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Links in Gmail...Sneaky?

This is interesting.  I got an email on my Gmail account with a like (href) in it.  I clicked on it it took me properly to the link but before it did for an instant I saw another link (in firefox).

Curious I looked up the page source for the email frame and I found that Gmail had inserted a Onclick handler for the link t which directed it to a javascript function.

This basically means that google can possibly log and watch all links you click in an email a bit insidious since they know who you are.

Code Monkey
Thursday, July 01, 2004

shocking.  google gathering information.  I don't believe it. 

FullDisc losure
Thursday, July 01, 2004

I never understood this sort of thing.  Who cares if someone gathers this sort of info on you?  I don't care if they know what links I click on.  Unless you have something to hide then what's to worry about?

not too private
Thursday, July 01, 2004

This is the sort of thinking that will doom us all.

Why not let the government intercept your mail and listen to your phone calls?  You're not doing anything WRONG, are you?

muppet from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, July 01, 2004

May this explains it a little...from the Gmail site...

"Minimized "referrer" header information. When you click on links in messages, the web browser that loads contains a referrer header. When you click on links in Gmail, Google takes steps to eliminate this referrer header, preventing others from knowing that you clicked on a link from an email."

Code Monkey
Thursday, July 01, 2004

Again, who cares if someone knows that you clicked on the link from an email.  If you are this paranoid then you can always just copy and paste the URL into a new browser window or tab.  That would also get rid of the referrer information.

not too private
Thursday, July 01, 2004

>I never understood this sort of thing.  Who cares if someone gathers this sort of info on you?

I do care enough to atleast want to know what kind of info is gathered and what use it is being put into.  Using your logic...since you have no ill gotten wealth and hence nothing to hide you would not care to protect your bank account number and ATM Pin right?

Code Monkey
Thursday, July 01, 2004

That's not the same logic at all.  I'm not saying that everything should be public.  But what links you click on?  That sort of info gathering doesn't bother me.

not too private
Thursday, July 01, 2004

I don't worry about the government as much as I worry about my corporate masters.

Speakin' a which, I just got a correction in the mail from the IRS on taxes filed for 2003, where they corrected an entry - I had failed to report withholding on an IRA distribution (former employer gone belly up), and they decreased my taxes.  The kinder, gentler IRS.

hoser
Thursday, July 01, 2004

>I never understood this sort of thing.  Who cares if someone gathers this sort of info on you?

If they care enough to collect it you ought to care enough to know why or you are doing yourself a disservice.

FullDisc losure
Thursday, July 01, 2004

>I don't worry about the government as much as I worry about my corporate masters.

That's funny. I was about to write the exact opposite.

It's not that I'm idealistic or naive about corporations' intentions. But I do have the choice to not use their services. If I don't like the fact that Google tracks this stuff, I don't have to use Gmail. If I think Wal-Mart ruins the local fabric of cities, I don't have to shop there.

If the government decides to do something, on the other hand, it rarely offers an opt-out option...

John C.
Thursday, July 01, 2004

Google removes referer information to choke a feedback channel for spammers.

If google is collecting personal info on its users, they must inform the users. Read the EULAs...


Thursday, July 01, 2004

Usually this kind of thing is put in to place so that the referrer can't be tracked back to anything uniquely identifiable as you, so any website you visit gets a generic gmail referrer, and not some URL that allows them to infer anything about your email account.

Just think of what would happen if people had things like this in their logs:

http://www.gmail.com/?username=CodeMonkey&password=ilovejoel&msg=1

Obviously this is an exaggerated example, but you get the idea.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, July 01, 2004

Hotmail also opens you links in there own frame, and are therefor able to track this. I am not sure wether or not they do....

Gary van der Merwe
Friday, July 02, 2004

>> If the government decides to do something, on the other hand, it rarely offers an opt-out option...

In the rest of the world, we vote during elections.


Friday, July 02, 2004

If voting could really change anything, It'd be illegal.

M
Friday, July 02, 2004


They use the forwarding to scrub the link-click of referrer information.  So therefore, if you click on a spam link, it's more difficult for them to determine that you clicked on it from an email.  In theory, they won't know your email address is active.

KC
Friday, July 02, 2004

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