Anonymizing Google Usage

The Register has some good details about a new project from Moxie Marlinspike designed to protect the privacy of some of your usage of Google services. It works via a Firefox extension and a proxy server but won’t do anything if you are actively logged in. This project is clearly more informed by Google’s recent move to track you even when you are logged out than general suspicion of the search giant.

The article has a couple of interesting details, first noting that while Tor could pretty accomplish the same end, GoogleSharing is much faster. Tor has to anonymize all your traffic, GoogleSharing only your unauthenticated requests. It sounds similar in approach to Tor, though, intermingling your usage randomly across several accounts at the proxy, presumably breaking any useful correlations Google might be able to mine.

The fact that this relies on a proxy means you do have to trust the proxy admin. Marlinspike has pledged to act in good faith, not retaining any information. Better than that, the project is open source so it should be possible to spin up more proxies so you don’t have to necessarily take his word. I’d love to see a federation of proxies, if at all possible, so your Google traffic wouldn’t even be limited to one possible point of failure when it is being anonymized.

I may have to install the extension so I can report back my experiences. I definitely look forward to seeing what, if anything, other concerned open source hackers make of Marlinspike’s work.

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