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Cybersecurity

Google's Privacy "Buzz" Saw -- Privacy vs Publicacy Series Part XIX

Kudos to Nicholas Carlson of Silicon Valley Insider for an outstanding must-read post on Google's new social media additions to gmail it calls Google Buzz: "WARNING: Google Buzz has a huge privacy flaw."

Top Questions for Google's New Broadband Network

Google announced it plans to enter the competitive broadband market and will build out what it calls an "ultra-fast" fiber broadband network that would be available to 50,000 Americans, 500,000 at most.

Given that the purpose of my new watchdog site www.GoogleMonitor.com is making Google more transparent and accountable -- I offer some pertinent questions people may want to ask Google about its new high-profile broadband plans.

Google's "Immaculate Collaboration" with NSA? Part XIX of Privacy-Publicacy Series

Ellen Nakashima may have a career-making scoop with her front page Washington Post investigative reporting piece: "Google to enlist NSA to help ward off cyberattacks."  

  • As Publisher of the Google watchdog site, www.GoogleMonitor.com, I can't say I am surprised about a Google-NSA connection, especially given that over the last year my PrecursorBlog has posted: 
  1. An 18-part "Privacy vs. Publicacy" series;
  2. A 6-part "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" series; and 
  3. A 16-part "The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem" series

Ms. Nakeshima's revelation that Google sought out NSA's help shortly after it suffered massive cyber-attacks, apparently from China, opens a Pandorra's Box of privacy issues given that Google's aggressive "publicacy" (anti-privacy) business model, policies and practices have shown little respect for people's privacy in practice over the last decade.

"If Google can drop China, it can drop you"

My vote for quote of the month on Google was "If Google can drop China, it can drop you."

This profound razor-sharp insight was said by Howard Shelanski, speaking for himself, not the Federal Trade Commission, at the Free State Foundation's annual conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Friday. 

Mr. Shelanski is currently Deputy Director of the Bureau of Economics at the FTC, a former Chief economist at the FCC, and a widely respected economist and antitrust expert. 

I am spotlighting his quote because it sheds light on the broader implications of the world censorship policeman role Google is asserting for itself in the world. 

If Google is going to take the position that it unilaterally will withdraw access to its search engine from hundreds of millions of Chinese, if the Chinese Government does not do what Google tells it to do, it puts everyone else in the world on notice that Google has the power, interest and wherewithal to withdraw access to its search engine to anyone who might disagree with Google politically.      

 

 

 

 

Fact Checking Google's New Privacy Principles -- Part XVIII Publicacy vs Privacy Series

Google posted "Google's Privacy Principles" for International Privacy Day and made a pretty sweeping official representation to the public in its announcement post

  • "We've always operated with these principles in mind. Now, we're just putting them in writing so you have a better understanding of how we think about these issues from a product perspective."   

Is this a factually accurate and fair representation of Google's past and current privacy practices?

If it is indeed a true statement:

Must-read Op-ed by Andrew Keen "Internet Freedoms and Internet Radicals

Please don't miss Andrew Keen's outstanding and dead-on-point op-ed in The Hill: "Internet Freedoms and Internet Radicals.

Mr. Keen brilliantly proves how radical and out of the mainstream FreePress' and Public Knowledge's views are in calling for radical, preemptive, and draconian regulation of competitive broadband companies that have long supported, and operate under, the high-consensus voluntary principles of net neutrality. 

FreePress has one  trick, demonization. Like anything else that is overused, abused, and not true -- it loses credibility and only reflects badly on those practicing it. 

Google-China: Implications for Cyber-security -- Part VI "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Series

The theft of Google's source code is the under-appreciated and under-reported new development in Google's big announcement of Google's "new approach to China" and its apparent decision to withdraw its business from China if China continues to insist that Google censor search results for in-country Chinese.  

  • Google: "In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google." [Bold emphasis added]

Google Apps' Security Chief is a Magician/mentalist; Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel Part V

Only Google would think it was a good idea to have a Director of Security for Google Apps, Eran Feigenbaum, who is also a professional magician/mentalistA ValleyWag post first spotlighted this frightening irony/bad joke. 

Let's review what a magician and mentalist does:

  • Per Dictionary.com:
    • A "magician" is: "an entertainer who is skilled in producing illusion by sleight of hand, deceptive devices." 
    • A "mentalist" is: "a mind reader, psychic, or fortuneteller." 

Security is very serious business. Given that Google arguably has collected and stored more recent private information... on more people without their meaningful permission... than any entity in the world... one would think that Google would treat security as very serious business too.    

People want real security, not the illusion of security. Security is deadly serious; its not for show.

What is most disturbing about Google's judgment here is that this is not an isolated issue undermining confidence in Google's committment to security; see the other parts of the series on "Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel," to learn how this is part of a broader disturbing pattern of Google not taking security seriously.  

Will National Broadband Plan Address Cybersecurity? Part XVI : Open Internet's Growing Security Problem

The lead WSJ story today, "Arrest in Epic Cyber Swindle" covering the cybercrime ring theft of over 130 million credit/debit cards, is a stark high-profile reminder of the very real and pervasive Internet problem of lack of cybersecurity. 

  • In the face of overwhelming mainstream evidence that lack of cybersecurity is the Internet's #1 problem (see links below), including President Obama's declaration that cybersecurity must be a new national security priority in his 5-29 cybersecurity address, it is perplexing that none of the FCC's National Broadband Plan workshops are on cybersecurity. 
  • It is hard to see how the Open Internet's growing security problem can be addressed and mitigated over time, if the U.S. Government's main big picture policy effort addressing the broadband Internet, the National Broadband Plan, does not even collect input from the public or experts on the Internet's #1 problem -- lack of cybersecurity.
  • The first step in solving a big problem is acknowledging there is one. 

      

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths