choice from a hyperreal dropdown selection list. But were it not so, what a funny way it would be to provide Them with what they want - two subterfuges in cascade to arrive at the truth (Phorm and The Lie). Function composition involving functions with opposing side-effects is of course equivalent to redundancy. But double negation is not always equivalent to assertion in every logical system. Take your pick."

So is amanfromMarsspeak.

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Happy

@Tony Paulazzo

Sky might not be in bed with phorm, but I think they collect data on what you watch and when you watch it. They notice pretty quick if you unplug their phone connection - and get very upset if you don't plug it back in.. I'm guessing the data is valuable to them, so I wouldn't mind betting they sell it on in one form or another. Personally I already pay the BBC for TV, so I'm phucked if I'm gonna pay Murdoch for it too, but there's a great many people out there who can't seem to live without football/Jerry Bruckheimer/minder repeats and whatever else they spew through their n hundred channels of wank.

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@teacake

You confuse style and substance - a nu laborious win.

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Stop

re: Alexa

You sure you're not confusing IE with the Alexa toolbar? The latter *does* send every URL you visit to Alexa (well, duh) much like the googlebar sends your surfing habits to the Big G but there's never been phone-home-to-Alexa in vanilla IE - if there were, Alexa's rankings would be a lot more realistic...

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Alien

New Deal ...... Dealers Choice

"But what do Them want? Choice is not permitted - only the illusion of choice from a hyperreal dropdown selection list." ....... By Luther Blissett Posted Tuesday 12th August 2008 12:18 GMT

Au Contraire, Luther, for Choice is Provided from a hyperreal dropdown selection list.

And the Substance to accompany that Style is in ITs Base Key Algorithm for Virtual dDeep Packet Inspection XXXXtrapolation. And QuITe Rightly So, AI Trading Secret Worth an Absolute Mint ...... and to Any and All who would Contract Out for ITs License.

For FailSafe Product, Eat what you Deliver ensures Future FailSafe Delivery.

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Heart

Firefox + Google = HATE

Am I the only one who noticed that Firefox sends anything you type in the URL or search boxes to a third party URL for "Keyword Matching"? (default Google, only choice listed is Google, only way to disable it is to dig in About:config or a conf file)?

Of course there is also the pernicious evil of the Google spybar too. The one that is bundled with everything from the dammed Java VM to Walmart's adult diapers these days. Yeah, the same piece of crap that nagged me the last 18 updates I installed.

Of course this will be all a happy memory if Google Android wasn't looking more and more like 140proof FAIL.

How is it that the Birkenstock clad gurus of Silicon Valley were so easily swayed by these pie-eyed pipers?

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RW

What Google thinks ain't true

I used to have a couple of piss-poor blogs on blogger.com. I let them go dormant for a long while. When I went to update them, discovered they had been assimilated into Google & I had to set up a Google account to "reclaim" them.

I did so, "reclaimed", then immediately deleted the blogs, deleted the account, and made sure my browsers don't accept Google cookies.

So much for their users trusting them. At least *this* user.

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@Luther Blissett

"You confuse style and substance - a nu laborious win."

And you confuse buzzword-laden bollocks for a coherent argument.

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