Are google business reviews anonymous?
May 30, 2016 12:28 AM   Subscribe

I have been looking online for a specific service and came across a company that I had utilized 3 years before. All of the reviews were 5 stars. If I want to leave a review (not a good review) I need to log in to the googles. Is there any chance of blowback for me?

Would the proprietor ever be able to discover that it was me specifically that left a negative review by contesting my experience or whatever? Or am I anonymous and there is no need to worry? My email (which is a gmail account) has no identifying information and I never use this email address as a primary account. It is a 5 year old joke email. Assume that my review would be very generic.
posted by futz to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A litigant who is interested in suing you can subpoena Google for whatever information Google has on you, and even if Google has no idea of a real name, the litigant can then subpoena your Internet Service Provider for your subscriber information.

While not guaranteed to track back to the exact person who posted something, this strategy is very common and identifies someone who probably knows you.

In order to be hardcore anonymous, you really need to:

1) load up something like Whonix or Tails or one of the other virtualized privacy oriented operating systems onto a laptop as a virtual machine,

2) make sure the laptop is clean and doesn't have lots of cookies and auto-logins, ideally it should be a virgin install,

3) then head on over to a McDonalds on the other side of town for some free WiFi (remember to pay cash),

4) make sure the guest OS is correctly configured for TOR,

5) and then create a new Google identity that you will NEVER EVER touch except from that anonymized OS install. And do any other work from there as well.

That raises the bar far enough that even the NSA might have significant difficulty tracking you down. It's certainly more than sufficient to protect against litigation, which is the primary concern here.
posted by jgreco at 3:31 AM on May 30, 2016 [15 favorites]

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