We use PIWIK, partly due to potential privacy issues further down the line but more importantly we want to control the data and share reports as we see fit, it was difficult (last time I looked) to share analytics reports without getting people to sign up for gmail.
I recently moved off Gmail after being targeted with unsavoury ads on YouTube whilst logged into my account. Various international marriage services and things like this :p
Nothing to do with my search history (I was followed round the web by baths for a few weeks a while back) so I am assuming Google decided that in the interests of best serving me, as a user they would push a scammy tin of fury fibre spray and some bogus brides...
I switched to M$ of all things, unthinkable a few years back, I am still coming to terms with it but its a better cleaner service (IMO) and I am not harrassed to use my real name when I want to watch a video... oh and random people I dont know who ended up in my "circles" dont have the ability to email me.
Im done with Google and as far as possible trying to avoid their services, the thing that really got me thinking was if they serve that $%&£ up to me what are they going to push onto my kids when they hit their teens... diet pills, a little plastic surgery perhaps.
If ever a company completely abandoned everything they once proported to stand for Google are it. I think Moodle.Org would do well to swap out Analytics.
Dont Feed The Borg
Jez H, hi
Have you ever thought of being on the stage?
Definitely, the never ending "leave this one to embrace the other" routine. At some moments I've considered leaving gmail, but as it actually is a good system with a nice and clean user interface (vs. hotmail, yahoo, etc) I've just changed a few habits: a chrome based navigator but without the continuous update and privacy invasion "features"; a search engine that uses google but that hides my data from them; reading my mail from a desktop app and not from the web page, but if I have to use the web page then I close it as I'm finished with it; disableing my account's "Keep my history"... ah, and also using the browser's incognito option. This may not be much, but it has helped.
I don't think Gmail has had a nice clean interface for some time, its cluttered.
At the top I see tabs for "Primary" "Social" and "Promotions".
The social tab has some names visible, absolutely no idea who they are, I have no idea why the promotions are there, just look like spam to me.
I have two notifications, one is to tell me about some other update to their terms of service, the other is to tell me that a social media spambot has added me to one of its many circles...
There are two links to google+ at the top, there are two links to my profile and thankfully two places to sign out.
I will have to keep that account as I have used it for so many years and will check it every few weeks but I am really glad I moved off it.
Compare that interface to outlook.com...
Of course if you are using Thunderbird or similar it doesnt matter so much, but I tend to use webmail rather than clients.
It's an ongoing battle, no doubt about it; each time they come with some new change, time to see how to counteract it.
Maybe you'll be able to stop using all their services sometime in the future, but in the mean time:
- Their automatic category tags, a nuisance more than anything else, can be easily nullified by adding a simple filter:
- if "Doesn't have" some-weird-string (e.g. #&4Rv$5@3V) then "Categorize as" Personal.
- Also, under Settings > Inbox, uncheck all the categories (Social,... Forums).
- To get rid of Google+, go to the Google+ settings page, scroll to the end of the page and, under the "Disable Google+" section: click the link at "Delete your entire Google profile here".
Very useful, thanks, but a little late for me...
I wont stop using their services all together, I have an Android phone though that was another annoyance as I ended up with a load of people I don't know in my address book, no doubt I agreed to something I shouldn't have there.... but why is it I needed to enter Google account details to use a phone I bought from Samsung?
I just don't want that kind of intrusion, I want everything compartmentalized. I don't want my real name listed on YouTube, I don't want my search results listing things people I don't know +1'd, I don't want to be followed round the web by advertising companies, I don't want random people who emailed me five years ago in my phone book and I don't want Google to know who I am where I am what I am doing and who I am with (which is their stated aim) and certainly don't want that for my kids.
I used to think Google were great particularly at the time Microsoft were at their worst. They expoused higher ethics, bankrolled Mozilla, but they are not that company any more.
To them people be they customers, users or website owners are little more than digital chattel. When it comes to saving money on moderation they are all in favor of free speech (would cost them a fortune to moderate YouTube), but when the Yuan is on the other foot they are happy to collude in erasing the memory of events like:
Make no mistake they would still be doing that had the Yuan swelled their coffers as originally hoped.
IMO Google are very bad news, as are large corporations and monopolies in general.
On the other hand projects like Mozilla and Piwik are very good news and so would choose those products over Chrome and Analytics.... and will try running Ubuntu on my next phone.
Jez H, hi
I am not sure whether you will achieve your aim of everything being compartmentalised. The reason being, is because there is still data collection about you- when you send an email/communication to someone who uses Gmail.
Also, I cannot work this out maybe you can? I received an update notification from Dropbox on my work-outlook mail, nothing unusual. However, I also received exactly the same email update in my gmail account a few days later....having never used Dropbox from that account....and I have only had that gmail account for some months- Interesting times....I dont use FB and I dont tweet from a cage-that purports freedom of communication either...I think those social media forms are equally invasive...I mean the latest FB celebratory mini slideshow.....amazing how much they can put a story of one's life together so selectively.
Just some thoughts.
Yes, Google ended up acting like any other big corporation because, as Piporro would say, "with the money dancing the dog"
The thing I don't understand is why use Google Analytics when software like Piwik seems to offer so much more? Is it the added expense of hosting Piwik and managing the tracking data?
These days it seems like more and more website owners and sysadmins might just as well describe their jobs as unpaid subcontractors to Google. (I borrowed that from a professional drummer friend who used to tell people he was a beer salesman).
And remember, Google ain't free.
One of the reasons we went to Piwik was the ability to easily share the reports. There are some things Analytics does better but that tool only exists to mine data. The same data Google increasingly witholds from webmasters (referral data, search queries)... in the name of privacy.
So, a webmaster cannot see referral data from an anonymous IP address due to privacy concerns, but they want to expose your real name on YouTube and pimp your data out to marketers.
Google speak of "reciprocity" when dealing with with FB or M$, where is the reciprocity in webmasters sharing all their data with Google and Google withholding all their data from webmasters, well not quite because they still provide that data to PAYING adwords customers.
So, if as a user you click one of the organic results your data is withheld from evil webmasters by the great the great benevolent Google, bit if you click a paid link an inch above or to the right your referral data is sold by the not so benevolent Google.
This all makes perfect sense if you ignore what Google say and look at what is most profitable for them.
Making money is fine, that's what companies do but I have never been partial to deceit.
Above all that is why I prefer M$ now as a company in spite of Google being "open source friendly"
Microsoft are more honest (IMO), you know when they take over companies like Skype they will be coming for you wallet!
As for Google not being free... there is a widely repeated phrase on that one:
"If You're Not Paying For It, You Become The Product"
That is not really true, its your personal data and your attention which become the product though its splitting hairs when your on the receiving end of advertisements for bogus hair loss spray beards!
Not to mention the (all be it legal) weight loss and get rich quick scams G allows to run on its ad network which it knows are bad news because they let publishers opt out of these "sensitive categories":
So Google are more than happy to facilitate you being targeted by rip off merchants whilst simultaneously claiming to protect your privacy and user experience.
The thing that finally made me start moving off their services was pondering what kind of adds they would target my daughter with when she hits her teens, keeping in mind that by that time they will be pushing adds for locally situated chain stores down onto your phone and goodness knows what else besides.
So yes... I agree with your original post!
Thanks for bringing that up. I've responded to the question about drawbacks of using Google Drive, or any other "drop box" including Moodle's built in one, here: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=252078#p1116519
Sadly, in the push to expand and dominate, the pedagogical principles behind elearning tend to get left to the way-side. We'll more than likely end up with slick, attractive looking, cheap web services that do little to specifically support learning and teaching.
MS Word and PPT were a bad idea for learning and teaching in the first place, and now they're prescriptively "baking in" those features, and their drawbacks, into their systems.
In order for us to learn more effectively, docs and slideshows must die: http://magamaps.com/?p=2126
And if people want to work offline, it makes more sense (and it's cheaper) to install (slightly modified) Moodle on your local computer and sync it with an online "master" Moodle. Or even a "Moodle dongle" USB drive with everything on it. Someone's managed to install Moodle on a Raspberry Pi - Moodle in your pocket. Ah, the beauty of free and open source software!
I would have to say why not?! I Mean google analytics is top notch quality, and of course not to mention doesn't cost a dime! even I use it to ensure we are on top of things! GO MOODLE!
(Edited by Mary Cooch to remove link- original submission Thursday, 27 March 2014, 7:09 AM)
The expectation of privacy.
There's a point at which Google has so many triangulation points on you that it almost becomes impossible to take yourself out of their purview. Google had me pinned down via search, email, youtube, google groups, G+, various webmaster services, maps, translation, shopping, chome, panoramio not to mention the data generated from my phone OS being Android and it's link to the play store.
I've degooglefied my internet presence now and I for one don't need Moodle.org to take over Google's surveillance of me on their behalf.
That's an argument from a personal perspective, there's also the duty of care and data protection arguments. I ditched Google Analytics on our Moodle for PIWIK because handing 4000 students moodle activity data over to Google probably contravenes my Colleges Data Protection Policy and I expect UK Data Protection law (in spirit if not actually).
I might even read this later from having had this conversation: https://www.gov.uk/data-protection
As for duty of care, a large proportion of students here probably don't yet know the full implications of their activity online and what that could mean for them 5, 10 or even 50 years into the future. They are young and here to get an education and if we are doing our job properly (and I for one am trying) then they will start to appreciate the full implications of their online activity whilst they are here.
When they are in a position to choose what they do online in an informed way they can sell them selves to which ever organisation they see fit. Until that point though, it is not for me to hand them over to Google or anyone else for that matter without serious and proper consideration of the implications of doing that.
Now that's just Google. Add into this the fact that anything Google knows can be and probably is known by governmental intelligence (oxymoron) agencies worldwide and the cost of using Google Analytics soon mounts up.
We are at a tipping point in history where our privacy has the potential to be lost. It is vitally important that we don't give it away. When I get undressed at home I draw the curtains.
So it goes, when working with open source, open being the operative word here, then that is fine about lack of privacy, because tis open-yes? And anyone can track, record, keep whatever is out there, because it is out there.
But, because Google and its supporting lack of regulation...and I would add Twitter and FB to that, then Sam you have boycotted Google, but might there be a simple argument surounding the fact that if you do not want private matters aired over the Google airways, then quite simply one need not include stuff that is considered private to the individual-though tis noble that you think you are protecting your students....many users of Google/FB and Twitter in their own time I suspect, the remaining question is what do you have to hide? I mean why OS and not Google-on a personal level? I get the analytics bit-to some degree, but we work in a constrained and a misled system surrounding privacy laws online......and we await someone to sort it out....White House.....keep snoring over it..........but in the meantime.........taking a stance of avoidance, sounds like an oxymoron to me, in view of the above.
Open source usually implies greater privacy and security. In fact, it's one of the foundational tenets of the GPL licences.
Additionally, you're echoing what many of the surveillance apologists say and missing the point. The main part of what Google, Facebook, the NSA, et al do is called social network analysis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network_analysis This is incredibly powerful stuff and those in control of such surveillance data know more about you than you can imagine, without ever reading the contents of your email or social network posts. This is what the FBI regularly uses to follow and disrupt social and political organisations and movements and they've been doing it for a long time, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO How many political activists do you know of at and around universities? How important is political participation in a democracy? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilling_effect
Other organisations that have used similar surveillance strategies:
These are the organisations that George Orwell wrote about in Nineteen Eighty-four.
Another thing is that it doesn't matter if you opt out if everyone around you is automatically opted in to surveillance. Surveillance picks you up "second hand" from watching your friends, colleagues, associates, people you do business with, and places you go shopping or use facilities.
BTW, found out about this stuff at a young age as my grandfather was watched by the British security agencies all his life for doing things like helping found the fore-runner to the National Health Service (before WWII), joining the British Brigade to help defeat the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, campaigning for nuclear disarmament (CND), and achieving it as a member of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Physicians_for_the_Prevention_of_Nuclear_War (IPPNW) for which they won the Nobel peace prize. These are the people who are considered a "threat to national security" and these are the people that govt.s want to watch the most.
This isn't softy-liberal, hypothetical, "pie in the sky", stuff. It's very real and very powerful.
Christopher Hitchens does a great job of getting this across (running time: 1:00:51)
...I hear you Matt, will take a look at that vid..later.
In addition, let us not forget theory here, I am of the ilk that it is important to consider theoretical assumptions too.
So, getting back to the IP address and its implications:
theory 1: Plebian theory....IP address can be tracked easily and all activity monitored
theory 2: Master theory....IP address can be masked and therefore tracking is trickier
theory 3: Master Plebian theory: Masking code can be broken by surveillance anyway
What are the inferences? Even if regulation was in place, IP, third party monitoring and so on.....it will take a very long time to undo the deeply enculturated practices that exist combined with the knowledge that exists about code breaking in this day and age-which is likely to get better over time .......legislation and policy...whoop whoop....that is why things are slow to get started, I think-could be wrong.
What have I got to hide? Plenty, that's why I don't even use my full proper name here (you didn't really think my surname is Thing did you?) and that's why I don't post things to the internet that I consider private but that's a red herring <*)))><
The "if you have nothing to hide" argument is one that's usually made by those who have cultural, financial and or political security. It's easy to make those kind of arguments from a position of power. And the argument is even constructed to hide that position of power..... What have I got to hide from whom? From my wife and kids and friends? Not much. From my boss? More so. From the police? I never did tell them about the sweets I stole from the corner shop when I was a teenager...do you think I should? What have I got to hide from Government? Multinational Corporations who operate above the law? Criminals?
If I've nothing to hide I have nothing to fear is just wrong.
I have nothing to hide, why are you collecting data on me?
am goingn to hold your hand and walk you through my thinking, hold tight now In your post you stated that you are peeved with Google and referred to a variety of reasons, namely tracking, hounding you out and what not. Well here is the news, Mr Thing is an interesting take on the Movie byt the way, but no one gives two shakes of a lambs tail.....when they have your IP address-that tracks nicely to your Android phone too-yes-really Mr Thing. So, that is just very basic stuff, and am I collecting data about you........I can if you want me to, of course, but I do have other projects of more interest.
It's nice holding hands isn't it?
...Can someone mod Sam please
> So it goes, when working with open source, open being the operative word here, then that is fine about lack of privacy, because tis open-yes? And anyone can track, record, keep whatever is out there, because it is out there.
I can not follow the logic. I tried a couple of times. The only explanation I can give is that you fail to differentiate amoung programs, data and (software based) services.
I like circles.....do you? They are great...they just go round and round.....and round and round.......yes that is right.........so much fun!
OK, open source, let us say moodle.org.........most forum activity here can be located with a google search so nothing really private about that eh. Wide open like a hungry baby's mouth-yes? OK, well how does that lack of privacy not compare with FB, G+ Twitter and others? The principle is exactly the same...and as for others collecting data from the aforementioned then that can happen in the same way too......of course just sticking with moodle.org forum activity. Now I notice the focus shifted from google analytics to a personal rant about google at one juncture.......won't be nitty picky about the culprit who initiated that.....but my responses have basically addressed, in sum-to square things....no more circles.......the issue of privacy and perceived privacy...and I know OS can be more secure.......of course. Finally, as for those theories I mentioned it would not harm if one were to google those for sure, to be very honest I think they hold a lot of transparency about matters.
So: logic=privacy vs perceived privacy....whether big picture of surveillance or the detail pertaining to our attempts at being Citizen Smith (very quietly Visvanath-I hope there is no exam on this-do you?)
> OK, open source, let us say moodle.org....
It is not! Moodle.org is not open source, the downloadable software packages under http://download.moodle.org/ are. Moodle.org is a community site run with a customized version of that software. Neither the exact version nor the theme is public.
> .....most forum activity here can be located with a google search so nothing really private about that eh. Wide open like a hungry baby's mouth-yes? OK, well how does that lack of privacy not compare with FB, G+ Twitter and others? The principle is exactly the same...and as for others collecting data from the aforementioned then that can happen in the same way too.....
Now that is a good question. I wish I knew the answer.
> I like circles.....do you? They are great...they just go round and round.....and round and round.......yes that is right.........so much fun!
Me too. Web forum is the modern day equivalent of the cloister. Well, not a worthy one, a threaded forum is a tree, not a mesh nor a labyrinth.
Well said Sam!
Perhaps we should expand on this page? http://docs.moodle.org/26/en/Increasing_privacy_in_Moodle
Why so called "free" 3rd party web services aren't free. What they can tell about us from our metadata (it's scaaaary!) and how this has got some people into trouble or awkward situations, e.g. the family who discovered that their teenage daughter was pregnant because their targeted advertising suddenly changed or people who've been raided by the police because of doing legitimate online research into terrorism or child pornography related topics (psychology and social studies students beware!).
For the future... we can only speculate based on what's already happened; employers demanding access to social networking data or using 3rd party services that "scrape" and mine data from G+, Facebook, etc. Banks, insurance, and medical insurance companies using services to vet loan, mortgage, and insurance applicants, insurance claims, etc. and basically using algorithms that apply the principle of "guilt by association", e.g. if your "friends" are poor, default on debt, sick, politically active, etc., then you probably are too. In a court of law this would be gross misconduct and inadmissible... but corporations aren't bound by those laws and can do this stuff in secret.
Advice for network sysadmins
Install NoScript and share whitelists (also good for security), cookie managers/munchers, TrackMeNot, etc.
Advice for webmasters and Moodle admins
Secure and private analytics, blocking search engines, etc.
Advice for teachers
Alternatives to 3rd party web services and why we should be using more free and open source software instead, e.g. ownCloud.org is increasingly supporting OpenOffice and LibreOffice doc formats for online editing (alternative to Google Docs and Google Drive).
Advice for learners
Which browser plugins to install, why we should use different browsers for different sites (partitioning/sandboxing). When it's advisable to use anonymising techniques, e.g. TOR. ANd don't put personally identifiable information (PII) online, e.g. email, phone numbers, addresses or parts of addresses, birthdays, etc.
Human rights and privacy advocacy campaigners and organisations
Richard Stallman's website (loads of info about what's bad about Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Skype, Facebook, DRM, etc. and some friendlier, kinder alternatives).
On the Moodle.org Security and privacy forum https://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=7301, predictably seem more concerned with immediate security and "saving their own ass" than the bigger picture and (other people's) problems further down the line.
BTW, there's an increasing trend now for Universities to sub-contract Google services to replace their email and data storage. What participating universities are doing is handing over all their students' data to Google. Imagine if a university said that they were going to sell all their students' emails, records, and documents to Google, in order to make more money, in addition to the tuition fees they're already paying. In effect, this is what they're actually doing. People don't seem to understand this and it's scary.
Why Rob. It looks like you created your profile just to make this post.....you're not a shill or a sock puppet are you? For shame.
mmmmm....... understand Matt. Rob nowt wrong with signing in to stir things up a bit.......bit of debate good for the soul, although I do picture you with a sock on you head!
Matt, essentially when the 'leaders' of G, FB and whatever other product- decided to attend the White House recently, they had a good old moan about privacy laws-in relation to their own products. Now, whether that was to reflect to the world that they indeed do have an ethical and or moral conscience is neither here nor there....what they were there for was one reason, and a fundamental one at that: ANYONE CAN BE TRACKED OVER THE INTERNET! whether you like it or not. Big picture, never mind what the available strategies are for using this search engine or that to avoid someone knowling birthdate or student grades.
tis the way I see it, for sure.
Re: "ANYONE CAN BE TRACKED OVER THE INTERNET!" -- And anyone can be intimidated, disappeared, tortured, and extra-judicially executed. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't have effective measures in place to prevent it.
Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the internet, is proposing them:
The last thing that Google, Facebook, the NSA, et al want is for this issue to be debated and resolved openly and publicly. They'll do everything they can to prevent it, including doing backroom deals and making vague ambiguous PR statements assuring us that, "It was bad before but we've sorted it out and everything's okay now."
e.g. Google announced that they have encrypted their data centre to data centre communications that the NSA were previously monitoring. They don't mention that the NSA has the encryption keys and continue to monitor it.
I think that most of us here are well aware of how are we constantly being tracked; yes, everything we do since we connect gets recorded, analized, compared, shared and what not, but as Matt mentioned, one thing is knowing it and another is making their work easier.
In the end, these privacy and protection measures some of us take, are just about:
1) Personal info. I definitely don't have blueprints for WoMD, inside info that would make the world economy colapse or any other kind of terrorific secret, but I sure wouldn't like to have the idle hacker next door sniffing in my computer and getting access to my personal info.
2) Noise (or long-term thinking). In the big picture I'm just another common, everyday individual that has nothing to hide, but it is in our hands to do whatever we can to support those who are actually doing something, whether we know about them (e.g. Phil Zimmermann, Edward Snowden) or not (First they came...).
well, I disagree that most people know/realise/understand from the minute we connect-outside of moodle.org then, that everything we do gets recorded, analyzed, compared, shared and what not and that is a shame-I don't believe that is common knowledge across the social milieu.
RE: the privacy and protection measures to hand, as outlined to protect personal info, then how does one know for sure those measures are not hacked anyway? How does that information reveal itself? Is it really 100% non breakable code/barrier?
Agree with point 2, but what degree of freedom is there to do that other than point 1, which if hack-able really does soud like a false sense of security. I get the principle in your post, and understand action is important......and well I dont know.....maybe I have been hanging around with too many cynical geeks lately...and wish to question the efiicacy of those protection measures.
I read a post by Tim, somewhere, and he stated...that computer science is not necessarily only about knowing how to write code....it is so important to be able to read it...and I think those with that exceptional ability can pretty much make headway....(yes open source, of course) how those who can act and do act-actually pans out in the future amidst the noise- well we shall see.
Dawn, I'm not sure where you're getting your information from.
Re: "from the minute we connect-outside of moodle.org" -- The question on this thread is, "Why does Moodle.org use Google Analytics?" In other words, you're being tracked by Google on Moodle.org.
Re: "IP masking" -- I'm not sure where you've heard about this. The safest thing to do if you need to hide your location is use a proxy network like TOR and a safer browser like the TOR browser (based on Firefox: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html - You can also run it from a CD so that no malware can be written to it). The NSA et al hate TOR.
You don't appear to have grasped exactly what kind of data Google, mobile operators, and security agencies are collecting and what they can do with it. GCHQ (the UK's NSA) can pull your data out of their database and see everything about where you go, what you do, what you buy, who you meet, who you talk to, and where you're most likely to be and what you'll be doing at 3pm on a Tuesday. They'll know enough about your history to exploit your humanity for their own benefit.
Then there's the corrupt cops and GCHQ workers who "run plates for dates", i.e. they pull out your data so that they can stalk you, looking for opportunities to try to "pick/chat you up." They've read your file so they'll know all the right things to say to you.
This is really creepy stuff and we desperately need some kind of statute of limitations on data, e.g. no personal data can be stored for more than x-months without a clear, specific, necessary purpose (excluding vague terms like "national security" and "just in case").
oh dear, I was wrong! Ooops, sending a breathy Marilyn Monroe.......sorry
The beauty of this world Matt, is there is more than one way to see things, for sure.
I could be wrong, of course.
I have a question for you: Why are you arguing the case against of group of people who are web-masters, sysadmins, web developers, and/or users of web analytics software?
We understand how the internet works, we understand web and system security, we understand FOSS, and we understand our responsibilities under duty of care (tort law), as well as our ethical responsibilities. You have persistently and consistently demonstrated a lack of understanding and basic knowledge of all of the above. What's more, you're starting to argue that empirical facts are a matter of opinion and perspective.
How do you think that this discussion is going to end?
your question: 'Why are you arguing the case against agroup of people who are web-masters, sysadmins, web developers, and/or users of web analytics software?'
what case? I have obviously hit some sort of nerve Matt, without intention, do forgive me. You sound very passionate and almost ready for battle. The language you use is most interesting...you use we 4 times, and continue to tell me how I do not understand or lack knowledge......Matt I understand everything you post.......very easliy, to the point where I skim and scan it! But I do not necessarily agree with the way you put things, in a somewhat often dogmatic way, to be fair. I am not sure you do actually know it all Matt, you see a lot of knowledge development is about application, and I was discussing about code, breaking code and surveillance, google-lots of linkages............in terms of privacy etc and whilst you post many interesting links to what others state or say.....I struggle to read an original idea of yours here....again do forgive me....empiricism often relates to research, I didn't get round to reading any in the thread.
How will the thread end, well probably has already.
About You and We: those terms should be banned from web forums. Very confusing and could lead to acute personality disorder!
I don't count myself to those We who "understand how the Internet works". Given enough time I could understand a chunk of the technical aspects but not the User? No, never!
The users are a part of the Internet, aren't they?
Yes, very confusing... well, I also sure sinned when I expressed, "I think that most of us here..."; we (the human race in general) tend to assume too much, and eventhough that is only natural, as it simplifies things in one level, it actually can creat havoc in other.
“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms”
Re: "I don't count myself to those We who "understand how the Internet works"." -- I do count you in. You know more than enough about web technologies to understand that what Dawn has been arguing are false and the concerns that she has been dismissing are real. I also count the other participants of this discussion in... that is the "we" and "us" I was referring to for expediency's sake. If you like I can refer to everyone here explicitly by name... would that make it OK?
"We" have made an effort to allude to, describe, and illustrate our concerns and cite sources, in some cases. I think "we" have done a reasonably representative job of it and that anyone reading this discussion would be able to gain insights and understandings of the concerns related to using Google's services on Moodle.org. And yet Dawn dismisses them in a disrespectful manner.
There comes a point in discussions such as these to ask, what evidence and reasoning would be sufficient to make an argument convincing to a person? If there's no reasonable answer, it's time to leave.
Ooo look! A squirrel!
One of the ones I can usually see from my window...
Hehe! Guilty as charged... I didn't!
Wow! Excellent picture, great colors!
G, day all.
This has turned out to be a somewhat entertaining thread of sorts, and a long one too! Hard to keep track
Sam-it really does not bode well to interfer with squirrels or their habitat, to be honest
Joseph, what larks! Virtue leagues eh-you are right, but they do not just frequent the forums, nope, have met them, they have superpowers, you know, can fly, shrink and hide...among other stuff.
So when you get undressed at home, for example, and you draw those curtains-do check behind the skirting boards too
Oh dear Lord! Indeed Joseph, good advice
Spanish gets in the way from time to time, hehe!
Here's an example of what happens when blanket surveillance is implemented, i.e. everyone's always under suspicion of committing a crime: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/03/after-seven-years-exactly-one-person-gets-off-the-govt-no-fly-list/
Here's a paper from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on extra-judicial surveillance, (effective) censorship, and persecution that results from such lists and the inherent problems with it: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/watchlist_briefing_paper_v3.pdf
Being politically aware and active can get you put on such lists by officials and bureaucracies that disapprove of your views, with no oversight and no legal recourse. There is no way of finding out if you're on such lists and no way to appeal to be taken off them. As the article shows, you can get put on them by accident or possibly because someone somewhere got an algorithm wrong. Remember the Buttle - Tuttle confusion that set off the chain of unfortunate events in Terry Gilliam's film Brazil? Bureaucracy run amok?
When we're all constantly under surveillance it means we're all constantly under suspicion (Why else would you watch someone so carefully?) and mistakes will happen, so called "false positives" will arise, and people will be unjustly and unfairly persecuted. Bureaucrats, rather than admit fault, will dig into victim's (surveillance) histories or just invent evidence to justify their mistakes to cover their own asses.
We need systems that works for normal, fallible human beings rather than against them. Feeding students' and educators personal and private data to (aggressive, paranoid) security agencies is a recipe for disaster, and from what I understand, the more conscientious people working in security agencies, like the NSA, are concerned that they'll end up spending so much of their limited time and resources on false positives and searching for needles is such a huge haystack, that they won't be able to target real criminals and real threats to national security. They're overwhelmed and need to make the haystack smaller. Bulk data collection and algorithms don't find criminals and threats, agents gathering useful actionable intelligence do.
Poor little "ardillita", she just couldn't take it any more, and everything because she couldn't keep and protect her privacy, because eventhough one can (somehow) limit what becomes public, one certainly cannot stop others publishing one's pictures, etc.
She would definitely be amazed of learning that her picture ended up in a Moodle forum! LOL
Here's an old story that illustrates the problem with Google, and Google's only unique in that it's the biggest and worst perpetrator...
The Psychological Dark Side of Gmail
Google is using its popular Gmail service to build profiles on the hundreds of millions of people who use it.
“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”
“Your digital identity will live forever… because there’s no delete button.” —Eric Schmidt
Principle #1 for anyone using Internet: "... people who used [use] Internet services for communication had [have] 'no legitimate expectation of privacy'".
Indeed, while some of us may actually care less for the alleged profiling being done on our browsing, communications etc... "think kids born today: Their entire lives will be digitally surveilled, recorded, analyzed, stored somewhere and then passed around from company to company. What happens to that information?". Now, that's scary! Just thinking of those legions of teenagers posting in FB and such without any kind of restriction or sense of privacy, utterly unaware of what the future might have in store for them.
Too bad that eventhough Phil Zimmerman had to endure being under criminal investigation for several years, in the end encrypting emails never became a common everyday task. Of course, as the article mentioned, Google would cease to exist if true privacy became the norm.
When I woke up this morning, I thought I was still having a nightmare, triggered by this colourful forum...turns out it was just the scene in the back garden...nothing to worry about.........just pigs with beards.
A bearded pig... now I'll have nightmares after seeing that creature...
Yahoo unveils encryption measures to protect users' data.
Marissa Mayer takes up the starter for ten then. Interesting times.
Encryption's great when it's used correctly. There's nothing to stop the NSA sending a sealed national security letter, demanding Yahoo's encryption keys. They probably already have. If anyone at Yahoo tells us that they have, they can go to jail for a long time.
Currently, there's only one way for IT service providers to stop collecting users' data on behalf of the NSA:
More details and better informed outline of encryption here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy
I can't see Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, et al doing this any time soon.
The founders of Lavabit and Silent Circle say their working on a new kind of email service that not only encrypts the content but also prevents spying on messages' metadata, i.e. who sent it to whom, when, and how. At the moment, it's only possible to encrypt the content of emails: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymmetric_encryption
Microsoft Windows doesn't even include encryption software by default. You have to install it: http://www.gpg4win.org/
Another thing we've learned is not to trust private, closed source encryption. You should generate your own encryption keys using free and open source software, otherwise you don't know if the NSA or someone else has inserted "back doors" or weakened the encryption to make breaking it easier.
Then there's the issue of trust; How do you know if the public encryption key you've been given belongs to who you think it does? There must be a way to verify that a key is genuine and belongs to a person. Here's one possible solution: https://keybase.io/
The people who are doing bad things know how to communicate in secret and protect their identities. Dragnet surveillance makes it more difficult, not easier to find the bad guys. From what the NSA, CIA, GCHQ, MI5, CSEC, etc. are doing, it looks like they're more interested in ordinary citizens' and journalists' political behaviour and activism, effectively shutting down democratic participation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilling_effect ). This is why human rights organisations are making such a fuss... although, if you only read mainstream media, you wouldn't hear much about it.
I was sad to see my lavabit email go down the pan but impressed that the guy that ran lavabit was willing to do that instead of handing over a back door to the NSA.
There was a slashdot discussion yesterday on ad tracking. I'll quote one commentator at length:
"Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out."
With modern marketing software, none of that matters. Tor makes a little trouble for them, but you're still passing enough information to be uniquely identifiable. You have to understand that Tor hides your identity... but it doesn't hide your habits. The marketing people don't care WHO you are, they just need group the data they collect on you into sets. So they assign you an ID and every time you visit a site thats monitored with their software, they log it under that ID. Tor is protecting your identity, but again, your habits reveal that you're the same person that logged in 3hrs ago and looked at that vacuum cleaner ad. Then, they setup some contest or something, get you to fill out a form on a completely unrelated site, and viola your ID is linked to your name and number. The softwares offered to companies as a SASS, and as such, you plug it into your site to collect data... but the vendor has thousands of customers... and so the vendor collects data from all those customers and makes it available to all of those customers. As a result they know far more about you than any individual site does.
I administer some applications that interface with such software and yes, it's horrifically invasive. I think our only saving grace is that this is used for marketing and sales, and they haven't really found a way to monetize the ridiculous amount of detail they have on you. Basically I have access to the data, and have to display it for sales people. But what use is most of that data to the sales folks? It's just too much data to make a lot of sense of. So I rank sites and keywords by time spent viewing them based on products we have. So if you call in and talk to one of our sales people they will know you have a lot of interest in product X and maybe competitors product Y... so they know what to talk up and talk down. I could, if I wanted to, tell the sales guy your political leanings, if you're gay, what medical ailments you might have... but what would the point of that be? It's not really used for anything horrible on our end... and that's party because it's just not all that useful, and also because people like me at the controls of such things have a moral center and refuse to reveal creative ways to use the data to the marketing folks. But the time is coming... There are smart people out there that will figure this stuff out and have no moral objections to it. I think the really invasive stuff out there now is either used by the government and political parties (even scarier) and by companys that are keeping their methods as trade secrets. But eventually the advanced analytics used to make sense of the data will be offered as a SASS just like the collection software is now.
There is no way to stop this that I can think of, and federal laws will simply move the software out of the country. Even with the strictest laws you can think of, all that will happen is the corporate entities in the US will outsource their sales divisions to Asia to avoid the law.
I also found a firefox adon which looks interesting: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/requestpolicy/
Funny, this thread has taken over from What has Snowden taught us.
Oh look, a squirrel!
....and they say Humans are chameleon-like
shake hands all..........
Matt, I think you are a great fisherman-yes? I like fishing too, adds a new meaning to life. You can bait a hook extremely well.
In an attempt to sum up. Moodle.org does use Google analytics.......or Google provides that affordance for Moodle to share analytics...either way.....is it really a massive concern? I find it staggering that there needs to be such a big issue about this, to be honest
oh Matt, you know being new-ish here and all that I thought this was the fun forum
are we not trying to reach 100 posts too...........
About who cares... A nice example to make you think:
You come back home from a visit to the doctor and she told you that you have an embarrasing but rather seldom disease.
She wrote the name of the disease on a piece of paper and gave it to you.
You walk home and decide to tell your secret to nobody.
Now my question: what is the first thing you do when you arrive at home?
definitely think about it. Then create a plan....bordering on Walt White.....mode.
Is that the right answer?
Hi Dawn! *Waving*
Sam, how are the squirrels?
That was cheating... you took all the fun out with that answer!
You should have said, "I Google about it" :p
> I find it staggering that there needs to be such a big issue about this, to be honest
Honesty is always good. But right now the problem is that you don't see an issue. You are faced with this choice: Either you control your verbiage and go through the references given by the contributors, or, be yet another proof of my worst fears expressed here https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=255022#p1117810.
Oh no! That means they're on to us.
I've only just got this.
Well played sir.
Went looking for an image of a robot/cyborg squirrel eating nuts (and bolts?) but instead I found this: http://www.incrediblethings.com/lists/taxidermy-gone-wild/
You gotta admire the creativity in some of these... but yeah, some really creepy ideas too.
This is very funny.........very wrong.......but tis funny........and wrong.
Now then, the last time I downloaded Google Chrome...........had a fantastic malware episode......lasted (what felt like) a lifetime..........no can do GC.
that is that.
^ ^ ^ WARNING ALERT! ^ ^ ^
Dead End Abyss
(re. the "Let me Google that for you" link)
Am I missing something here? Because: "Tor prevents people from learning your location or browsing habits". Unless sites access and save some kind of unique fingerprint from my computer (e.g. MAC address --and even then, this can be changed--, so not only unique but unchanging, too), I don't see how can they ID *me*. Anyway, assuming such thing, and for those who think otherwise, it is not about doing one action or using one product, as that would be like only stop drinking soda in order to lose weight, it is about having and using a tool set as ample as possible.
I sniff the message here is to boycott Google search engine-now I could be wrong. Truth of the matter, for me, is that it is the most efficient in my experience.....fast and cuts to the quick........I dont want to wade through a load of tripe...to get to what I am looking for.
Am yet to find something that compares in a comprehensive manner.
in my opinion.
You could try with Startpage, while it uses the search results from Google, they don't register your IP address nor track your searches (they remove all identifying information from queries).
https://startpage.com/ is the US version of https://www.ixquick.com/ They're pretty ethical but the search results aren't as up to date as other search engines. Still, they're good enough for most things except recent news.
I've found https://duckduckgo.com/ to be pretty good.
The nice thing about search engines that don't track you and filter your results according to the profile of you they've amassed is that you get plain old ordinary results that are relevant to the search terms you put in.
Indeed, those three are among the best. The most important difference, between startpage and ixquick is that the first one uses Google's results, but even so, one gets different (i.e. neutral) results with it.
One thing that TOR project developers emphasise is that users have to change some of their browsing habits too: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en#warning
Regarding the browsing habits, users should be specially aware of the "Don't open documents downloaded through Tor while online" and of the final note, "This list of pitfalls isn't complete".
It's worth noting that TOR is mainly aimed at journalists, human rights and aid workers, and people living/working in oppressive regimes. Governments can and do go to extraordinary lengths to break people's anonymity online, e.g. during the early months of the Arab spring, the Egyptian security agencies circulated malware disguised as a PDF that could identify and locate users. Arrests followed shortly after.
For most people, TOR is overkill (you can't view most media through it without giving up your identity and location) but it's a good idea to have lots of people using it because that makes the haystack bigger and whatever data govts and corporations can get from it less accurate and less useful.
All of Google's apps (Chrome, Picasa, Earth, etc.) install spyware and if you find it and uninstall it (which is difficult to do), it gets reinstalled the next time the software updates itself. The best way is to disable it on startup and set your OS configuration to never allow it to start. However, Google are constantly working on ways to make it more and more difficult to disable/get rid of.
There are circles in this place.......7-could be 9 pathways (cant remember them all), according to Dante.
Yes, the whole privacy and security subject is definitely overkill for most people; it is a complex problem.
I remember the first time I installed Chrome, I just couldn't believe that it actually ran the update every five minutes or so! Yes, most products check for updates once a week or even daily, but almost once every heart beat? While I went to some length trying to disable it, in the end I just realized that the best course of action was to uninstall the whole thing... Hasta la vista, baby!
Yes, for most users, uninstalling Google apps is the easiest option. It should uninstall the spyware too. However, for us Moodlers, we have to test our code, plugins, themes, resources, etc. in all commonly used browsers which includes Chrome, so the disable on startup seems to be the easiest solution I've found so far.
Another option is to use hosts lists. You can add IP addresses and URLs to the hosts file (buried and usually hidden deep in your OS files and requires administrator privileges to edit it) which will then be blocked when apps try to send your data out over your internet connection. If you search around, some people share their hosts lists of recommended sites to block. They can be quite long but it's often more effective than anti-virus and anti-spyware/rootkit clients. Just make sure you keep you hosts list up to date.
we are almost at the hundred mark here..........now we need to get down to proper debate.
Suppose the most awful thing in that Ted vid is that spying can be done through webcam when the user thinks it is off-unpleasant, very 1984-ish. I do, however, have a number of requests for those involved in such activity :
-Please can you remote access/zombie - my laptop and make sure I have IE10 have had probs shifting from IE8
-Clean up my laptop to make it faster
-Send me what you have from remote access, so that I can use those files as my back-up copies.
Yes, that is right...'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer' Machiavelli.
Just 2 more now.....Sqeeeee!
Sam, I would like to share your reality for one day....it sounds fun! We hit the 100 then whoo hoo!