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TrackMeNot Extension  (View post)

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

Monday, August 21, 2006
13 years ago8,112 views

nice. then google think i prefere things with bla..... erm, ok.
but i think, the big privacy problem with google are the ads, which are on many pages. with this, google is able to generate a userspecific surfprofile. and i think, this is the big problem! (beside you delete your google cookie and disable referer)

NateDawg [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Neat idea (except I use Google search history to look through past searches)

Iolaire McFadden [PersonRank 6]

13 years ago #

On a side note I just re-added the google analytics code to two of my sites: goodieblog.com and wlsrss.com. Today I looked at them and goodiesblog.com had a full history despite the tracking code not being installed. I guess since it has google ads on it they are still tracking it even though I did not have the analtyics code in the site. Wslrss.com has no google ads so the history starts up when I added the code.

Manoj Nahar [PersonRank 4]

13 years ago #

I had a full history inspite of having no google ads on site at all. So I don't think it has got anything to with google ads. Just be in google index for sometime and google would start collecting stats for your site.

YMMV

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

<< Today I looked at them and goodiesblog.com had a full history despite the tracking code not being installed.

I refuse to believe that.

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Useless for me as well. I use Search History (Google)

Iolaire McFadden [PersonRank 6]

13 years ago #

Ok Ionut Alex. Chitu, you are right, so how I did a search of the source of my page 3 times and did not see js in the top of the page? Thanks, iolaire

Inferno [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

To say the truth I use Firefox for all the good works and keep the search history option enabled i never remove the browse history manually, and hardly delete cookies or cache. Sounds fake? No its true because I use Opera for works that i don't want to be linked to my Google User account

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Looking throught the source code I found it generates random social security numbers and also searches for this word list:

[Removed code. See it at sam.davyson.com/splasho/index. ... – Sam]

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Eek sorry, didn't know it'd stretch, feel free to delete my message Philipp

Jake's View [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

That's a lot of words!!!!

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

It is, but IMO it's not nearly enough, all Google need to do is discard any search consisting of only words on that list. Yeah, they'll filter out some of my real searches but they'll still be left with a lot. It needs a much bigger word list.

stefan2904 [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

i don´t think so. wiktionary or a dictionary, this are a lot of words...

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> That's a lot of words!!!!

Yes, but one can just filter out this words from your browsing history and will get your searches. This list doesn't contain the key words and phrases like your name, "porn", "how to make a bomb", "how to tell if I'm gay", etc.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> It needs a much bigger word list.

List of words is a bad idea, regardless of how huge it is. Real important searches contain phrases, not just words.

So it shouldn't make searches from the list of words. It should make searches that look exactly like human searches. It should search for things that people usually search for. But how do we know this phrases?

Wait a second... Actually we have a big list of human searches. Thank you AOL!

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Ludwik, I just had that idea (before I read yours, honest!), I downloaded the list so I might have a go at making that.

Jeremy [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #

the bigger picture is that this thing does not just remove cookies, history, etc... it submits false search inquiries. The Problem: This undermines the very search engines that this addon is intended to make better use of. So we WANT to use Google and Yahoo, etc... but we undermine these tools by submiting false inquiries and sobscuring their ability to provide accurate search results based on traffic and search querry patterns. Short sighted in my opinion.

jilm [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

That´s what Stephen Colbert proposed. :-D

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I've thrown together one using AOL queries and just targeting Google. It's not very tested but if you wish you can try it from splasho.com/blog/wp-content/ao ... .

You'll need to uninstall the other version first if you have it.

My version has about 40,000 queries from the AOL data, it just goes through sequentially searching so the queries come in realistic patterns ("chicken recipe", "lemon chicken", "ideas for dinner"), but approximately every 8 queries it jumps to somewhere else in the list randomly and then goes sequentially from there.

Note that it may search for anything an AOL user searched for, including many things you do not wish to be associated with, and the search will come from your computer!

[Made into link – Sam]

Michael Zimmer [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Splasho:

While I like the idea of using the AOL data's structure to help create "realistic patterns," I'm not too comfortable with using other people's queries (possibly including real names, SSNs, addresses, e-mails – all the things that caused the privacy concerns in the first place) as a way to obfuscate my own.

In speaking with the developers of TrackMeNot (colleagues of mine at NYU), they have been concerned with the limitations of the current word list, and have indicated that "“future versions will include a much larger (server-side) database of terms, dynamically queried by TMN during its operation"

michaelzimmer.org/2006/08/21/t ...

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

>While I like the idea of using the AOL data's structure to help create "realistic patterns," I'm not too comfortable with using other people's queries (possibly including real names, SSNs, addresses, e-mails – all the things that caused the privacy concerns in the first place) as a way to obfuscate my own.

I sort of understand your concerns and if I thought I was compromising their privacy I would agree (I very much disagree with people who have been giving all the examples of people compromised by this data). However I think I am actually slightly helping the privacy of those people, and certainly not making the situation worse. If a number of different people search for "Tom Jones" then it's impossible to identify who the real Tom Jones is so his privacy is not damaged. The same applies to all the other things you mention, I think. I don't live in America and don't fully understand SSN's so I don't know about that.

In fact I can imagine a system in which everyone (anonymously) contributes their search terms to a central database and other people search for them in order to hide the original searcher.
--
However I'm glad that the word list is to be increased and I can imagine a very good system perhaps with names being generated too using census lists of popular first and last names. A server based system is of course the only way to accomplish this, I was considering supplying one to allow access to all the AOL data but as it is I'll just wait for the new version :)
--
[put at-character here] Sam: Thank you very much!

Michael Zimmer [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

Splasho: "In fact I can imagine a system in which everyone (anonymously) contributes their search terms to a central database and other people search for them in order to hide the original searcher."

I do like the sound of that, and I agree with you that by having multiple people search for my name, that decreases the ability to flag it as my own vanity search.

Regarding populating it with fake names, see my blog post about the "False Identity Generator": michaelzimmer.org/2006/06/19/c ...

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Yeah Michael, I've seen that, it's great!

alaskan.greg [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

I read this post about "TrackMeNot" and I went to check it out. It all sounds pretty good until you go to their "Privacy Policy/Statement" and guess what you agree to let keep track of your searches. Maybe I miss read, or misunderstood, but if I am right then what the heck.

Splasho [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

I can't find any mention of a privacy policy in this TrackMeNot. And the source code did not show any communication with a central server.

Michael Zimmer [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

I don't see any mention of tracking searches or any privacy policy on the page either. What are you referring to, a.g?

Michael Zimmer [PersonRank 1]

13 years ago #

A new version of TrackMeNot has been released:
   * User-configurable query lists (see TMN->Options)
   * Randomized query-lengths (1-6 words per query)
   * Larger word list with 'actual' search terms
   * Better randomization of query scheduling
   * Now compatible with Firefox 1.5 – 2.0
   * Interface improvements
mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/TrackMeNot/

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