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Google and Facebook Top Biggest Web Tracker List 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-see-what-you-did-there dept.
itwbennett writes "A new report from Evidon, whose browser plug in Ghostery tracks Web trackers, makes it plain that 'if you want to worry about somebody tracking you across the Web, worry about Google,' writes blogger Dan Tynan. Google and Facebook, and their various services, occupy all of the top 5 slots on the Evidon Global Tracker Report's list of the most prolific trackers. 'And if you have any tracking anxiety left over, apply it to social networks like Facebook, G+, and Twitter,' adds Tynan."
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Google and Facebook Top Biggest Web Tracker List

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  • Collusion plugin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:45PM (#40289297)

    Check out the Collusion plugin from Mozilla if you want to see for yourself who is tracking you and the relationships between them. Has a nice graphical overview.

    http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/

    • Check out the Collusion plugin from Mozilla if you want to see for yourself who is tracking you and the relationships between them. Has a nice graphical overview.

      http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/

      (Un)fortunately the graph is very boring if you already run Ghostery.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Collusion is MPL 1.1 while Ghostery is proprietary. For all you know, Ghostery might be spying on you more effectively than google and failbook combined.

        • by Fjandr (66656)

          It's pretty easy to watch traffic generated by something even if you don't have access to the source code.

          • by allo (1728082)

            but you do not always watch the traffic.

            you can bring the positive proof, something is sending data home. but you cannot prove its not, unless you have your wireshark running all the time.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              If that's your security model, have fun not using anything you didn't compile from source yourself, since unless you manually verify all source prior to compile, then compile it, you have no idea if any software you run phones home.

              • by allo (1728082)

                my only point was:
                - you can bringt the evidence for something, when it happens
                - you cannot bring the evidence against something, just because its not happening while you're watching.

                • by Fjandr (66656)

                  That's fine, but my post was in response to:
                  For all you know, Ghostery might be spying on you more effectively than google and failbook combined.

                  It works for either part of your above point, so long as that standard is used for both sides of the comparison. I don't see the added value.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if everyone else noticed that the top two "tracking" sites are also the top two most visited sites on the internet.

      Lesson for the day... that's not a coincidence. Everyone wants to capitalize on information in one way or another. The bigger your reach, the more information you have to work with.

      Neither says anything about what they're doing with that information. That's the really important part.

    • by Inda (580031)
      I installed that months back.

      Now I realise how few websites I visit these days.

      When did the WWW become so shit?
    • Oh no! Google is tracking me! Yawn....

  • Ghostery (Score:5, Informative)

    by agoliveira (188870) <adilson@[ ]lson.net ['adi' in gap]> on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:45PM (#40289305)

    I suggest this Firefox extension. Works quite well for me.

    • by zornorph (63846)

      Another one that I like is Collusion. Still listed as experimental though:

      Collusion is an experimental add-on for Firefox and allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web. It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I suggest this Firefox extension. Works quite well for me.

      I can verify the Chrome extension is called... "Ghostery".

      I enjoy this trend of extensions on chrome having the same name as on firefox. It made the jump from FF to chrome a couple weeks ago pretty easy.

    • From the summery:

      "A new report from Evidon, whose browser plug in Ghostery tracks Web trackers,"
  • Food for thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:50PM (#40289337)
    Google derives 96% of its revenue from advertising. All those shiny "free" Google services you love to play with are the result of their ability to monetize information they gather about you. Without tracking, there is no Google. Just keep that in mind.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:54PM (#40289393) Homepage Journal

      they should just focus adverts based on what I'm viewing right now and then. NOT by what I viewed a week ago. NOT by what someone else viewed from the same browser a week ago. I'm doing a search for "fucking inkjet cartridges" then fuck, advertise me some fucking inkjet cartridges and porno then. NOT FUCKING AFTER I'VE ALREADY BOUGHT BOTH AND AM ACTUALLY SEARCHING FOR A FUCKING GOOD BROWNIES RECIPE!!!!

      the tracking... IT DOES NOTHING, but billions spent on it regardless. how do they know the tracking is "working" in getting you the advertisements you want? well, because they're fucking tracking it so their tracking proves that the tracking experts should be paid lots and lots of money.

      • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:23PM (#40289675)

        I'm thinking that you need to keep the "safe search" option turned on if you type that stuff into Google and expect to actually find a recipe for brownies anywhere near the top of the list.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        You don't understand. Anybody can sell you stuff based on what you're doing now. Google is making entire profiles of people based on what they do online. This is much more valuable than what you're suggesting.
      • Perfect Brownies (Score:5, Informative)

        by improfane (855034) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:48PM (#40290789) Journal

        I agree with you.

        Just thought I'd share my ultimate brownie recipe with you. Take a saucepan and start melting real butter (125g) and chocolate (185g) and melt on a low heat. Then add 50g flour, 40g Cocoa and 275g sugar. Stir into mixture and then add three eggs. Pour into a greased or papred tin and place in oven for about 25 minutes and they're delicious. They're not to dense or light and they are rich but not overpowering.

        You can also mix in chocolate chunks or nuts to make it even nicer.

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        Why does it make you so upset that Google is not getting the targeting correct? From the reading of your post, it sounds like you want MORE tracking, not less - so that they can target the ads better.

        • Google is awesome! Hell yeah I want more and better tracking! If it's not Google then it's just creepy.

      • It is so nice to use private browsing and see the "relevant" ads and the "customized" search results disappear. I''m all for relevant ads, but lets get the algo right.

    • Re:Food for thought (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:10PM (#40289543) Journal

      All I use Google for is search. I'd gladly pay for a non ad infested version. Google serves too many masters to be a decent search engine anymore.

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        Can anyone offer a good alternative search engine?

        Not Google, but [...] ?

    • by Bigby (659157)

      That's why I think it is crazy when people say the only thing at Google that is making money is AdWords/Search. They think everything else is a drain. Those other things are just portals to not only more advertising, but more directed advertising.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>Google derives 96% of its revenue from advertising.

      I'm okay with that. It's also how I get Free TV and free radio. The idea that I would actually PAY for google.com and other websites? Ha. Fat chance.

      My only objection is when Google pushes for CISPA legislation that allows the government to view the data without needing a warrant. I don't care if Google tracks my websurfing (they can do me no harm), but the government? With its jails and armed men? No thanks.

    • by Shihar (153932) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:07PM (#40290521)

      Eh. Who cares? Google trying to make really good ads for me rates pretty damn low on my list of concerns. Hell, if they actually manage to get me to click on a link, it means they found something that I actually care about. I call that a win. I will happily take a good book recommendation that I actually would like to know about over a dancing baby trying to sell me a better mortgage.

      Targeted advertising just isn't scary. It is good. Google having that kind of information doesn't scare me.

      Where Google and the like become scary is when our own government steps in. I don't care if Google tries to sell me stuff that I want. That is a service. I do care if the government can track down my various aliases and I run into trouble with the law because I vocally declare drug laws and the TSA dumb. Google isn't the problem, it is when my government forces Google to divulge information on me that we have a problem.

      Facebook is little worse than Google. Their targeted advertising is perfectly fine, but their constantly shifting privacy settings that desperately want to share private drunk pictures with my boss is fucking annoying.

      • I agree 100% with everything you posted. Privacy is only important to me in the context of the government. And Google ranks among the highest according to the EFF on government transparency - so I call that a good thing.

        Why do so many people seem to get upset over targeted ads, is the thing I muse over constantly. I think the root of the problem is the ego. People get upset and disturbed at the thought that a company and/or it's collection of algorithms and research, might know more about their psychology t

  • by Dins (2538550) on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:50PM (#40289347)
    This is why I stay logged out of my Google account whenever possible and only access Facebook when I absolutely have to. Privacy is dead. Google talks a good talk with "Don't be evil", but actions speak louder than words. And Facebook might be the biggest enemy of privacy on the web right now.
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:00PM (#40289445) Homepage Journal

      Facebook might be the biggest enemy of privacy on the web right now.

      I [wikipedia.org] don't [wikipedia.org] think [wikipedia.org] so. [wikipedia.org]

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:15PM (#40289591) Journal

      Do you think logging out really does you any good? Chances are you can be uniquely identified from your browser's user agent string. Google remembers your IP. Google remembers the searches you do from that IP. Google has a bug on just about every website out there.

      If you want to avoid Google, you need to use it only from a deidentified browser, behind an anonymizing proxy. You need to reject all scripts from Google, and reject all cookies. If you do all this, it will be a pain in the ass to get any work done, and I'm still not sure they won't be able to figure out who you are.

      • by Dins (2538550)
        Every little bit helps. I'm also usually behind a VPN, and always have Ghostery, Noscript and 'do not track' enabled. Am I 100% private? No. But I'm better than without those options. I'm also under no illusions that 'do not track' helps unless the site I'm connecting to wants it to help. But it probably doesn't hurt.
        • Every little bit helps. I'm also usually behind a VPN, and always have Ghostery, Noscript, a tinfoil hat, aluminum wallpaper, and 'do not track' enabled.

          There, fixed that for ya.

      • Off course I reject all scripts from Google. And I use Ixquick for search. Third-party cookies should be disabled by default in modern browsers (and often are).
      • I use Firefox for my browsing, Epiphany for facebook & chrome for google services. For all intents & purposes, this is how a lot of people use a single browser. 2 or 3 windows, with 1/2 a dozen (or 50) tabs in each. My windows are just different applications, isolated from each other... If I want to browse a link I see in the google or facebook windows, I copy & paste it to the browse window.

        If I'm going someplace I'm really concerned about, I pop in a live cd of my favorite low profile distro,

        • "In other news....a hacker was arrested today after obscuring his identity with a puppy. Animal rights activists are in an uproar and local authorities say this is probably not the first time he has done this. Arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning at 8AM."

      • The best thing to do may be to inject so much noise into the internet, that they may have all your information, yet can't do anything useful with it.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      This is why I stay logged out of my Google account whenever possible and only access Facebook when I absolutely have to. Privacy is dead. Google talks a good talk with "Don't be evil", but actions speak louder than words. And Facebook might be the biggest enemy of privacy on the web right now.

      Best you be deleting your cookies too or all is for naught... In fact, I'd be deleting all cookies and history every time I started a browser if I was you. Further, I'd also try and get a new IP address from your ISP on a regular basis. Even then, good luck with not being tracked.

      Oh heck, Just stay off the web, take the battery out of your cell phone and never go outside....

    • This is why I stay logged out of my Google account whenever possible and only access Facebook when I absolutely have to.

      Facebook is easy... I deleted my account 2 years ago, and I blocked facebook.com fbcdn.net and related sites on my router.

      As for google, I use ghostery on my main browser (But I noticed ghostery doesn't work against Google Analytics on chrome/chromium.) When I want to access my gmail account, I fire up a separate browser and use that only for gmail and exit the browser when done.

  • Every time I have to whitelist a cookie to get a website to work what other third party cookies are always sitting there in the block list. I'll give you two guesses.

    Well... except for porn sites. They have about 10 - 15 blocked third party cookies, but none of them are Google/Facebook........
    • Well... except for porn sites. They have about 10 - 15 blocked third party cookies, but none of them are Google/Facebook........

      To a marketing weasel, that last sentence reads "untapped market."

  • That's why I drew this [botaday.com]

    Disclaimer: I didn't really know. I just thought of the design and thought it would look neat

  • Reprising the comment I posted over on TFA:

    Disclaimer: "This ITWorld page contains at least eighteen trackers, including eight of the top ten listed in the article. Dan's eSarcasm site loads at least 5 trackers including three of the top five."

    There, fixed that for you.

    --

    He had me until he praised the Wall Street Journal series. While the goal of informing non-technical people about tracking on the web is a good one, the series has been full of inaccuracies, omissions and sensationalism. WSJ seems to

    • Dude, the WSJ is a newspaper. A fucking newspaper! A rag, which I read every day, that is run by billionaires. Take it with a grain of salt. Anyone with any sophistication that reads it knows there is a finely tuned message in every article. They purposefully participated in over-hyping the facebook IPO, and continue to draw the story out with tons of fluff and repetition about people losing millions and wanting their money back--yawn. Once a week there is a decent and very informative article (What the Chi

  • Back in the day... (Score:4, Informative)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:05PM (#40290037)

    Does anyone remember, back in the day, when browsers shipped configured so that all cookies set had to be explicitly authorized to be set? Remember how the first thing everyone did was change their configuration to auto-accept? Remember how browsers eventually changed to just have that setting by default?

    A site cannot track you across third-party sites. Not unless you let them. It's just that users have deferred that responsibility to their browser's configuration, and are now complaining that they've been granting authorization to let these sites track them. The result is articles like this, and heavy-handed legislation like the EUs recent cookie-ban. All because users are too lazy and ignorant to take the responsibility on themselves. Hell, with modern browsers and addon/extension models, you don't even need to use the coarse-grained approach that old-school browsers used. Just a plugin that let's you whitelist cookies.

    But it sounds like even that's too much effort for the average user. Just complain, and rely on the courts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can track you by your browser's agent string (and even better when pairing it with an IP address). Research has discovered that agents strings tend to differ. If website A sees your agent string unique among it's 1 million users and website B has also seen your agent string, when they sell each other web logs they can both assume you visited both their sites. Of course it's not 100% exact, but it's statistically good enough to make that profile connection. Have you cleaned your agent string and oth

    • Yeah yeah nice rant.

      Based on the fallacy that cookies are required to track people (and I sure hope the legislation you mentioned includes that, and is not just a "cookie ban" as you call it). Ever heard of an ETag, or browser fingerprints? Does "IP address" ring a bell at all? It's fucking trivial to track people without cookies.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:28PM (#40290221)

    Next you will be telling me the sky is blue, and water is wet. Thanks for the report Sherlock!

  • by smash (1351)
    ... the headline "Google tops web tracking list" would be too anti-Google to post on slashdot?
    • by smash (1351)
      ... and after RTFA, its not even close to facebook. More tracking by a factor of 7-8x on their top hit, alone.
  • I understand the inclusion of the usual suspects (F and G), but Twitter? I always assumed they were the least evil birds in the flock. According to the report, Twiiter button ranks as No. 6 in the trackers' top 20, behind the No. 4 Google+, sandwiched between Facebook Social (No. 3) and Connect (No. 5). Apparently G+ is already more popular than Twitter, at least as far as the geek market is concerned.
  • by Sarusa (104047) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:20PM (#40291823)

    I use NoScript myself (and Ghostery), but most people can't deal with how you have to selectively allow javascript domains to get new sites to work under NoScript.

    Ghostery accomplishes most of what you want (don't track me, don't steal my info) effortlessly while breaking almost nothing. So you can install it for anyone and not worry too much they'll come complaining to you.

    Also, the Ghostery list on any page is freaking scary (Slashdot has only two items). And I'd say 99% of sites are using Google Analytics (including Slashdot).

    • by Artemis3 (85734)

      I install it everywhere to reduce bandwidth usage, same as adblock. The amount of traffic all these trackers generate per page is ridiculous; often the page won't even load unless the trackers have completed sending their data, unacceptable. I also happen to use noscript, cookie monster and refcontrol, to whitelist selected sites.

      • by rapidmax (707233)

        I used to use noscript until I found the RequestPolicy plugin. This along with cookie monster works great to block unwanted third party requests. It takes a moment to build the initial RequestPolicy whitelist, but once my most important pages are listed it works quite well.

  • and itworld.com has a nice set of 17 diffirent trackers on that page reported by gostery ...

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