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Chrome Private Mode Not Quite Private 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-if-i-wear-a-hat dept.
wiplash writes "Google Chrome appears to store at least some information related to, and including, the sites that you have visited when browsing in Incognito mode. Lewis Thompson outlines a set of steps you can follow to confirm whether you are affected. He has apparently reported this to Google, but no response has yet been received."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chrome Private Mode Not Quite Private

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  • Addicted. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:24AM (#32254196)

    Google is addicted to your information, and will do whatever they can to get more.

    They cannot help themselves.


  • Re:Addicted. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:42AM (#32254446) Journal

    Yes, it's the basis of their business model. They need all that information to serve their advertisers better. This means they're also constantly looking for new ways to get even more and more information. Even if some of their services currently aren't related to advertising (like their free DNS service), there's no guarantee that they cannot be in the future. They're awfully easy to integrate later when they have grown, and with publicly traded companies you never know what is going to happen in the future. Especially when they're looking for new ways to generate advertising revenue.

    Notice that all of their services are related to obtaining information, usage statistics, datamining and serving advertisement. YouTube too is a great resource for advertisers, as soon as online video matures a little bit more (though they're already working on it).

    Not that it's a bad business model - but if you value your privacy, you might want to consider forgetting freeloading for a moment and buying software. You know, the business model that is based on customers paying for the software instead of selling their soul for advertisers. Google is the new adware business, they have just hidden it better.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:46AM (#32254498)

    Whoever moderated this "insightful" may want to read the article first. Do you really think that it's Google's nefarious plan to record the magnification settings of the web pages that you visit?

    It's Google's plan to record anything and everything about you that it can, which makes the difference between Google and Facebook simply a matter of spelling.

  • by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:48AM (#32254534)

    This isn't even an issue of trust. It's not a question of whether Google is stealing information about you, or even privacy. It's an error or a possible bug wherein the mode where the browser is in essentially *no history* mode isn't working 100% w/o history.

    If this is true, then it raises issues of quality control, not trust

  • Re:Not surprised. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:55AM (#32254622)

    This and many other things about privacy concern me. I work at MIT and google and other big companies hang around, and both within academia and industry there are not enough people advocating privacy and information ownership. Trust me, or not, but Big companies lust over personal information.

  • Um no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coolsnowmen (695297) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:01PM (#32254698)

    There are many ways to finger print something that are not reversible. For instance, this is just page viewing preference data about a site you visited. What if it takes a hash of the url and uses that to store settings like current zoom and scroll location. There is almost no way this violates the idea of 'incognito' mode.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @12:12PM (#32254866)

    I'm not too worried about my privacy when it comes to corporations. Partly, it's because they already have a lot of data on me. Partly, it's because if they abuse it, I have at least a possible method of recourse.

    What I am worried about is the government getting their hands on such data. Now that's a danger that far exceeds what a corporation can do. And, you have no method of recourse against the government.

    Look at it this way: The worst a corporation could do is deny me a loan, because I buy a lot of junk online, and that means (by whatever twisted logic corporations employ) I'd be more likely to default on it.

    The worst a government can do is pull me over for a traffic violation, and throw me into prison without a trial because the routine check brought up the fact that I frequent sites that advocate extreme or even locally unpopular views.

    Which all leads to why I try to keep as anonymous as practically possible. Corporations don't have adequate data retention (or deletion) policy for my needs. And they cave easily to the government. Google is only slightly better in that they explicitly state how long they'll keep the data. But until every corporation adopts far more restrictive data retention policies whether by government regulation or by public outcry, I'm going to keep data on me from leaking out as much as possible.

    And before anybody points out the obvious contradiction above, I'm just going to say that entities can work for you sometimes, and against you sometimes, neither of which precludes them from doing the complete opposite at the same time.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:07PM (#32255656)

    Wrong, google makes no effort whatsoever to hide the fact that their income comes from targeted advertising. Given the price of software, which can dwarf the price of the hardware it runs on, it's not too bad of a deal. The sell your soul comment was tongue in cheek, I'm assuming, since my soul consists of a lot more than my online browsing habits.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:19PM (#32255794)

    I'm not following you. Why can't they reach the info on your PC that is put there by their program? Your computer is free storage for them. It may not be reachable for most of the time but Chrome will tell them when it is available.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:24PM (#32255844)

    It's Google's plan to record anything and everything about you that it can, which makes the difference between Google and Facebook simply a matter of spelling.

    So somebody, while designing the secret browsing mode, made sure to wipe at the URL you visited, the IP addresses, cookies, but maliciously and deceptively left in the recording of magnification settings, so at least Google could spy on THAT?

    Is that really what you're saying? That doesn't trigger ANY internal fear that you may be paranoid?

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:26PM (#32255868) Homepage Journal

    " Partly, it's because if they abuse it, I have at least a possible method of recourse."
    "Now that's a danger that far exceeds what a corporation can do. And, you have no method of recourse against the government."

    WOW. That is completely backwards.

    You have a great many avenues of recourse against the government then you have against any corporation.

    Why do people even think that?

  • by McDutchie (151611) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:35PM (#32255972) Homepage
    You're missing the point. If Chrome records zoom levels for particular sites, each such record is proof by implication that you visited the site. The Incognito mode is supposed to prevent recording of what sites you visit.
  • Re:Addicted. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cc1984_ (1096355) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:37PM (#32256002)

    I was going to reply with comments related to the Constitution(specifically the Bill of Rights), how the court system works, the various court cases the Supreme Court has ruled on regarding protests and freedom of speech, and other facets of how the law protects you from government abuse related to freedom of speech and protest/demonstrations, but then I remembered that this is Slashdot, and the government is always bad, and corporations are always better than the government.

    Sorry, I must have missed the bit where the GP said he was a US citizen.

  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @01:47PM (#32256158)
    I think you're missing the GPs point. Although many around here might well hold the beliefs you allude to (I don't think its a significant population on Slashdot, as victimized as you might feel by them), the GPs point is that the cost of betrayal by the Government far exceeds the cost of betrayal by a Corporation. In fact, the worst a Corporation can do do you is really limited by what the Government will allow it to do - if you are really so afraid of what a Corporation can do to you, you are implicitly afraid of what the Government will let it do.
  • Re:Addicted. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @03:10AM (#32262124) Journal

    WTF. This is obviously a browser bug. What on Earth does Google have to gain by letting the browser recall your zoom setting on the client-side? Stop trolling, please!

    Google hasn't replied, but I assume that's because the stupid article author didn't even file a bug against this. I'm a complete nobody in Chrome development, but even I has done this in 2 minutes, an equivalent time period of composing a well formulated e-mail and sending it to Google.

  • Re:Addicted. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @04:29AM (#32262494)

    You're missing something. If the government is so much scarier than the corporations, then your data data isn't safe with the corporations either. What happens when the gov decides to order/ pay google to hand over all information they have about you?

    Data mined by the corporations == data available to the government.

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