A Guide to Stopping Google Analytics

A Guide to Stopping Google Analytics
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Google Analytics records every IP address by people who visit a website containing the JavaScript code for Google Analytics. The webmaster or bloggers will add Google Analytics’ JavaScript codes in their pages to track which of their pages is popular. It can also record where you came from known as the referrer. If Google AdWords and AdSense codes are in the website, the webmaster will be able to know what are the popular search queries and keywords their visitors has entered. If you find Google Analytics unacceptable, below is a guide to stopping Google Analytics.

How Google Analytics looks like and where is Google Analytics placed?

Google Analytics is placed by webmaster or bloggers on their page with an example JavaScript code similar to this:

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “https://www.”);document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=’" + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=‘text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();

It is placed before the tag of a webpage and can be customized. The unique Google Analytics account number of the webmaster or blogger will replace the xxxxxx-x characters in the above sample GA code.

How to Detect if a Website Uses Google Analytics?

Google Analytics in Twitter.com

Many website or blog uses Google Analytics e.g. linkedin.com, twitter.com, answers.com, myspace.com, brighthub.com, krebsonsecurity.com, dslreports.com, msmvps.com etc.

You can check if a website owner or blogger have placed Google Analytics on their site by viewing the site or blog, and then view the page source. Locate the similar and above-mentioned JavaScript codes for Google Analytics. If the page is too long, you can simply bring up the “Find” tool in a browser to search for “google-analytics.com” within the source code of the webpage.

Another method to check if a webpage or blog has Google Analytics code is by using NoScript for Firefox or any other tools that logs the web-contents.

Stopping Google Analytics codes

To prevent Google Analytics in recording the pages you’ve visited or who referred you to visiting a website or blog, you can use any of the following method:

  • For Firefox users, get NoScript or Adblock Plus.
  • For all users, use a Hosts file that includes Google Analytics in the blocked domains
  • If you are using proxy network like Tor, that will mask your IP address, preventing GA to report inaccurate location of the visitor
  • You can also block cookies for google-analytics.com. Your visit will still be logged, but it will make you more anonymous. Learn more about how to do this here.
  • Another method to stopping Google Analytics is to disable the use of JavaScript in your browser. If a website that you frequently visit or interact requires the use of JavaScript before you can use the service or any function in a website, blog or forums, you can configure the browser to prompt you for any usage of JavaScript. If you trust the website, blog or forum, simply add it in a trusted zone.
  • If you are using a firewall or any security tool offering web controls e.g. Agnitum’s Outpost Firewall or its Security Suite software, you can use it to prevent any type of JavaScript for all website or per site basis.

Final Words

Google Analytics is like any other web analytics service helps the webmaster know what popular sites and keywords that their visitors have entered. It also helps to identify who their referrers are but it can pose privacy and security risk. An example is the recent security and privacy incident when Google, Intel, Adobe and other big company have become victims by hackers that attacked them via the flaw in a very old version of IE, and the attack has been dubbed as “Operation Aurora”. The IP addresses of the visitors of those affected company or websites has been released to hackers, as per reports. You don’t have to prevent visiting the website, forum or blog who uses Google Analytics. Simply block Google Analytics code, if you wish.