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Author Topic: DONE: perform random URL queries (Random Submitter)  (Read 40358 times)
Scott
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2006, 03:53:29 PM »

 
I love feeling vindicated!

http://news.google.com/ne...20%22justice%20department
 
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mouser
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2006, 04:07:43 PM »

i was just thinking that myself.
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Scott
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2006, 01:06:32 PM »

Some people have said that since the DOJ hasn't requested IP addresses, there is no privacy issue.

First of all, maybe they will follow up and request IP addresses.

Secondly, even if they don't, it is a privacy issue.  If the DOJ issued a subpoena for pages from the diaries and journals or millions of Americans, or the text of email messages*, wouldn't that have privacy implications, even without names being associated with it?  (This is a rhetorical question, to which the answer is YES!)

* I realize that they are already actively engaged in the illegal, warrantless reading of email messages; no need to point it out.
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Scott
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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2006, 01:12:07 AM »

 
 
I wonder if they have caught on to the fact that all the Random Submitter stuff comes in using the acHTTP component (AppControls.com) user agent...  They could just toss it all out I guess.
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mouser
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« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2006, 01:26:54 AM »

i can add an option to let you customize that if you like, to mimic ie or firefox, etc.
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Scott
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2006, 02:16:52 AM »

 
That would be awesome.  I didn't want to ask.  I'm thinking that just a plain text box (so you could enter whatever agent string you like) would be best.
 
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mouser
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2006, 02:42:47 AM »

hehe - looking up at those screenshots it seems i already added such a function..
try filling in the referrer field. does it work?
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Scott
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2006, 07:25:04 AM »

 
That's referrer, not user agent...
« Last Edit: January 23, 2006, 07:27:29 AM by Scott » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2006, 07:28:13 AM »

ah yes... brain getting foggy without my usual caffeine.
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mouser
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« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2006, 07:43:20 AM »

new version with user agent field:

http://www.donationcoder....itter/RandomSubmitter.zip

let me know if it works ok.
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Scott
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« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2006, 08:07:17 AM »

 
Seems to work fine.  Thank you!  File size is much smaller, too, not that it matters.
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Scott
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« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2006, 05:36:32 PM »

BTW, have I mentioned lately that you're awesome?  smiley

Sorry I haven't donated lately.  I'm still poor hard up, ya see...
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mouser
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« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2006, 12:26:08 PM »

on a related topic:

Quote
There's a bunch of work that computer scientists and cryptographers are doing in an area called "Private Information Retrieval" that tries to find ways of asking search queries in a way that you get the answer you want, but the database doesn't know what you asked for.


http://www.dbis.informati...berlin.de/index.php?id=90
http://www.cs.umd.edu/~gasarch/pir/pir.html

[link from boingboing]
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redmaledeer
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2006, 11:47:38 AM »

   
Has anyone noticed the following alternate way of getting around Google's data collection?:
   
http://www.scroogle.org/
   
http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm
   
   
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Scott
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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2006, 12:31:46 PM »

I'd long known about google-watch.org, but scroogle.org is new to me.

I still don't see why I should trust them over anyone else.  Who is to say if or how long they really store searches, or if they'll be subpoenaed with everyone else?

I'll think I'll just continue to heavily pollute my Google searches with RandomSubmitter.
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« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2006, 12:57:22 PM »

     
I still don't see why I should trust them over anyone else.  Who is to say if or how long they really store searches, or if they'll be subpoenaed with everyone else?
Well,  they rant and rave like true enemies of the establishment,  which in fact Brandt has been for a long time.
   
   
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Scott
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« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2006, 12:59:00 PM »

I can certainly identify with and respect that.  We pissants need all the anti-establishment types we can get.  Thanks for sharing the info.
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redmaledeer
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« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2006, 11:37:20 PM »

   
Thinking again about my Reply #38,  isn't the Scroogle Scraper program just a special-purpose anonymizer (for Google only),  and couldn't one get the same privacy effect by using one of the many general-purpose anonymizers?
     
I mean there are a number of programs out there which are basically proxies.   You pass them the URL you want to see and they retrieve that web page for you.   The web page you are interested in sees only the proxy,  not you,  and any data passed to the web page is data pertaining to the proxy,  not to you.
   
Of course,  using a general-purpose proxy might be more cumbersome than needed if you only wanted to shield yourself from Google.   On the other hand,  many of them have been around for a while,  and you could pick one which you trust.
     
Two major ones that are done as public services are JAP (http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de) and Tor (http://tor.eff.org).   I have heard a story that the German government has required JAP to put a trap door into its program,  so that identities can really be revealed.
   
On the commercial side there is Anonymizer (http://www.anonymizer.com),  an early entry in the field.   Many of the commercial ones,  including Anonymizer,  allow limited free use.
     
I hope this isn't too far off topic,  but such programs seemingly could be aimed toward the same goal as the Random Submitter.
   
   

   
                                                   
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Scott
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2006, 03:18:33 AM »

I use forwarding proxies occasionally (usually with Ad Muncher), but not for Google.  They're always annoyingly slow.  Some use "forwarded-for" headers, which reveal the source IP (i.e. yours) to the end server anyway.  Even without that, everything you do gets logged by the proxy, so it's the same thing as contacting the web server directly, just one step removed.

But, it's an idea that may have merit.  I'm just more comfortable hiding my searches in the open.

---------

I'm editing, not replying, so as not to bump the thread.

Does anyone want to goof on me NOW for requesting and/or using Random Submitter?

http://www.pcworld.com/ar...126663-c,aol/article.html

Quote
AOL has apparently released details of Internet searches performed over a period of three months by hundreds of thousands of its subscribers, raising privacy concerns.

The cached copy of the page said the data comprised about 19 million Web searches performed by 658,000 users from March through May.

The release of such information poses serious privacy concerns. Major search engine companies fought a request for similar data on user searches last year by the U.S. Department of Justice.

http://www.wired.com/news...cs/privacy/0,71579-0.html

Quote
AOL has apologized and taken down the data, but it is now widely available on the internet and some have set up search engines that query the records.

So far AOL has not contacted AOL users to let them know if they were one of the users affected.

AOL says it anonymized the data by replacing the AOL user ID with a randomized number. Is it possible for someone to figure out who I am just from my searches?

Possibly. Reporters for The New York Times tracked down a Georgia woman based solely on a review of the AOL logs. Wired News was also able to determine the identity of one 14-year-old from his queries and knows of one woman who was identified by an outside party and notified she had sensitive financial data revealed by the logs.

I've been polluting the absolute hell out of my searches for months.  Have you?
« Last Edit: August 11, 2006, 09:20:34 PM by Scott » Logged

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kimmchii
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« Reply #44 on: August 13, 2006, 02:08:46 AM »

more people need to run this tool.
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mouser
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« Reply #45 on: August 21, 2006, 01:38:56 PM »

it looks like Scott was ahead of his time, today I saw this:
http://mrl.nyu.edu/~dhowe/TrackMeNot/

Quote
TrackMeNot runs in Firefox as a low-priority background process that periodically issues randomized search-queries to popular search engines, e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. It hides users' actual search trails in a cloud of indistinguishable 'ghost' queries, making it difficult, if not impossible, to aggregate such data into accurate or identifying user profiles. TrackMeNot integrates into the Firefox 'Tools' menu and includes a variety of user-configurable options.


« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 01:42:20 PM by mouser » Logged
Scott
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« Reply #46 on: August 21, 2006, 02:40:01 PM »

Paranoia goes one step closer to mainstream!  Oh, wait, it did that a few years ago...  Never mind.

This extension doesn't work nearly as well as Random Submitter does.  For one thing, it seems to only be able to submit two-word queries.  It also has--and this strikes me as insane--a word pool that includes strings like "letterbombs", "bombs", "mailbombing", and so on.  To me, polluting your search queries is one thing, but including search terms like that is just begging to make eyebrows go up.  This is especially true if some other strings in the word pool happen to be something like "embassy", "president", or something of the sort.  I don't think you want to be searching for something like "bombs embassy" or "letterbomb president" 400 times a day.  But that's just me.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2006, 05:30:44 PM by Scott » Logged

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lanux128
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« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2006, 11:11:23 PM »

i was reading this when i realized that mouser had already made such a pre-emptive tool for Scott... wow, both of you must be some kind of visionaries.. Wink

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mouser
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« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2006, 10:57:15 PM »

this got a big laugh on the satirical "Colbert Report" tv show tonight, in the middle of a fake news report about the leaking of the search data.  his advice which got a real laugh:

"for every real search, do a fake search."
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mouser
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« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2006, 09:54:16 AM »

Bruce Schneier (very respected security/crypto guy) on why this basic idea is flawed:
http://www.schneier.com/b...2006/08/trackmenot_1.html
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