Google Forced User Tracking through JavaScript and the “fp=” query string

We recently wrote an article about Google Spyware and are following up.

In the Google Spyware article we discussed Mozilla Firefox “phoning home” to their rich benefactor, Google. While Google does not call the practice “phoning home”, Google defends the practice as a way to “help” the user.

For some time now (and probably more for “fun” than anything else), we decided to block the Google cookie from our hard drives. The Google Spyware article provided a brief overview on how we achieved this. However without getting into a deep technical discussion, suffice it to say that Google engineers have now created some fancy “JavaScript” code to continue tracking users as they enter queries on the Google search engine.

Google will not stop in their quest to gobble up as much user data as possible. End users are not afforded the opportunity to opt-out of Google’s practice. And Google morphs as quickly as a teenage hacker intent on installing Spyware on your computer.

Pretty strong words, we know…

Officially, “spyware” is a practice that only unsophisticated, off-shore hackers engage in. Right?

Based on today’s logic and Google’s market position as a powerful near-monopolist, Google would never be found guilty of massive privacy abuse.

Still doubtful?

Why else would Google use the “fp=” query string to track Google search words and phrases?

The queries to the Google search engine look something like this:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=I+am+leaving+google+for+yahoo&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=I+am+leaving+google+for+yahoo&fp=DFJE123oQdf

The funny characters after the “fp=” are unique to each Google search engine user. So everytime the user enters a keyword or phrase into the Google search engine, Google’s javascript appends a unique identifier for later data harvesting at the Googleplex.

Google uses this technique for tracking users who do not want be “cookied” and are ultimately trying to remain anonymous.

Here is something to ponder:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=privacy+respected&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8

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