Internet Privacy – Google or Microsoft?

Microsoft recently focused it’s ad campaign against Google with it’s Scroogled campaign. What you may not realize is, even though Microsoft doesn’t “read or scan your e-mails”, they basically use the SAME methods to gather data on your Internet activity than Google. Though privacy and anonymity are two different things, they are quite related.

First, you’ll want to read the Terms of use (TOS) and End User Agreement (EULA) of ANY services you use. The keyword here is BEFORE. If you realize AFTER how your data is being used, well, data has already been gathered. Too late.

For humor’s sake, here’s a funny Scroogled video, uploaded by yours truly in HD on YouTube, of course. :D

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfHESKE88wQ

Below are bing’s and Google’s privacy statements. They both clearly gather data about your search queries, online habits, location, etc. For me, that’s not privacy.

It’s called business intelligence. It’s a good thing, when used for good things : like making your search results better, offering you new services that matters, creating new products and a lot more useful things you may not realize. And like with everything else in this world, there is and will be abuse and misuse of that information. So is life.

BING Privacy Statement & TOS (read it)
http://www.microsoft.com/privacystatement/en-gb/bing/default.aspx
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/microsoft-services-agreement

Google Privacy Statement & TOS (read it)
https://www.google.ca/intl/en/policies/privacy/
https://www.google.ca/intl/en/policies/terms/regional.html

Note that Google is kinder then they seem: Microsoft certainly won’t tell you that you can in fact choose to opt-out from personalized Google ads. While you’ll still get ads,  it won’t be based  on keywords and e-mails, but instead on your Internet activity, just like Microsoft or any websites & web services do.

Google ad Opt out
https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662922?hl=en
https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662850

Adapt

If you already visited Microsoft’s Scroogled website and thought you need a new free mail provider, well don’t just switch search and e-mail provider: start by changing your tools and habits instead.

You could, for a start, decide to use private search engines, like StartPage, for example. It even uses Google search results: quality results and privately searched: best of both worlds! Or IxQuick, if you don’t want Google in.

Here are some privacy guidelines:

Cookies

-Clearing/blocking cookies is a good start. After or during a browsing session, clear your cache. On a PC, use Ctrl+Shift+Del in any modern web browser.

Sessions

-Don’t browse on the Internet while logged in from ANY services/websites. Not only do you give data, you’re giving associations of your browsing behaviour to your account strait away. Try searching on Google, then check out some YouTube videos while logged in from Gmail… your internet history will be recorded to your account history: Google saw and recorded what you did, where & when. Same for any Live/Hotmail/bing accounts opened sessions.

Browser Profiles

-Use different browser profiles for different type of Internet activities: Firefox supports that. Why? Your browser information is also gathered and is used to create an ID based on your browser settings. The more you customize a browser, the more in fact unique and easily identifiable you become. I myself use different profiles: a guest profile for when people need to use my computer, a web dev profile for web development, another profile for searching, another for general browsing, etc.

Turn up da heat

-You could also use an anonymous browser like Tor (based on Firefox) if you really need to.

https://www.torproject.org/

Again, please read the documentation before attempting anything that needs to be anonymous. Nothing is full proof.

CONCLUSION

Continuously ask yourself: “What am I doing? Is the information I’m about to provide important? Private? Public? Do I want this website on my “record?”

Decide today what methods, tools and habits to opt for. As always, analyze and examine things before your take actions. Understand what’s going on, then act only when you believe you’ve gathered enough information on the subject and have considered both sides of the medal. Use judgement.

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-https://startpage.com
-https://ixquick.com/
-https://www.torproject.org/
-http://www.microsoft.com/privacystatement/en-gb/bing/default.aspx
-http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/microsoft-services-agreement
-https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662922?hl=en
-https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662850
-https://support.google.com/adwords/contact/feedback?hl=en&origin=cluster&rd=1

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