Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Privacy Your Rights Online

Last Day To Tell Google To Forget You 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the please-don't-write-or-call dept.
itwbennett writes "Google's new privacy policy will consolidate all your data at google.com — unless you erase it first. And today is your last day to do it. The change goes into effect tomorrow. Which is why the helpful folks at EFF have posted some simple instructions showing how to delete your web history at Google."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Last Day To Tell Google To Forget You

Comments Filter:
  • Sign into my what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:09PM (#39129091)
    Gots no Google account, so does that mean they dont track me or that I cant erase the tracking data?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes.

    • by gnick (1211984) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:18PM (#39129219) Homepage

      Yes they track you - Or at least try as hard as they can. It also means that you're not really affected by this as the data is not associated with a Google account.

      • by Tharsman (1364603) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:52PM (#39129645)

        You are not "affected" with them directly tracking you either.

        Truth be told, if consider you are "affected" by tracking, you will still be "affected." There are some valid reasons to feel affected, too. Things like personal like sexual preferences or a teenager quietly getting pregnant and performing an abortion, these are things you rather keep to yourself but are not (at least in liberal eyes) wrong. Google may splash to your family by "accident" via targeted advertisement comes to mind, ironically it's even more likely to happen in a household with pure IP tracking (if everyone in the household has their web history turned off.)

        In theory it may even sound better to keep the tracking on, but then it "is there", where someone may some day gain access and look at it.

        Not everyone has these types of secrets or privacy concerns, but just because you have one does not mean it's invalid or you are a criminal.

        Now on a separate note.... is there a way to download the history? I found interesting how far my history goes and would rather download it all than delete it, at least for the time being. I can’t find anywhere an option to download it, other than go page by page downloading the HTML pages... a bit too much for 5 years of history.

    • by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:19PM (#39129241)
      For some reason, I read your post in the voice of Cotton Hill [wikipedia.org]: "Ain't gots no Google account. They don't track me, I'm a war hero. I killed fiddy men."
    • by supersat (639745) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:20PM (#39129263)

      If you're not signed in, they store your history for 180 days, but you can opt-out of that without a Google account: http://www.google.com/history/optout [google.com]

    • by hydrofix (1253498) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:39PM (#39129501)
      I would also suggest setting your browser to delete all cookies when closing. By installing Cookie Monster [mozilla.org] for Firefox you can selectively allow some sites to set permanent cookies, that persist over browser sessions (e.g. your Slashdot login).
      • ...selectively allow some sites to set permanent cookies, that persist over browser sessions (e.g. your Slashdot login).

        B-b-but what if /. becomes *evil* and all the kewl kids find out that I'm not...?

    • by Fortran IV (737299) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:12PM (#39129845) Journal

      I've read a dozen different articles about this, and I still can't tell: If I have a YouTube account but I've never had a "Google account," does this affect me at all?

      One article mentioned "57 services" run by Google, but nobody's listed them. How do I know that I don't have an account at a site (like YouTube) Google owns but doesn't explicitly brand? I'd practically forgotten that YouTube was Google's...

    • by Dupple (1016592) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:13PM (#39129869)

      I must've been paranoid for years

      I've had a gmail account since at least 2005 and went to the link in TFA and discovered that I had never turned Web History on in the first place. Happy days. All I gotta do now is log out of gmail on March 1 and jobs done.

      • by Rob Y. (110975) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @06:07PM (#39131049)

        Me too. I went in to wipe out my history, and even though I have gmail and youtube accounts, there's no web history. Somewhere along the line the people stirring up Google paranoia neglected to mention that almost nobody has this 'web history' thing enabled. If I as a regular Slashdot reading google user was never prompted to set this up, and didn't even know how to get to the page where you set it up, I imagine the affected population's pretty small.

        Am I missing something?

        • by kiwimate (458274) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @10:59PM (#39133223) Journal

          You're lucky. I signed up for a GMail account in 2009 (so I could use Google Docs with some other people on a small project). Used it for two weeks while we were on the project, never logged in since. I hardly ever use any Google apps - I don't use their search, I don't use their Maps, I don't use GMail, blah blah blah.

          A few months ago I read about how to check your Google history, went in out of sheer curiosity, total shock at just how much stuff they'd collected on me. Deleted it and told myself I really wasn't paranoid after all.

          I don't know how you got away with it, but I can tell you they had a huge amount of info about me, and I somewhat actively avoid Google services. I am generally pretty blase about online tracking and the like - but that one gave me a jolt.

  • by Relayman (1068986) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:09PM (#39129095)
    I'm confused. The new policy goes into effect March 1 and today is the last day to erase the old?
  • Done. (Score:5, Funny)

    by NIN1385 (760712) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:10PM (#39129105)
    I already did this years ago, but thank you for pointing it out to those who were not aware of such a setting. I'm sure the government is still monitoring all of this through Echelon though, which makes this meaningless.

    Did I say that out loud? Shit sorry.
    • Same here, I will be sharing it with some people who I think will find it interesting but might not have done so yet.

    • Re:Done. (Score:5, Funny)

      by mrstrano (1381875) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:42PM (#39129523) Homepage

      Ha! Echelon! Didn't you get the memo? The project was renamed about 8 years ago, now it's called Facebook.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      I wonder if using https defeats this.

      That said, I don't bother. Most of my searches fall into the category of:
      - clueless care newb questions
      - obscure linux issues
      - guitar related

      In principle I think people have a right not to be tracked, to control data about them, and I definitely don't agree with this "nothing to hide" shit.. privacy shouldn't require a reason, it should be a basic right. In practice.. I'm a very boring person with very little to hide and no inherent desire for privacy. I see no way in wh

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        clueless car newb questions

        Sigh..

      • Re:Done. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:46PM (#39130207)

        I'm a very boring person with very little to hide and no inherent desire for privacy. I see no way in which I'm personally harmed by the data I know people are collecting.. if I had the option to opt out or opt in, I'd probably still let them collect the data.

        The problems start the day you become not boring. You never know when you will become a person of interest. Run for office, start a succesful business, date a girl wtih a pyscho-ex, save a kid's life in some dramatic way, whatever. It may not even be under your control - you might just cross paths with the wrong guy - a wrong place, wrong time sort of thing.

        However it happens, if it ever happens, you can be sure that all that boring information will suddenly become extremely interesting to some people, people who will dig through as much of it as they can get their hands on looking for any thing they can possibly use to harm, or at least get leverage on, you or your family. Maybe all your boring details will still be just as boring, but you really can't predict what a motivated person or organization will be able to come up with given years of historical details about you.

        Most people never will become a person of interest.
        But those who do, will be screwed.

      • Re:Done. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @06:52PM (#39131527)

        Qu'on me donne six lignes ï½crites de la main du plus honnï½te homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre. -- Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac. If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him. It is even more true today than it was in the 17th century, especially when places like Google have way, way more than six lines typed by your hand.

        • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @09:25PM (#39132611)
          I left the states 14 years ago, and though I go back to visit occasionally, I'm not even in an ACTA nation! You have to love countries like Norway. While we have endless laws prohibiting just about anything, the 32 policemen in the country just can bother with anything less important than murder. Oh... when annual budget arrives for them, they rush out and arrest everyone they can as fast as they can. So, figure like 30 arrests in one night. The rest of the time, they hang out in down town Oslo making sure that the hookers are confined to the first place anyone sees when they visit Norway, kinda like a welcome mat. I think they take turns with who gets to keep the national theater area safe which is where all the rich girls in expensive dresses that barely cover their privates go to get munchies after getting plastered at night.

          I love this place. The best part is, even if the most dishonest man were to stand on a building here screaming at the top of his lungs speaking his mind, it wouldn't matter. People here are mature enough to listen to what interests them and intelligent enough to ignore the nonsense for the most part.

          Of course your hidden reference to what most people refer to as the current Orwellian state is nicely placed. Of course, I'm not quite sure that we're at the point where the technology is ready for the thought police concept. Maybe the search result police is the next best thing.
    • That particular information is not passed to advertisers so it's all good isn't it.

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:12PM (#39129135) Homepage
    tried to, but it turned out I never enabled this "history" in the first place (or at least Google says so). Am I safe?
  • Still tracking people no doubt, just now the web history is tied to ip address/computer and not to user account.

    Less valuable to them because ip addresses arn't typically static.

  • by tsa (15680)

    I don't want Google to track me but I do like my YouTube account. So I'm stuck a bit...

    • by Rary (566291)

      Google can only associate your searches with your account if you're logged in. If you don't want them to remember your searches, don't log in. Log in to use YouTube when you want to, then log out when you're done.

      • by tsa (15680)

        That's what I always do. I never log into Google itself. But it would be nice if they were two separate things like in the old days.

      • Re:YouTube (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:36PM (#39129451)

        Google can only associate your searches with your account if you're logged in. If you don't want them to remember your searches, don't log in. Log in to use YouTube when you want to, then log out when you're done.

        I don't think that's true, Google *can* associate your searches with your account whether or not you are logged on. I don't know if they *do* associate searches with your account when you're not logged on, but there's no reason why they couldn't do it if they wanted to.

        You'd have to delete all of your Google cookies to prevent this. And even then, it's no sure thing, they could look at your IP address and browser ID to do a pretty good job of correlating your activity with your Google account even without a cookie.

        • I don't think that's true, Google *can* associate your searches with your account whether or not you are logged on.

          They can associate searches with your account when you aren't logged on, but they don't know that they were done by you or by anyone who would have access to your account, so doing so would be somewhat pointless.

          Even assuming you have a single machine with a static IP, its quite possible that machine has multiple users, and that the people using your browser when you aren't logged in aren't yo

      • Google can only associate your searches with your account if you're logged in. If you don't want them to remember your searches, don't log in. Log in to use YouTube when you want to, then log out when you're done.

        I run two different browsers. I have Chrome dedicated to email and Opera dedicated to my daily browsing. I believe this separation helps keep things on the level.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Use two separate browsers. You might even be able to find an extension for Firefox that allows you to sign into Youtube but doesn't have the other tabs be signed in when visiting Google (at least, I think this is possible). Privacy mode I know works like that in Opera ( so I could sign in under a private tab in Youtube and use Google under a normal tab and wouldn't be signed in), not tried it under Firefox.

      • by tsa (15680)

        You don't need a plugin for that. All tabs operate independently.

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Your IP still stays the same... As, especially at the beginning, most people don't have a Google account, so they track using IP. It might be less reliable than the account or a cookie, but there's no way they'd skip this possibility. Profit on targetted ads/etc against those with cookies off (~10% of all users) is not something to shake a stick at.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)
          They track everyone by IP, signed in or not, and there is nothing you can do to change that (it's just part of Google's business model: the price of free services). However, without a sign-in they cannot point to an individual, only an IP, and IPs change and are often shared.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:18PM (#39129221) Homepage

    Just did that. But I'd done it already, and Google claims my web history is "paused". Which probably means they will "unpause" it silently at some future time.

    There's this annoying trend towards invisible buttons for things web sites don't want you to do. There's no obvious "sign out" button for Google now. Clicking on your user name will get you to a sign-out option, but it's not obvious. Facebook actually has invisible buttons for opting out of ads. (They're at the right of the ad headline. Mouse over that blank area and a "x" will appear. Click on the "x" and some opt-out options will appear. They don't actually make the advertiser go away, though.)

    • Just did that. But I'd done it already, and Google claims my web history is "paused". Which probably means they will "unpause" it silently at some future time.

      you lucky bastard!

      mine is stuck, blinking at twelve. HELP!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is why you have at least two browsers installed. One is your hardcore locked down browser for when you have to do stuff involving personal information (only have one window open at a time, no cache, and delete cookies on exit, and some form of script blocking installed, preferably also blocking 3rd party frames/images.) Then you have another one with everything except the script blocking in place, used for non-identifiable web browsing (obviously still identifiable, but only for linking browsing habits

    • From Google's privacy FAQ [google.com] page, they conveniently dodge the question of what pausing does.

      What happens when I pause the service, remove items, or delete the Web History service?

      You can choose to stop storing your web activity in Web History either temporarily or permanently, or remove items, as described in Web History Help. If you remove items, they will be removed from the service and will not be used to improve your search experience. As is common practice in the industry, Google also maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users. For example, we use this information to audit our ads systems, understand which features are most popular to users, improve the quality of our search results, and help us combat vulnerabilities such as denial of service attacks.

    • by swillden (191260)

      Google claims my web history is "paused". Which probably means they will "unpause" it silently at some future time.

      Because Google has a long history of silently changing your privacy settings? Just like they quietly updated their privacy policy, without telling anyone?

  • by tommeke100 (755660) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:19PM (#39129239)
    I went to the history page, but there is no "remove all Web History" button or menu-item. Am I screwed already? did they remove the option?
    • by dcollins (135727)

      For older accounts, this was never on in the first place (and thus nothing to remove or pause). Newer account have it opt-out (and thus on by default).

  • Do we have any info that you wont be able to disable web history after the change? Or delete it afterwards? That would seriously change my googling habits actually.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:21PM (#39129269) Homepage
    about a year ago when i closed my google account(s). same with facebook, although if their shadow-profiling is any indication of 'how its done' then you can expect google to start silently tracking the same inferential data about you as a person instead..

    either may have started as amicable services, but both have rapidly evolved into a flagrant, unapologetic breeches of privacy.
  • I see you driving ’round town
    With the girl i love and i’m like,
    Forget you!
    Oo, oo, ooo
    I guess the change in my pocket
    Wasn’t enough i’m like,
    Forget you!
    And forget her too!
    I said, if i was richer, i’d still be with ya
    Ha, now ain’t that some shhh? (ain’t that some shhh?)
    And although there’s pain in my chest
    I still wish you the best with a
    Forget you!
    Oo, oo, ooo

    However I agree more with the original lyric.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:27PM (#39129343)

    Just tried to delete and found that I never have turned that feature on. So it seems that people concerned with privacy are not actually affected by this at all....

    Of course, I use my Google account for the one project on Google Code I am involved in only, nothing else.

  • I never turned it on in the first place.
  • People actually believe this makes a difference? Seems like folly to me.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by virgnarus (1949790) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:33PM (#39129409)
    Remind me as to why them retaining my search history would be detrimental to me?
    • by worf_mo (193770)

      While you were in the kitchen fixing some sandwich your wife used your browser to order some leather boots, your daughter looked at pictures of horse whips, and your son bought handcuffs for carnival. You come back to check your gmail account and wonder why you are getting targeted S&M ads.

  • by arisvega (1414195) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:39PM (#39129495)

    From their website (http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54067):

    You can remove all Web History from your Google Account at any time. While signed in to your Google Account:

    Go to google.com/history.new window

    Click Remove all web history.

    However, as is common practice in the industry, and as outlined in the Google Privacy Policy, Google maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users.

    (emphasis mine)

    • by careysub (976506)

      It is as I thought. All this means that YOU can't make use of your web history, Google still has it and can do with it as it pleases. Same as with Facebook account "deletions".

  • Go to Google History [google.com] and follow the instructions.
    • Unfortunately, if you already had it turned off, (as I apparently did), the "instructions" instead show you how to turn it _on_ rather than _off_. So - don't follow the instructions too automatically...
  • Thanks slashdot! (Score:5, Informative)

    by grahamsaa (1287732) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:51PM (#39129623)
    Looks like you slashdotted the EFF. Site is down.
  • ... will they automatically enable it?

    You can delete the service through here, which means you have no history for them to even have.

    https://www.google.com/accounts/DeleteService?service=hist [google.com]

  • Okay, this web history thing was easy to check. But day by day it seems I have more and more of this kind of privacy stuff to take care of. Some terms have once again changed, my data is being mined in new ways, hey check your new privacy settings or be sorry. If I actually took throughly care of all this, it would soon become a mini job...
  • by Tom (822)

    Today I know why I still have /. in my dailys.

    the helpful folks at EFF have posted some simple instructions showing how to delete your web history at Google.

    That is exactly what I was looking for. Now if only someone could post a mirror, I'd be a happy camper.

  • When Google launched Google+, I could not create a G+ account because - I was stupid enough to give Google money for Google Apps for my company - thus my Google account was ineligible to be used by G+.

    Now comes this history thing. I go to Google, but because I am stupid enough to pay Google money for Google Apps for my company, I cannot access "history" to remove it or do anything else.

    Google knew who I was already so it's not like my searches are not being tracked. I guess they figure the money I pay the

  • Maybe I joined Google later than others, but the first thing that I did when I joined Google was turn Web History off so, nothing for me to delete.

    However, I agree with other posters that it's unlikely that this would make a difference. I am sure that through a combination of tracking cookies, stored backups, etc. my web history could be recovered with enough effort and resources.

  • What if you live in a country that has actual privacy laws? What if that country states that an IP address is because of legal obligations of ISPs, always relatable to a natural person or company? What if that country explicitly states an IP address is personal data? What if that country has laws that prohibit companies to harvest private data without explicit permission from the owner?

    I'd say that this makes Googles new policy illegal and they have to leave that country and stop providing services or tr

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

Working...