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Is Google peeping on you? Google's cavalier attitude towards privacy

The New York Times article today by Miguel Helft, "Google photos stir a debate over privacy"  provides a great public service in highlighting yet another example of Google's cavalier approach to guarding peoples' privacy.

  • This section of the NYT article captures the creepiness of Google's new "Street View "photo service" and what it says about Google's storied culture of "innovation without permission" (or supervision):
    • “The issue that I have ultimately is about where you draw the line between taking public photos and zooming in on people’s lives,â€? Ms. Kalin-Casey said in an interview Thursday on the front steps of the building. “The next step might be seeing books on my shelf. If the government was doing this, people would be outraged.â€?

    • Her husband quickly added, “It’s like peeping.â€?

Interesting choice of words: "peeping."

  • That was precisely the word I used to describe the creepiness of Google's utter disrepect for people's privacy in streaming all live search terms on public screens in the lobbies of their buildings -- as a form of perfomance art.

Let's look at yet another example of Google's cavalier attitude towards privacy.

I had meant to blog on this when the Sacramento Bee wrote about "Google shock in Los Rios"  March 7th when it came out, but just did not get around to it.

Here are some excerpts from this great piece of investigative journalism:

  • "A community college student who was "Googling" himself last month found some disconcerting information when he typed his name into the popular Internet search engine."
    • His SS#, name and birthdate popped up along with those of 2000 fellow students.
  • "We didn't think the information was open to Google," said Susie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Los Rios schools. "It was a shock to learn they were able to do it."
  • "Google's spiders regularly crawl the Web to rebuild our index," ..."it's aggressive -- but not criminal." It's kind of crawling all over and looking under rocks," he said. "Occasionally things you don't want to turn up, do turn up."
  • "After searching all the other major search engines and finding nothing, we believe the student information was only in the Google database and on no other search engine."

Bottomline: Google's ominous corporate mission, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful  to everyone" is a de facto "Big Brother" anti-privacy mission. 

  • Google's mission fundamentally direspects people's right to privacy.
    • All information is not appropriate to be available to "everyone."
    • Where is the decency, the judgment, the tact, the human touch?
      • There is none; Google is an efficient computer driven mathmatical algorithm that has zero sense of privacy or common decency.
  • Of course, Google gives lip service to privacy, but their glaringly weak privacy policy and their well-documented cavalier attitude to protecting people's privacy -- belie what Google really thinks of us.
    • They think we are all suckers.