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Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard

Privacy in web surfing is becoming a much more complicated endeavor with the vast quantity of advertiser supported sites on the web. Web analytic, data miners and data sucking Social Networks Icons on sites not only compromise your privacy but also slow down your surfing.
Using the Chrome Browser is no more or less a compromising choice than the other major browsers.
There is a new tool in the drive for privacy on the internet for the Chrome Browser, HTTP Switchboard This is an amazing tool. A great explanation can be found over at BetaNews
Before you rush over there using Chrome as it is a Chrome Only Tool, lets lock down your chrome browser.

A Feature of the Chrome browser is the incognito mode.
Below is a screen shot of Chrome in Incognito Mode Notice the grey color with the guy in hat and shades in the upper left corner? You are Incognito Baby!

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of: Websites that collect or share information about you Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys Surveillance by secret agents People standing behind you Learn more about incognito browsing. Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

Chrome in Incognito Mode

Here is what Incognito does.

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
Websites that collect or share information about you
Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
Surveillance by secret agents
People standing behind you
Learn more about incognito browsing.
Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

The information below is Windows Specific. Hopefully somebody on a Mac will explain this for those users.
In Windows to make this happen, find the Icon for the Chrome Browser, Right mouse click and click on Properties
The Properties dialog box appears.

Properties Box

Properties Box

Scroll to the end of the Target Window which says
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
and add the following: space-incognito so the target window now says:
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” -incognito
Do Not forget the space after the quote and before the minus sign. It will not work otherwise
Now your Target Window should show
Going Incognito

Going Incognito

Click Apply, Click Okay, and you are done.
You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close all open incognito windows. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.

At this point it will erase your history, searches and cookies on exit, however the damage has already been done as even in incognito mode Chrome accepts cookies.
I have written about privacy before under the pithy title of Advertising Rights Management ARM:
Advertising Rights Management ARM
Advertising Rights Management ARM 2
In any case in incognito mode you need to go to Settings> Extensions> and enable your extensions to work in incognito mode.
Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard is a new privacy tool for the Chrome Browser. It is more complicated than AVG Do Not Track, albine Do Not Track Me, AdBlock Plus, and Ghostery, but the quantity of information about the sites is amazing. And you can allow or deny cookies, scripts, Plugins, iframes on a case by case basis.

An exciting addition to your privacy on the web. Highly Recommended!

[Bonus Link: How to Always Start Any Browser in Private Browsing Mode]
Hat Tip: Joe Crawford

Welcome to Our Social Network!

What You thought You were Getting

What You Thought

What You Thought You Were Getting

What You Got

Welcome to Our Social Network! Now SHUT THE FUCK UP and BUY!!!

Welcome to Our Social Network!

Welcome to Your OUR Social Network!

TV LIne Your Privacy 0 Cookies 20 and Trackers 4

I watch TV. Probably more than I should. One of the things the internet is good for is finding about TV shows.

One of the sites I use daily is TV Line. They have a lot of official previews of episodes and upcoming shows.

They post video from the major and minor networks. Most of them run fine, until you run ad blocking software.

The theory of previews is to generate interest in shows to display ads to get you to buy shit you can probably do without.

NBC has figured that they need to shove an Ad in your face before you see the preview.
Meet the three M’s Monetizing Marketing Monkeys.

In FireFox you get to the NBC logo and then it just stops.

IN chrome in private browsing mode, you lose 30 seconds of your life you will never get back to see a preview for a show you may or may not watch is really the height of arrogance.

This photo tells that story

TV Line Chrome Private Browser Screen Capture

But Wait There’s More!
as the page is loading you are being probed, data mined and fed cookies to track you across the web.

Here are the most recent cookies that TV Line attempted to set.


Adobe Digital Marketing (Omniture)
Crazy Egg




Google AJAX Search API

NetRatings SiteCensus


ScoreCard Research Beacon
WordPress Stats

But Wait There’s More! Your so called Social Sites are tracking you too.

Google +1
Comscore Beacon
Facebook Connect
Google Analytics

Those cute buttons for facebook twitter google+1. Trackers.

ScoreCard Research Beacon is interesting being called 6 times.

Maybe the webmaster is lazy.

If you wonder why your surfing is so slow you can thank the trackers above. All this crap happens before the page loads.

What the world needs is a browser plugin that accepts cookies, and any other information scripting tries to get, rewrites them to Zeros and ships them back.

Fill enough servers and data miners with no information, they will go home.

Bonus Link:
Dark Google: One Year Since Search Terms Went “Not Provided”

It’s a start.

Some Copyrights are more Equal than others, but everybody is waiting.

Copyright is seriously screwed up. Don’t get me started.
Now the Copyright Office is seriously screwed up. The Washington Post has this:
© 2009? Wishful Thinking, Perhaps, as Backlog Mounts

For $35 you can file electronically, for $45 you can file by mail, (which is going up to $65 in August) and for $695 bucks you can file an ‘expedited’ registration. Nowhere in the intent of Copyright was a class system mentioned.

Being granted copyright and registering it are two different animals, with serious implications.

Maybe we should outsource the Copyright Office to Google, as they seem to be the only folks who can copy, present, publish and announce stuff in near real time.

Google is a Next Guy.

In the real world there are two types of folks, Other Guy and Next Guy.
Other Guy is the one who does the absolute minimum and in case of any problem blames the Other Guy.
Next Guy is the one who anticipates what is coming next, and does their job with an eye toward making it easier for the next guy to do their job. These two types live online also.

Google is a Next Guy.
People bitch about Google incessantly. But when you look at their bitching, it pretty much ends being an Other Guy whine session.
Google is not an advertising company. Despite all of the whining by Agencies, Newspapers, and Magazines, and the whole Social Media PR industry, Google figured out how to make advertising work on the web. Text Links. Basic and entirely too low tech for the Web 2.0 crowd and your Flashturbators, whose idea of a good ad is to yell at you. Putting the guy who is actually paying for the ad budget in control was a stroke of genius. Sharing some of that with independent web site owners closed the deal.

Google is not a search company. You wouldn’t know it especially since Googling anything is usually the first step in finding things on the web. Here again, stripping it down to the absolute basic, pointed out that Keeping It Simple will win every time. I think that the Chief Googlers have gotten over the whole verb thing as well.

Google is an Information Company. They collect information, collate it, store it, and spit it back out. They are not evil incarnate, nor are they the savior of civilization. Information has a neutral value. People fuck it up.
Google is a Next Guy.
Here is a slide of what Google is doing.
You might want to print it out and mount it above your mirror.

newspapers are the only means

Over at the Guardian UK, yet another reporter, Henry Porter blames Google for killing newspapers, and fostering what he claims is an Amoral Menace. He drags up all of the old arguments about piracy, and other crimes. He blathers on for a while until we get to the heart of his rant, that being Google is killing the newspaper industry and offers this chestnut as justification:

“newspapers are the only means of holding local hospitals, schools, councils and the police to account, and on a national level they are absolutely essential for the good functioning of democracy.”

This is bullshit on so many levels as to be almost laughable. When you look at your local newspaper, see how much is actual local reporting by boots on the ground vs regurgitated crap by-lined by one of the wire services. Since a lot of cities and towns have gone online, the need to have ‘professional’ reportage, is nowhere as dire as Porter would have us believe. Anybody with a computer and a few moments with a search engine, and yes there are alternatives to Google, can find just about anything on any issue in their own home town, your home town, or some place that you will probably never see. The internet has opened up all of these local areas to the floodlights of citizen participation.

An interesting case in point locally is the Phoenix police raiding the home of blogger Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, who has been critical of the department. This is a significant story as a lot of the information that Jeff publishes comes from sources inside the Phoenix Police Department. Additionally, despite the fact that the police seized his computers, modems and files, he is still publishing, from anywhere he can find an internet connection. You cannot say that about local newpaper operations in the case of catastrophe.

He then points out how evil Google is with this:

“Despite the aura of heroic young enterprise that still miraculously attaches to the web, what we are seeing is a much older and toxic capitalist model – the classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits. Despite its diversification, Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time.”

That sounds awfully familiar, considering the revenue model that has driven newspapers which for the most part enjoy a monopolistic position outside of major metro areas, out of the news business and into the advertising business. As for little aggregation, again I point to how much of local news is actually in local newspapers vs wire service copy.

As for ordering of information, whose fault is it that news organizations use the AP style,(putting the conclusion of the article in the first paragraph, and using the rest of the story as filler), making going any further an exercise in regurgitation.

One other note. Somebody who whines about ‘individual enterprise’ while collecting a paycheck from a organization that held a monopolistic position might to examine their own role in that toxic capitalist model.

But he is still not done. He figures that he has one last card to play, the censorship card.

There is a brattish, clever amorality about Google that allows it to censor the pages on its Chinese service without the slightest self doubt, store vast quantities of unnecessary information about every Google search, and menace the delicate instruments of democratic scrutiny.

Here is the problem with censorship. It is a concept that brings out fear, uncertainty and doubt. Censorship takes many forms. I wonder how many stories Henry has had ‘spiked’ or killed, by some editor or other management wienie, due to a conflict of interest, of editorial ‘guidance’, or advertising pressures. This is censorship. No I do not buy the chinese wall argument. There have been too many reported cases where pressure from advertisers and or ‘interested’ parties have distorted reporting. And when they get caught they look like assholes, and credibility crashes.

Another interesting look on censorship is the standard usage of unnamed sources, and the refusal to publish documents, notes and background materials that go into newspaper stories. Yes it is true that newspapers have limited space, but whose fault is that? On the internet we can publish and provide links to our source materials, so that the readers can make up their own minds, so the actual ‘good functioning of democracy’ can take place. Keeping that in mind, newspapers online and news organizations are still producing Father Knows Best reporting, telling us what they think we need to know . This is censorship of a far subtle nature and just as damaging than anything Winston Smith in 1984 was subjected to.

‘Storing vast quantities of unnecessary information’ is a real gem especially in view of newspaper sites that use cookies for tracking, use third party advertising servers, having pop ups, pop unders, require registrations for commenting on those sites that even embrace that concept, and use that self same information to sell more advertising, cutting up stories requiring multiple page views, creating more advertising, and collecting yet more information, that in the final analysis does more to ‘menace the delicate instruments of democratic scrutiny‘, than any search engine.

The newspaper industry in its current mold is dead, and the collateral damage to reporters is as real as it gets. But blaming somebody else for the failure of a system that was the precursor of what is replacing it, is just a failure to get the facts, and to adapt.