They can keep their kool-aid, thanks all the same.
Google will soon be interrogating its users' Gmail, Google Calendar and Google+ accounts to try and predict the questions they enter into Google Search, bringing the Chocolate Factory's Now functionality into the mainstream. The personalised search is being rolled out slowly, with the US getting it first, but it will respond …
It does seem to have led to more irrelevance, yes. Especially if you happen to be looking for something completely outside of your usual interests. I want things that are relevant to the phrase I've put in the box, not things that might be relevant because someone I follow on Google+ posted about them.
I'm still mourning the loss of the AND (+) operator in search though, I just can't seem to narrow the results down nearly as quickly since they got rid of that (it's been a while now too).
> "Just use double quotes around the terms. That'll AND them."
> no it doesn't, it just makes them search for the specific string enclosed by your quotes.
Actually, it does both things at the same time. Quotes can be used to group individual words into a single search string, and they also make a search term *required* - even for single words. It's not exactly AND (and never was IIRC), it's more of a statement of importance.
It was google's specific advice, to use quotes around search terms, when they changed the + to be google-plus specific.
What I've been feeling lately is that, I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
There is no realistic scope of significant privacy in this respect, especially being based in the UK. Running my own email server is virtually no benefit, as emails are sent in the clear in almost all situations, always to US or UK based accounts. It's just not practical to get all your correspondents to use PGP or whatever, so whilst there's some advantages to using my own email server, in all likelihood all communication is going to get scanned anyway, and I'm pretty sure I've used enough trigger words that they'd get intercepted and stored by GCHQ/NSA.
So if everything I do is going to get scanned, analysed, and correlated to NO benefit to me, why don't I let everything I do get analysed in a way that IS beneficial to me, by opening myself up to Google Now. It is incredibly convenient in ways you never expect.
It strikes me as far more logical to take all the benefits that I can, rather than crippling my internet functionality for an illusionary increase in privacy.
When I CAN guarantee total privacy in what I do online, I'll jump at it, but for the moment, I don't see what I've got to lose.
"So if everything I do is going to get scanned, analysed, and correlated to NO benefit to me, why don't I let everything I do get analysed..."
You are "giving away an essential liberty in exchange for" a fucking set of virtual gizmos that at most will save you 10 minutes a day, you muppet!.
We should all consider our duty to make the snooping process as expensive and difficult as is humanly possible. That way the spooks and their masters will need to choose between two options:
- Going after everyone's data -as they are doing now- and going bankrupt as a result.
- Choosing carefully their targets -e.g. real terrorists, paedos, narcs and spies- and stop screwing with honest citizens and their rights.
Obviously, in order to work, the second option requires the intelligence agencies involved to have some degree of intelligence. :-(
That's my instinct, I'll admit!
But short of going totally off-grid, I can't see how you're not ALWAYS giving away those essential liberties anyway. We're too far down this line already.
In terms of Google Now, one of the main things is how it collates your emails with your location. Given that your emails are guaranteed to be intercepted, and we already know your location is being tracked for the security services via your phone company, it makes little difference from a privacy perspective whether or not you're using something like Google Now. If they want, they're already able to easily mine all that data regardless.
At present, I've yet to see how we can effectively make it "as expensive and difficult as is humanly possible", in a way that isn't making it incredibly difficult and inconvenient for us to use the internet.
Most techniques I can see mirror TOR's limitations:
Very effective if used in a strictly controlled fashion, but the security/privacy benefits fall apart when you want to do something flexible.
At present, I've yet to see how we can effectively make it "as expensive and difficult as is humanly possible"
1- Don't use American hosting/cloud companies. This has the added benefit of putting the USA gov under pressure from their own IT companies to stop this nonsense.
2-Don't use 'The Cloud' unless you have no other option. If you do, make sure your provider is in a country where laws protect privacy, and those laws are enforced. I don't doubt They can access that data, but it will take them more time and resources, and put them in a bigger risk.
3- If your contacts don't have PGP installed, point them to instructions on how to install and set it up. For those who have it, exchange the keys using some alternative method.
4- Even if your contacts don't use PGP, you can send them binary files encrypted and compressed with WinZip or some similar tool. Send the passwords by an alternate method (a voice call or a text message, or a handwritten note wherever possible). This is not 'unbreakable' by far, but again they will need more resources and time to access your data.
4- Don't blabber about your private life or the private life of your friends and family in social sites.
5- Don't keep location services for your phone/slab always on.
6- If you are an IT professional, try to make sure your customers know of the privacy/security issues. Making PGP mandatory inside a company is a good starting point.
7- [This space left intentionally blank for your own methods :^) ]
If we all gave this a honest try, surveillance would turn much more expensive and less rewarding for the spooks.
And please take in account that by doing this we are protecting democracy and freedom.
The problem with your list that I can see is that if you follow it, and take other similar actions to avoid interception of your internet use, you risk inviting greater scrutiny, as your behaviour could be profiled as terrorist / paedo / naughty.
Not saying it is right in any way, but it seems to me that we are rapidly heading towards a situation where any attempt to keep data private (particularly email and phone conversations, and web browsing habits) , will automatically be flagged as suspicious.
I notice that certain sections of the UK press have cottoned on to the use of the Tor network, and have labelled it "a tool of paedos".
It would not surprise me if we soon see calls for knee-jerk legislation to try and block anonymising services, VPNs and encryption software.
"...will automatically be flagged as suspicious."
That's what they want us to think, because attacking the privacy of a security-aware citizen is orders of magnitude more expensive. If a big enough percentage of internet users takes these security measures, the spooks will either have to change their methods or expend insane amounts of money to continue with their fishing expeditions.
If a big enough percentage of internet users takes these security measures, the spooks will either have to change their methods or expend insane amounts of money to continue with their fishing expeditions.
...or make them illegal. That seems to be the easy route.
No, it isn't. That's you being paranoid delusional. Nobody wants us to think anything, they're just trying to get their job done as best they can. Any attempt to second-, double- or triple-guess what "people will think" is SO doomed to failure that nobody wastes any tmie on it.
"The problem with your list that I can see is that if you follow it, and take other similar actions to avoid interception of your internet use, you risk inviting greater scrutiny, as your behaviour could be profiled as terrorist / paedo / naughty."
Unless lots of people are doing it.
And honestly, if various three-letter agencies want to waste their resources spying on little old me... good. The more resources they waste, the better.
Trouble is that with the way Internet works now, that app will blabber about your medical condition to insurance companies, banks and whoever might want to discriminate you or extort more money from you based on your medical condition.
This is the situation that really pisses me off. I don't mind at all giving Google my account details when required by my Android tablet, heck they already have my password. Problem is Android stores these credentials and then each and every application I decide to install feels free to use this information.
That's fine for you, but all Google Now is for me is a fucking annoying swipe action on the home key that gets hit accidentally far too many times.
Fortunately, as I found out here, there's apps to stop that from happening, even if they are a bit hacky and just override the home-key-swipe action with a null.
Between the dull everyday meaningless rubbish that is much of what is shared on FarceBook and Tweeting and the evermore intrusive personal data mining that is Google (and many others) in the not too far distant future there will be no such thing as personal privacy for any but the odd Kalahari Bushman who has never been within a hundred miles of a PC or Smartphone and even his days could be numbered once there is an antelope tracking app.
If you add to and extend Google search to its ultimate potential what you will have is a virtual nanny, something that will pervade every aspect of your life to help you to 'Maximise' it.
When and what to buy to eat , where to eat it and how to eat it and then subsequently when where and how to go to the toilet and how to eliminate what you have eaten and all that in consumerist terms diguised as being for your own good, all of which will be linked to your personal consumerism and shared by everyone subscribing to that information in order to sell something to you.
I can't begin to imagine where it will all end, luckily having been born when there was a king in the UK; I probably won't get to see the final outcome.
Who's whingeing? I am making a comment that I think is relevant to the rights that all people should have. ie a measure of privacy and the reasonable expectation that all one does and says is not just sold on to 3rd parties so that they can clutter up our lives with evermore useless advertising for products we can make our own decisions about without their virtues being extolled on every web page we open.
I am quite sure there is little that is interesting about me but the point is about rights not who or what I am.
There are so many uses information can be put that is not beneficial to the individual that I object to it's storage, Oh hold on! if I'm doing nothing bad I have nothing to worry about; Is that right?
I am guessing you are one of the FarceBook generation that feels driven to inform the entire world when you have had a successful trip to the toilet! Well good for you! if that is what rocks your boat but for me I consider that no-ones business but my own.
And more people need to remember privacy is not secrecy (@JDX). When with friends, if I leave the dinner table enter the WC and lock the door, everyone knows what I'm doing. It's no secret. But it is private.
People need to remember, with Google, you are the product, and they will always be tempted to want to sell your private data.
Check their privacy terms and they say:
"We do not share personal information with companies, organisations and individuals outside Google unless one of the following circumstances applies:
- With your consent
- With domain administrators
- For external processing
- For legal reasons
And give an explanation of each of those things (I have omitted for brevity) under each heading.
But the explanation under "for external processing" is as follows:
Ask any lawyer; That wording is a get out that overrides the apparent self imposed restrictions of the other bullet points. They can define "affiliate" how they want (they don't provide a legal glossary definition in the doc as you normally would for key terms). So if they simply email data to another company with a confidentiality notice, they could claim that is sufficient by their definition to define that company as an affiliate! They can define "processing for us" as broadly as they like and they can make "based on our instructions" as limited (and near meaningless) as they like. so even the request "tell me how it goes." In an email could be argued sufficient as to establish the company who have been sent the data are processing it for Google (that company processing it for themselves is NOT excluded). I'm not saying they would interpret the doc to this extreme (though if pushed in a legal corner they might), I'm pointing out, it is defined to protect them, whilst charading as self imposed limits protecting the user.
For me this is the very definition of disingenuous. They have allowed themselves to do pretty much what they want with your private data while dressing it up as a user privacy protection document.
– though that has been getting more difficult in recent years."
What's Google got that anyone needs to log in for? I must be one of those odd people who don't leap at the chance to upvote or downvote comments on YouTube or get personalised tumbleweeds on Google+.
If you use gmail then you're automatically logged into google. So the answer to "What's Google got that anyone needs to log in for?" could simply be "gmail"
And Drive (Docs) of course, which is a decent tool. And Picassa (if it's still around).
If you use Android just opening the youtube application once. Automatically does load of stuff (Like sign you up to a weekly email for no reason that you have to turn off).
Everytime you start maps it tries to get you to reenable your search history.
To get verbatim enabled by default it is very annoying. Need to edit the firefox google xml and add :
<Param name="tbs" value="li:1"/>
(Then I changed all the .com's to .co.uk) damn annoying though.
http://pastebin.com/X5aJcuFH (As much for myself as anyone else it was a pita to do).
It gets rid of all that we think you really meant something totally different.
(Windows 8 Mail Client was working flawlessly with activesync until some unknown technical error that I think was deliberate messed it up for me. My work email is still done properly - (procmail and mutt)).
Other than the fact I'm doing it through the Google home-page, what's the story here? I'm not giving Google more info than they already have, and this isn't letting other people search my stuff. It's just a convenient way to let me search across data with multiple Google products, which Google already knows about me.
So, it's not much good if your photos are on Facebook and your flight details in Evernote.
But that is, of course, beside the point.
On the contrary, that is exactly the point, both from Google's perspective and the savvy user's perspective.
Google wants you to use their apps to get this kind of search, and the savvy user doesn't need a search engine to find information if he knows where he stored it to begin with.
Google wants you to use their apps to get this kind of search, and the savvy user doesn't need a search engine to find information if he knows where he stored it to begin with.
The thing is the savvy user is not the average user (AU). Your standard, bog level AU will dump everything in one folder, with no sort of naming conventions or any way to tell one file from the other, and then use this handy offering to work it all out. The AU is quite lazy about this sort of stuff, and that is exactly what Google uses to their advantage. As with spam and other unwelcome internet services, it's a numbers game.
"When and where is my husband's next meeting with his mistress?"
"How much did Joe Bloggs really make last year?"
"Where is all the illicit money stashed?"
Priest (with an eye on a nice donation after confession):
"What sins did Mr. Bloggs commit over his entire lifetime?"
"Did Mr. Jobs recycle correctly over the past month?"
Between you, Microsoft, and any one of their numerous "advertising partners", amongst other gotchas. Don't dare swallow the Microsoft bullshit. They're the equivalent of the snotty little brat looking all innocent while they tell on the next kid who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Never mind that they filched the entire contents last week.
Duck Duck Go already went for me. I truly appreciate what they're doing, but the results simply aren't as useful as Google's.
Even with the overall drop off in quality of Google searches they've still got the best search offering out there. As long as that remains the case people will keep lining up to give Google all their information.
Ah here we go with the usual "selling your data" bollocks - I really don't understand how generally technically IT literate people can suddenly turn into morons at the drop of the hat.
To "sell your data" implies that they exchange your data for money - but that just doesn't happen, what actually happens is they provide advertisers with a way to target potential customers with a fine grained set of options, the advertisers however never ever actually see your data - Google processes your information and shows you an advert if the data they have on you matches the specified options for the advert.
If you really believe actual real people are sifting through your personal information, giggling at some photos that were taken of you while you were drunk, I'd strongly advise that you unplug from the internet and choose a profession outside the IT industry.
"... IT literate people can suddenly turn into morons at the drop of the hat."
Sure, but I'd rather be a private moron than a public one. I doubt any posters here believe an actual person is sifting data, but in some ways that would be preferable to ones habits and peculiarities being categorized by flawed (nothing is perfect) algorithms. Habits and peculiarities that could come back to bite you in the ass, if for example the state, an employer, or even (hypothetically) another citizen takes a dislike to you.
When you stick stuff into Facebook it (largely but within some constraints) becomes public. Your friends and future employers may well have access to it.
What I don't get is all this talk about Google's data being used the same way (unless you're talking about stuff posted to G+, which is like Facebook except there's less chance anyone will bother looking).
If Google knows a lot about me, then I can expect the US and probably UK authorities to know a lot about me too. That is wrong, not least because of the lack of transparency, although unless I put an air gap between my stuff and the Internet and don't use a phone or drive a car then they know plenty already. But where is this leap to future employers knowing this stuff?
Nobody is suggesting that anyone can go to www.google.co.uk and search for "embarrassing things that Katie Saucey got up to in the past 20 years" and expect to get back any of the stuff you haven't shared on Facebook or similar.
It's like saying you shouldn't tell your doctor about an embarrassing problem because you don't want your employer or other citizens finding out.
Google's business model may well include putting adverts from erectile dysfunction companies in front of me if I mention in an email my performance was under par last night. It means I'm shown information (adverts) from those who might be able to "help" (sell me something). It does not mean that the advertiser knows who I am, unless I click on the advert and give them my details. It's about Google putting adverts in front of me that I'm more likely to click on so they get paid, and the data they've mined for that purpose is incredibly valuable to them and they're not going to share it with anyone (without a warrant, anyway).
Oh, and I don't care that their robot misunderstood my comment in the email and jumped to an incorrect conclusion. I simply don't click on the ad.
One of my pet complaints about smartphones (in general, and Android in particular) is that the calendar is next to useless. One of many issues that bug me is that yes, occasionally I'd like to check when my next meeting with Mr. Snowden is, or when Jane's party (the one she told me about last week and I noted in the calendar on the spot) is in September.
The problem is, (a) I do not sync my calendar with Google and I won't start just to search for appointments; (b) I just want to search the calendar, not the whole Internet, and I definitely do not want my calendar information be taken into account when I search for something unrelated - at work, with a coworker who has not been invited to Jane's party looking over my shoulder, or at a customer site where Mr. Clapper may notice that I have an upcoming appointment with his competitor Mr. Snowden.
Unfortunately, it looks like Android calendars will never be searchable without syncing to "not evil" servers. The functionality I need will not arrive. Ever.
Countless times has my work colleague from the other desk turn to me complaining about something he couldn't find with Google only to have me tell him it's on the top of the first bloody page of results. The difference is, he doesn't have the various different settings of personalized / localized / ultra-mega-relevantized search turned off, while I most certainly do.
I can remember, a long time ago, having a customer call me and ask if I knew how to do ______. I opened http://www.google.com and entered a couple of search terms (several times) and came up with an answer. I then had the customer do the same (skipping all of the not-quite-right searches in the middle.) I was then able to tell them to click on the 3rd search result (because I knew that their results would be identical to mine.) This did two things: 1) got them the results they were looking for and 2) showed them how to use google search.
Today, I don't even get the same results if I search the same strings from two separate locations. Thanks a whole lot, Google!
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019