GoogleSharing Firefox Add-on – Stop Google’s Invasion of Your Privacy!

The campaign to convince people that the lack of personal privacy is of little concern to the average person, persists. Some pundits continue to enhance their careers by assuring us (at least those of us who will listen), that privacy, particularly Internet privacy, is dead and, we don’t care.

Consider these quotes from speakers at the Supernova conference, held this week in Philadelphia:

Jeff Jarvis, a blogger and media-industry pundit -

“I think we talk so much about privacy, privacy, privacy that we risk getting to the benefits of publicness (sic), that the Internet makes possible.”

Microsoft researcher, Danah Boyd -

“We have no definition of privacy.”

The only comment I’ll make regarding these two statements is – great sound bites, but BS nevertheless.

The most ludicrous statement I’ve heard regarding Internet privacy, comes from Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt -

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

This, from a person who’s company’s very existence is predicated on the   virtually raping of the public’s privacy, for commercial gain. I’m not a conspiracy theorist in any sense, but I do believe that the very structure of Google constitutes an attack on a basic human right – the right to be “left alone”.

Schmidt may be a “whiz bang” when it comes to search engines, but I suggest that he’s a dud when it comes to the psychology of human beings. The truth is, the realities of the world we now live in continue to emphasize; despite the fact you have may have done nothing wrong – you have everything to worry about.

Noted security guru Bruce Schneier, put it in relevant context when he said:

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance. If we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.

We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable”.

The majority of my friends are extremely concerned with the inroads that governments, social websites, commercial enterprises, and most particularly Google, have made into their private lives. They’re obviously not unusual if one considers this:

Disk wipe utilities, disk cleaning utilities, and file shredding utilities, are among the most popular free downloads on the Internet.

Most web Browsers offer a private browsing mode.

Encryption software is often advertised as a way to protect private, personal, or sensitive files.

Anonymizer applications, such as Hotspot Shield, are advertised as a way to protect a user’s online identity.

While there are multiple uses for the software applications, or application options, described above, a primary use of such software is to ensure a certain level of privacy. Of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong you don’t need to use these applications, right?   :)

Rather than using an anonymizer application, which in some cases can impact performance, there is another alternative, if you use Firefox as your Internet Browser – GoogleSharing.

GoogleSharing is a Firefox add-on developed by noted security expert Moxie Marlinspike, with one purpose in mind – preventing Google from tracking and retaining, user information.

The following graphics illustrate how this works.

Outbound search request:

image

Inbound search results:

image

Fast facts:

GoogleSharing is a custom proxy service.

Does not affect your non-Google traffic which it leaves completely untouched, un-redirected.

Combines search requests from many different users together, such that Google is not capable of telling what is coming from whom.

Each search request is assigned a unique identity.

Prevents Google from collecting information about you from services which don’t require a login.

Stops Google from tracking the user by IP address, Cookie, or any other identifying HTTP headers.

The system is completely transparent to the user. No special websites, no change to your work flow.

If you have any issues with Google retaining your user information, you should consider this add-on. Please be aware, I have not tested this add-on, and this post is for information purposes only.

For more information, visit: GoogleSharing

Download the add-on at: Mozilla

Additional resources related to privacy:

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Center for Democracy and Technology

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13 Comments

Filed under Anonymous Surfing, Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Privacy, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

13 responses to “GoogleSharing Firefox Add-on – Stop Google’s Invasion of Your Privacy!

  1. Georg

    Hi Bill,

    I have been using Google Sharing for quite a while on all of my and most of my clients’ machines with no ill side-effects, and therefore I can wholeheartedly recommend this Firefox add-on.

    All the best

    Georg

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    These big companies thinking they can just do anything with our information really piss me off. Governments aren’t much better either, especially this lot here in Oz with their super secret plans to monitor our web traffic and their filters etc ad nauseum. It’s like we are under attack from all side, malware scum, big companies, government. I’m sick of it, I really am.

    Thanks for the great article.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      And, companies do think they can do anything they want – they exercise no restraint. Unless we insist that politicians act in our best interests (now there’s a pipe dream), it would be foolish to expect any changes in the status quo.

      Best,

      Bill

  3. Liam O' Moulain

    Bill,

    Totally agree with Mal. It’s frustrating that I have to go to all this bother to protect what’s rightfully MINE. My privacy.

    If the majority of people had any balls, we could put a stop to this – but they don’t.

    Liam

    • Hey Liam,

      I’m always amazed how little people know about Google. Most people think Google is a free search engine, and their curiosity ends there. They have little knowledge as to how Google comes by the information they obtain, and what uses they put that information to.

      If more people actually understood the massive power Google commands, it’s possible we might see a greater level of resistance, but I doubt it. The majority of people, as you say, don’t have a great deal of courage. They don’t seem at all concerned that things are being done to them, rather than for them.

      Bill

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  5. Thanks for the heads-up on GoogleSharing, Bill! I’ll have to install that add-on. That’ll make for one less entity snooping into my nefarious online lifestyle ;)

    BTW, I was recently referred by another site to a proggie called PeerBlock, as a means of blocking certain IPs, and even entire countries. Ever use this? It sounds intriguing, but I’m a bit hesitant to install it without some sage advice.

    Cheers.

    • Hey Stormin’ Norman,

      Gotta love it “nefarious online lifestyle”. LOL!

      Thanks for the PeerBlock reco. I took a quick look. Other than blocking entire countries, there are a ton of applications that do the same job by white listing/black listing. I don’t know what AV apps you run, but many have this feature built in – e.g. SpyBot Search and Destroy, to name just one.

      Hope all is well over at Alligators in the Sewer – http://www.alligatorsinthesewer.net

      Best,

      Bill

  6. Nightjar

    Hi Bill

    An amusing little quote from here:
    >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil

    “.. .Patel scribbled “Don’t Be Evil” in the corner of every whiteboard in the company… The message spread, and it was embraced, especially by Page and Brin… “I think it’s much better than Be Good or something,” Page jokes. “When you are making decisions, it causes you to think. I think that’s good.”

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