Begin forwarded message:
From: "Erich M." <me () quintessenz org>
Date: August 15, 2008 2:49:22 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] AT&T the Web Spy? -- And Their Big Google Lie
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
David Farber wrote:
Servus Dave, for IP if you wish.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: August 14, 2008 6:28:16 PM EDT
AT&T's new Big Lie regarding Google is of particular note:
"Advertising network operators such as Google have evolved beyond
merely tracking consumer Web surfing activity on sites for which
they have a direct ad-serving relationship. They now have the
ability to observe a user's entire Web browsing experience at a
-- Dorothy Attwood, AT&T senior vice president for public policy
That second sentence is the kicker -- and is simply untrue. But
it's crucial to AT&T's arguments that people *believe* it to be
Google does collect a great deal of data across their affiliated
networks, via IP addresses, cookies (when enabled by users), and
presumably URL referers as well. But this only includes sites
somehow affiliated with the Google networks, and/or users who have
installed various Google tools and enabled associated site reporting
features. But it does *not* otherwise include all visited Web
sites. Not by a long shot.
I would not be so sure at all of the latter, Lauren. Of course you are
perfectly right that AT&T as your telco access providor can monitor
you do online. Unless you use a VPN, of course.
As to Google:
In the German speaking world about 80 percent of the leading news
websites run Google analytics and/or google syndication resp.
See the link at the bottom to an online tool called ontraXX where you
can look up whether the US news websites you read hand over all your
usage data to Google. You should be surprised how many these are.
German and Austrian top news sites send their visitors' clickstreams
Google for analysis, a service free of charges. Google sends then
[incomplete] sites statistics back.
According to EU data protection laws owners of websites have to inform
their users about their usage data being handed over to third parties.
Neither spiegel.de nor sueddeutsche.de, nor derstandard.at complied to
that when I ran that news story two months ago.
These EU media and many others also violate Google's policy over
EU: to add a disclaimer - according to EU laws - on a "prominent
on the respective website.
Nobody likes to do that in a EU country, because the disclaimer starts
with a sentence saying: This website uses Google Analytics, a
Google, all your traffic data will be stored on a server in the Unites
States of America".
I asked a Google spokesperson in Hamburg, Germany a few months ago on
that matter. What is Google doing to sanction those who violate
policy, by not adding the said disclaimer on a "prominent" place on
The Google spokesperson answered: "That is a good question. I will
into that matter". Obviously that checking is still going on as I
not heard of him again since mid june.
If you read the leading print news media in Germany or Austria online,
Google is more or less always watching you. All user traffic data go
into one, big pot.
I would not be surprised if the same was the case in the USA. The New
York Times does it and the Washington Post does it well. LA Times uses
all three Google services.
Post -to pick one out - just a tiny Google logo a very long scroll
on the very bottom on the frontpage.
The ontraXX.net machine description is - I'm afraid to tell - only in
German. But that should not be a problem: Just type in the domain you
wish to check and type in. Amongst "Externe Services"
The guy who owns that and the related notraxx.net, Walter Karban,
managed to get an altavista license in 1997 and ran a self branded
search engine called "austronaut.at" for a few years. He used that
PR tool for his small company because the .at domain was not indexed
that well on altavista or lycos, then.
I am really on your side when bashing the circuit switched gang for
their extensive network surveillance, Lauren.
Know a bit about that topic. But: All our online _news_ consuming
in one pot at Google?
Servus from Europe