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hello,

I have a question to the mods, admin of this page.

add block plus, blocks here some skripts from "big brother google" (google-analytics 1x1 gif, googlesyndication java-script and some other crap (pay-pal 1x1 gif))

I am not a web-developer, so my question. Did you put this things on the side? Or is it from some third-party links to facebook, twitter, etc.?

I know nearly ever site have such things (but not all)....

Soon or later, I have the feeling google know us better then we us self...

lg,

Ody

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The Google stuff is, not surprisingly, part of the Google ads. The PayPal stuff is, also not surprisingly, part of the button for donating money through PayPal.

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Google AdSense and Google Analytics attempt to load cookies from this site. I have Abine privacy software for Firefox, so it shows them up and blocks them, but a person without specialized software would have no way of knowing Google is tracking you through this site (and then beyond). It is unlikely that anyone on CrazyBoards would be very sanguine about an Adserving/Spyware/Datamining company having information on their computer (via their own IP) or where they are browsing on the Web.

These services are put in at the host end of a computer connection, either by the Webmaster or their IP. No mental health site is safe from this, they all have the problem, as their IPs or the Webmaster collect money from adserving companies and data mining companies for this. What is not generally known is the information is not only used to show the number of "hits" a Website gets (hit counters have this problem too), but also to store cookies to mine data from the users. That part is buried deep in the privacy statements of Google, which company claims to do no evil. The only way to avoid it completely from the host end it to own your own servers and a static IP (an expensive proposition) or make lots of noise to your IP if they are doing it (I assume you are not contracting with Google or you wouldn't be asking this). The only way to avoid it from the user end is to make sure you do not use software which can be exploited by such companies as Google Analytics.

Facebook tracking aps can also be added to Websites or to HTML E-mails, and Flash Locally Shared Objects (something like a cookie but defaults to 100k storage per Website) can also be added, which can also track your usage. Flash LSOs are also used by datamining companies to re-spawn browser cookies after they are deleted by the browser, so they are already in place after the browser is re-started.

In the event of Flash LSOs, a Website does not even need to have a Flash application to place LSOs on a computer. They can also be tracked or installed by third party sites, and Adobe makes it extremely difficult to block or delete them (which is why I don't have Flash/Adobe Reader/Shockwave Player on my computer-I need privacy much more than I need video and sound from a Website). For LSOs, the only way to keep them off a computer is to not have Flash and its relatives installed.

LSOs cannot be deleted by a browser setting of "delete cookies" as they are not part of a browser, they are part of Adobe's proprietary software. To delete them you can only do it by going to Adobe's Website. The Wikipedia article on Locally Shared Objects (which is a misnomer since they are shared with the Internet) also includes many links to articles about the concerns for privacy via LSOs. While some countries (most notably the EU) have regulations against secretly storing and mining data from computers without a prominent note to that effect on the home page), it is only honoured in the breach.

Dynamic IP addresses (which are assigned to you if you use a cable modem or DSL) contrary to popular belief, can also be tracked. As long as your modem is connected to your ISP, it will maintain the same IP address. The only way to force a change of dynamic IP address is to disconnect the modem from the Internet or power source for a few minutes (at least as long as the delay built into your IP service for maintaining your dynamic IP, generally several minutes). Telephone modems do not have this problem, as they are assigned a new IP every time the user dials in. LSO's can be used to store all the Websites a dynamic IP visits just as easily as a static one.

When I first blew Adobe off my computer, a few weeks ago, I noted that there were LSOs stored on my computer all the way back to 2005 (when I bought it). They occupied 500 M of my hard disk. LSO problems are not unique to Windows, they exist on all op system platforms, and are the reason that Steve Jobs of Apple has prohibited Adobe development aps on the iPhone, due to security issues.

A hosts file will prevent a Website from redirecting your browser to download an advertisement, web beacon (a 1x1 pixel picture stored on a third party site for the sole purpose of tracking), or tracking cookie from a third party. Such files are provided by Spybot SD (and other such software companies). Antivirus software usually has a setting to lock the host file to prevent Websites from altering the content of your host file, which if not locked, is easily changed. See WikiPedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hosts_file for information on how to employ hosts files to prevent datamining and tracking across the Internet.

Wikipedia has a good primer on LSO's at http://en.wikipedia....y_Shared_Object , which also links to their article on cookies.

I was a cryptographic equipment technician before I was a Romance editor (epilepsy and schizoaffective disorder ended my electronics career) - it is amazing what the Internet can do to do away with your privacy if you let it.

Edited by Anymouse
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Google Analytics doesn't collect anything that Apache doesn't collect and log itself. The only thing it does is make it easier for the webmaster to analyze the data. All Google data is aggregated after a couple weeks so that it's no longer accessible on an individual basis. Google doesn't have the resources to maintain individually identifiable information for every person using the Internet, and that's totally impossible anyway. Google has an opt-out plugin for Analytics, and you can also block the script they use, but as VE noted this will make his job harder.

The rest of that post is irrelevant to the discussion.

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The tracking info is just so the can geolocate ads, offer advertising for products and services in your area. There's nothing sinister about it. Contrary to popular belief google isn't some big evil monolith. They are just how half the websites on the net manage to pay for themselves.

There's no reason to block those cookies and doing so only hurts webmasters. It doesn't deprive Google of anything.

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