Simplest way to preserve a little privacy online: Lie

If you're not committing fraud, you're not required to give your correct name to Google or anyone else


Do you know what the worst thing is about Google's new no-privacy policy and attempt to collect data about everything you do online in one place no matter where you do it or on what site?

You have no choice but to go along with it, if you want to find the information you're looking for. Intrusiveness is one thing, intrusiveness to which it's impossible to say 'No' is another. Especially when Twitter and the other services you use online are being just as intrusive.

If you use the Internet at all it's very hard to avoid Google, either searching it directly or using it indirectly as the embedded search engine on someone else's site. And that doesn’t even include Google Apps, which is the only reason some people ever log in to Google.

Even those so offended by Google's decision to consolidate all the tracking data it keeps in Picasa, Gmail, Search and all its other services into a single package and appalled by its decision to sell that information, much of which customers didn' t know Google was saving, have no choice but to use Google some of the time.

Of course, they don't have to log in, so Google would be limited in the degree to which it could invade their privacy.

It wouldn't have their names and addresses, phone numbers and long-term search history.

It would just have one cookie that could identify the user's browser and associate that individual with a list of Web pages, search queries and other activities in which he or she has engaged while being tracked by Google (which is always).

In its own outreach plan to the media today, the day its new privacy invasions are set to start, Google spokespeople tried to spin the truth by making it seem less intrusive to be tracked less completely by Google than might otherwise be the case.

As if simply following you around all day long, taking surreptitious pictures, drawing maps of your wanderings and selling all that information about you to people eager to use it to manipulate and persuade you isn't bad enough to qualify as a stalker.

It is, but it's the Lite version of Google's efforts to track you.

There are bits of software, special settings on your browser and at Google you can use to minimize the amount of data Google tracks on you. Some work well, some don't, some are too much of a pain to worry about.

They'll all conceal different portions of your personal data, or erase it, or anonymize it to avoid identifying you, personally, with all the searches on or

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