Home / Privacy / Google’s Privacy Deadline: March 1. Less Than One Week to Protect Yourself!
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Google’s Privacy Deadline: March 1. Less Than One Week to Protect Yourself!

Written by Gary North on February 24, 2012

Google records your searches. Did you know that?

Google on March 1 will not let you seal off this information from its other services. Did you know that? What you do and what you search will be one integrated, marketable whole. Did you know that?

You can block this now, but not after March 1. Here is what you need to know. You can disable the Web History feature. If you don’t, its record will become permanent.

Second, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes.”

Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement.

With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months, and certain kinds of uses, including sending you customized search results, will be prevented. If you want to do more to reduce the records Google keeps, the advice in EFF’s Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy white paper remains relevant.

If you have several Google accounts, you will need to do this for each of them.

On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.

To find out exactly what you had better do before March 1, click the link . . . or forever hold your peace.

 

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19 thoughts on “Google’s Privacy Deadline: March 1. Less Than One Week to Protect Yourself!

  1. Mike Knight says:

    You can search Google anonymously via Start Page.

  2. Ha! Logged in to my google account, went to history and there is NO "Remove All Web History" button anymore. And Scroogle has shut down for good. Can you say "monopoly"?

  3. I wonder just how anonymous Start Page is since it's search engine is Google Enhanced? What part of Start Page isn't Google?

  4. Limestone Freedom says:

    What if you don't have "an account" but only search from http://www.google.com? Has anyone else heard of http://www.IXQUICK.com? It says it is anonymous.

  5. When you go through "internet first page" it uses their IP address not yours. Plus anything you go directly to through your browser doesn't fall under a google search.

  6. Frustrated says:

    Good grief – the least you could do is provide an updated link, other than the one to eff.org (which is dated 2006!!). Anyone not fairly computer savvy will never navigate the changes due to updated browsers! 🙁

  7. Best not to put ANYTHING on the internet that you want to hide or do not want known.

  8. I also use Startpage

  9. I use Safari and I changed my search engine from Google, cleared my history and deleted google.com from my auto-fill list. I wonder if I touched all the bases.

  10. Well, I was able to disable all web history. Here's how I did it……opened a new tab and typed in google account….a page comes up with a statement that describes Google privacy policy……………there will be two boxes, one to click that says you understand the policy and another one to the right that gives you the option to read more about their policy…………click the the box on the left that says you understand/that you get it…………after that you will be able to log into your account.
    After you are logged in, near the bottom of the page (how convenient!), there will be a link to disable your web browsing history. Just click it and say OK. It will automatically (I hope it lasts!) delete your browsing history and "pause" the web history. It can be turned on if you want (WHY??) with clicking the "resume" button. But don't do it.

  11. What a shame that Google has acquiesced to 'big brother' and agreed to change this feature. I LOVE having my browsing history easy to refer to and I use it frequently (plus auto-complete, etc). And I'm really torn between jumping through the hoops to delete this (VERY convenient) feature OR just letting it go and allow the 'pieces to fall where ever'. It's NOT like all of my info isn't already 'out there' for anyone wanting to search (including perverts and the government… Oh wait, they're one in the same anymore!). Of course I have my history cached on my PC AND I've got my faves bookmarked too. Maybe I have to decide just how much convenience I really NEED, right?

  12. Limestone Freedom, ixquick is a lot like startpage.com. I use start page. I suspect they both give about the same results. The only thing I miss is the autofill as I type thingy.

    Scott, don't forget the cookies. That is one way they track you. It is even better than IP addresses. That cookie follows wherever your machine goes. Make sure you have your password wrote down, just in case.

    I'm thinking about switching my email to a paid provider. Fastmail.com and mail.yandex.com are recommended by my fellow geeks. I'm a Linux user. I may have to pay a little bit but at least as a paying customer, I get heard when I complain. Google only worries about their advertisers right now since their mail service is free.

  13. Abigail Adams says:

    Why don't we use Yahoo instead of Google? Wouldn't that take care of this matter? Plus, I looked at my google mail page; I saw a way to delete my history but not a way to turn history off. Question: Does this new policy effect the history saved in my computer? Must I delete history from my computer also?

  14. I use Firefox as my browser and don't have a Google email account at all. I do have a 'spare' email account at Yahoo but my main email comes through Charter (broadband) to my PC inbox (Outlook Express). So really the only thing that Google has IS my web page history (URL's, etc). I use in conjunction with Firefox. If say I had searched for 'homosexual' (just looking for an example here) does that mean that after Mar. 1st I might start getting ADS, etc. in relation TO homosexuals or kinky stuff (porn, etc)? I'm just not sure what the possible problems are when it changes over. And for the record I don't WANT ads for anything sexual, period. So is that what would happen?

  15. Dream Weaver says:

    I just did it and it worked; try again. Copy and paste the exact link from the article.

  16. I use AOL e-mail accounts, how does this effect those accounts?

  17. Found it. Had to "Turn Web History On" first in order to access the "remove all Web history" button. Thanks.

  18. Mike is exactly right. I use startpage.com as my homepage. Here is what they do;

    Startpage offers you Web search results from Google in complete privacy!

    When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.

    Your IP address is never recorded, your visit is not logged, and no tracking cookies are placed on your browser. When it comes to protecting your privacy, Startpage runs the tightest ship on the Internet. Our outstanding privacy policy and thoughtful engineering give you great search results in total anonymity. Here are some of our key features:

    Free proxy surfing available.
    Praised by privacy experts worldwide.
    Twelve-year company track record.
    Third-party certified.

    No IP address recorded.
    No record is made of your searches.
    No identifying or tracking cookies used.
    Powerful SSL encryption available.

    To learn more, check out our privacy page and read our privacy policy. We're confident you'll like what you see.

    Works great!

  19. In case you missed my reply to Mike above, I want everyone to know about this.
    Mike is exactly right. I use startpage.com as my homepage. Here is what they do;

    Startpage offers you Web search results from Google in complete privacy!

    When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.

    Your IP address is never recorded, your visit is not logged, and no tracking cookies are placed on your browser. When it comes to protecting your privacy, Startpage runs the tightest ship on the Internet. Our outstanding privacy policy and thoughtful engineering give you great search results in total anonymity. Here are some of our key features:

    Free proxy surfing available.
    Praised by privacy experts worldwide.
    Twelve-year company track record.
    Third-party certified.

    No IP address recorded.
    No record is made of your searches.
    No identifying or tracking cookies used.
    Powerful SSL encryption available.

    To learn more, check out our privacy page and read our privacy policy. We're confident you'll like what you see.

    Works great!