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Google Privacy Your Rights Online

Dashboard Reveals What Google Knows About You 260

CWmike writes "Ever wonder exactly what Google knows about you? Google took a step today to answer that question with the unveiling of Google Dashboard, which is designed to let users see and control the copious amounts of data that Google has stored in its servers about them. 'Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data,' Google said in a blog post today. 'In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard.' Dashboard is set up so that users can control the personal settings in each Google product that they use. Google said the tool supports more than 20 products, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Google Latitude. Consumer Watchdog said in a statement today that it applauds Google for giving users a single place to go to manage their data. But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data."
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Dashboard Reveals What Google Knows About You

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  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:50AM (#30003248) Journal

    Their dashboard simply reveals what they want you to know you keep.

    Love or hate Google it would be naive to think otherwise.

  • by Slow Smurf ( 839532 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:05AM (#30003300)

    What about Google ads(or any other tracking mechanism), or when Google buys a company that you used to use instead of Google?

    It's not as simple as not using their products, unfortunately.

  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:08AM (#30003310)

    Now there's an easy tool provided by Google to identify what employees are doing with Google-related products while on the job. You didn't think anything you did on your work computer was your private information, did you?

  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BodeNGE ( 1664379 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:18AM (#30003342)
    It's asking me to login. I don't have a login to Google "services". How do I see the info that Google has on my browsing history without logging in?
  • Window dressing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rpp3po ( 641313 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:18AM (#30003344)
    I would have expected Slashdot to note the fact, that Google does not mention anywhere wether the presented data is even nearly complete. Without that it is just a sham, giving you the feeling of control, but possibly only touching the tip of the iceberg.
  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:27AM (#30003380)

    ...needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data.

    Um.. It's a free service, and collecting user data (most of which is anonymized) is a core feature of their ad services. Why exactly does Google need to hobble its business model again?

  • by mmsimanga ( 775213 ) <mmsimanga@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:28AM (#30003384) Homepage

    No one has to use google and when you chose to then you should be aware your data is going to be on their servers. Personally I do not enter personal information.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:29AM (#30003390)

    Either don't visit sites that use Google's ads, or block them. It's not rocket science.

  • by Pete (big-pete) ( 253496 ) * <> on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:32AM (#30003400)

    Well that's thing Google doesn't do intelligently is languages. I am logged into my account, they KNOW I speak English as a preferred language, but when I go to my iGoogle [] page on my iPhone whilst I'm in Belgium it insists on displaying everything in Dutch.

    That was annoying enough...but now the dashboard is doing the same, even when I visit the page from my laptop.

    Google, you KNOW I speak English, stop overriding my account setting for my language with demographic data based on my IP address. When I'm traveling it doesn't make me fluent in the local language...

    *slaps the company on the nose with a rolled up newspaper* Bad Google, bad bad portal!

    -- Pete.

  • Control? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:32AM (#30003402)

    Interesting idea of "control". There is no way to determine this is more than just pushing buttons in a UI.
    There is neither transparency and an element of verification that the functions were indeed performed, nor is there an element of validation to demonstrate the effective execution of the user selected functions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:38AM (#30003432)
    I disabled it when it was first announced, but it is unreasonable to think that does anything but just make Google not show it to you. It is unreasonable to expect them to not keep those logs.
  • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:42AM (#30003456)
    I know, this is total bullshit. I've been living in Germany for about 1.5 years now, I use an English-language browser, I've set everything I possibly can in Google to English, and it still constantly gives me random pages in German, like the OpenID login. What the fuck? Let me set my language in one place and then *keep it*, or recognize that if my user agent is in English, I probably want English. Overriding such things based on geography is astoundingly stupid, given the large number of travelers and expats in the world.

    Belgium must be a particularly strange the Walloons get Dutch too?
  • by pwilli ( 1102893 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:45AM (#30003462)
    Of course, Google is and always will be a black box like any other company when it comes to storage of such data.

    But by deleting and disabling it I at least make sure that nobody besides Google can access that information, even if they somehow find out my password.
  • by Bifurcati ( 699683 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:46AM (#30003468) Homepage
    Believe it or not, Google is a free service (for the most part) supported by advertising. I love the stuff that Google does, the way they handle advertising, and the way that advertising is actually (for the first time ever on the net) actually relevant. They've never done anything to earn my mistrust, far from it. So if by giving them my search histories I can improve both their overall advertising revenue and my own browsing experience, then I am more than willing to do so.

    If things ever go wrong, well, then I'll suffer the consequences. But people demanding Google stop collecting this information is just crazy talk. Yes, Google is fast becoming a necessity because of its sheer usefulness, but it's by no means crossed the line and doesn't look like it will. If you're really that worried - just don't use Gmail, Gcalendar or any of those other things. Your Google searches will still be reasonably anonymous!

    Honestly, it's rubbish like this that gives privacy advocates a bad name. Fight a battle worth fighting, for cryin' out loud.

  • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:02AM (#30003512)
    I can kind of excuse the crap job that Google has done with consolidating settings; lots of their apps were bought from other companies, and they're just starting to make the Google profile a significant thing. But what I absolutely do not get is why they (and pretty much every other website in the world) completely ignore the Accept-Language browser header, which is sent properly by every browser.

    It's such an obvious bit of information to use, it requires no IP-based geolocation, there must be some reason I'm not thinking of that they don't use it. Can anybody explain?
  • by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:03AM (#30003524)

    Looking in the Dashboard at what they "know" about for the last three years and it strikes me that it would be very easy for someone to draw some pretty outrageous conclusions about who I am, what I think and what I do.

    Pray that governments never get open access to mine their database I say!

  • by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:34AM (#30003626) Homepage

    You can love google and still be worried.

    Mostly because while they had no personal info leaks in past, it does not necessarily have to be so in future. You can trust google and appreciate that they use your personal info to make your web experience less painful, but you can not trust anyone who gets their dirty hands of their database...

    So yeah, real concern is in there. Especially that google becomes juicier and juicier target each day.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:39AM (#30003636) Homepage Journal

    And your ISP.. or anyone who has poisoned your DNS cache and is transparently proxying you.. or just about anyone who logs http-request traffic on the backbone.

    Oh, and anyone who has access to your web browser history/cache.. but you knew that.

  • by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @03:45AM (#30003656)

    though its about a different article, but still PLS IMPLEMENT THIS - whenever possible, direct link to what the summary is about should be compulsory

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @04:47AM (#30003822) Journal

    "Web History" is not available on MY dashboard. No mention of it at all, no listing of it being enabled or disabled. Nothing.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:29AM (#30003980)

    Well said. It's not what you have to hide! It's what they want to find!

    Add to that the Cardinal Richelieu way of thinking:
    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

    And you have a recipe for terror. Real terror. Not that TV "terror".

  • by DamonHD ( 794830 ) <> on Friday November 06, 2009 @05:42AM (#30004008) Homepage

    Because my stats suggest that most people leave it set to a default of en-US, ie US English, so when Accept-Language has that in it it mainly means 'I left it the way Microsoft set it' rather than 'I speak US English'.

    It makes providing any internationalisation frustrating, since the browser mechanism doesn't help much.



    PS. Conversely, if your 'Accept-Language' is set to anything other than English it's a pretty hot clue...

  • Re:Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 16384 ( 21672 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @08:48AM (#30004694)

    Visit [] (no country redirect) and google will no longer use your geolocation to determine what pages you want to see.
    Cookies required

    (emphasis mine)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @11:09AM (#30005764)

    I've got some news: The government not only knows every place you've been on the internet, they also know the content of all your email and chats. And don't think that SSL will fool them. Your only hope of obfuscating what you're doing on the internet is STRONG encryption.

    You should really take a course about computer science some time. You know, a beginner course or two to understand some of the basic concepts that you talk about. Just to make yourself not sound like an idiot. Occasionally visiting some informative websites [] might also be worth considering.

    Actually working in IT (whether it is for the government or for the private sector) would also help a good deal but those would require some knowledge about the subjects... But hey, it's the recession. Now is a pretty good time to go back to school. :)

    Just to spare you the trouble of studying things yourself, I can tell you: No, government doesn't have time to break all the "weak" cryptographic connections. Not even relatively close. Nor do they have the interest to do so. And companies sure as hell don't like giving all their data over to the government for no reason. Especially as most of the "all the places in the internet" are outside US borders.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan