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#43727 - 02/23/17 07:48 AM Private window does not hide identity?
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
I've been reading that private window still does not prevent sites from knowing it's your computer or phone making the search. Is this true? Thanks

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#43728 - 02/23/17 09:13 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
There may be some alternative facts that keep your computer hidden wink But here is what happens with private browsing in Safari:
While utilizing Private Browsing, cookies and other files are not saved on your hard drive. Your entire browsing and search history are automatically wiped out.
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

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#43729 - 02/23/17 09:45 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: Ira L]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Yes Ira, but I've been hearing that your browser leaves a digital fingerprint? They can still knows it's your computer again?

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#43731 - 02/23/17 02:34 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
If you are that concerned about privacy your best bet is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). There are around 100 different ones available through the App Store for either iOS or MacOS. Some are free, but generally you get what you pay for.

This Wikipedia Article explains how they work.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#43733 - 02/23/17 07:15 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Joe maybe I'm PM you to describe the goal if needed,(offline) but in short, can I just ask your opinion on this specific question:

If I'm in private browser mode, firefox, safari, or Chrome, and I search in Google soemthing, and I do this at various locations, with different IPs, will Google (as an example with their vast echnology), recognize it's the same laptop, or ihpone doing the searches even though I'm in private mode and different ips?? I understand that private mode deletes the cache, but others say now they still may know its the same computer because of a "digital fingerprint"

https://thehackernews.com/2017/02/cross-browser-tracking.html

or is this BS?

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#43736 - 02/24/17 08:36 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
The "private" in private browsing is more to keep others who might use your browser or computer from knowing where you have been. As the earlier post stated, cookies, history, etc. are deleted. Nothing seems to be saved to the computer.

This is completely different from a web site recognizing you while you are browsing. It does not seem to be that type of "private". In fact, even with private browsing, you may want a cookie to exist during your browsing session. It just won't be there when you leave private browsing.
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

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#43738 - 02/24/17 08:46 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: Ira L]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Ira/ Joe, let me aks it this way:

Can I search something in Google, and Google only, it's a Google project experiment, and maybe use a VPN, which I've never done before, move to different locations/ different IP, and they would not know the search is from my computer? Is this possible? And you are definitive that private browser would not achieve that even though it clears cache cookies....

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#43740 - 02/24/17 09:15 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Set it up with DuckDuckGo, which allows you to use whatever search engine (eg, Google) you like without leaving "tracks".
But it does take a bit longer to search because of the circuitous route.

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#43741 - 02/24/17 09:31 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Tacit may have something to offer on this but from the article you cited it appears that at this time there is no way of hiding your digital signature from this technique as It is based upon detectable/harvestable hardware and software information. That does not identify you specifically, it identifies your computer. So anyone using your computer is you. This appears to have nothing to do with cookies or cache files which means Private Browsing would be ineffectual.

A VPN provides a reasonably secure encrypted data path between you and the VPN server. Any site you access through the VPN server will see the VPN server and not you. I don't know enough about this technique to speculate on how completely this would hide you. I venture it would hide you at least to some degree.

In the meantime, given the amount of money involved, I am willing to speculate that...
  • This technology will spread rapidly and will be significant enhanced
  • Other developers will be spending a lot of time and effort developing ways to block this kind of data gathering
  • Some congressman or senator will introduce legislation to make it illegal to block that type of data gathering and someone from the other party will introduce legislation making that type of data gathering illegal. Neither will make it out of committee because it will be too hot a political issue
  • Some sites will attempt to deny access if they cannot capture this data from your computer and others will offer not to gather the data if you pay a "subscription fee" (in the latter case you end up giving them the information they want and pay for the privelege)
  • All of the above
  • Some of the above
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joemikeb • moderator

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#43743 - 02/24/17 11:49 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Grebler: Would Google perceive Duck as a proxy? If so then it's no good, as they don't count proxies, or see a proxy as a real user. For this project, my computer has to look like a unique new user.

Thanks Joe: Same question as to VPN: Does Google perceive a VPN as proxy? If so then it's no good, as they don't count proxies, or see a proxy as a real user.

Also can one use, if works, VPN on iphone or only laptop?

Your conjecture / points good. you are saying that this digital fingerprinting may eventually be outlawed?

If Tacit is out there, please pine in!

But for all intents purposes Joe, If I search something on Google, from a new isp, coffeehouse, even with private browser, on iphone/ laptop, and then another isp, at new cafe, in private, cache cleared/ cookies cleared/ Private, yet Google knows it me still? My iphone/ laptop again? Crazy.

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#43744 - 02/24/17 12:46 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Is the nature of your project such that you can go to various Internet cafes, do whatever you want to do on their computers, and email the results to yourself?

Originally Posted By: kevs
...you are saying that this digital fingerprinting may eventually be outlawed?

He suggested that it's a possibility, as is its being classified as legal and disabling it being outlawed.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#43746 - 02/24/17 01:09 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
Thanks Joe: Same question as to VPN: Does Google perceive a VPN as proxy? If so then it's no good, as they don't count proxies, or see a proxy as a real user.
I can't answer that one, but it would be worth trying.
Originally Posted By: kevs
Also can one use, if works, VPN on iphone or only laptop?
Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or SmartPhone all can use VPN provided the VPN provider has a client for each of the platforms. There are many that cover both MacOS and iOS on the App Store.
Originally Posted By: kevs
Your conjecture / points good. you are saying that this digital fingerprinting may eventually be outlawed?
Given the attitude of current White House, House of Representatives, and Senate toward enriching business interests at the expense of the public and their aversion to anyone's privacy but their own the odds of that happening are somewhere between razor thin and none. That doesn't mean legislation against it won't be introduced — it might, but it will never get out of committee.
Originally Posted By: kevs
But for all intents purposes Joe, If I search something on Google, from a new isp, coffeehouse, even with private browser, on iphone/ laptop, and then another isp, at new cafe, in private, cache cleared/ cookies cleared/ Private, yet Google knows it me still? My iphone/ laptop again? Crazy.
Have you deleted all the cookies in all your browsers? Google has its tentacles in lots of cookies that do not bear its name. Try deleting all cookies, flushing all caches, and set Safari Preferences > Privacy to
  • Always block Cookies and website data
  • Deny without prompting Website use of location data
  • Avoid e-commerce and financial websites
That will of course make the use of many web sites problematic at best and most e-commece sties unusable. Even with that Google has some very sophisticated algorithms that can make some surprisingly reliable guess about you from minuscule amounts of information.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#43747 - 02/24/17 01:18 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, I have to know if they see VPN as a proxy, before investing time/ money into that... there is no test for it, someone has to know and tell me.

Maybe just email VPN companies?

For laptop, I see the other 2 , but where is, Avoid e-commerce and financial websites?

For iphone, Safari: block cookies, and at bottom clear history and website data. Once all that is done and I oprn a private window, at a new isp/ cafe, do you think with digital fingerprinting, I'm a new user to Google then?

BTW if anyone knows how to clear all that stuff with Chrome and Firefox for laptop and iphone please post. thanks!


Edited by kevs (02/24/17 01:19 PM)

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#43748 - 02/24/17 02:54 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
but where is, Avoid e-commerce and financial websites?
A large percentage of e-commerce, and in the final analysis financial sites are e-commerce, use and contribute data to Google analytics even to the extent of embedding Google analytics into their cookies/ Those cookies in turn are essential to the functioning of most shopping carts, and cannot work if their cookies are blocked. E-commerce pays Google's bills.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#43749 - 02/24/17 02:57 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Originally Posted By: kevs
but where is, Avoid e-commerce and financial websites?
A large percentage of e-commerce, and in the final analysis financial sites are e-commerce, use and contribute data to Google analytics even to the extent of embedding Google analytics into their cookies/ Those cookies in turn are essential to the functioning of most shopping carts, and cannot work if their cookies are blocked. E-commerce pays Google's bills.

Your post had "Avoid...." bulleted, and made it look like a setting.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#43750 - 02/24/17 03:46 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: kevs
Thanks Grebler: Would Google perceive Duck as a proxy? If so then it's no good, as they don't count proxies, or see a proxy as a real user. For this project, my computer has to look like a unique new user.

Here are a couple of articles which may help you in your quest:

How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet

The paranoid computer user's guide to privacy, security and encryption

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#43751 - 02/24/17 04:14 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: grelber]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
thanks G is duckduckgo.com considered a proxy by google? Can what Joe outlined to do with Safari compare to Duckgo?

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#43753 - 02/25/17 01:10 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: kevs
thanks G is duckduckgo.com considered a proxy by google? Can what Joe outlined to do with Safari compare to Duckgo?

I can't answer either question. Those more familiar with the inner machinations will have to chime in.

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#43763 - 02/26/17 05:17 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: grelber]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Question: is it possible to have 2 versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome on your desktop/ laptop? One for normal searching, and one unmodified for more private searching?

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#43765 - 02/26/17 06:11 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Yes as long as…
  • you install a copy of the browser in the /Users/username/Applications folder on separate user accounts and
  • Remove all internet plug-ins from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins and install a custom set in /Users/username/Library/ Internet Plug-ins in each account
  • Then login to the different accounts to use the different copies of the browser.
If your browser is Safari or one of the third party bowsers, email clients, etc. that use Apple's webkit they may still be using the webkit that is embedded in OS X. You could get around that by using multiple drives each with a unique installation (not a clone) and booting from the "private" drive(s) when wish a high degree of hiding your browsing.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#43766 - 02/26/17 06:31 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
But even if you go to all that trouble, neither your ISP address nor the tell-tale signs that it's "your" computer are hidden or even disguised, correct?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#43767 - 02/26/17 06:37 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, turns out 'may" not need to. I've been testing 2 browsers that are brand new on my laptop with Panopticlick, and they test as "nearly unique fingerprint". The have no records of any thing, so I don't think I'll get a better score than that.

That is as good as I think one can get.

Then I tweaked a few settings and even Safari, Firefox, Chrome achieved "nearly unique" too.


Artie, yes, I can move to new internet cafe of friends, libraries etc for a new IP, and use private window-- but as others have pointed out, Google and many will use this digital fingerprint now.
Though on iphone chrome still says unique, not nearly unique.

Do you know this site? Seems to be the best tester of this stuff. Can one get better than "nearly unique"?

As far as installing -- a copy of the browser in the /Users/username/Applications folder on separate user accounts --

Sounds a bit hairy, but I could try...



Edited by kevs (02/26/17 06:38 PM)

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#43770 - 02/26/17 07:05 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: kevs
Artie, yes, I can move to new internet cafe of friends, libraries etc for a new IP, and use private window-- but as others have pointed out, Google and many will use this digital fingerprint now.

You misread, kevs; my suggestion was that you move from cafe to cafe and use their computers, NOT your own. (I know I posted that suggestion, but I can't find it now; anybody know where it is?)

I had never heard of Panopticlick, so I checked it out, and my browser, like yours, "has a nearly-unique footprint"; I wonder what that means to Google, et al?

joemike's installation instructions aren't complicated, kevs, with the only hitch being that you may not have the designated applications folders in /Users/yourshortusername. In that case, simply create one (command-shift-N) and it will even take on an "Applications" icon. (Note that any folder he mentioned that you haven't got in the location he designated can be created in the same manner.)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#43771 - 02/26/17 08:18 PM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: artie505]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Artie, cafe's don't provide a computer for you, so that wont work.

As I was saying, I downloaded two new browsers opera and vivaldi, and tweaked the settings to be a private as possible, and still they fared no better than, "nearly unique".

I think I found that out between posting and Joe's response.

If you have the energy to download a clean copy of Safari/ Chrome/ Firefox and see if you do better than "nearly unique", I'd love to know!

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#43772 - 02/27/17 01:01 AM Re: Private window does not hide identity? [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: kevs
Thanks Artie, cafe's don't provide a computer for you, so that wont work.

As I was saying, I downloaded two new browsers opera and vivaldi, and tweaked the settings to be a private as possible, and still they fared no better than, "nearly unique".

Am I that far out of the loop?

Aren't there still places where you can walk in and rent a computer by the hour, and don't libraries have computers for those in need any more?

Have cell phones done that much damage?

Maybe you're going in the wrong direction, kevs. Have you tried testing your browsers with NO (-0-) protection which would put them more in the range of "the common man"?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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