Google is Tracking where you Click, by Name, but you Can Opt Out

See the article Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking, by Julia Angwin. Apparently, Google no longer takes Internet users’ privacy seriously.

. . . means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.

To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.” You can also delete past activity from your account.

There is an old story about two guys standing in the front room of a house, looking out the window at the street. Suddenly, police cars and SWAT vans race up, their lights flashing, and cops rush out and point guns at the window. Bullets begin to fly, and the glass shatters. One guy drops to the floor and puts his hands over his head. The other guy just stands there and watches. The guy on the floor shouts, “Get down, you idiot!” The one standing up says, “Why? I haven’t done anything wrong.” updated

# Baidu

# UA “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; EasouSpider; +”

# Google
# UA “DoCoMo/2.0 N905i(c100;TB;W24H16) (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +”
# UA “SAMSUNG-SGH-E250/1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 UP.Browser/ (GUI) MMP/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +”

# Gorgor
# UA “hivaBot( and″

# MSN/Bing
# UA “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +”

# Sogou

# Inktomi/Yahoo!

# Yandex
# UA “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; YandexBot/3.0; +”

# Youdao

Do you hate Google (or any brand)?

I recently received an email from a researcher at the University of Glasgow, asking me to complete a survey directed at people who hate a brand. I replied, explaining that I don’t actually “hate” Google, but that the name of this blog is rather tongue in cheek. I offered to publish his email here, in case any of you felt like completing the survey:

Hi Dan,

My name is Laurence and I’m a researcher at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

I’m conducting a project trying to understand why people engage in anti-brand movements and more specifically, why and how it manifests online.

I would be extremely interested in having your opinion and know more about your experience of Google “hater” if you don’t mind sparing a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire I designed?

The survey takes 10 minutes to answer and is quite straightforward. It would be of great help if you could fill it in, and maybe spread it to people you know hate Google as well?

Again, many thanks for your help and dedication to hating Google :) Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this further.


Laurence (redacted)
PhD Researcher
(contact info redacted)

Between Google and Microsoft, Which is More Evil?

Ordinarily, I would admit that it is no contest–Microsoft is more evil than Google. But this web page, Google is more evil than Microsoft ever was, may change my mind. It lists several quotes from Eric Smith, former Google CEO, of which my favorite is:

“We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

The page then goes on to describe Google’s fall from grace, beginning with the ubiquitous “geek love” that nerds around the turn of the millenium showed the behemoth. Of course, Google’s motto, “don’t be evil” is duly mocked. Then the page describes Google’s descent into arrogance and arbitrary and punishing treatment of its users.

So, is Google more evil than Microsoft? Ahem, of course not ;-)

Finished Law School

This month is a huge milestone in my life. I graduated law school.

Over the last three years I have reported some of my grades and rankings here. I ended up in the top 11% of my class (missed the coveted top 10% by one one-hundredth of a grade point), with a cumulative GPA of 3.494. My family and I sacrificed a lot to put me through law school and we are proud of the accomplishment.

This July I will take the Louisiana bar exam and begin my career as an attorney. People often ask me what type of law I will practice. It is difficult to know this at the outset. My first job as a lawyer will be as an associate at Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South, LLP, a law firm in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I was hired as a “commercial litigator.” I worked there these past two summer and winter breaks as a law clerk and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Goodbye and good luck to my friends at LSU Law. I am sure that many of us will meet again in practice, sitting on opposite sides of the courtroom ;-)

Update (Nov., 2014): passed the bar on the first try and have been practicing law for about two years. It’s a great profession and very challenging. I wish I had done this years ago.

Subreddit Dedicated to Outing Google “Censorship”

I admit it–I am an avid redditor… so when upon receipt of an email about a subreddit founded on the idea that Google practices censorship in its search engine results, I immediately investigated. As of today, the subreddit has 155 subscribers. All of the submissions on the “hot” page were by a redditor called skepticofskeptics, who is also the creator of the subreddit. From the sidebar:

Google covertly censors web pages.
You know it’s happening. It is obvious and blatant. Your friends know it is happening.
You can make it stop.
Talk. Organize. Petition your congressman, senator and other lawmakers.
Bring an end to the lies and deception.

I reserve judgment on the question of whether Google actually manipulates its search engine results for political or social reasons. I know for a fact that it does so for financial reasons. I think it would be difficult for even a sophisticated person to distinguish the two. Furthermore, I am not convinced that it would be improper for the company to manipulate or “censor” its search engine results for political reasons. After all, it is not as if the company is a government actor or owes the public a relevant legal duty one way or the other.

TSA Moment — Child in wheelchair is obviously a terrorist

Maybe I should buy the domain “” is available (as of March 18, 2012). I find myself surprised that this is so, considering how most people seem to feel about the TSA. Below, I have embedded an infographic created by an Internet acquaintance which I think accurately portrays how the agency manages to simultaneously squash our civil rights and squander our resources, all while accomplishing virtually nothing.

TSA Waste
Created by: Online Criminal Justice Degree

Pay a dollar — get a great razor

Razor blades are so expensive I practically need to take out a second mortgage to finance my baby-faced, clean-cut, Ritchie Cunningham look. So, when I saw the Dollar Shave Club video, I had to check it out. Basically, pay a dollar a month (plus shipping), and they send you razor blades. If you want fancier blades, you can get them for $6 or $9 per month, and in those cases, the shipping is included. The video is entertaining.

The company gives away free months of service to those who send new customers their way. So, in an effort to subsidize my need to remove unruly facial hair, I have prominently displayed this link:

Dollar Shave Club

Please feel free to click it at your leisure.

Law Review Article Published

Attention all law nerds:

I recently had the honor of having my law review article published in volume 72 of the Louisiana Law Review. Here is a link to an online version of the article:

An Uncertain Prescription–Medical Malpractice Actions in Lousiana