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    France Administrator Hervé's Avatar
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    Default Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Google's Chrome web browser "has become spy software"

    Tyler Durden ZeroHedge
    Mon, 24 Jun 2019 04:15 UTC

    Google's Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it "looks a lot like surveillance software."

    Fowler has since switched to Mozilla's Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine.
    My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker "cookies" that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

    Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service's log-in pages.

    And that's not the half of it.

    Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you're logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads. Don't recall signing in? I didn't, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. -Washington Post


    © Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post

    When you use Chrome, signing into Gmail automatically logs in the browser to your Google account. When “sync” is also on, Google receives your browsing history.

    Meanwhile, Chrome is even worse when it comes to mobile devices - reporting the precise location of Android users unless location sharing is turned off, in which case it will send out your rough coordinates.

    Cookie monsters
    According to one study, tracking cookies from third-parties are on 92% of websites. The Washington Post, for example, uses around 40 - which the company said is "average for a news site," and says they are designed to deliver better-targeted ads and track ad performance.

    But cookies can also be found on websites with no advertising.
    Both Aetna and the FSA service said the cookies on their sites help measure their own external marketing campaigns.

    The blame for this mess belongs to the entire advertising, publishing and tech industries. But what responsibility does a browser have in protecting us from code that isn't doing much more than spying? -Washington Post
    Mozilla to the rescue?
    For the past four years or so, Firefox browser has had a built-in anti-tracking feature for the past four or so years in its "private" browsing mode. Earlier this month, Mozilla activated this feature for normal browsing mode. While ads will still appear, Firefox is now separating cookies in real time to determine which ones are required for a website to function correctly, and which ones are simply spies.

    Apple began to block cookies on their Safari mobile browser starting in 2017, using an algorithm the company calls "intelligent tracking protection."

    Chrome, meanwhile, continues to welcome cookies onto your computer and phone with open arms. That said, the company announced last month that it would require third-party cookies to better identify themselves, which will supposedly allow them to apply better controls. That said, the company did not offer The Post a timeline or say whether it would employ default tracking blockers.
    I'm not holding my breath. Google itself, through its Doubleclick and other ad businesses, is the No. 1 cookie maker - the Mrs. Fields of the Web. It's hard to imagine Chrome ever cutting off Google's moneymaker. -Washington Post
    "Cookies play a role in user privacy, but a narrow focus on cookies obscures the broader privacy discussion because it's just one way in which users can be tracked across sites," according to Chrome's director of product management, Ben Galbraith. "This is a complex problem, and simple, blunt cookie blocking solutions force tracking into more opaque practices."

    Giving up on Google

    In his decision to kick Chrome to the curb, Fowler cites a blog post by Johns Hopkins associate professor Matthew Green, who said last year he was "done" with the browser.
    Like Green, I've chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple's Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.

    What does switching to Firefox cost you? It's free, and downloading a different browser is much simpler than changing phones.

    In 2017, Mozilla launched a new version of Firefox called Quantum that made it considerably faster. In my tests, it has felt almost as fast as Chrome, though benchmark tests have found it can be slower in some contexts. Firefox says it's better about managing memory if you use lots and lots of tabs.

    Switching means you'll have to move your bookmarks, and Firefox offers tools to help. Shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager. And most browser add-ons are available, though it's possible you won't find your favorite. -Washington Post
    Perhaps Fowler can reach out to some of his Washington Post colleagues to see what their many sources in the US intelligence community think of Chrome vs. Firefox...


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    Lightbulb Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    For those of you who like the look & feel of Google Chrome but don't want the spying, there is the Iridium browser. It is based upon Google Chromium ─ which is itself the Free & Open Source Software browser upon which Chrome proper is built ─ but it has all of the Google spyware removed and/or intercepted and rerouted wherever removal would damage the functionality of the code. I've used it for quite a while, and it's really good. It is compatible with all of the typical plugins, add-ons and extensions that you can download from the Chrome App Store, and it is not slower than Chrome in any noticeable way.

    If you are going to be using Firefox as an alternative, then you should also be aware that Firefox has its own opt-out "spying" feature, which you can luckily enough disable very quickly by going into the Preferences menu, navigating to Privacy & Security, and then disabling the Firefox Data Collection and Use.

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Just yesterday I read that tests of 90 apps downloaded to iPhones, 89 contained tracking software. They lurk and look, and we can't do anything about it unless we want to live alone in the woods and eschew technology. The Unibomber is beginning to appear sensible, well except for his methods.
    The quantum field responds not to what we want; but to who we are being. Dr. Joe Dispenza

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by conk (here)
    Just yesterday I read that tests of 90 apps downloaded to iPhones, 89 contained tracking software. They lurk and look, and we can't do anything about it unless we want to live alone in the woods and eschew technology. The Unibomber is beginning to appear sensible, well except for his methods.
    The same is true on the Android platform. Google recently investigated the offerings of apps in their Google Play Store, and about 85% of them contained spyware and other malware.

    What's about just as bad, is that most of the antivirus apps for smartphones don't actually do anything useful. They are hopelessly ineffective, but they give the user a false sense of security.

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by Aragorn (here)
    Quote Posted by conk (here)
    Just yesterday I read that tests of 90 apps downloaded to iPhones, 89 contained tracking software. They lurk and look, and we can't do anything about it unless we want to live alone in the woods and eschew technology. The Unibomber is beginning to appear sensible, well except for his methods.
    The same is true on the Android platform. Google recently investigated the offerings of apps in their Google Play Store, and about 85% of them contained spyware and other malware.

    What's about just as bad, is that most of the antivirus apps for smartphones don't actually do anything useful. They are hopelessly ineffective, but they give the user a false sense of security.
    The article said that the spying was especially prevalent in meditation applications. Also, I'd guess that most any free app is full of the junk.
    The quantum field responds not to what we want; but to who we are being. Dr. Joe Dispenza

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by conk (here)
    Quote Posted by Aragorn (here)
    Quote Posted by conk (here)
    Just yesterday I read that tests of 90 apps downloaded to iPhones, 89 contained tracking software. They lurk and look, and we can't do anything about it unless we want to live alone in the woods and eschew technology. The Unibomber is beginning to appear sensible, well except for his methods.
    The same is true on the Android platform. Google recently investigated the offerings of apps in their Google Play Store, and about 85% of them contained spyware and other malware.

    What's about just as bad, is that most of the antivirus apps for smartphones don't actually do anything useful. They are hopelessly ineffective, but they give the user a false sense of security.
    The article said that the spying was especially prevalent in meditation applications. Also, I'd guess that most any free app is full of the junk.
    Oh, it's in everything, even in something as innocuous as the Tiny Flash Light.

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    There is no real privacy anymore, hasn't been in years. It's just a sweet memory of a bygone era now.
    "When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there." ~ George Harrison

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by Wind (here)
    There is no real privacy anymore, hasn't been in years. It's just a sweet memory of a bygone era now.
    Almost more troublesome than the invasion is the perception that no one cares. I hear it constantly, "If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care"? ..........<heavy sigh>

    There is a distinct memory of a conversation about the book 1984. It was said that there was no way at all for any police state type to see into our homes, to know our every move. Amazingly, it has all come about and it's startling in its breadth and scope. Now the information is mostly used for marketing, but with the power of control our personal info will soon be used to our great detriment. If we don't play by their rules, they'll simply turn us off. Blink, inactive account! Joe doesn't exist any longer.
    The quantum field responds not to what we want; but to who we are being. Dr. Joe Dispenza

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Suggestion: the TOR browser

    https://www.torproject.org/


    Tor Browser isolates each website you visit so third-party trackers and ads can't follow you. Any cookies automatically clear when you're done browsing. So will your browsing history.
    "In real life James Bond works for S.P.E.C.T.R.E."
    --frankstien

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by Wind (here)
    There is no real privacy anymore, hasn't been in years. It's just a sweet memory of a bygone era now.
    Unfortunately you are right. My way of thinking is that once you plug your computer online, it's already too late.

    I just installed Iridium browser, not that I don't think they (google, facebook etc) already know everything about me, but just to see if it's any good. Well there's that huge problem that after you log yourself on to your Google-account you might as well forget your privacy. So the only way to use it is not to log on to Google-account, which means if you want to use your Youtube-account or Gmail-account etc, you still need to have another browser to do that.

    What about Brave? Is it any good?

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by muxfolder (here)
    [...]

    What about Brave? Is it any good?
    Check here: The "Brave" Browser Created by Firefox Web Browser Creator Brendan Eich
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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by muxfolder (here)
    I just installed Iridium browser, not that I don't think they (google, facebook etc) already know everything about me, but just to see if it's any good. Well there's that huge problem that after you log yourself on to your Google-account you might as well forget your privacy. So the only way to use it is not to log on to Google-account, which means if you want to use your Youtube-account or Gmail-account etc, you still need to have another browser to do that.
    That's not exactly true. When you log into your Google account, then Iridium will allow Google to keep track of that on Google-owned sites only, like the main Google search page, GMail, Google Drive and YouTube, but on every other site that has Google spyware embedded into it ─ cfr. the Google Analytics stuff ─ Iridium will block the Google tracking.

    Of course, if you log into Chrome itself, then you are overriding the protection, because then you are essentially giving your browser the right to spy on you. So Don't Do That™!

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    Default Re: Browsers as Spy Softwares

    Quote Posted by Aragorn (here)
    Quote Posted by muxfolder (here)
    I just installed Iridium browser, not that I don't think they (google, facebook etc) already know everything about me, but just to see if it's any good. Well there's that huge problem that after you log yourself on to your Google-account you might as well forget your privacy. So the only way to use it is not to log on to Google-account, which means if you want to use your Youtube-account or Gmail-account etc, you still need to have another browser to do that.
    That's not exactly true. When you log into your Google account, then Iridium will allow Google to keep track of that on Google-owned sites only, like the main Google search page, GMail, Google Drive and YouTube, but on every other site that has Google spyware embedded into it ─ cfr. the Google Analytics stuff ─ Iridium will block the Google tracking.

    Of course, if you log into Chrome itself, then you are overriding the protection, because then you are essentially giving your browser the right to spy on you. So Don't Do That™!
    Well, it's too late for me anyway. I've been using Google Chrome and also been logged in for ages. I Should have realized it was a CIA operation all along. And Facebook knows everything about me as well so there's nothing I can do but go off the grid. I used to be so excited about all the new technology and whatever was on the internet that I was one of those who first volunteered to try a gmail-account. When they started the hole thing was invitation only but it grew very fast. Perhaps because it was invitation only. And I was one of those who kindly offered invitations for whoever needed them. I suppose that's one way to get people along and interested in something.
    Last edited by muxfolder; 27th June 2019 at 20:21.

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