back to article Googley TENTACLES reach towards YOUR email

Google is in talks to allow advertisers to target ads in search results using existing customers' email addresses, according to reports. The ad flinger has suggested that advertisers hand over customer information such as email addresses as part of moves to track users’ online and offline activities for marketing purposes, …

Anonymous Coward

Opt Out?

So when I contact a company about something, and I very carefully click their -

[ ] Do not contact me with marketing

[ ] Do not share my details with 'carefully selected third parties'

- check boxes, and inevitably find my email address gets added to their 'newsletter' anyway ...

...in the future they will also probably have given my personal details to Google, associated with products or services which I am probably not actually interested id.

33
1
Silver badge

Re: Opt Out?

That's not a problem.

Use one-time email addresses at your domains.

When they distribute your address against your will, you file a claim against them for damages.

I once had a company contact me to sell a very specific product. The email they sent to was one I'd only EVER given to a company selling that product, but both were completely different companies.

When I dug deeper, I got a very embarassed managing director admit to me that they'd "had an employee" take the customer database of the other company when they left them, they joined the new company, and they'd just spammed everyone in that database for custom.

I just passed it off to the ICO at that point.

16
1

Re: Opt Out?

Just don't use google's method of making unique email addresses using a '+', spammers figured that one out long ago.

4
1
Silver badge

Re: Opt Out?

Watch out for loopholes with that. I wouldn't put it past Google to try something like the following:

"They aren't sharing the email addresses. They are simply using our advertising API with your email address to generate ads you will be more interested in. This is initiated at their side and your data remains with the sole-party you have voluntarily shared it with".

Or similar technical dressing up the sharing of data as not actually be shared.

9
1
Happy

Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

Try Blur (the latest emanation of Adine's Do Not Track application).

It plugs into your web browser as per usual, but with some subtle differences which work much better than in previous versions.

Now, when a site asks for your email address, Blur very graciously creates a brand new email address (I suspect hosted by Adine, someplace) and inserts that email address instead. Mail sent to this masked email address is then forwarded to you (or not, as you choose). You can also see who is using that email address, how often it is used and then decide when to stop receiving mail from it.

The site you signed up with will never, ever see your "real" email address or store it in their records. And you can TURN OFF THIS FORWARDING WHENEVER YOU WANT.

Down right elegant, if you ask me. No more creating and trying to remember those throwaway mail addresses, wondering who is using what and where, worrying about who stole that company's email database, etc. Life on the internet just became good again.

They also mask credit card details during purchases, mask and store your site passwords, block tracking cookies and do various other wondrous things should you care to pay for the subscription, something I might actually do as I learn to love it more.

Hopefully, it will be a good little while before garden variety scammers and spammers figure out how to counter these new tricks.

So you can officially color me an unabashed Blur fanboi. I suggest that true paranoids also use a throwaway destination email address for Blur, just in case.

So definitely try Blur, it is mostly free and works a lot better than DNT, which I previously found a bit buggy and resource hungry.

2
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

Can you reply to a "blurred" email and still hide your real email address? That's one of the issues I have now with my own domain email account. I set up a unique address for each site but if I get an incoming email that's legit and needs a reply, my stupid Exchange server won't allow me to reply using that address - it will only allow the "primary" Exchange account address as a sender, so the whole "staying anonymous" thing breaks quickly.

If Blur lets you maintain a conversation using the blurred address, I'm all in. (And if anyone has suggestions for email services other than Exchange that allow you to use different sender addresses and still use Outlook - yeah, I know - then those suggestions would be welcome.)

1
2

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

"Try Blur"

Hiding behind an Anonymous login to promote that piece of shit that Blur is, isn't going to fly.

Read the reviews, it will spam you mercylessly until you dish out your first born - and all your personal details.

Also a nice try in bad mouthing Do Not Track, the predescesor.

So, Anonymous Coward, stop pissing about and tell us who you REALLY work for. Adine right?

Holy crap, what a surprise.

5
1
Happy

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

To the AC

AFAIK Blur won't anonymize your outgoing email, it will only prevent harvester sites from gathering your "real" email address at registration time.

The other problem you describe sounds more like an issue with the local Exchange configuration than Blur. Alias addresses (or alternate reply addresses) should be available for pseudo-masked comms, I'd suggest talking to your Exchange admin to find a solution, if possible.

Still haven't used Blur with a site requiring email confirmation (I only installed it a few days ago) but you raise an interesting question. I don't see any reason why Blur could not manage a masked anonymous response, The only real risk is that the originating responder address will remain visible in the mail trail. To avoid that, Blur would need to become a proxy mail sender by receiving the email and then resending it from the "fake" address. That seems a little outside of its current remit as a free privacy tool but is clearly doable.

My quick and dirty solution would be to just use a throwaway responder address as the Blur forwarding destination and then keep that for any future two-way correspondence. For the rest of it, it sounds like quite a good product enhancement request.

So I don't think Blur is the ideal solution for sending anonymous or pseudo-anonymous email, it's more of a privacy tool for use with untrusted parties desperately seeking your email address (i.e., most of them).

1
2

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

Sorry but the predecessor for Blur is DNT and No I do not work for Adine, I am merely expressing my experiences and opinions with different generations of the same product. But by all means do fly off the handle, it helps to keep the Reg forums interesting and lively. For the record I have yet to feel any spam impact and would love to see these reviews you talk about so mercilessly. How about some links?

2
1

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

@ John Tserkezis

I'm going to ignore Blur, as it sounds like you need to give them all your details too. But that guy was just saying he liked the product, I don't see why that's bad, it's his opinion.

Also, he didn't post annonymous, his handle is "(AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward". Easy to misread if you're in a rush to lay blame.

Chill out.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: Opt Out?

But you didn't opt-out of the new data sharing options created each month afterwards.

[X] Share my data with premium partnerships

[X] Subscribe to new Features magazine

[X] Share my story with other customers

[X] Something something rabid marketing something something

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Opt Out? Oh, but you can.

> (And if anyone has suggestions for email services other than Exchange that allow you to use different sender addresses and still use Outlook - yeah, I know - then those suggestions would be welcome.)

My ISP (Westnet) allows any email. I have my domain forward mail to google and pick it up via imap, which should work with Outlook too. KMail works fine, MacMail (Snow Leopard) too. If you've configured the sender address, both the latter options auto-select it for replies. As long as I authenticate the SMTP session (when out and about and not using my Westnet link), there's no problem and it doesn't do a google, "sent on behalf of..." either.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Opt Out?

"That's not a problem.

Use one-time email addresses at your domains."

Would be nice if it worked. Unfortunately in the Real World, if you're using a domain from one of the several available disposable addresses (shark-lasers.com, etc) they don't accept your email address any more. :(

0
0
Silver badge

As opting out tends to be hit and miss; maybe it will soon be time to use throwaway email addresses with each suppler.

4
0
Silver badge

That time arrived many years ago. I registered an extra domain and now have a different e-mail address for every activity (e.g. tesco@fec-off.org.uk, stalkerbook97@fec-off.org.uk) - well worth the few quid a year that a domain costs.

7
0
Silver badge

You can do something similar even without your own domain. Add a + at the end of the local part.

For example, messages sent to jane.doe+notes@gmail.com are delivered to jane.doe@gmail.com

2
1
Anonymous Coward

@Joe Harrison - + sign "not valid" everywhere :(

Unfortunately there are still lots of places around with broken email systems that don't accept "+" sign as being a valid character in email. Even though they're supposed to.

Dassault Systems (the French company) is a prime example. A client was interesting in their high-end manufacturing software... and Dassault Systems couldn't add his email address into their system. Not even manually. ;)

They client is now working with Siemens (competitor to Dassault Systems) and close to signing (million $ deal). All because of someone wrote a crap email validator.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

someone wrote a crap email validator.

why oh why oh why do (some) developers insist on reinventing the wheel. And then discover what they have in fact, invented, is a square wheel of no use to man not beast.

It's not as if there aren't thousands of existing RFC-compliant email address validation regex routines around. Tried and tested. And free.

Many years ago, (2003) I worked on an application that one day wouldn't allow a customer to register. Turned out customer had an apostrophe in their email address (think Jacko'alltrades@domain.org). When it was flagged to the development team, their first response was "that's not a valid email address". When I suggested they check the RFC, the next response was "what's an RFC ?". To which my response was "RFCs are what I worked on when I was at Uni."

4
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: @Joe Harrison - + sign "not valid" everywhere :(

what would they make of this - valid - email address ?

"()<>[]:,;@\\\"!#$%&'*+-/=?^_`{}| ~.a"@example.org

5
0
Bronze badge

Re: @Joe Harrison - + sign "not valid" everywhere :(

has little bobby drop tables got an email account? enquiring minds want to know.

1
2
Linux

google eats itself...

That's why I have a gmail account so that google can send email to itself , which I can then ignore.

I love the fact that spam is so tasty. Even when the ISP sends it, my Thunderbird is always hungry...

P.

6
1
Anonymous Coward

Not a real problem

since I am using microblock - ublock.

I can see how this will work. If a registered google user is logged in, they can compare a registered user's email address with the email address registered by the advertiser. I can see some privacy issues. I am not interested in letting Google know where I am shopping and I am not interested in letting advertisers see what I am searching.

2
0
Silver badge

This would probably be illegal...

The question is Google's relationship with the retailers.

Are they 'partners' so that when a site says that they won't sell your information but will share it with their partners, what does that mean.

Suppose you give them an address to complete and track the transaction.

If they pass it on to Google, does that violate their privacy policy?

3
0
Silver badge

Google

is slowly but surely setting itself up for an enormous fall from grace as more folks just get pissed off with having their data and wishes to keep it safe ignored....

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Google

Not with all the services they provide with no viable substitutes...

1
1

We are Google

we are the keepers of puny monkey apes and all available future knowledge. We own you and all you do and think. We own your DNA. At the appropriate time we will flip the switch and your new robot overlords will tell you where to go for submitting to reconstruction. All hail the motherboard.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Here's a review about Blur from PCMag.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2473654,00.asp

1
1
Silver badge
Joke

Isn't there a rival product

called "Oasis" ?

1
0

Re: Isn't there a rival product

If you really know what you're talking about though, you use Pulp.

1
0

Re: Isn't there a rival product

Thanks for the heads up.

I googled pulp and all I got was a link for the common people.

Obviously you are not a spammer. Or at least, not a very good one.

In the meantime, I will stick with Blur. It is free, easy to install, and seems to work very well. My whitelist has never been so white since I started using 'Blur', not for the common people. Try it, see what you think, and if you don't like it, have double your money back. That's right cheapsters! Double of what you paid, which was the sweet sum of fuck all. Can't say fairer than that.

Hopefully it will just give up the ghostery when it gets over the hump. T'would be a shame to see it embarrassing itself on a public forum (latest jools holland).

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Isn't there a rival product

"My whitelist has never been so white since I started using 'Blur'" *

*Brought to you by Abine, the makers of Blur. A commercial organisation existing definitely, 100%-ly purely, just for your benefit. We definitely, 100%-ly, are double-good pure double-nice-people, and wouldn't repeatedly request your info if it wasn't "for your benefit" (really though → so we can sell it to external organisations for them to fuck you over).

0
0

Re: Isn't there a rival product

I was trying to be funny.

I see I failed at that.

That's ok.

I installed Blur, but I have nothing invested in them apart from giving it a try.

It seems like a lot of people are not very impressed with it.

I don't work for this company for fuck's sake - a quick look at my posts will tell you that.

In the future I will be a lot more careful about the pitiful jokes I make.

I'm going to uninstall this software, even though I'm not sure why I should. Maybe I should check my email.

Oh well.

1
0

I'm using my Yahoo address for anyone or anything I don't know. If it gets immediately spammed, I know thereby to not use that company again. I look at my Yahoo a couple of times per week and do five minutes of mass deletions. Easy-peasy. I also run CCleaner after every excursion to anyplace that might want to spam me. Good-bye cookies... good-bye Adobe objects, etc. I only use my other e-mail addresses for places and people who have demonstrated by their actions that they don't spam me. Result: my regular e-mail is spam-free. Oh yeah, and I'm using Duck Duck Go with Privacy Badger running. Works a treat!

1
0
Happy

Hmmm.....

I also liked the common people joke, nice one

Their ad money was clearly well spent.

However, in the interest of due diligence and in defense of Blur (it has been a week now).

Google/my rules already do a pretty good job, So I only had to check about 20 Spam mail headers. Verdict: no noticeable change in one week.

1) Found nothing in my spam folder sent to anything other than my real address (i.e. nothing forwarded from any blur made-up address),

2) Found no new mails from sites I signed up to with Blur, but I am pretty careful about sign ups anyway.

3) Found no new spam in my inbox.

4) My credit card hasn't been scammed yet, but I would feel uncomfortable using this CC feature anyway, so I don't

Hence, I don't believe Blur is designed to capture and sell my address to Viagra pushers, at least not this week.

Although someone could hack the Adine DB and steal all those lovely address forwards, they would just be sending mail to paranoid gits like me. We and Google would simply label it as spam. Not a very tempting target, although the CC numbers could be.

Adine could quickly nuke the compromised email addresses or use them for post-hack forensics, Sounds like a lose-lose for the DB thieves, at least to me.

So I still use Blur, for now. But YMMV.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018