De-Googling my computer.

Discussion in 'The Geek's Lab' started by Overmind One, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    I have had it with Google in terms of privacy issues. I know more than a few of you here hate Google for the same reason, and I was a supporter of them until I heard that they bought Nest.

    http://www.wired.com/2014/01/google-didnt-just-acquire-nest-annexed-whole-new-territory/

    In case you have not heard of Nest, it is a company that makes home automation and security systems for homes and offices (smart refrigerators, stoves and ovens, HVAC systems, alarm systems, lighting systems, media systems, etc). This is more Google worming itself into EVERY aspect in our lives, and entire nations are up in arms over it.

    download (1).jpg

    They are the closest real life analogy to Skynet. Microsoft is currently the bed partner of the NSA and the military and intelligence communities, but Microsoft's reach is not nearly as granular as Google's. Microsoft gives the NSA the ability to read your emails and documents in Office apps, and it can allow the NSA to explore the contents of your entire computer UNLESS you have encrypted it with a non-Microsoft product like TrueCrypt. It makes no sense to use Microsoft' Bitlocker to do it since they created it. :facepalm:. Google is much different. With the saturation of Android on the majority of the world's smartphones, and the wide use of Chrome, Google has it's eyes on the masses. It can aggregate the sort of real time data that Microsoft cannot hope to have anytime soon. Locations, time frames, personal interests and desires, photos and text messages and phone calls and circles of friends and relatives, it is mind-boggling. If you use Google products like Google Finance and Google Public DNS, you are in even deeper than you know.

    MORE about what information they collect and how they collect it here: http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/01/08/how-google-collects-data-about-you-and-the-internet/

    download.jpg

    Now, Google is going to be in your refrigerators and home appliances too. People will be walking around as potential agents of Google (unwittingly) with real time first person data at street level provided by Google Glass, who needs the Google Street View vehicles? I have already decided: I will not allow Google Glass to be worn in my home. I hope that laws will be passed to ban them from hospitals, courtrooms, theaters, restaurants, bars and any other place they might compromise privacy.

    Enough on that...

    I have uninstalled Google Chrome and gone with SRware Iron which is Chromium based, but not Google. It even has an incognito mode you can create a switch for in a shortcut to start. I have made my homepages Dogpile and DuckDuckGo (the Iron choice) because Google no longer gives you honest search results. It puts paid clients at the top of the search, and does not tell you they are sponsored. The sponsored ads are not clearly marked always either. I uninstalled Google Earth too. See, we can use these services without having to have Chrome or Earth, just by using a browser (as long as it isnt Chrome).

    Why is it that when small, great companies become big greedy companies, they get carried away? It happened to Dropbox, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and more are going that route.

    Google's great features can be replicated with a bit of work, using open source solutions and perhaps a few small time bucks (I had to buy a commercial Caldav/Carddav client for Outlook to sync with my private OwnCloud server), but it is well worth it. With the Webdav app for Android, I have a fully synced private solution which keeps my contacts, calendar, documents, pictures and whatever else I want. Bittorrent Sync takes care of syncing between my home computers, and a home storage area server (NAS) stores all my data centrally and is scalable.

    This is NOT expensive to do! Anyway, just had to get this out. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
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  2. Rac80

    Rac80 The Belle of the Ball

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    never been a google fan. We have a home security system and are constantly getting offers from our company (and others) to go wireless-- I do NOT want someone "hacking" their way into my home! :P
     
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  3. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Yes, that is the standard way in. :) But you should be using private email too. You can buy a domain for a year at under $20.00 per year at Hostgator, and a cheap hosting package for only about $5.00/month and for that you will get the ability to create unlimited emails on the domain, webmail, and CONTROL. That is what it is all about anyway...control. They want it down to the level that they can know as much as possible.
     
  4. mzzz

    mzzz Well Known GateFan

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    Yep, google has lost its way. Here's another thing that bothered me:

    for this, you will need Firefox along with the add-on AdBlock-Plus. If you go to any average site, you will briefly see a passing connection tag while the page is loading that says www.google-analytics.com/(blah blah). Basically, they're gathering info on how many hits a website gets I think? But also monitoring the sites you visit in this way, I think. Regardless, I blocked that crap with adbock. Of course, I don't know if that does anything...

    The illusion is fine I guess...

    Also, I exploit google's email account thing. I just make a bunch of email accounts with em with fake names. The reason being that with each account you get about 15 gigs of storage in their google drive. So yeah, free storage.

    I blame hipsters.
     
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  5. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Hipsters are aliens in disguise. :) They wear their clothes weird and have odd behaviors because their record tapes got corrupted in parts. And few of them studied them in enough detail when they were on their journey to earth from the planet Hipstorum. :anim_59:

    But man, you can set up OwnCloud and have HUNDREDS OF GIGABYTES available to you at no extra cost except your domain and web space. And you would be 100% in control of your data. You can even have your phopne upload your photos and videos and documents, or share them with others with links just like Dropbox. It gives you a calendar, web based doc creation like Google Apps, multiple user creation, the works...for free.

    I have gone in and revoked Google's access to several sites and applications too.

    But let me relate something about Google Glass: A simple app will allow strangers to ID you just by looking at you: http://www.nametag.ws/ Here is the advertising blurb:

    nametag.PNG

    Here it is in action:



    The potential for abuse and TERRORISM is huge. Can you imagine being forced to wear them at work or at home or on the road so that your employer can literally see your every activity and location? Police departments equipped with these devices are going to be able to identify people in crowds with warrants, criminals and so on, but what about the private citizen who wants to remain private? People could use this technology to put hits on people online. :facepalm: If geo:enabled is set on that person's browser, they could even be pinpointed in terms of where they are.

    CREEPY.

    Several bars have banned their use inside and on the property. How would you like having a video thrown up on YouTube from somebody wearing Google Glass in a men's room or a locker room? How about from a guest or sales person in your home? It's existence is ominous IMO.
     
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  6. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Welcome to privacy!

    DuckDuckGo is one of the great "open secrets" of the internet. Nice search and tracks nothing from you. I also use torch browser which is a Chromium fork with zero Google components in it. Private email on my own domain which includes calendaring. Online storage - none. I really have no use to it as I have an Ironkey.
     
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  7. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Cloud storage and cross device syncing is a must have for me. My software tools need to be available to me at client locations, and my document library too. I have been exclusively on my own email domains for email for more than a decade now. But I did not really see the value of cloud storage and apps until Google came along with Google Docs (now Google Apps for business). But with that convenience came a huge compromise in security and privacy that I found acceptable because I trusted Google at the time they came out. Now, I dont. I have not trusted Microsoft since 2000, and I have been encrypting my home computers with various programs since then. Now I use TrueCrypt on the client side, and my OwnCloud files on my domain space are encrypted on the server side. I also have my business website running SSL.

    How are you managing online calendaring? Linux solutions for that are few and far between. The OwnCloud calendaring is Caldav and Cardav so with the Bynari WebDav commercial component on my home computers I can sync it with Outlook. And with the Caldav Android app, I have it syncing my Android calendar in both directions. wish there were a replacement for Google Maps, but there is not. I trust Google Maps more than the alternatives, and I can get to it very easily with DuckDuckGo or my Iron browser but I use Maps mostly from my phone for navigation.

    If you are interested in seeing the interface for OwnCloud, let me know. :) It is fully open source and the Community Edition is free. If you have web space, you can use it on there and encrypt all of the files so even your webhost cannot read them. :)
     
  8. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    THANKS for the Torch Browser tip! I do not really like Iron. It is having issues on my Windows 8 Professional and it still tracks history unless in Incognito mode. The Torch browser has torrent and video capturing from the web, and these are HUGE for me since I use separate apps to do both those things. Im installing it now. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  9. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    My host for secure private email uses Exchange 2013. The calendaring in it is very powerful and serves me well. For maps I use CoPilot - free and uses locally stored maps so I don't burn my data plan when using phone as GPS.
     
  10. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Brilliant solution with that CoPilot! I will investigate. But I can tell you right now, Exchange is far from secure. ESPECIALLY Exchange 2013 because of the integrated cloud component which went way way beyond ActiveSync with their new hooks for Office 365 and One Note and SharePoint. You might as well CC the NSA on your emails. :) Im not saying that Microsoft routinely scans your emails (like Google definitely does). But if you ever blip the radar of the NSA and they open you up, they can read all your emails and see all your calendar entries. I wont even get started on Skype :facepalm:. If you use Skype, take a look at Vsee.
     
  11. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Remember this is Exchange on a private secure host. The cloud features are optional and the installer has to turn them on. And it gives me end to end encryption both at rest and in motion (job requirement). Even better, I have the key. The main pain point is remembering to NOT encrypt emails in some cases, but I may change my configuration (I checked and it is okay with the job) to where email is not encrypted unless I type ENCRYPT in the subject line.
     
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  12. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    It is certainly better than Google! My emails and calendar entries are all under my control too, and with your solution it looks like you are in good shape, privacy-wise. It is a shame that people have to take such measures just to keep snoopers out of our lives. Think of the millions of non-techie people out there using Google, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Dropbox and Picasa...all of them might as well be on stage. Our photos and information are building a cyberscape with such granular detail that the government never had before.

    I am really going to put my foot down with Google Glass though. I have a friend who is one of those "first to have" types, and he is getting his GG. I told him he would not be allowed to wear them in my home, and he thought I was kidding because I was smiling, but I told him I was serious. :). Even if they are prescription glasses, he is going to be out of luck.
     
  13. Bluce Ree

    Bluce Ree Tech Admin / Council Member

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    Microsoft -> NSA

    'Nuff said.
     
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  14. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Yep. They could name it MSA and it would be more honest. :) Microsoft runs the entire US military intelligence, the space program (until recently), domestic security and law enforcement agencies like the FBI, NSA, CIA, DEA, INS, etc. GW Bush put his buzzard wing over Microsoft when it looked like the government was going to break them up for anti-trust violations back in 2007:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/10/b...-10microsoft.6072857.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Now, they are so heavily entrenched that the government may never be rid of them (why would they want to?). The ISS went Linux recently. :)
     
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  15. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member

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    Bluce that is quoting out of context. Exchange is just software. Run on a private secure host.

    On a related note I did change my config to make the default setting unencrypted with me encrypting by typing ENCRYPT in the subject line. Makes my life easier as I am not accidentally sending people encrypted emails who have no way to open them.
     
  16. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member

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    Is that fair? Exchange is one of the definitive Microsoft products of the past 50 years, and is arguably Microsoft's "anchor" product after Windows Server. There is nothing else on the market which even comes close in enterprise mail systems. Having said that, Microsoft (and thus the NSA) has control of any Exchange server they can see on the internet. Even the ones on private servers. It isnt "just software". I take it you have never implemented Exchange or had to work with the bones of it? Postfix is no Exchange, but it is open source and can be truly secured on the server side. It can be set up with end-to-end encryption if you are using a Linux machine to connect to it. Any encryption solution native to Windows or Exchange has been shared with the NSA already.

    http://www.postfix.org/TLS_README.html

    Just so you know, Microsoft's products are all vulnerable to the NSA, because they designed them to be. They are being paid for those vulnerabilities, and they are making certain that those vulnerabilities remain available to the NSA (or whomever else is willing to pay for access). Without ever having to contact your private host (even if it is in your home on your own server), Microsoft can wrap up access protocols in Security Updates, in Service Packs, or just use the built in code that is already there in .dll files nobody looks at and AV does not detect.

    Proof: http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/11/documents-reveal-that-microsoft-let-nsa

    Never become apathetic towards Microsoft or any of their products. Their jugular vein is the government contracts they have and want to keep. Without those contracts, Microsoft would be in big trouble. And in exchange for exclusivity in government offices, they have been asked to provide certain functionalities in their products. Google is not in that position and neither is Apple. But IBM is.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/0...ft_added_outlookencryption_backdoor_for_feds/
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
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  17. mzzz

    mzzz Well Known GateFan

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    @Overmind One - I don't really need that much storage man, at most 2 gigs. I just store some pdf files and whatnot. I don't have the demand for that much storage like your need, given your job.

    @Joelist - Somehow, I think trying to circumvent spying and tracking and adsense and all that stuff just draws more attention. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, it's better to hide in plain sight? It seems to me that doing all that fancy computer stuff decreases the pool of people to investigate and draws more attention than hiding in plain sight; going that route seems more like a draw to people equally knowledgeable/well-versed in computer stuff. Nowadays with Facebook and all that junk, they can build complete profiles from profiles and convos anyways.

    I think someone might have posted already, but google wants to set up satellites around the world to provide the internet to the world. But somehow I get the feeling they want all the internet traffic filtering through them so as to document all the traffic anyways.

    And another thing I notice is that sometimes websites use google features (ajax, fonts, other stuff which I don't understand or have a clue about except that google hosts some things that most websites uses). So google can just keep track of people's web activity by detecting the specific features being accessed by specific sites.
     
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  18. Bluce Ree

    Bluce Ree Tech Admin / Council Member

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    That's actually quite in context. To the bolded, the most appropriate response I can think of at the moment would be "d-uhhh!". :icon_lol:
     
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  19. Bluce Ree

    Bluce Ree Tech Admin / Council Member

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    Ahhh! You see, it's the "whatnots" that get you. A megabyte here, a few hundred there and, next thing you know, you've nickedl and dimed yourself into 5 gigs of data.
     
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  20. mzzz

    mzzz Well Known GateFan

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    Yes, that happens to me with porn. A save here and there, next thing I know gigs of porn that I've only looked at the first time I saved them.
     
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