Google Doing Evil

Posted by iheartubuntu on Sunday, February 26, 2012


A couple of weeks ago in the news Apple announced Google was bypassing safety features built into Safari on some of their devices like the iPad and iPhone. Last week Microsoft also announced that Google was up to something and doing some devious things with Internet Explorer too.

If you are still using Google products, now might be a good time to let go of them and regain some of your privacy back.

All of next week I will be walking you through actions you can take to unhook yourself from the Google dependence you might have. It is not easy. Google products are awesome we admit. Its almost like crack cocaine (which we have no personal knowledge of, just from the movies you know?). Google products are highly addictive. Their business model is collecting your data for resale. At least Microsoft makes a product and then sells it. Google makes a product, offers it for free, but collects user data from its usage and now has a virtual product to sell to anyone who asks.

Gmail allows unlimited free storage. Has a nice interface. Google Maps is sleek and simple and works nicely. I get it. Nice stuff and I could go on.

A lot of you, especially the younger crowd who has now grown up not concerned about privacy might not understand why privacy is important. I have a niece who gives her passwords to all of her friends which I find strange. I would never do that. We are all private creatures in one way or other. Do you shut the door when going to the bathroom? Why do you? Privacy. We are all privacy advocates whether we know it or not.

Privacy is important. Insurance companies are now buying user data to use against customers. Imagine needing a surgery some day and you are denied because you purchased above the societal norm of alcoholic beverages in the past year. It is already happening. This grocery store club cards you swipe every time to "save money" are collecting your purchase history and selling it to everyone under the sun.

Switching away from Google products IS NOT EASY. But it is possible. Im doing it right now and its not that bad. I no longer use Gmail and have switched to Thunderbird and absolutely LOVE it and I will tell you why too.

So be sure to tune in next week as we will lay it down the move away from Google products for you in easy terms. Its possible, it can be done and Im doing it!

"The world is a dangerous place not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do nothing about it." - Albert Einstein

8 Comments

  1. Great. Now, I have a week of trolling headlines from you in my California planet feed...

    It is unclear how you can consider a company "evil" when they are by far the most transparent company on the net about what information they gather and store for you:

    http://www.google.com/dashboard

    They not only make it trivial to delete any info that have on you; the also make it trivial for people to take all their content out of google:

    http://checkout.google.com

    Any comments from a supposed open-source advocate lauding Apple and condemning Google is seriously flawed...

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  2. And for God's sake, when Microsoft criticizes ANY company, please do your research before re-spouting it for them.

    P3P is totally broken, and Microsoft knows it is. They have been aware that ~1/3 of all sites use the same "workaround" that you call devious above for over two years. Microsoft's own websites suggest developers use this workaround because P3P is broken!

    M$ were just jumping on the bandwagon trying to make Google look bad. And poor journalists (like this site) drank it right up because they are desperate to finally find Google guilty of doing something "evil."

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  3. Jack - Ive pretty much said my piece in regards to Google. The next weeks worth of posts are of the apps themselves and what I like about them. Thunderbird instead of Gmail and Google Reader, Rhythmbox and Ubuntu One Music instead of Google Music, etc. Im not a Google, Apple or Microsoft fanboy at all. Im just interested in privacy.

    I agree that its easier than it used to be to wipe data, but anyone would be a fool to believe Google or any other company doesnt hold on to data.

    Essentially, if you use a Google product you are adhering to their policies and rules. If you dont like something in their policies, you dont have to use their product.

    One of the very last Google products that I use is this website... Its run off of Blogger.com. Im slowly moving everything to Wordpress. But why? Just because of Googles data mining? Not entirely. Google recently announced Blogger websites will be banned in some countries. Which countries? Why not fight for internet freedom instead of caving in?

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  4. Anonymous1:15 PM

    I too use Gmail. How do you suppose I read my mail while being on the road? Thunderbird is great I know. But to read mail that way I have to get an address like blabla@blabla.com. Another thing, how do I go about running my services on my Android Phone if I'm no longer using Google Products?

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  5. Within Thunderbird you would need to set up an email account that has IMAP capability. There are many to choose from out there. Some are free like Mail.com, others offer high security and cost money like Neomailbox.com. Once set up with the IMAP settings, your email would be synced where ever you are. On your Thunderbird at home, or on the web online someplace.

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  6. Anonymous11:14 PM

    I know how IMAP works :-) Services like mail.com are also cloudbased servers, so I don't see why they are so much safer to use than Google? I think perhaps running a private server is the best option. But still SAFE? On the other hand I still need a Gmail account to sync my photos, docs, mail on my phone, work, home, ipad, Chromebook etc. So I'll stick with Google as I think they do provide great service for free.

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  7. You are entirely correct. Running your own mail server is going to be the best route. You can also run your domain off of foreign servers and then access your IMAP that way or use a paid service like Neomailbox, based in Switzerland or Runbox.com based in Norway. Both countries have strict privacy policies.

    For an Android phone which needs a Google account... I dont know of any other way around that. Id recommend waiting for the Ubuntu phone to come out. You could however at least separate your accounts and have, say, a Google account for your personal, one for your business and one for your cellphone. This way at least all of your entire life data is not as easily condensed into one account. This sort of separation is a good move, but not a means to an end if concerned about privacy. Using fake names on accounts, not using photos to link who you are, these are all small steps you can do to try to help secure your privacy. Again, the main point of this is privacy of your personal data... not because we are deviant people. Our data is getting sold and traded on the auction block and protecting that should be of importance.

    When it comes down to it, if ease of use is more important than privacy it doesnt really matter, does it. Being careful of ANY big corp is a smart idea. They usually dont have the best interest of the consumer in mind.

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  8. hmmm, maybe if the people would get away from Safari and IE (have no idea why someone would use the latter anyways) it would be alright. I have had no problem with google at all.

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