Google’s “web history” – a threat to security!
Google having access to our search and browsing history was notorious. But to store all this browsing history in a well-organized file(s) for each user, is really scary! Why? For profiling purposes for example, which I have written about extensively in several blog posts and even my LLM thesis.
But also concerning is that if someone breaks into someone else’s Google account or someone leaves their account on, on a computer or there are family members/roommates sharing a computer. In all these cases, it could be granted full access to all user’s browsing history which can reveal very personal information and possibly even financial information such as bank logins and passwords (if that person chose to tick the box for automatic login). As you could see bellow, the visited page is in a form of a link. When clicked, it takes the user to the linked website, bank account, email account, online store, online purchasing account, which may bring serious security risks.
The very well-structured report on browsing history available now to Google users (when you have an account with Google), with precise dates, times, number of visualizations, browsing history based on different content categories such as blogs, videos, pictures, shopping, maps… and with a perfect synchronization of the information used even between the terminals a user used (e.g. work, home, internet café) it is really concerning.
-Left: all history on the web, images, news, videos, blogs….
-Middle: web history, visited web links, with the date, time, number of loggins
-Right: calendar from where one could chose the date or time period to see the web history on a Google account.
See bellow Google’s description about this feature:
“Web History records information about the web pages you visit and your activity on Google, including your search queries, the results you click on, and the date and time of your searches in order to improve your search experience and display your web activity.”
Imagine this going hand in hand with the proposed ACTA, even downloading music for your personal use (which is legal in The Netherlands) will be a real threat in regards to policing the Internet and monitoring a user for ACTA enforcement purposes, having access to so much information about user web history including music downloads.
-material downloaded, time, date and very important, from where it was downloaded.
I have personally considered for some time now that, no one has either anonymity or privacy on the Internet anymore. But in addition to this, now no one has much security either. If for some, the right to privacy is something immaterial, the security issues should be concerning and regarded as something tangible.
If you would like to remove your web browsing history (at least from your account because Google will always have it), follow the steps here:
1. Go to your Google account and on the right side and after you clicked on it, select “Account settings”
2. Go to “View, enable or disable web history” (very bottom of the page) and there click on “Go to web history”
3. Go to “Remove all Web history” and click “ok”
If you receive this message “Your search history is currently empty”, then supposedly your web history has been removed up to that date and time. From then on the history will be again stored under your account.
4. if you would like to turn the web history feature off, just press “Pause”
5. If you would like to have your all web history stored on, press “Resume”.
Any questions can be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com
Did you know about the web history? Are you going to change your privacy settings? Do you mind about this web history feature?
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- @k3rstin Hi Kerstin. Im fine thank you. Still in Brussels. Can we collaborate on any project/assignment? Best regards, Dan. 1 year ago
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