Google's sitting behind you and recording every webpage you visit

Almost anywhere you go on the Internet, Google is tracking and recording your web surfing:

A U.C. Berkeley report shows that most Internet users don’t understand web site privacy policies, and that major online businesses like Google Inc. freely gather data and share it with affiliated businesses via loopholes in those policies.

Using trackers called “web bugs,” third parties collect user data from many popular web sites, and sites often allow this, even though their privacy policies say they don’t share user data with others.

“Web bugs from Google and its subsidiaries were found on 92 of the top 100 Web sites and 88 percent of the approximately 400,000 unique domains examined in the study,” the authors found…

Although web sites may reassure visitors that “we don’t share data with third parties,” those third parties don’t include a company’s affiliates — Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), for example, has 137 subsidiary businesses…

“Users do not know and cannot learn the full range of affiliates with which websites may share information,” the report said.

Though many Internet users are familiar with “cookies” used to study their surfing habits, they are less familiar with so-called “web bugs,” which can’t be cleared out of a web browser, since they are part of a web site’s HTML code.

My blog is completely Google-spying free.

Posted by James on Saturday, June 06, 2009