Tag Archives: Private Browsing

Screen Blogging: A Voluntary Loss of Privacy

12 Nov

Credit: practical_owl

Snooping has gone high-tech.

As a regular contributor to Network World, blogger “Ms. Smith” recently examined people who hand over their privacy voluntarily for the sake of productivity. Apparently there is a whole class of internet users who feel that they maintain more control of their privacy by having none at all, leaving nothing to be exploited. Smith adds that there is now a site for these types called Snoopon.me which allows the user’s social circle to see screen shots of their activities that are taken in ten minute intervals. The “trails” of images then allow others to get the gist of what someone is doing on their computer and then berate or congratulate them on their hard work accordingly.

If you’re looking for a little embarrassment or externally imposed discipline, check out Snoopon.me, or read more at Network World or Lifehacker.

Amazon’s 3G Kindle leaps ‘Great Firewall of China’

1 Nov

According to yahoo news, the Kindle, an eBook reader developed by Amazon, can circumvent China’s firewall and allow citizens access to the entire internet.

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked by the Beijing authorities, can be accessed without interference by the Kindle’s Internet browsing function, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

The device was smuggled into China after being shipped to an offshore location nearby. They are now being sold on Taobao, China’s answer to eBay, and are reportedly selling like hotcakes. Sales are being helped along by the Chinese blogging community, who recommend the device.

“And then I quickly tried Facebook, and it perfectly presented itself. Am I dreaming? No, I pinched myself and it hurt.”

For those wondering if it is too good to be true, you have a right to be skeptical. While the Kindle does allow unincumbered internet access, each user of the device has an account registered to them, so data collected on users can be traced back to them.

It won’t take long for China to demand the information under threats to ban the device, especially because other countries have started a precident.

“CrackBerry” addicts in the United Arab Emirates will have to feed their BlackBerry addiction in some other manner as the government has issued a ban on smartphones from Research in Motion beginning October 11. – “Blackberry Banned in UAE,” pocketnow.com

The government said they would lift the ban under a number of conditions, including gaining access to data originating in their country.

The question is, how long will it take China to catch on and follow suite?

News Flash: Facebook collects data

22 Oct

A recent uproar has been made on capital hill recently about privacy concerns on Facebook. Particularly, third party applications, mostly games, and advertiser are collecting and using data on the users to target them in advertisements, despite Facebooks own TOS…

What implications does this have for the average user? Well, in reality, to Facebook users, this really is not a new concept. Facebook nearly does this exact same thing with its targeted advertising services. The only difference is that these third party applications are doing it. But we had to ask, is a third party having this data any more dangerous?


Google’s WiFi Whopsie

20 Oct

Google Maps implemented their Street View program in May of 2007, however they have been quietly combing streets since taking photos since 2006. In that time, they have been doing a little more than just taking photos of our streets.

It’s no secret, in fact, in March of this year, Google spilled the beans in a tell it all apology letter, a shocking move. In the Letter, Google admitted that they had collected data, albeit unintentionally:

“But it’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.”

What had happened was that the software which was programmed to collect Network ID’s (SSID), and MAC IDs of network hardware off of non-encrypted networks, also ended up collecting a bunch of information that was being transfered over the network. They called this Data “Payload Data”. You can read the lengthy report on how and why the data was collected in a PDF put together by the firm which did the investigation, Stroz Friedberg.


14 Oct

It is no secret that Google retains its user’s information and uses it at later time and dates. This is one of the social norms that many people have adapted to and ultimately given Google the power of a watchful eye on their everyday searches. Scroogle is a web service that privatizes and protects a search and even goes as far as blocking the IP address from which the search originated. Scroogle gives its users the same results for searches just on a cleaner background with less traffic. The web service has been taken down a few times but has the potential to prosper as the basic fundamentals of this service work and if it works then with a few modifications it will most likely triumph in the battle against big brother.

Eric Schmidt on Colbert

22 Sep

Last night, popular satirist Stephen Colbert had Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO on in a goofy, Colbert style interview. About 5 min in length, check out how well spoken Schmidt is.

At 30 seconds in, he claims that Google does not “Datamine” its users data. At 50 seconds in, he says that Google actually “forgets” user data, and has to according to many countries laws. Interestingly, he does not say that the United States has such a law.

Schmidt claims that Google does not collect data on users, it simply prowls the web to calculate page rank, which is the backbone of the search engine.

At about 2:50 into the interview, Stephen Colbert brings up a statement that Schmidt made about people being able to change their name and escape their past. Schmidt pauses and says: “It was a joke.”

Remember how he said Google didn’t collect data on its users? At 3:43 he says they collect the data, everything we put on the internet!

Now, Schmidt redeems himself at about 4 min in, he says: “We actually think privacy is pretty important”. He says that Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil”.

Watch it yourself:

Video courtesy of gawker.tv.

VIDEO: How to delete cookies and browsing history

14 Sep

Note: deleting cookies from your web browser will not delete data websites have already collected on you. Some websites, like Google, will give you error messages if cookies are blocked.

Private browsing keeps someone who is using your computer from viewing your browsing history. It does not keep your data secure from websites.

What Exactly Is “Private” Browsing?

11 Sep

I may not speak for everyone but when I think of Private Browsing I get the idea that I can surf the web and leave no digital trail.  Well that’s not completely true, especially after taking this class, but I assumed that I’d be protected from everyone but the superpowers like Google, Facebook etc . . .

And if you thought like I did you’d be wrong.  According to recent studies conducted by researchers at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon universities, they’ve found that Private Browsing still leaves a data trail that can be tracked.  Through some simple researching on Cookies and looking at the Cache you can easily piece together where you had been during your so called “Private” Browsing session.  In their summary they also came to find that many add-ons don’t have the private browsing code so it’s like you never left regular browsing when it comes to the history of the add-ons. (more…)