Monday, August 2, 2010

GoogleSharing: Firefox Add-on


For all who care about privacy, worry about people like google looking at our private informations like the content of your email address,  IP address, your search request, what is your preference, news you read and places you go. Here is a  tool called "Google Sharing" which is designed to protect users so that google is not able to track their activities on the internet. Their main idea is simple by using series of proxy servers that are designed to work with google services that do not require a login. Every access to such a Google service, like Google search for instance, will be routed automatically through a Google Sharing proxy server that will replace the identifying data of the user with its own.
This is a system that mixes multiple request of many different users together, such that google is not capable of telling what is coming from whom. Google Sharing's main objective is
  • Provide a system that will prevent Google from collecting information about you from services which don't require a login.
  • Make this system completely transparent to the user. No special websites, no change to your work flow.
  • Leave your non-Google traffic completely untouched, unredirected, and unaffected.

The GoogleSharing is the proxy code has been made available by the developers as a Firefox add-on, so that it can be analysed by the security people and installed to run the proxy on their own web server.  The Firefox Addon watches for requests to Google services from your browser, and when enabled will transparently redirect all of them (except for things like Google Mail) to a GoogleSharing proxy. There your request is stripped of all identifying information and replaced with the information from a GoogleSharing identity.
The GoogleSharing system consists of a custom proxy and a Firefox Addon. The proxy works by generating a pool of GoogleSharing "identities," each of which contains a cookie issued by Google and an arbitrary User-Agent for one of several popular browsers. The Firefox Addon watches for requests to Google services from your browser, and when enabled will transparently redirect all of them (except for things like Gmail) to a GoogleSharing proxy. There your request is stripped of all identifying information and replaced with the information from a GoogleSharing identity.
This "GoogleShared" request is then forwarded on to Google, and the response is proxied back to you. Your next request will get a different identity, and the one you were using before will be assigned to someone else. By "sharing" these identities, all of our traffic gets mixed together and is very difficult to analyze.
The GoogleSharing proxy even constantly injects false but plausible search requests through all the identities.
The result is that you can transparently use Google search, images, maps, products, news, etc... without Google being able to track you by IP address, Cookie, or any other identifying HTTP headers. And only your Google traffic is redirected. Everything else from your browser goes directly to its destination.
And GoogleSharing uses https for the connection between your Firefox browser (with GoogleSharing) and the GoogleSharing server, which makes your search much more secure from third parties spying on it e.g. over wifi.
Downloads:
To download the add-on click here