How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy
Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

At the moment, I am reading a fascinating must-read book called Dragnet Nation by Julia Angwin. Angwin is a former Wall Street Journal journalist who covers online privacy-related stories, and Dragnet Nation is a highly researched book, where she demonstrates how much you have willingly thrown away your privacy to online marketers, advertisers, and spammers. It is a scary eye-opening piece of work, and so well written that, 10 pages in, you’ll be frantically rushing online to start purging your data.

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy dragnetnation

Which is exactly what I did: purge my data. Lots of it. Then I binge watched the TV show Person of Interest, and that made me switch my phone off and remove the battery How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More and SIM card Why Do Cellphones Need a SIM Card? Why Do Cellphones Need a SIM Card? Haven't we come far enough with technology that such a thing as SIM cards shouldn't matter anymore? What is a SIM card and why is it so important? Read More . Then lock myself in the bathroom.

This article outlines exactly what I did, so if you want to attempt to wipe yourself off the Net too (note the word “attempt”), then you can try. It may mean going without certain “cool” online features, but be honest, is that really the end of the world? Since this subject is so vast, I will focus on the biggest bogeyman – Google (surprise, surprise).

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy bogeyman

Yes, Google, the big bogeyman. Google has a mixed record when it comes to privacy. They have a whole army of lawyers who have tried to protect users information in the past, but that is heavily outweighed by their huge missteps.

Cleaning Your Gmail

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy gmaillabels

The first step is to decide what emails you are keeping, and what you can delete. With lots of storage for each person, Google has championed the idea of “never delete another thing ever again!”. But come on, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of stuff you definitely do not need to keep. Notifications for one. Vouchers which have long run out another. So start cleaning out. One quick way of doing it is to work through each of your labels and delete from each one. Or hunt down the biggest emails by knowing what to type into Gmail.

If there are any you want to keep, hit the CTRL + P function on the email and choose save as PDF (if you’re using Chrome). If you are using Firefox, there are quite a few add-ons to choose from that will convert pages into PDF’s for you. That will save a PDF copy to your computer 7 Best Tools to Print to PDF 7 Best Tools to Print to PDF Not a single version of Windows comes with a native print-to-PDF solution. So what’s the best alternative? We checked 8 of the most popular options to find out. Read More . Or if you’re an Evernote user How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual Learning how to use Evernote on your own takes a long time. This is why we've put together this guide to show you how to take full advantage of the most important Evernote features. Read More , you can use the Web Clipper to “clip” the email into your desktop app. But Evernote is also a cloud sync service. Are they any better? Liberate your data!

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy protonmailinbox

Once you have emptied your email account, what then? Where can you go? Well in short, a place that values privacy and secrecy, and for that it’s best to use a service based in the EU. The EU has very strict privacy laws, which can protect you far better than a US service can. For a long time, I have had my eye on ProtonMail, which is a Swiss-based email service. Their servers are hosted in a former military command center deep inside the Swiss Alps. You need two passwords to get in – one to log in and one to decrypt the mailbox – and we’re not talking 2-step authentication. There’s no password retrieval sent to your phone. No backup codes. If you forget your secondary password, you are locked out forever. Tough cheese, pal.

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy protonmaildecrypt

ProtonMail has no advertising. You can make expiring emails. No IP logs tied to your account, so privacy is assured. Oh and I almost forgot, end-to-end encryption Google End-To-End Encryption, Slender Man Attempted Murder [Tech News Digest] Google End-To-End Encryption, Slender Man Attempted Murder [Tech News Digest] Google goes End-To-End, Kickstarter softens campaign rules, Sony kills the PSP, Chrome goes 64-bit, Slender Man attempted murder, Todoist For Business, and teens reacting to 90s Internet. Read More .

The small snag is that, for the moment, it’s in beta testing, so you need to request an invite from them to sign up (although I hear they are quite speedy these days). Plus you will find bugs at the moment, as the system is being tweaked. The service is free right now, but you only get 500MB storage. In my view, that is not really a negative, because people need to get out of the habit of email hoarding and start purging after 30 days.

Once the site comes out of beta, there’s no guarantee that they won’t start charging for the service. But again, in my view that’s not a negative. In life, you get what you pay for. If you don’t pay for the upkeep of the service, then the developers are forced to accept advertising. Slippery slope?

Web Search History

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy gmailsignin

Now we come to the meat and potatoes of Google’s business – web search. This is where your searches are exploited for maximum profit. Search results are “tailor-made” for you (meaning you only see what you want to see), adverts appear at the top of the page, and anything you search for can and will be used against you at some point. Searched for a cure for herpes? Then you can bet some pharmaceutical company is taking advantage of that little snippet of knowledge. Plus, as you surf around the Internet, that search will be following you around everywhere, also like a contagious infection.

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy itchyrash

The solution? Two-fold. Switch search engines How To Change Your Browser's Default Search Engine How To Change Your Browser's Default Search Engine So, what are you searching with? Bing? Google? You might know how to use any search engine you want on the Internet, but do you know how to change the default search engine for your... Read More for a start. Change to DuckDuckGo, which we have written about extensively in the past. They use Google’s search results, but they also strip away all of the tracking data, IP addresses, and any other bum fluff Google decides to stuff in there.

Secondly, if you MUST use Google search (say at work), do NOT use it while signed into a Google account. While signed in, everything is being attached to your name. Log out and it won’t (it will still be attached to your IP address though, so you would need to use a VPN – Virtual Private Network What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] What Is The Definition Of A Virtual Private Network [Technology Explained] Read More ). Or better still, use Incognito How to Start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default How to Start Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default Read More (if you’re using Chrome), or Private Browsing Mode (if you’re using Firefox).

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy webhistory 640x401

Next, check to see if your web history has been recorded by Google. If so, you need to wipe all of it. It may take some time, but you will feel better after doing it. Like a good cleansing. Trust me, it’ll feel good.

Location History

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy googmaplochist 640x337

Now to your location, which Google very kindly keeps a record of just for us. Isn’t that sweet of them? Time to purge that next.

On the left-hand side calendar, drop the small menu and choose “30 days”. This will then show your location history for those 30 days but it also shows another option :

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy deletealllochist

Hit that, ignore the jibber-jabber from Google, and click “OK”. Now switch off the GPS How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains] How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains] As an avid gamer, I’m surprised by the correlation between GPS-like features in modern video games and the proliferation of GPS technology in mundane life. When I was a kid, paper maps and cartography were... Read More on your phone, otherwise this will have been a pointless exercise.

YouTube

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy pauseyoutube

How many YouTube videos do you watch in a month? Looking at a person’s YouTube watching history can provide a revealing look at their personality. It’s no problem if that person is watching SpongeBob, but what about terrorist videos? Bomb-making tutorials? As with everything else, Google keeps a detailed history of your watched videos, your liked videos, as well as anything you marked as “watch later”.

So go to YouTube and click both Clear all watch history, and Pause watch history. Now when watching YouTube, do it when logged out of Google, or use Incognito/Private Browsing Mode. Bing-badda-boom.

Chrome

OK, now to the browser. For some people, changing browsers can be a big deal. I use Chrome for work (well, I used to. I am now in the process of moving to Firefox).  Firefox seems a good alternative to Chrome. Mozilla has a pretty good privacy policy, which more or less states that your information will only be given to law enforcement, if requested. Other than that, your data isn’t going anywhere.

If Firefox doesn’t appeal to you, how about Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More ? It can be a little slow because it has to go through various “nodes” in order to keep you anonymous. But it is still a very good browser, and will give you an introduction to the Deep Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web We are familiar with the web. But did you know that there is a vast cache of information that search engines like Google don't have direct access to? This is the invisible web. Read More .

Here are the steps you need to take when moving from Chrome :

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy clearbd2

  • Delete your Google Chrome profile from your computer. In Windows Explorer, in the top menu, go to View then tick Hidden Items. Now go to C:/Users/[yourusername]/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data.

Now delete the whole lot.

Google Takeout

How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy gtakeout 640x423

Google Takeout is designed to give you a backup copy of your Google data Google Takeout: Download All Your Google Data Google Takeout: Download All Your Google Data Read More . I have deliberately held off telling you about this until the end, because what I have been talking about so far is deleting your data. So it’s best to delete what you can, and if you want to keep anything, then tick what you want in Takeaway and it will be sent to you. Maybe you want your Google Calendar Awesome Things You Can Automatically Import To Google Calendar Awesome Things You Can Automatically Import To Google Calendar A calendar keeps every aspect of your life focused in one place, allowing you to worry less and accomplish more. Here are some useful ways to import important information into your Google Calendar. Read More data exported out? Then Takeaway can handle that. Or your Google Voice 5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice 5 Awesome Things You Can Do With Google Voice Blog from your phone, call Canada for free or use your computer to make free phone calls. Google Voice isn't the easiest Google service to explain to non-techies, partially because it can be used for... Read More messages.

Delete Your Google Account?

Some people may prefer to just go the easy route and just delete the whole Google account. But I take the view that you may want to use the account again in the future. It’s not going anywhere, so why not just leave it? Better than deleting it, then regretting it (especially if your account has a really cool username). Just delete the sensitive information, then leave it untouched until if and when you need it again.

Weaning yourself off your Google addiction doesn’t have to be painful. All it takes is a big deep breath, and some solid determination to make the break.

Are you completely addicted, and in bed with Google? Could you make the break-up if you had to? Do you even want to?

Image Credit: breaking cement wall Via Shutterstock, Hypno Googles Man – Shutterstock

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Vernita
    February 10, 2017 at 2:22 am

    fate for go. If they are in the furnish ordinal
    of the group you're already absolute with for a cerebrate to give tongue to
    your darling. This piece design forbear you
    to flavor a lot when you get-go put it in for any individuality theft imposition your
    cite deed through throughyour failure. NBA Basketball Jerseys Nike NFL Jerseys
    China MLB Baseball Jerseys MLB Authentic Jerseys MLB Authentic Jerseys MLB Baseball Jerseys position-half-track when employed with forex mercantilism, so it
    is set for fun. Any term you're volitional to omit on all of them
    encountering harsh or chancy chemicals while you are hunt to go your
    car, for one. likewise, time track, hold your mental capacity cells.
    You all secernate that

    • Spam Mimic
      March 7, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Dear Friend ; Your email address has been submitted
      to us indicating your interest in our newsletter .
      If you no longer wish to receive our publications simply
      reply with a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will immediately
      be removed from our club ! This mail is being sent
      in compliance with Senate bill 1626 ; Title 3 ; Section
      306 ! This is not multi-level marketing . Why work
      for somebody else when you can become rich within 42
      weeks . Have you ever noticed most everyone has a cellphone
      plus more people than ever are surfing the web . Well,
      now is your chance to capitalize on this . We will
      help you SELL MORE and decrease perceived waiting time
      by 140% ! You can begin at absolutely no cost to you
      . But don't believe us ! Mrs Ames who resides in Massachusetts
      tried us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for
      me" ! We are a BBB member in good standing . Because
      the Internet operates on "Internet time" you must hurry
      ! Sign up a friend and your friend will be rich too
      ! Best regards ! Dear Decision maker ; This letter
      was specially selected to be sent to you ! If you no
      longer wish to receive our publications simply reply
      with a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will immediately
      be removed from our mailing list . This mail is being
      sent in compliance with Senate bill 1619 ; Title 2
      , Section 307 ! THIS IS NOT MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING .
      Why work for somebody else when you can become rich
      within 96 weeks . Have you ever noticed how many people
      you know are on the Internet plus nearly every commercial
      on television has a .com on in it . Well, now is your
      chance to capitalize on this . WE will help YOU use
      credit cards on your website and use credit cards on
      your website ! The best thing about our system is that
      it is absolutely risk free for you . But don't believe
      us . Ms Simpson who resides in Michigan tried us and
      says "My only problem now is where to park all my cars"
      . This offer is 100% legal . We IMPLORE you - act now
      . Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 40%
      . Warmest regards ! Dear Professional , We know you
      are interested in receiving cutting-edge news ! We
      will comply with all removal requests . This mail is
      being sent in compliance with Senate bill 1622 ; Title
      8 , Section 304 ! THIS IS NOT A GET RICH SCHEME ! Why
      work for somebody else when you can become rich in
      54 DAYS . Have you ever noticed nobody is getting any
      younger & how long the line-ups are at bank machines
      ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this .
      We will help you SELL MORE plus SELL MORE . You are
      guaranteed to succeed because we take all the risk
      ! But don't believe us ! Mrs Anderson of Florida tried
      us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for me"
      ! This offer is 100% legal ! Don't delay - order today
      . Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 20%
      ! God Bless . Dear Friend , This letter was specially
      selected to be sent to you ! We will comply with all
      removal requests ! This mail is being sent in compliance
      with Senate bill 1623 ; Title 1 , Section 302 ! THIS
      IS NOT A GET RICH SCHEME . Why work for somebody else
      when you can become rich within 43 months . Have you
      ever noticed nobody is getting any younger & nearly
      every commercial on television has a .com on in it
      ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this .
      We will help you sell more & increase customer response
      by 120% ! You are guaranteed to succeed because we
      take all the risk ! But don't believe us . Mr Simpson
      who resides in Florida tried us and says "Now I'm rich,
      Rich, RICH" . We are licensed to operate in all states
      . For the sake of your family order now ! Sign up a
      friend and your friend will be rich too ! Thanks .
      Dear Salaryman , We know you are interested in receiving
      amazing intelligence . If you no longer wish to receive
      our publications simply reply with a Subject: of "REMOVE"
      and you will immediately be removed from our mailing
      list ! This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate
      bill 1618 ; Title 3 , Section 304 ! This is different
      than anything else you've seen ! Why work for somebody
      else when you can become rich inside 25 MONTHS . Have
      you ever noticed most everyone has a cellphone plus
      nearly every commercial on television has a .com on
      in it . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this
      . We will help you increase customer response by 170%
      & turn your business into an E-BUSINESS . You are guaranteed
      to succeed because we take all the risk ! But don't
      believe us ! Ms Simpson of Indiana tried us and says
      "My only problem now is where to park all my cars"
      ! We assure you that we operate within all applicable
      laws ! Don't delay - order today . Sign up a friend
      and your friend will be rich too . Thank-you for your
      serious consideration of our offer . Dear Colleague
      ; Thank-you for your interest in our publication .
      If you no longer wish to receive our publications simply
      reply with a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will immediately
      be removed from our club . This mail is being sent
      in compliance with Senate bill 1626 ; Title 4 , Section
      309 . THIS IS NOT A GET RICH SCHEME . Why work for
      somebody else when you can become rich within 69 weeks
      . Have you ever noticed how long the line-ups are at
      bank machines and the baby boomers are more demanding
      than their parents ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize
      on this ! We will help you deliver goods right to the
      customer's doorstep and deliver goods right to the
      customer's doorstep ! You are guaranteed to succeed
      because we take all the risk . But don't believe us
      ! Prof Anderson who resides in New Mexico tried us
      and says "Now I'm rich many more things are possible"
      . We are licensed to operate in all states ! You will
      blame yourself forever if you don't order now . Sign
      up a friend and you'll get a discount of 30% ! Thank-you
      for your serious consideration of our offer ! Dear
      Sir or Madam ; This letter was specially selected to
      be sent to you ! This is a one time mailing there is
      no need to request removal if you won't want any more
      . This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate
      bill 2316 ; Title 2 ; Section 302 . Do NOT confuse
      us with Internet scam artists ! Why work for somebody
      else when you can become rich in 48 weeks ! Have you
      ever noticed how long the line-ups are at bank machines
      and the baby boomers are more demanding than their
      parents . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on
      this . WE will help YOU use credit cards on your website
      and use credit cards on your website . You can begin
      at absolutely no cost to you . But don't believe us
      ! Ms Ames of Iowa tried us and says "Now I'm rich many
      more things are possible" . We assure you that we operate
      within all applicable laws . We implore you - act now
      ! Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 70%
      ! Thanks ! Dear Salaryman ; This letter was specially
      selected to be sent to you ! This is a one time mailing
      there is no need to request removal if you won't want
      any more . This mail is being sent in compliance with
      Senate bill 1623 , Title 6 , Section 309 . THIS IS
      NOT A GET RICH SCHEME . Why work for somebody else
      when you can become rich within 28 days . Have you
      ever noticed how many people you know are on the Internet
      and people love convenience . Well, now is your chance
      to capitalize on this . WE will help YOU deliver goods
      right to the customer's doorstep and increase customer
      response by 160% ! The best thing about our system
      is that it is absolutely risk free for you . But don't
      believe us ! Ms Ames who resides in Louisiana tried
      us and says "Now I'm rich, Rich, RICH" . We assure
      you that we operate within all applicable laws . We
      IMPLORE you - act now ! Sign up a friend and you get
      half off . Thanks . Dear Salaryman , Thank-you for
      your interest in our publication ! If you no longer
      wish to receive our publications simply reply with
      a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will immediately be
      removed from our database ! This mail is being sent
      in compliance with Senate bill 1621 , Title 4 , Section
      305 ! This is a ligitimate business proposal . Why
      work for somebody else when you can become rich within
      63 MONTHS ! Have you ever noticed people are much more
      likely to BUY with a credit card than cash and nearly
      every commercial on television has a .com on in it
      . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this !
      We will help you deliver goods right to the customer's
      doorstep plus deliver goods right to the customer's
      doorstep . You can begin at absolutely no cost to you
      . But don't believe us ! Prof Jones of Nevada tried
      us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for me"
      ! We are licensed to operate in all states ! We BESEECH
      you - act now ! Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount
      of 20% . Thank-you for your serious consideration of
      our offer ! Dear Salaryman ; This letter was specially
      selected to be sent to you . We will comply with all
      removal requests . This mail is being sent in compliance
      with Senate bill 1620 , Title 3 , Section 307 ! This
      is different than anything else you've seen . Why work
      for somebody else when you can become rich inside 52
      weeks ! Have you ever noticed the baby boomers are
      more demanding than their parents & most everyone has
      a cellphone . Well, now is your chance to capitalize
      on this . We will help you deliver goods right to the
      customer's doorstep and SELL MORE . You are guaranteed
      to succeed because we take all the risk ! But don't
      believe us . Prof Ames of Alaska tried us and says
      "Now I'm rich, Rich, RICH" . We assure you that we
      operate within all applicable laws ! If not for you
      then for your LOVED ONES - act now . Sign up a friend
      and you'll get a discount of 10% ! Thank-you for your
      serious consideration of our offer ! Dear Salaryman
      ; You made the right decision when you signed up for
      our mailing list . If you no longer wish to receive
      our publications simply reply with a Subject: of "REMOVE"
      and you will immediately be removed from our club !
      This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate bill
      1816 ; Title 9 , Section 301 ! This is not a get rich
      scheme . Why work for somebody else when you can become
      rich within 73 MONTHS ! Have you ever noticed people
      love convenience plus society seems to be moving faster
      and faster . Well, now is your chance to capitalize
      on this ! We will help you SELL MORE & sell more .
      You can begin at absolutely no cost to you . But don't
      believe us ! Ms Anderson of Alabama tried us and says
      "Now I'm rich many more things are possible" ! We assure
      you that we operate within all applicable laws ! We
      implore you - act now ! Sign up a friend and you get
      half off ! Best regards . Dear E-Commerce professional
      , This letter was specially selected to be sent to
      you . This is a one time mailing there is no need to
      request removal if you won't want any more . This mail
      is being sent in compliance with Senate bill 2516 ;
      Title 3 ; Section 304 ! This is a ligitimate business
      proposal . Why work for somebody else when you can
      become rich in 25 DAYS ! Have you ever noticed the
      baby boomers are more demanding than their parents
      and how many people you know are on the Internet .
      Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this ! WE
      will help YOU turn your business into an E-BUSINESS
      and SELL MORE . The best thing about our system is
      that it is absolutely risk free for you ! But don't
      believe us ! Prof Jones of Wyoming tried us and says
      "Now I'm rich many more things are possible" . We assure
      you that we operate within all applicable laws . We
      beseech you - act now . Sign up a friend and you get
      half off ! Thank-you for your serious consideration
      of our offer ! Dear Business person ; This letter was
      specially selected to be sent to you ! This is a one
      time mailing there is no need to request removal if
      you won't want any more . This mail is being sent in
      compliance with Senate bill 1619 , Title 3 ; Section
      304 ! This is NOT unsolicited bulk mail ! Why work
      for somebody else when you can become rich in 32 months
      . Have you ever noticed people will do almost anything
      to avoid mailing their bills and nearly every commercial
      on television has a .com on in it . Well, now is your
      chance to capitalize on this . We will help you increase
      customer response by 110% & sell more ! You are guaranteed
      to succeed because we take all the risk . But don't
      believe us ! Mrs Anderson who resides in New York tried
      us and says "Now I'm rich many more things are possible"
      ! We assure you that we operate within all applicable
      laws ! So make yourself rich now by ordering immediately
      . Sign up a friend and you'll get a discount of 20%
      . Warmest regards . Dear Professional ; Especially
      for you - this cutting-edge info ! If you no longer
      wish to receive our publications simply reply with
      a Subject: of "REMOVE" and you will immediately be
      removed from our mailing list ! This mail is being
      sent in compliance with Senate bill 1618 ; Title 2
      ; Section 301 . THIS IS NOT A GET RICH SCHEME ! Why
      work for somebody else when you can become rich within
      13 months . Have you ever noticed nobody is getting
      any younger and more people than ever are surfing the
      web ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this
      ! WE will help YOU turn your business into an E-BUSINESS
      and deliver goods right to the customer's doorstep
      ! The best thing about our system is that it is absolutely
      risk free for you ! But don't believe us ! Prof Simpson
      who resides in Mississippi tried us and says "Now I'm
      rich, Rich, RICH" . We are a BBB member in good standing
      . Do not delay - order today . Sign up a friend and
      your friend will be rich too . Thank-you for your serious
      consideration of our offer ! Dear Internet user , We
      know you are interested in receiving breath-taking
      intelligence . If you are not interested in our publications
      and wish to be removed from our lists, simply do NOT
      respond and ignore this mail ! This mail is being sent
      in compliance with Senate bill 1620 , Title 6 ; Section
      302 . This is a ligitimate business proposal ! Why
      work for somebody else when you can become rich inside
      76 WEEKS . Have you ever noticed how many people you
      know are on the Internet and nearly every commercial
      on television has a .com on in it . Well, now is your
      chance to capitalize on this . WE will help YOU turn
      your business into an E-BUSINESS & process your orders
      within seconds ! You can begin at absolutely no cost
      to you . But don't believe us . Ms Ames of Nevada tried
      us and says "I've been poor and I've been rich - rich
      is better" ! We are licensed to operate in all states
      . You will blame yourself forever if you don't order
      now . Sign up a friend and you get half off ! God Bless
      !

  2. leah
    July 14, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Mark, can you please help me?

    I’m almost finished uni and ready to start career searching. Privacy problem: I have a youtube account. When I put my youtube name in the google search engine it lists every channel I’ve subscribed to in the past and I think every video I’ve commented on. The links don’t show up in the normal results, they show up in the “images” results as images and they all have links! Some of the links just go to my youtube channel (for the ones that I’ve deleted my subscription to that channel or my video comment -but there about a hundred for me to get to now : ( but on the google search they still show the name of the channel I used to be subscribed too) the others go right to the videos (and I don't want these linked to my name publicly like that!).

    I’m almost done school and want to get a job. Also, for personal reasons, I don’t want people seeing all the metaphysical ufo ridiculous sunday afternoon, brain wave meditating vibration or drunk in the middle of the night videos I’ve been watching or commenting on over the past 10 years. The photo links are still showing up even after I take my comments down, which still shows I’m linked with that content somehow.

    My youtube name is not my real name, but then on something else that hits on the google search it does use my real name linked with that same youtube name (b/c I used that name with more than one account), so the two names have a link that way and they sound similar too (dumb me, I know : ( ), so you can tell they're the same person. What should I do?? Please help. why is everything I’ve done on youtube showing up on google search engine?? If I delete my youtube account, will it delete those links? Thank you for any help or advice and your time.

  3. Tinkicker
    April 24, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    If Mozilla would come out with a Firebook so I could leave my fantastic Chromebook, I'd switch over in a second. That's the only thing holding me back.

  4. 7gs
    April 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    If you are so much worried about what Google knows about you then there are 2 options:
    - you did something wrong,
    - you have nothing else to worry about in your actual life,
    or both?
    You may be disappointed but the Governement (or whoever that is) does not care about you, and probably never will!

  5. 7gs
    April 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    If you are so much worried about what Google knows about you then there are 2 options:
    - you did something wrong,
    - you have nothing else to worry about in your actual life,
    or both?
    You may be disappointed but the Governement (or whoever that is) does not care about you, and probably never will!

  6. Michael
    April 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Readers should also be aware of Start Page as a search engine. In my opinion, far superior to Duck Duck Go.

    Readers should also be aware that using TOR raises red flags with the ISP., not to mention it being extremely slow. If one values privacy and has nothing to hide, then SR Ware Iron is a better option. From advanced settings, one can block cookies, java script, plug in play, etc. They can also add Ghostery as a file extension to block trackers.

    In re to VPN, Cyber Ghost is one of the best out there. Both their paid and free versions give you the ability to mask your OS system, anti fingerprinting, web blockers, etc. Cyber Ghost also claims not to keep IP logs of its users.

    There are also websites out there that can test your online anonymity. I highly recommend using one of them before making the assumption that you're in good shape.

    Protonmail is an excellent service for web based email. GMX is useless. Users cannot delete their accounts, only deactivate them. Search anywhere on the internet for a comparison of privacy features and the ability to remove yourself as a customer. GMX is at the bottom of the list.

    Although the article was very good, I would have really liked to see more of a discussion regarding Google's data retention policy. You spent a lot of time talking about how one should not use Google and their information being kept but the article fails to discuss the retention policies for deleted emails in their live and back up servers. Retention policies for deleting Google Plus, and retention policies for those who are signed into their Google account doing web searches as opposed to those who do web searches and not signed into a Google account.

    • Sue Ryan
      April 19, 2015 at 1:58 am

      Many thanks for these great tips and very helpful points Michael.

    • charmingguy
      April 19, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Interesting what you had to say about GMX. It is very likely I searched wrongly. But I could not find anything about GMX being low in the privacy rankings.
      As far as I know one can delete a GMX account. There is a "delete acc." under the "my account" tab.

      Anyone heard of Kolab email?.

      PS If you want to find out more about privacy/security go to: myshadow.org

  7. Michael
    April 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Having started as a privacy rights advocate, then as an attorney, becoming obsessed with the legal cases re Google violations, and now am writing a screenplay on data protection, I can tell you what impression:

    Firstly for charmingguy, it's been reported that GMX is not secure nor does it delete the its services when requested. I.e., when you no longer wish to be a member of GMX, you can only deactivate the account, it is not deleted. I've read that in a number of articles comparing emails, stating GMX's limitations. That's a big NO NO...Frankly, if you value privacy, use Protonmail.

    In re to web browsers, TOR is great but also gives your ISP (Internet Service Provider) red flags as to questionable activity. Whether your provider would be more keen on monitoring your movements along the web is pretty doubtful, but again, raises red flags. Unless you're doing something illegal, which, from what I have read, a sizable number of those using TOR may be doing, you can find better alternatives if you just simply value privacy and are not doing questionable activity.

    So, what are alternative, yet secure browsers? SRWare Iron is a good one. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BzeSa9smIE)
    One can easily go to settings > advanced > privacy > start blocking cookies, java, images, plug-in-play, etc. Aside from Add Block Plus, and Popup Blocker, one can also add Ghostery as a file extension which gives you an extra layer of protection by blocking trackers.

    Next, if you REALLY want privacy, opt for Startpage as a search engine over Duck Duck Go. Startpage's stance: Since January 2009 it does not record our users' IP addresses anymore. StartPage has been registered with the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) under number M 1346973.This Authority supervises the fair and lawful use and security of your personal data, to ensure your privacy today and in the future. It has the highest SSL encryption score in the Industry! Startpage can also be loaded onto your browser as is search engine. (https://startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy.html)

    In terms of remaining anonymous on the internet, I would recommend Cyber Ghost VPN. Whether you choose to become a paid member (P2P interaction and not being cut off every three hours) or free version (can't use P2P, cut off every three hours but can get right back on network) . Even for the free version, Cyber Ghost offers, in advanced settings, the ability to change browser language and server location, change information about your operating system, anti fingerprinting and content blocker, etc.

    This is what Cyber Ghost states about user privacy (https://support.cyberghostvpn.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/161/how-safe-is-cyberghost).

    One way to really test your anonymity on the internet after securing yourself by whatever means available is to go to (http://ip.cc/anonymity-test.php).

    Back to the discussion about Google, my research has shown that Gmail deletes emails from active servers from 60-90 days. According to a Quora posting, a Google engineer hinted that it can take up to 180 days for your emails to be completely deleted from live and backup servers.

    Nonetheless, if anyone knows, it would be enlightening to me:

    1. If ever, for Google to remove all information from live and backup servers after deleting Google+?

    2. Google anonymizes portions of the IP in a session log after 9 months and anonymizes more of the IP and other cookie data in 18 months. Does this incude those who were not signed into a Google account and those who were signed into a Google account?

    3. Google states that if you are not signed into your account then you are identified by your web browsing cookie. If you are signed into your account and doing searches, then no cookie is used to identify since your account is the identification piece. Does the 18 month purge also include those who were doing searches while being signed into their account and having their account ID as opposed to a cookie identify them?

    4. Google also states that once one deletes web history from their account and disables the web history, those logs will no longer be identified with the account. If that is the case, do those logs and ID / Cookie data fall under the same pretense of 9 and 18 months? If so, when does the countdown begin to anonymize the log and cookie / ID information ? I.e., when I started a search on 4/17/2015 signed into my account does the countdown to anonymity (9-18 months) begin 4/18/2015 or does it begin once you have erased and disabled your web history, say for instance on 5/1/2015?

  8. Rodney Clifford
    April 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    As far as browsers go i have switched to Opera on my laptop and Baidu on my desktop and that fixed a lot of online problems I was having. What are your feelings towards them? The flash player would crash 2 or 3 times a day with chrome on my desktop, with Baidu i don't think it ever has in the 3 or 4 months i have used it.

  9. Jim
    April 17, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Just a note on ProtonMail: Switzerland is not in the EU.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 17, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I think you're splitting hairs here? They are not official members of the EU, but they have trade agreements with us, and they follow certain EU laws to be able to stay in the free market. The only thing stopping them from becoming full members of the EU is their aversion to mass immigration into the country.

    • Jim
      April 17, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Not at all. Their data processing and privacy laws are similar in some respects, different in others. The idea that non-EU countries have to homologate their laws with the EU is a myth, and they are not even members of the European Economic Area. I also think you exaggerate their inclination to join.

    • charmingguy
      April 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      I was a very early user of Gmail . Back in the day it was invite only for a while.

      Very happy with GMX. Mind you I am not a heavy email user. So for me I would be happy with any email provider...as long as they respect my privacy.

  10. charmingguy
    April 17, 2015 at 7:46 am

    A few years ago I started dumping all Google services with the exception of Picasa.

    I use a German email provider (GMX) because they have the strictest privacy laws in Europe.

    My search engine du jour is Qwant. But I also use StartPage, PrivateLee and DDG.

    Recently the EU has started an investigation concerning the Big G. No wonder they have a bigger search engine market share in Europe(92%) than in the US.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 17, 2015 at 10:42 am

      I'm in Germany myself, so for quite some time, I was using GMX. This was before I was sucked into the whole "Gmail is the best!" hysteria. You've got me thinking that perhaps I will give GMX another try.

  11. Eddie
    April 17, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Maybe I'm missing asomething, I don't HAVE a calendar on the left side of ANYTHING....there's only the GMail and drop down calendar/maps/GoogleDrive options on the RIGHT HAND side upper corner. Everything else is just white empty space. So exactly WHERE do I go to get to the Location history?

  12. Sue Ryan
    April 17, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Mark,

    Thanks for the very helpful tips and for your responsiveness with the comments. Greatly appreciated and tips used.

    Sue

  13. Chris
    April 17, 2015 at 2:02 am

    The real kicker here is Android. I don't need Google for much, because there is a better alternative for almost everything, but the phone automatically hooks up everything, even if I don't want it

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

      That's why Google is so successful, and why people find it extremely difficult to cut the cord - because Google has set up, and is maintaining, an infrastructure. Where you don't need to go very far for what you need, and it all plugs into one another.

  14. Jonathan
    April 17, 2015 at 1:16 am

    *UPDATE: 16APR 2015- ProtonMail will only send out invites now. New accounts are not currently available. Leave your info and ProtonMail will send you an invite when they opne or new members again.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 17, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for updating us. They must be slowing down new applications because it's in beta.

  15. Praveen Nirmalkar
    April 16, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Great guide as always. Will surely try once I get enough courage.

  16. Dan
    April 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Harddrive space is cheap and plentiful. Instead of the convoluted way of archiving your gmail, why not just enable pop3 access and download them all? I have all of my gmail/yahoomail/hotmail accounts set up to download all messages and deleting the server copy. I even set it up not to save sent messages in the sent folder (or to delete it immediately).

  17. Hildegerd
    April 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Happy to see more people getting weary of Google.

  18. james
    April 16, 2015 at 5:10 am

    You can also stay away from sites like makeuseof if you don't like being track because I see that my Blur donottrackme utility blocked 6 tracking companies on this web page.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Every website depends on advertising, and so yes you will find some trackers on this page. We need to eat, so we are forced to grit our teeth and accept the advertising trackers. But if you don't like it, then install Ghostery and NoFrame, and block them. It's up to you what you do.

  19. Colin
    April 16, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Since when has Tor been a browser? The Tor Bundle comes with Firefox, so it will be the same as using Firefox. I thought that Makeuseof would know this. There are quite a few other browsers out there.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

      It may come with Firefox, but it is STILL a browser. Yes, it is a network with thousands of relays, but it accesses the Internet, ergo, it is a browser. Aren't we kind of splitting hairs here?

  20. Cutler
    April 15, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I don't really get why people worry about their privacy so much. If you really don't want companies or organisations to know about you, move off the grid some place, and do away with all tech. Otherwise, you have to come to terms with the fact that with civilisation, technology, and convenience you pay a little privacy. The moment we began to group together and form civilisations, we gave away certain elements of our privacy, like our ability to do what we wanted without being seen. But, I guess I'm a bit cynical and am willing to give away my information out of laziness and lack of care.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Cutler, that is a rather dangerous attitude to have. Do you really want the government or law enforcement to know every little thing that you do, without probable cause? What business is it of theirs who you socialize with, which books you read, what political views you have? It's your human right to have total privacy if you want it.

      The trouble with the Internet is that people abuse it for their own ends. That needs to stop. And if enough people demanded their information and identity back, then these companies (and to a lesser extent, governments) will find it increasingly difficult to do what they are doing. Why make it easy for them? If they want our data, they have to fight us for it!

  21. winters
    April 15, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks, but as far as i know sunrise and other apps sync to google calendar (or icalendar or whatever), so google would still have your info no?

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

      I'll check into this to be absolutely sure, but I think that if you sign up via email, and make sure that you do NOT connect to Facebook and Twitter, then it should work by itself.

      I will email the Sunrise developers to confirm or deny that. Thanks for bringing up a good point.

  22. Jon Jones
    April 15, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Great guide! And thanks for the book recommendation. I've just added it to my reading list. :)

    In the same vein, I enjoyed Techno Creep (http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/technocreep/) which is a detailed look at how data can be used and abused, with a good number of startling speculations of how it can be done. More than anything, it gives a very clear idea on how your actions online and in the real world create data about you, and what can be done about it.

  23. winters
    April 15, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    I'm guessing google also scans your calendar, do you have a suggestion as to what to use as alternative?
    Is Outlook an option? Microsoft made some ads criticizing google and claiming they don't scan your info, wonder if its true.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      I really like Sunrise Calendar. You can sign up via email and export your data out of Google Calendar and into Sunrise.