Protecting Your Internet Privacy

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By Rowan Wolf

InternetPrivacy.jpg On March 1, 2012, Google is implementing its new (good-bye) privacy standards. Not like there was a ton of protection there to start with, but it is evaporating. There are three pieces from Electronic Frontier Foundation that I encourage people to read and follow.

First is a piece by Rainey Reitman, “What Actually Changed in Google’s Privacy Policy. Part of teh consolidation has to do with youtube privacy. However, the most significant removing the firewall between the search engine and its other products. The data from the search engine contains all kinds of very personal information. So its removal is very significant:

The new privacy policy removes the separation between YouTube, Google search, and other Google products. By describing the change as “treat[ing] you as a single user,” Google intends to remove the privacy-protective separations from YouTube and Google search.

At this point there is no convenient way to address this. The recommendation is to use different accounts and different browsers, and the use the Data Liberation Tool.

While we are on the subject of Google, the seccond EFF article is How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect by Eva Galperin. She takes us through a detailed step-by-step instructions on how to remove one’s search history. Even doing this does not permanently remove one’s search history. In disabling the history, Google will archive one’s data after 18 months in an anonymous format.

The final article is Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy . As noted in the article, some of the steps are easy and some are not. Below are the steps, but the instructions are contained within the article.
1. Don’t put personally identifying information in your search terms (easy)
2. Don’t use your ISP’s search engine (easy)
3. Don’t login to your search engine or related tools (intermediate)
4. Block “cookies” from your search engine (intermediate)
5. Vary your IP address (intermediate)
6. Use web proxies and anonymizing software like Tor (advanced)

If you are shaking your head at how cumbersome all of this sounds, then thank Google for changing the rules.

Thank you to the Electronic Frontier Foundation!

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