Only Trolls Use Anonymity? Myth Busted.

August 5, 2011 at 8:08 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

Everyone who writes something anonymously is a troll who is hiding something or harassing people. This could be solved by forcing people to use their real names online. Right?

When I was a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, I received a few serious death threats – as did the female sports columnist, who got more abuse and harassment than I ever did. The people that threatened me, and two that have gone on to harass and stalk me to this day, have done so with their real names proudly on display.

– Violet Blue

But you go on believing those old myths about anonymity if you want to.

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Bizarre Complaint Against Google Filed With FTC

October 8, 2010 at 12:07 AM (Uncategorized) (, , )

A former employee of the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint with the FTC against Google for allegedly engaging in deceptive trade practices. In his complaint [PDF], Chris Soghoian states that Google’s search engine deliberately passes along HTTP referer headers to third-party website administrators, despite having the technical ability not to do so and in violation of Google’s privacy policy.

[Note: The correct spelling is “referer” not “referrer.” The word is a technical term and has always been spelled that way.]

He suggests that the FTC should, among other things, order Google to stop passing referer headers to third parties and require them to have a third party verify their privacy safeguards once a year for the next 20 years.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most bizarre privacy complaints I’ve ever seen.
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Privacy And Privilege – Anil Dash Nails It

September 13, 2010 at 2:16 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Go read this. Read all of it. When you’re done, scroll up and read it again.

If you are twenty-six years old, you’ve been a golden child, you’ve been wealthy all your life, you’ve been privileged all your life, you’ve been successful your whole life, of course you don’t think anybody would ever have anything to hide.

The Facebook Reckoning

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How To Remove The RLZ Tracking ID From Chromium Browser

August 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Please Note: This post is old, written in August 2010. This information may be out of date now.

The tl;dr version

I’ve ignored Google’s Chrome browser ever since it first came out. I don’t like some of its behavior, particularly the automatic updates that cannot be controlled by the user. Google tends to include auto-updaters in nearly all of their desktop software but never provides a way to disable them. They simply cannot seem to understand that they do not acquire ownership of a computer just because someone installs their software on it. I have refused to have any Google software installed on my computer for years for that reason.

Because I’ve never paid any attention to Chrome, I didn’t realize until just the other night that Chromium browser existed. Chromium browser is an open source version of Chrome without any Google branding, with fewer things that call home to Google by default and, most importantly to me, no automatic updater. In other words, it’s a better behaved version of Chrome that doesn’t do most of the things I dislike.

I downloaded Chromium last night and stayed up late playing with it. I have to say, I am impressed. Now I see what the fuss over Chrome is all about. I’ve been a loyal fan of Firefox for several years but they really do have serious competition here.

One thing I noticed was that, while Chromium behaves itself better than Chrome, it still acts naughty in a couple of ways. When you use it to search Google from the so-called Omnibar (fancy name for the address bar), it inserts a tracking ID into the address [pic] so that Google can record and track it. As I understand it, the number is unique to the server from which you originally downloaded the browser. Not a huge deal, but unwanted nonetheless.
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