Google reCAPTCHA and Vivaldi Privacy Policy

  • Jon Von Tetzchner said he was increasingly concerned about data collection and tracking by tech giants like Google and Facebook. [Reuters]

    I am also increasingly concerned about Google tracking and I appreciate Jon's clear position.
    Therefore I was very surprised when a few days ago the access to this site was blocked by Google-ReCaptcha for me.

    By ticking the ReCaptcha check box, Google receives a unique browser and system fingerprint. Google can recognize users and track their activities. InsideReCaptcha shows the obfuscated JavaScript design of the ReCaptcha version launched in 2014.

    Google Invisible ReCaptcha [1] was rolled out in 2017: Google performs fully automated analysis of user behavior and IP in the background. Google does not disclose which data is transferred exactly during this process. Google advertises this service with a cute little kitten.

    The Captcha will only be visible if Google algorithms do not identify the user as a human visitor. At the latest then a fingerprint will be transferred to Google. The procedure is intransparent and problematic for privacy.

    As part of its Terms of Use agreement, Google requires websites that use its ReCaptcha service to include a Privacy Policy. Websites which use ReCaptcha generally contain this declaration.

    When visiting the website Google-ReCaptcha is requested in nodebb.min.js:

    Two questions:

    1. Why are users not informed about this in Vivaldi Privacy Policy?
    2. Why does Vivaldi use Google services with obvious tracking properties on the one hand and condemns them on the other?

  • Moderator

    @wernerfp Thanks for hint.
    I pinged someone at Vivaldi about the Privacy Policy.

  • @gwen-dragon Thanks for your immediate response.
    I've added a corresponding note to the German Arch-Wiki (Vivaldi).

  • Googles new recaptcha is incredibly annoying. I use a VPN so I constantly end up having to solve them. And even when you solve them correctly it doesn't always let you past it, so I've resorted to just randomly clicking on it until it lets me through.

    From a privacy perspective, someone really needs to come up with an alternative system, even it if behaves similarly, just so that it can make a dent in Google's pervasiveness.

  • @lonm You realize it's not in Googles interest if you use VPNs, so no motivation to mitigate this annoyance, right? Many privacy measures achieve the same ... effect. :(

    As machines are able to solve CAPTCHAs, they have become more or less irrelevant - but I guess they will stay on at least as long as the recommendation to "regularly change your passwords for security"...

  • My initial posting is one month ago and my questions have not been answered yet.

    The Vivaldi Privacy Policy informs about the use of an Akismet plugin but does not include information about the use of Google Re-Captcha. It's probably not a faux pas:
    Setting up spam protection for NodeBB.

    We trust Vivaldi with our data (Mail, Sync etc.). The trust is based on the fact that we are informed in the Privacy Policy and we can be sure that our trust and confidence in privacy will not be undermined.

    Ignoring the issue is not a good approach and could possibly lead to a credibility problem that could have been avoided by appropriate information.

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