kaled - 11:39 pm on Aug 5, 2010 (gmt 0)
There seems to be a school of thought that collecting, collating and publishing vast quantities of publicly available information is always ok because it is "publicly available information". Well, it's a point of view but it's a dumb point of view and it's one that is generally not recognised by law. For instance...
I am on the electoral register (UK) but choose to not have my entry published on the public list. This means that someone looking for me would find the electoral register useless. However, doubtless my address is held on some publicly available list somewhere (even if I don't want it to be) so if some bright spark decided to collect, collate and publish all the available information on who lives where and if someone wanted to find me badly, all they would have to do is subscribe to that list.
Now, in my case, I'm not really all that bothered, but a woman who had an abusive boyfriend might be very bothered. Clearly, since this issue is recognised in law (by providing the electoral register option noted above) it would be ludicrous to suggest that allowing people to blindly publish all publicly available information is justifiable in the general case.
I think some people side with Google because they think Google are smart and therefore right. The problem is that Google are not nearly as smart as they think they are and are very often wrong. In the modern world, privacy should be the number one priority, but Google and others such as Facebook seem to put privacy way down the list - certainly well below profitability.