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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Security
Google Translate blocks IP address for "automated queries"
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otropogo


Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 702
Location: Southern Rocky Mt. Trench

PostPosted: Sat 31 Oct 2009, 16:52    Post subject:  Google Translate blocks IP address for "automated queries"
Subject description: Today, using Seamonkey in Puppy 4.2.1, I triggered Google Translate's blocking mechanism
 

I've been using Google Tranlsate for months with Seamonkey/Puppy 4.2.1, and have never had a problem before.

But this morning I did something a little different, and seem to have triggered IP blocking from Google Translate. I wonder why or how, exactly, as the GT help files give no clue.

I was at this URL:

http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/0,1518,658116,00.html

which contains an interesting article about naked rat-moles, the longest lived rodent in the world, the only mammal that has a bee-like social organization (a single queen mother for reproduction served by an army of neutered female workers, with males strictly for sperm production and impregnation).

The longevity of up to 28 years is apparently due to their total immunity to cancer...

I read the article at the above URL, and then started to look through the 15 related pictures linked on the left sidebar. In doing so, I stayed in Google Translate mode, and simply used Seamonkey's FWD arrow to navigate through the pictures in sequence - something I'd never tried before.

There was no problem for the first 13 pages, but on the 14th page I got Google's "We're sorry" pop-up, suggesting my computer was sending automated enquiries, against google's usage policy, and that my IP address would be blocked until this stopped.

The linked help page first directed me to a CAPTCHA on the pop-up (which doesn't appear either in Seamonkey or Opera), and further suggested two Windows malware scanners and one for Mac. Other than that, it suggested contacting my ISP.

To check all this out, I turned off my system for a while, rebooted with a clean Puppy 4.3.1 Live-CD without using any 2fs file. And still got the same result.

I then went to Google Forums, and found another user with the same complaint.

I posted my experience, and then was presented with a CAPTCHA, successfully entered it, and was immediately presented with a link to the last URL I'd been blocked from translating. And when I clicked on that, I got the "We're sorry" pop-up once again!

Would anyone like to replicate my use of Google Translate as described above to see whether this triggers IP address blocking for them?

NB: strangely, my access to google mail, google search, and google forums is not affected, as far as I can tell...

Update: some six hours after the initial blockage, I can access Google Translate again. Since I haven't tried it in almost three hours, my IP address may have been unblocked earlier.

Neither my ISP nor Google Translate have responded yet to my report of this problem, so I can only guess what caused it.

I haven't removed any malware from my system, so I doubt that was it. My best guess remains that the manner in which I used Seamonkey to access successive pages with Google Translate triggered the blockage.

If I get any clarification from Google, I'll post it here.

Meanwhile, I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who's run into this problem. I'd particularly like to hear whether the CAPTCHA that's supposed to give you a "get out of jail" card with the "We're sorry" pop-up displays in Firefox or IE, as I'm not willing to risk getting shut out again by replicating my experience with Firedog (in case Google Translate has a "two strikes and you're out policy" like Facebook.

Ah - the joys of monopoly...

Update. #2: a day after the first blockage, I received the same "We're sorry" message and was blocked again. This time, I established the length of exile as less than 4 hours.

In this instance, I did not use the FWD arrow function of Seamonkey to move directly from one translated page to another. I was searching for translatable Facebook Profile pages in Facebook (strangely, some are, some aren't), which required me to go through several steps each time I accessed Google Translate anew. I wasn't keeping count, but my estimate is that I might have called on Google Translate a dozen or so times in a fairly brief period.

In the absence of any official explanation, I conclude that there's some sort of simple formula of so many Google Translate requests in a set period of time that triggers the blockage. I'm guessing 12 or 13 translation calls in the space of 10 minutes or so might be the trigger.

As in all previous incidents, no captcha to allow immediate recovery was displayed.

It's been 45 hours since I first contacted Google about this problem, but no response has landed in my e-mail box yet...

Apparently this is not a fatal problem (ie. not "two strikes and you're out" at least..), though certainly an annoying and disruptive one.

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abushcrafter


Joined: 30 Oct 2009
Posts: 1447
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu 26 Nov 2009, 12:11    Post subject:  

darn!
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Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu 26 Nov 2009, 22:19    Post subject:  

otropogo

maybe try google gears

http://www.insidesocal.com/click/2008/06/installing-google-gears-in-pup.html

you may need agent switcher, too

http://fixunix.com/mozilla/405342-does-seamonkey-work-google-gears.html

http://chrispederick.com/work/user-agent-switcher/

or open dns

https://store.opendns.com/setup/device/ubuntu/

Funny thing, people are using google translate as a way round parental controls, so this may be a backlash....

Aitch Smile
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otropogo


Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 702
Location: Southern Rocky Mt. Trench

PostPosted: Fri 27 Nov 2009, 02:28    Post subject:  

Aitch wrote:
otropogo

maybe try google gears

....
Aitch Smile


Thanks for your suggestions. I've been careful not to page forward while in translate mode since the last time I was logged out. I never go more than two pages before returning to the original language page, and so far "we're sorry" hasn't happened again. So either my new strategy works, or Google translate has changed it's policing policy....

In any case, they've never bothered to reply to my query about the reason for locking me out.

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