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Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.
It’s well known that many companies track netizens across the web. Such tracking has become an enormous internet industry, resulting in massive amounts of personal data being mined and then sold or used in retargeting. In general, most people have been unconcerned with this tracking, as it has been kept very low key and, thus, out of view from most of society. However, we’ve just discovered something which serves as living proof that our privacy is in serious jeopardy. At least one website has been identified which makes your search traffic publicly available to the internet in its entirety, including Google’s web crawlers.
Even using your browser’s private or incognito mode will not hide your IP. The only way to protect yourself is to be truly private by making your IP address invisible to these tracking sites in the first place. So next time you Google, please, use a VPN.