Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trusting Google

Some snippets from the recent MSNBC article titled German official slams Google for ‘alarming’ privacy breaches (sounds more to me like Google is just picking up on other people's alarming privacy breaches/errors)...
...growing concerns about whether the company can be trusted with the vast storehouse of personal information that it has gathered through its search engine, e-mail and other services... Consumer Watchdog, a group that has become one of Google's most outspoken critics, renewed its call for a regulatory crackdown Friday... Street View provides photographs of neighborhoods taken by Google cameras that have sometimes captured people doing things they didn't want to be seen doing, or in places where they didn't want to be seen... Google...programming picked up the Web surfing on publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks if the company's vehicles were within range of the signal. (emphasis mine)

Well, right from the get-go, I trust Google more than I trust any government.

Second, Google's cameras captured people "doing things they didn't want to be seen doing, or in places where they didn't want to be seen". I have one question: were any of these people in legitimately "private" areas? Because, if not--them's the breaks; don't do it or don't be there--or don't do it there. Google is not responsible for other people's lack of discretion.

Third, "publicly accessible" means...publicly accessible. Exactly what expectation of privacy do people think they have on that kind of network? I assume an open network is open and...uh...public. Weird, I know, but words means things.

Honestly, is there anyone who connects to the net that hasn't seen this warning: "When you send information to the internet it might be possible for others to see that information. Do you want to continue..."? I've seen it more times than I have fingers and toes.

Fourth: all a regulatory crackdown will do is put the fox firmly in charge of the henhouse. Is Consumer Watchdog alleging some sort of serious "regulations shortage", like we don't already have enough rules?

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