How to stop the online tracking machine


  • Community Manager

    Arne Möhle, co-founder of the secure email service Tutanota, reveals the true extent of the abuse of data, as well as how to stop the unlimited data mining.

    Click here to see the full blog post



  • Any privacy protection tool in Vivaldi?



  • @semenov-sherin:
    That's a good question. Currently Vivaldi can't prevent tracking.

    @vivaldi: We need an adblocker on desktop and mobile!


  • Ambassador

    @sdtbluethink said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    @semenov-sherin:
    That's a good question. Currently Vivaldi can't prevent tracking.

    @vivaldi: We need an adblocker on desktop and mobile!

    Of course, but it will be essential to continue using extensions to avoid tracking. On mobiles, Blokada does a good job (in F-Droid or offical page)..
    Apart from this, naturally avoid, as much as possible, services and apps from Google, Facebook (Whatsapp, Instagramm also from FB) and Amazon.
    The mentioned Tutanota mail is highly recommended, I also use it, apart from Proton Mail, which is also a very good option.



  • First you explain how Google collects data, "Google, the biggest tracking company", OK. Next paragraph is "What is this data used for?". Logical. But, what? "Russian interference with the 2016 US election"??? Google collects data for Russians? This is because Sergey Brin is Russian? Or how? (And the reference is to an old NYT article, now the investigation competed and found nothing.)

    That's garbage, Arne Möhle.



  • What's that in the background image at https://tutanota.com/secure-email/? Does it show a display with a camera inside a MacBook display? Inception! I guess it's for security purposes 🙂 Even though I wouldn't trust Safari for not collecting data.



  • @verbovet I think it's pretty much proven by now by investigative journalists that Russian "troll farms" were trying to influence the election, and that they still are doing the same in the US and other countries. Not that I think this influence was directly responsible for getting Trump elected though, I think the US voters managed that farce all on their own, they have the vote after all... With a little help from a certain "Romanian" hacker of course.

    Russia has a vested interest in creating dissent and polarisation in other countries, it's a part of the information warfare that's been going on between states for years on the internet. Not saying that opposing intelligence agencies don't do the same in Russia though - they most likely do, but not sure if this gets much attention in the mostly Putin-controlled media. Being an independent investigative journalist in Russia is as we know a very dangerous job...

    As for any link between Google user data and the 2016 election: Möhle is talking about advertising data in general here, not saying Google data was collected to influence the election. The illegally harvested CA data was on Facebook users, not Google users, and it was used for the campaign of Ted Cruz and not Trump. But it still shows how powerful user data can be when it (inevitably) gets into the wrong hands.



  • "Do you use Google maps? Then Google knows every place you’ve been to, how long it took you to get there and how long you stayed. You can see your own data here."

    [checks link]: nope... completely blank - some of us are pleased to see that sensible choices after reading the terms and conditions do actually keep us a little safer...

    Plus using Vivaldi and uBlock etc.



  • @mossman said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    "Do you use Google maps? Then Google knows every place you’ve been to, how long it took you to get there and how long you stayed. You can see your own data here."

    [checks link]: nope... completely blank - some of us are pleased to see that sensible choices after reading the terms and conditions do actually keep us a little safer...

    Of course I assume there actually is no data, maybe opt-outs simply make the website return a blank instead... 🕵🏽♀



  • @mossman said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    Of course I assume there actually is no data, maybe opt-outs simply make the website return a blank instead...

    Yeah, we don't really know and have no way of knowing. I have blank data there as well, as I've turned off Location History and never enable GPS on my device unless I really need to. But obviously Google knows our general location from our IP, in fact it says so right there on the bottom of the search page...

    Of course Google knows that the vast majority of users won't bother turning off GPS, or even know that it's enabled at all times on most devices, so they don't really care about the small percentage that are smart enough to turn it off. After all, people will prefer convenience over privacy any day...

    Also Google's UI for "kindly" letting us delete our data must be the most perfect example of A**hole Design I've ever seen - you have to click each data entry twice to delete it. Even just navigating the insanely convoluted account settings to get to that page is something most users will just give up on if they even know about it.



  • @pathduck: So, there is an informational war between US and Russia. How Russia is tracking everybody? How Tutanota email protects us? Do all sites install "Russian Analitics" scripts?

    I'd like to do two side remarks. First, if you are telling on the US-Russian infowar, it's not wise to refer to the pro-US source (wikipedia) only.

    Second, when someone tells something, the most important question always was "is it true?". Guccifer 2.0 told the truth that, of course, influenced people. Why this bad? Why the nationality of Guccifer 2.0 is important? (And yes, there are no real information on his nationality.)



  • @verbovet said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    How Russia is tracking everybody?

    The article does not state that Russia is doing the tracking. In fact Russia doesn't need to track us, as we are more than willing to surrender the data ourselves to big corporations to do what they will with, including selling them on to those wanting to use the data to subvert our democratic processes. That's the whole point of (that part of) the article, that we have no guarantees where our data might end up and for what purposes it might be used.

    it's not wise to refer to the pro-US source (wikipedia) only.

    Wikipedia articles are based on reliable sources and these are linked to in the article. A Wikipedia article without reliable sources is not to be trusted, just like any reporting without reliable sources.

    I'd be happy to read any relevant article you can provide based on proper sources.

    Of course, in the end, what is a "reliable source" boils down to the premise of believing in a free and incorruptible press. If you don't believe in this, or believe all "western" press is corrupted, then this whole discussion is a waste of time. Also we should be careful as this kind of political discussion could easily get us a warning from the moderators dragons 🐲



  • @pathduck said:

    In fact Russia doesn't need to track us, as we are more than willing to surrender the data ourselves to big corporations to do what they will with, including selling them on to those wanting to use the data to subvert our democratic processes.

    Do you want to say that Google, Facebook, etc. sell the data to Russia? And you have a reliable source for this? Please, tell do they sell the whole Big Data to Russians to analyse, or Russians order, for example, "please tell us the political views of Pathduck on vivaldi.com blog" and Google sells the answer to them?



  • @verbovet said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    @pathduck said:

    In fact Russia doesn't need to track us, as we are more than willing to surrender the data ourselves to big corporations to do what they will with, including selling them on to those wanting to use the data to subvert our democratic processes.

    Do you want to say that Google, Facebook, etc. sell the data to Russia?

    He's clearly not saying that!

    I sense you're a bit oversensitive... but you're mixing up proven use of farmed data by big (mostly US) corporations out to steal/manipulate personal data and proven Russian troll farms out to spread disinformation and influence people on social media and forums.

    They both happen, they're both bad, but they're (mostly) not linked - and no-one here said they were. However, if you want to go down that path; there are cases such as Cambridge Analytica - which definitely did acquire farmed data and then used that to spread disinformation and influence people and has various links to Russian interests. But that doesn't mean the data went straight from Google or Facebook to Russia as you imply.

    And in my subjective opinion Wikipedia is one of the least biased websites in existence (it's content is provided by citizens from all over the world and the site makes great effort to remove bias and require impartial sources), so to claim it's pro-US seems absurd to me.



  • How can we trust company like Tutanota? We only have you word: "We respect your right to privacy."
    A lot of companies have recently said the same thing and yet they have failed the trust of users.

    PS. "They even know your name, where you came from, your dreams, your fears and your plans for the future." - it sounds completely like Philip K. Dick


  • Ambassador

    @Fang said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    How can we trust company like Tutanota? We only have you word: "We respect your right to privacy."
    A lot of companies have recently said the same thing and yet they have failed the trust of users.

    PS. "They even know your name, where you came from, your dreams, your fears and your plans for the future." - it sounds completely like Philip K. Dick

    https://restoreprivacy.com/tutanota/



  • Just a comment on Google: does anyone else have an issue with the fact that Android is "locked" to a certain country and you can only change it by providing Google with a legitimate payment account?! Surely that can't be legal...

    I got my first Android phone in France. I moved to another country six years ago. I refuse to provide a new credit card reference to Google, so I have spent six years "side-loading" certain local apps copied from other phones since the Play store won't let me install them.

    There is literally no other way to change "my country" other than providing details of credit card, PayPal or phone provider. I clicked the last option to see what would happen... Luckily it failed - if it had worked then that would have proven that Google had taken my phone number despite me refusing to give it (it was already alarming that they knew which provider to contact...).



  • @mossman said in How to stop the online tracking machine:

    Just a comment on Google: does anyone else have an issue with the fact that Android is "locked" to a certain country and you can only change it by providing Google with a legitimate payment account?! Surely that can't be legal...

    I got my first Android phone in France. I moved to another country six years ago. I refuse to provide a new credit card reference to Google, so I have spent six years "side-loading" certain local apps copied from other phones since the Play store won't let me install them.

    There is literally no other way to change "my country" other than providing details of credit card, PayPal or phone provider. I clicked the last option to see what would happen... Luckily it failed - if it had worked then that would have proven that Google had taken my phone number despite me refusing to give it (it was already alarming that they knew which provider to contact...).

    This kind of nonsense is why the first thing I do on any Android device is wipe it and install AOSP, LineageOS, Replicant, /e/ or whatever other custom ROM will work best on it, with no GAPPS whatsoever. My app store is F-Droid with all default repositories enabled.


  • Ambassador

    F-Droid is certainly an essential Android app.


  • Ambassador

    You mention only a few of the most obvious tracking methods, but how do we avoid the so-called Login verification programs (Captcha & ReCaptcha) I believe both google products? Do they track us? What info do they collect.
    Also built in tracking from apps (both Android and iOS). Who's to know what is in these handy apps and how they track us or information they surreptitiously collect unless we can find independent vetting companies.
    (Now I go by word of mouth and reputation as I am not in any sense a programmer.)


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