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Web Sites You Visit Are Telling the Russian Government All About You

Russian SurveillanceYesterday I wanted to check store hours at a local shop, so headed to their web site.  I was on Chrome with all the dev tools turned on and on Mac, the various URLs loaded flash by on the bottom.

To my surprise, I saw a .ru address.

What the heck?

I dug in and realized it was yandex.ru, and in particular the Metrika product.  “From traffic trends to mouse movements – get a comprehensive understanding of your online audience,” the Metrika brochure page reads.   It’s the Russian competitor to Google Analytics.

GA came out in 2008; Metrika three years later.  One comparison site I checked favored Metrika because “t does not limit data. It gives you precise data no matter how many sessions or page views you have, unlike Google Analytics it doesn’t sample data”.

Keep in mind that Yandex is enmeshed with the Russian government.  Meduza (a Russian-language Latvian magazine) documented (Russian, but Google Translate works fine) that the Putin regime decides which media sources appear on it.  A recent article about Yandex was headlined “Russia Tightens Grip on Internet”.  In that article, Reuters chronicled the sale of Yandex’s media assets to a Russian social media company whose CEO just happens to be the son of Putin’s first deputy chief of staff.

Whether web analytics in general bothers you is one topic – if so, you’re probably the person who complained about cookies and lead to all these silly popups.  But sending metrics to Russia…I mean, if the Cambridge Analytica scandal freaked you out, you’re probably apoplectic over your dossier at Russian intelligence.

I found a list of 2.7 million sites using Metrika, though spot-checking some of those was inconsistent.  It’s not surprising that AliExpress is a user.




1 Comment

  1. itesterov:

    Some strange post, i think if you worry about you web privacy – you use adblock plugin/software/dns, which block GA, and Yandex Metrik and another trackers too.

    October 6, 2022 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

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