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Another Google v. Privacy Thread

 11:02 am on Oct 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

In the current thread on the manipulation of Adwords Tedster pointed out this article, Times Online [technology.timesonline.co.uk]

Is this scary or what?

Googles overall goal is to have a record of every e-mail we have ever written, every contact whose details we have recorded, every file we have created, every picture we have taken and saved, every appointment we have made, every website we have visited, every search query we have typed into its home page, every ad we have clicked on, and everything we have bought online. It wants to know and record where we have been and, thanks to our search history of airlines, car-hire firms and MapQuest, where we are going in the future and when.

Would this effort make the World a better place or is there some Orwellian motive? I can't help thinking that 10 or 15 years ago any such "goal" would have created a Universal uproar.

Rearrange the following well known phrase ... "watching - brother - is - big".



 4:22 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's a very closely related thread in our Webmaster General forum - growing from a NY Times article, published today.

Internet Privacy Efforts Take A Step Forward [webmasterworld.com]


 4:42 pm on Oct 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would personally rather not see government regulation get into the picture, unless it's to PROTECT the rights of companies not to be forced into disclosing their data - something that has worked nicely so far for Google's Orkut case.

Agreed, though I hasten to add that I'm a big believer in "full disclosure", and as I said in an earlier post, I feel it's only fair that some attempt be made to inform the public that, in fact, information that could be construed as "private" (such as the kind of content they will view) is accumulated as they utilize that website's service.

And yes, Google has that notice available, but it's 3 or 4 clicks in, and you can bet the farm that maybe 1 in 10,000 people go there to read it. So whether it be by mandate or by pressure, all the big players should agree to get their "privacy policy" link right on the home page, along with a very brief notification that data is being gathered.



 3:36 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

From today's news:
US privacy groups seek "do not track" Web list
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Nine US privacy and consumer organizations asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to create a "do not track" list for Internet users who don't want their online activities tracked, stored and used by advertising...

Read Full Story [reuters.com]


 4:38 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes Reno, it looks like people are now beginning to cotton on to the risks involved in allowing this to happen.

... mentions were made of Google and China, which was not a privacy issue at all, it was a censorship issue.

Ted I must make it clear that I didn't suggest that this was a privacy issue. I used the China thing in response to the suggestion that Google's intentions were benign. What I was trying to do was to illustrate that, like most big corporations, when it comes to a choice between principles and targets there is no contest.


 5:58 pm on Nov 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I get you, BDW - that is a relevant point. I do feel that it was muddying the waters a bit, but it's still has some weight in this discussion. Still, I'd say Google was between a rock and a hard place on that China censorship issue.

To date, I see Google's track record on data privacy as better than most data agrregators. So again, I feel Google most of all needs support for their data protection efforts and not paranoia or bashing. If their protective stance is clearly appreciated (as I think it is) then they are much less likely to roll over to any future "demands".


 4:14 pm on Nov 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am not worried about Google: I am worried about my ISP (which can collect every URL I visit) and governments (which can collect the ISP's data, mobile phone location data, bank transactions, etc.).

How much do you trust your government? How much do you trust the governments they share information with? How much do you trust governments of countries in which those you do business with operate? For example, the US government currently gets (or can monitor) all international transfers made through SWIFT (i.e., as good as all bank to bank transfers).

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