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#23763 - 10/13/12 02:09 PM Question about Google search
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
Has anyone noticed that now when you do a Google search it comes up as an https: ?

Edit: Detached from Internet privacy bonanza? moved and renamed to allow for specific attention to the Google search question.


Edited by dianne (10/13/12 03:06 PM)

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#23764 - 10/13/12 03:13 PM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
dianne Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
slolerner,

What web browser are you using?
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#23765 - 10/13/12 04:47 PM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Google is moving to encrypted connections for everything. They've been rolling it out bit by bit for a while now, in fact.
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#23768 - 10/14/12 08:05 AM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
To expand a bit on tacit's reply, to take advantage of the automatic encrypted search option you have to be logged in to Google.com through a secure connection. If you're not, you still can do secure searches (and protect outgoing clicks) by using https://www.google.com or https://encrypted.google.com. See SSL Search for more details. Note that clicking on unsecure links (those NOT showing the s in https) in search results will direct you to sites which have the same access to your information as they already have now.
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#23769 - 10/14/12 08:29 AM Re: Question about Google search [Re: alternaut]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
I don't really understand why the Google searches are 'secure' now? What are they 'secure' from?

I'm not logged into Google.

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#23771 - 10/14/12 09:11 AM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Encrypted searches are (more) secure from 3rd party snoopers. Web sites you visit, but also intermediaries like internet cafés and ISPs can see and read the traffic to and from your computer. If that traffic is encrypted, that eavesdropping capability won't do them much good. A big issue with this (although there are several) is the fact that web sites you visit collect information from your computer and web browser that allows them to recognize you on repeat visits and check on your previous activity to tailor what they're going to show you on their web pages you navigate to. They can do the latter, because the content of any web site can be (and often is) determined on the fly.

This 'tailoring' can be helpful to you as user, because web sites can serve you info of known interest to you, and omit that which you haven't shown to be interested in on previous visits. But it also affects your privacy, because the information that your web browsing 'leaks' all over the internet can and will be aggregated in comprehensive personal dossiers, which are increasingly traded among interested parties in the industry. Combine that with credit reports etc., and you'd be surprised what's known about you. Now imagine that these repositories are hacked by malfeasants, assuming for a moment that they cannot buy them outright (a questionable proposition to say the least), and you could be forgiven for thinking you might as well throw the keys to your life out on the street...

To return to Google's search encryption, that was started in part to thwart internet criminals from stealing your info and using that to get even more on you by making it easier to track you on the Internet in ways similar to what 'regular' web sites do. Alternatively, they're after info that can be used to fool you into releasing it yourself (phishing), like passwords etc. that would allow them to pilfer or otherwise mess with your accounts. Encrypting search terms and search results is by no means full proof, but it's a big step in improving user privacy and security.
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#23775 - 10/15/12 09:23 AM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: slolerner
I don't really understand why the Google searches are 'secure' now? What are they 'secure' from?

I'm not logged into Google.


Try doing a google search for any "politically sensitive" topic in china. China iirc is now blocking google entirely, so they can do full-scale censorship with their baida or whatever they call it, the national search engine.

But for countries that aren't blocking google, you may not want to be using it unencrypted to do searches for things that your local dictator/president4life doesn't want you to know about. Cisco and others are making all sorts of deep packet inspectors, and are all too happy to wholesale them to retailers that make a killing selling this restricted tech under the table to repressive governments.

So when just doing a search for things like "what really happened in neighboringcity?" gets you drug off to the local station for questioning, ya... I'd want to use https too. Problem is, if it's not the default, they could get more serious with me for no reason other than I'm using https for my searches. ("what are you hiding?") Google is just going to move to make it mandatory now, so the enforcers don't use your voluntary use of https search as an excuse to put you under the microscope. It's a great move to protect random people all over the world really.
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#23780 - 10/15/12 12:43 PM Re: Question about Google search [Re: Virtual1]
slolerner Offline


Registered: 08/25/09
Loc: New York City
A paranoid person MIGHT say, "Do you really think that Google doesn't keep a record of your searches and make them available to ANY government under ANY excuse, National Security or Law Enforcement, as you gave an example?"

Also, I thought as far as following my shopping trends, I have found that even though I empty my Flash cookies, cookies and cache, I still have things pop-up that I have looked at awhile back. Sites themselves are now keeping searches too. Home Depot. Ebay. As does YouTube. And there is still this annoying thing in my library called "metadata" that has links to every website I have ever been to, despite how many times I dump it.

Let's face it, paranoia is the new normal, or as Mayor Adam West says when he peers down the sink drain, "Someone's stealing my water."

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#23807 - 10/17/12 02:55 PM Re: Question about Google search [Re: slolerner]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: slolerner
A paranoid person MIGHT say, "Do you really think that Google doesn't keep a record of your searches and make them available to ANY government under ANY excuse, National Security or Law Enforcement, as you gave an example?"


First off I'd rather google be the only one to get it "first". At least at that point it requires some effort on the part of OppressiveGovernment to get the information. And they usually have to have specific criteria to narrow the return - ip addresses etc. Not just a blanket "information on anyone anywhere that searched for XsquareMassacre" like they can when they bottleneck their country's traffic through a DPI gateway.

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