Editor's BlogArticles

Editor's Blog

A Tiny Semblance of Privacy

By Deb GaberOn Oct 24, 2016

According to an article by Julia Angwin of ProPublica, Google has quietly changed its privacy policy in significant ways.

“When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

“And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

“But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand (by changing) language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.

...“The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.

“The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.

““The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand,” said Paul Ohm, faculty director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law.

““It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” he said. “That wall has just fallen.””

About Deb Gaber

Super Admins • Member since Jul 20, 2009


More from our editors

Is Racism the New Queer? Ask the “Deplorables for Trump”

By David CampOn Oct 21, 2016

A really challenging essay. Here's an exerpt: “For the moment, we have to get through the catastrophe that this election has become. A fault line was always going to [...]


By Tip JohnsonOn Oct 20, 2016

Following David Camp’s post about The Royal Bank of Scotland pillaging their own customers, it is worth revisiting the Wells Fargo debacle of faking 2 million accounts to pad [...]

Cliff Mass On Why the Storm Fizzled

By John ServaisOn Oct 19, 2016

Cliff Mass has posted up a detailed post mortem of the fizzled storm of last Saturday evening. He acknowledges the forecasters missed and reveals what is needed for them to [...]

Holy Cow! 43 Million Gallons of Milk Dumped and 1.2 Billion Lbs. of Surplus Cheese This Year!

By David CampOn Oct 18, 2016

In ancient times, fables were told of the land of milk and honey, a wonder and a fantasy to the people of the times. For if your daily meal is [...]

Solar Sidewalks

By Deb GaberOn Oct 17, 2016

An Idaho company, Solar Roadways, recently unveiled 150 square feet of hexagon-shaped solar panels that people can walk and bicycle on. According to a story by Nicholas Geranios of the Associated [...]

Big Wind Storm Saturday Evening - If….

By John ServaisOn Oct 15, 2016

Update - Sat 8:25 pm & 8:34 pm The worst of the storm is past us. Pressure at the Bellingham airport is rising and the center of the storm is now moving [...]

Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader on the MIC Propaganda Apparatus

By David CampOn Oct 15, 2016

Some rainy day listening - why are these guys banned from the corporate media propaganda apparatus in favor of known liars for war like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz, who [...]

Good News, Trekkies

By Tip JohnsonOn Oct 13, 2016

The discovery of a watery planet circling Proxima Centauri only 25 trillion miles away is said to “give us hope to start anew on another planet”. Of course, we [...]

Batten Down the Hatches!

By Tip JohnsonOn Oct 12, 2016

Warning: Major Storms Threaten the Pacific Northwest. Nuff said.

The Royal Bank of Scotland: Gone A-Viking

By David CampOn Oct 11, 2016

Among the clans of Scotland are few that did not bump up against the Norsemen over the centuries. Indeed some clans are descended from Viking raiders and traders of flesh [...]

Facebook Google LinkedIn Print Reddit Twitter