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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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05.05.2011

Google Ads Preferences Manager issue confirmed by NAI

I’ve now had confirmation from the Network Advertising Initiative that Google has, indeed, been dodgy about its Ads Preferences Manager.

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We were able to reproduce the issues you saw and have been working with Google for the last week to address them. I am happy to report that as of this morning the identified bugs have been corrected.

   It has taken a few weeks for the NAI to respond, and for me to send them my proof (screen shots), but we’ve managed to keep Google honest.
   What surprises me is that sixty-plus members of the NAI have had no problem, but Google apparently lacked the expertise to make an opt-out cookie that keeps a user opted out.
   I can’t really believe that, because, as I wrote in an earlier post, I reckon this has been going on for years, and that Google has always known about it. I am no expert, but my gut says it takes a greater effort to make opt-out cookies that pretend to expire in 2030 but don’t.
   Unless we are to believe that Google is very weak on privacy—given the dĂ©bĂącle over Buzz in February 2010, it probably is.
   As with Firefox and all the other bugs I’ve found on the internet, it’s just nice to be believed. My thanks to the NAI for investigating and dealing with this issue.
   As it is supposedly fixed, pop by to your Google Ads Preferences Manager one last time. If you’re opted back in again, this might be the last time you need to opt out. Though I will keep an eye on mine—I still don’t trust those buggers. Thank goodness I don’t.

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Filed under: business, culture, internet, media, publishing, technology, USA—Jack Yan @ 00.38

18 Responses to ‘Google Ads Preferences Manager issue confirmed by NAI’

  1. […]  Since YouTube is owned by Google, I really should have expected more bugs, and, possibly, some more privacy infringements. Filed under: internet, USA—Jack Yan @ 10.01 Comments […]

  2. […] the history in YouTube turned on as well as targeted advertising, which I had clearly opted out of (and made a big hoo-ha about it at the time because of Google’s deceptive conduct—it show…). And, naturally, when you visit the YouTube privacy page, you get a 404—which shows how much […]

  3. […]  You’d think Google, after being busted on its unethical use of cookies last year, would be more careful when it came to its other properties. I know, it’s better for Google […]

  4. […] of a lot of arguing and the intervention of Blogger’s product manager. We’ve uncovered privacy blunders with its advertising network on behalf of netizens. Their detection systems should be better, and people expect them to be […]

  5. […] It’s day six on the Google blacklist for Lucire. And no, we still don’t know what they are talking about. StopBadware doesn’t know what they are talking about. Our web guys and all our team in different parts of the world don’t know what they are talking about.    Today, I decided to venture to the Google forums. Google forums are generally not a good place to go to, based on my experience with Blogger, but I came across a really helpful guy called Joe (a.k.a. Redleg x3), a level 12 participant, who has gone some way to redeeming them.    I told Joe the same story. He begins writing, ‘First I think you really need an explanation from Google, I can see why your site was flagged originally but do not understand why Google did not clear it today.’    Exactly. But what was fascinating was that when he checked through a private version of aw-snap.info, which helps you see what malware spiders see, he found the old Google Adsense code the hackers injected.    This very code has been absent from our servers since Saturday, otherwise we would never have received the all-clear from StopBadware.org. We also don’t use a caching service any more (we used to use Cloudflare). But, if Google saw what Joe did, then it means Google’s own bot can’t load fresh files. It loads cached ones, which means it keeps red-flagging stuff that isn’t there.    If you read between the lines of what Joe wrote, then it’s clear that Google relies on out-of-date data for its malware bot. He checked the infected site and the file that caused all the problems has gone. And we know the hacks are gone from our system. It’s totally in line with what we were told by Anirban Banerjee of Stopthehacker.com on the errors that Google makes, too. I can only conclude that it’s acceptable for Google to publish libel about your site while relying on outdated information—information that it gathered for a few hours six days ago, which has no relevance today.    We still don’t know if things are sorted yet. We know this has been a devilishly frustrating experience, and damaging to our reputation and our finances. Yet we also know Google will just shrug its shoulders and do a Bart Simpson: ‘I didn’t do it.’ It’ll get blamed on the computer, which is terribly convenient. It’ll also blame covering up my Google Plus status criticizing them on the computer.    It looks like we are not alone. I’ve been reading of The New York Times and The Guardian getting red-flagged. Google even decided to blacklist YouTube at one point this year (given where I think the hackers’ code comes from, I am not surprised a Google property is malicious). The difference is that the big guys are more noticeable, so Google whitelists them more quickly. Our situation actually mirrored what happened at ZDNet, except they got cleared within hours (even though we fixed our problem within hours). The little guy, the honest business person, the legitimate blogger, the independent online store-owner—we’re in for a much harsher ride.    With Google supplying its corrupted data to other security programs like Eset as well as browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, then putting all your eggs in one basket is terribly dangerous, as we have seen. More so if that organization has no real oversight and your complaints are silenced. And as we have seen, Google will go to great lengths to preserve its advantages in the online advert… […]

  6. […] Day six of the Google boycott: if The New York Times isn’t safe from blacklisting, then how can we be? « Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog on Google Ads Preferences Manager issue confirmed by NAI […]

  7. […] to be clean—even when it isn’t. Then it can try to dominate.    We already know it spied on users who opted out of advertising preferences, until it was busted by yours truly, and there was the spying on Iphone users last year that I […]

  8. […] breaches, too. Two years ago, I uncovered how Google’s lied about its opt-out procedure: Google may well have tracked people, who believe they had opted out from its Ads Preferences Manager…. More recently, it was busted, by the Murdoch Press, for tracking people using Apple’s Safari […]

  9. […] be pretty potent. As we also saw, it didn’t matter if you had asked Google not to track you, either through its own Ads Preferences Manager or through an Iphone setting, Google would hack you to get these data—at least till it gets […]

  10. […] what the firm said and what the firm did: everything from the outright lies over years of the Ads Preferences Manager (a system that has since been replaced) to the blacklisting system (where, it was discovered, only […]

  11. […] word of a human being, because computers are perfect. We know this from Google, because Google is honest and perfect.    This will ensure greater stress, because remember, stress shared is […]

  12. […] All in the quest to get data on you, without you knowing.    Last time that happened, Google had to change its practices regarding its Ads Preferences Manager, a system where it claimed you could opt out, where it then inserted an opt-out cookie, but, when […]

  13. […] settings turned on. They continue doing this till the Murdoch Press writes an article about it or they get reported to an industry association.    â€ą Doubleclick targeted advertising appears in the car’s central LCD screen. […]

  14. […] use that information, is anyone’s guess. It makes you wonder why that data collection continues. At least Google (now) stops tracking advertising pref­erences when you ask it to.    These surveys indicate that consumers are wising up, and it opens both Google and […]

  15. […] use that information, is anyone’s guess. It makes you wonder why that data collection continues. At least Google (now) stops tracking advertising pref­erences when you ask it to.    These surveys indicate that consumers are wising up, and it opens both Google and […]

  16. […] for some two years before I discovered it, and reported it to the Network Advertising Initiative, who confirmed the error.    The NAI says that Google has remedied that, and I trust that it has. It didn’t stop […]

  17. […] A check of my Facebook ad preferences shows that interest-based advertising is switched off. This is as bad as Google in 2011. […]

  18. […] and that you can edit your preferences for that targeting, the same was what Google did in 2011. It was revealed then that Google lied, and the Network Advertising Initiative was able to follow up … and assured me it would work with them to sort their procedures out.    If you opt out of […]

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