Goodbye, Chrome: Google's web browser has become spy software

#1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/06/21/google-chrome-has-become-surveillance-software-its-time-switch/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.56a3557cbd10

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#2

https://pad.riseup.net/p/h8QH2baBQLkgtbadm0OV

Thanks for sharing. I couldn’t access the article, so found it in my library’s databases. This is a great article to share with my students in my online research strategies course. I cover ]browsers and privacy in the course and this certainly, if students care about privacy and ad tracking, is a compelling reason to switch to Firefox.

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#3

Welp, our IT guy was going to set the default browser to Chrome on all of our PACs – guess I’ll be making the argument for Firefox.

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#4

If y’all libraries want to host Tor relays I think Tor would be the best replacement for Chrome with Firefox a secondary option. But that requires some work convincing IT/directors/boards. But we’ve had success at one public library so it’s do-able especially if you have your IT as part of your library rather than run by the city/township/etc.

I know we haven’t talked about this much yet, but it’s extremely important and super simple to set up.

Highly recommend.

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#5

TJ you don’t use Tor as the default browser tho right?

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#6

At my library? No, I have our IT run to the township and their mission runs completely counter to the library’s core mission, but I have a meeting with them next week to discuss both Tor browser and installing a relay. I do, however, have some usbs that run both Tails and Tor so if a patron has trouble with a site I can get them around out terrible firewall and filter.

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#7

Are you teaching MLIS students? I ask because I didn’t have the chance to take an online research strategies course (wouldn’t fit in the schedule) and I’m curious if privacy is usually taught in this course. Like, is it likely that other MLIS programs also embed these ideas in a similar course?

It seems to me that library schools should really be placing privacy & security more prominently in their coursework. Privacy and security virtually came up no where in my courses.

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#8

Privacy and security came up in my technology course at UNCG, but I think only because my professor is married to a cyber-security professional, so she integrates caution into her discussion of online tools. I agree that this should be a course for library students!

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#9

Hey TJ, I’m super curious about what youre doing with tails and tor. maybe we can chat more in depth about TOR browsers/relays being during the IRL meetup this month?

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#10

Absolutely. I can talk till I’m blue in the face. I’m more than happy to chat, and I’ll do my best to bring some examples.

You can probably also run Tor off a Library/Pirate Box.

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#11

I teach in the Library Information Technology program at my community college. Students can get an LIT AS or certificate. The program is geared towards people that want to work as library technicians or library assistants. We do get students that take these courses to help them determine if they want to pursue an MLIS though. Privacy isn’t written into the course outline, but I bring it in when I talk about security, bias, dark web, and mention it as a big part of working in libraries, and staying current in technology. Privacy is integrated or peppered throughout the course where it’s relevant.

I had the same experience in library school where we didn’t get much or any instruction in privacy or cybersecurity. However, when I was looking at SJSU’s (where I received my MLIS) list of courses recently, I did see that they offer a cybersecurity course now, but I don’t see mention of privacy in their online searching course, unfortunately.

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#12

Something that has been on my mind a lot this year has been the embrace and defaulting of Chrome (and Google tools) in the workplace and, school settings in particular. As I have been going through the process of replacing and upgrading our systems, I have been working with the Town’s technology department closely (they are headquartered in the high school). As they have been dropping off computers and declaring them ready for use (they aren’t, but at least I have the freedom and power of full admin rights), I’ve been catching and seeing what they are miss with respect to security and learning about their attitudes and/or perspectives on technology.

One thing that is striking to me is that they make the effort to change the default web browser from Edge to Chrome, but then do not make any sort of customizations within Chrome other than setting a homepage and then declaring them ready for use. The IT department & school are also big enthusiasts of Chromebooks and Google tools (they are useful and I totally get how they are easier to manage and administer), but it does not seem like there is any real education or understanding about how Google accounts beyond those that are administered by Google Suite are different and/or compromising of “life long users” of Google in the making. I am less confident that the IT Department and/or teachers have it on their radar about the dangers and harm of some of these tools and platforms and are so dazzled by the popularity, convenience and apparent cost-effectiveness of it, that no one has stopped to think through the ramifications of technology brands in education & the lifelong impact on the students. Has anyone had experience with teachers and/or educators who are just as overwhelmed by the embrace of big tech in schools?

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