8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 8, 2013 5:11 AM by AppleMacCider
AppleMacCider Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



I have been using a Mac for several years for both business and personal.  I like most others have been using Google services, but more recently I am concerned about the amount of information they are using from me and my Mac - to provide to others for advertising.


Recently I looked up a new US artist on YouTube to be presented with a non-skip advert for a local adverture / theme park less than 5 miles from where I live. What I wanted to see was the video for this US artist.  This happened on several occasions and websites oftern have by city name mentioned in them.


I have done the obvious setting and location changes, use Little Snitch etc, but are there any really obvious things I should be doing.


For example, I use my Mac for online banking, but know the website address and all my log in details (don't save them on the computer).  Could Google be tracking this log in information and account information?


Thanks in advance


Mac Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • Barney-15E Level 8 Level 8 (44,200 points)

    They are usually just using your IP address, which is actually your internet service provider's address.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (28,405 points)

    I use Google search and maps; however, I do NOT have an account, so not use any of their "services" and do not sign in. I do not trust them enough to establish an account with them. Here is some info from them:




    I do not care for their ToS or their (so called) privacy policy.

  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (12,075 points)

    Google tracks, keeps, and sells a lot of data about anyone using their services. All web servers you visit have the capability to track what you do on their server/site. They can track, keep, and sell this data. Your ISP has the capability to track what you are doing. The government has the capability to subpoena your info from Google and other tracking sites. Each web page you visit could have a tracking "bug" embedded on the pages or advertisements. Someone is tracking, keeping, or selling your browsing history.


    There is no privacy on the Internet. Someone is tracking, keeping, or selling your information at some level.


    If you are behind a router and using private address space then as already stated, the tracking is limited to the ip address assigned to you by your ISP.


    If you  are banking or making purchases on line then ensure that the logins and transactions are being done using SSL, securely using https in the address bar. Your data will then be secure.


    You could turn off "cookies" to prevent sites from placing a tracking "cookie" on your computer. Cookies are used,  for example, to retain lists of items purchased so that when you navigate into and away from a shopping cart it is not cleared of the items you placed in it.

  • AppleMacCider Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for all the replies.


    I do have a Google account but haven't used it for over a year and my Mac has had a clean install since then with Mountain Lion.  Like most other people I use google for searches, YouTube and maps.  Chrome is faster than Safari but this comes at a price.


    When I have finished using Safari, I reset it before finishing on my Mac.  The webpages I visit on a regular basis are either in the top toolbar with Safari or I know them anyway.  I don't use the internet for anything I shouldn't, but I do like keeping some of the things private.  For example, looking at trampolines for the children, only to find when they use the Mac they see adverts for trampolines!!! That's why I lnow reset Safari.


    Can Google etc see what is on my Mac or hard drives or is it just what my online searches and uses are?




  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5 (4,460 points)

    In all reality, there is very little left of "privacy" these days.

    Big Brother is everywhere.  If you use a cell phone, credit cards,

    and of course internet, there is a digital footprint of you left

    everywhere and is available to any one with enough motivation

    and skills to get it.


    Even if you take all precautions possible to be safe, if any one

    you deal with is casual in his/her security, any information you sent

    them is at risk and a possible link to get additional info on you.


    All of this is the cost of living in the convenience of the digital age.

    The most you can do is defend yourself as best as possible and

    hope for the best.


    BTW, if you are a U.S. resident, the "Patriot Act" allows for all

    manor of government snooping of all electronic activity going

    on.  And with all that money and resources available, who knows

    what sort of toys they have.

  • Daniel Ebeck Level 4 Level 4 (1,660 points)

    Rather than resetting  Safari every time, I use an app called Cookie, from the App Store. It lets you allow some cookies, like for the banking sites, and deletes all other ones, including tracking cookies.


    I now get far less targeted advertising than I used to.

  • Barney-15E Level 8 Level 8 (44,200 points)

    They can't scan your hard drive from a browser, despite what all the malware virus scanner popups say.

  • AppleMacCider Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again for your comments.


    I think what I have learnt from this is to limit use of Google and it's services.

    I don't use web mail or need to have website remember my log in details etc.

    Most of the websites I use I know the web address anway and don't use Google Chrome.


    I need to make sure cookies and flash cookies are deleted on browser exit.