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Sounds like the wolves taking care of the sheep.
Exactly! I started this thread [webmasterworld.com] earlier today but it doesn't seem too many people are bothered about Google in relation to privacy!
No one is really forcing us to use the Google tools. Google simply offers things which are immensely useful in return for gathering information.
I am, to some extent, willing to live with that tradeoff; but if at any point one or all of Googles offerings were to become mandatory in order to be able to use the engine, then I would quickly look somewhere else.
Am I being too naive?
Now that Google has a well publicised UK presence maybe somebody should turn up and demand that kind of info from them. Mark, where are you?
(Google in the box)
And helfully the government even drafts a letter you can send to access any information an organisation might hold about you:
The statutory fee for access is £2
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The statutory fee for accessing your credit history with Equifax is £2.00 but I don't see how that is relevant. Am I missing something?
JudgeJefferies, a lot of people seem to think that if you don't use Google tools or Google search ... Google is not watching you. If I use no Google tools whatsoever, and don't use the Google search engine they can keep tabs on my movements via Adsense ads, Analytics and lots more. Even if I've never used the internet there's likely a lot of personal information about me that they have and which is growing by the day. From an aerial view of my garden redesign to a copy of my print book that they've decided to reproduce for free on the net... their reach shouldn't be underestimated.
I'm not saying that they are misusing information... but if there's potential for misuse, there is risk.
This isn't the first time they have taken a stand against spyware so this lastest action can't come as a big surprise to anyone. I'm sure they have a business stake in it but so do most of us.
You want to to discuss toolbars? The Alexa toolbar scares the hell out of me. :)
For £2 you havethe right to find out what information about you is held on computer and in some paper records.
Thanks. I can't see what that has to do with Google though. Google is a US company and they are not obliged to disclose any info on you. Ironically, the amount of info they hold on you (or can access about you) probably exceeds that held by any other single entity in the world.
Even if they don't spy on you they have the tools to find out more about you than your government or legal system can. Why are they the best people to get your spyware software from again?
Even if I've never used the internet there's likely a lot of personal information about me that they have and which is growing by the day.
Yes, cookies can be used to track user behavior on a computer. Can they positively identify a user of computer A as John Doe? No. For a very few cases, someone could conceivably connect several dots to see that computer A always uses IP x.y.z.w, which is a static IP address assigned to a DSL account owned by ACME DSL company. Does ACME DSL put its subscriber list in the public domain? Very doubtful. True, the police could subpoena ACME's records and find that John Doe is the subscriber in question. But John Doe has a wife, and a brother visiting from Bristol, and three kids, all of whom invite their friends over to surf on Joe's DSL. And who's to say that he is even related to the same John Doe that bought a certain book at Amazon 4 years ago?
The art of providing useful search results of web sites is a difficult enough art form. To mine all the data that the Big G has and try to link it to individual persons is too mind boggling to consider! The Big G has MUCH better things to expend their efforts doing.
Oddsod, I think you are taking paranoia to a new level.
Possibly. As there don't seem to be many others here seeing the risks I do. I hope that time proves me wrong.
There have been a lot of articles lately in theregister [theregister.co.uk], the NYT, and various other places voicing the same fears about Google. I even started a thread about it here (as mentioned in msg #7) and I'm amazed that nobody has bothered to step in (even to rubbish my thoughts)! The enthusiastic disinterest in this matter is puzzling; but one message is clear: the average webmaster at WW is not bothered by it.
OK, guys, get back to the spyware issue and sorry for going a bit OT.
To mine all the data that the Big G has and try to link it to individual persons is too mind boggling to consider!
If you have an account, we may share the information submitted under your account among all of our services in order to provide you with a seamless experience and to improve the quality of our services.
Of course they can tie the personal details we give them from Urchin, Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, Sitemaps, Personalised Search, The Google Toolbar etc just by looking at the cookie.
Of course they can identify us - its not paranoid its fact - in fact in the recent news article mentioned in the Google News forum from Money UK they even admitted as much.
They can identify users down to the PC - and any other PC we use to sign in.
And usually different users of a PC have different logons - this means different cookies for each user - ie Personally identifying.
Question is, you might trust Google with this data, but do you think they can fight off all the governments in the world who want that data forever?
Dont know about your countries, but here in Australia the government continues to add new laws removing even the needs for warrants etc for suspision of Homeland Security - UK/USA already did the same sort of things from what I remember - if you cant beat it, change it!
Its far from paranoid, its FACT.
but do you think they can fight off all the governments in the world who want that data
In the UK the government wants to use biometrics as ID but the "ID" cards are going to carry a lot more information about you than most people realise. Combine that with what Google has on you and confidential, commercially valuable information on your business... and if it gets into the wrong hands that amount of information can be used to completely destroy your life.
Oh, well. Some people predicted 9/11 and the flooding of New Orleans, and they were called paranoid. The difference between paranoia and news is sometimes only time. Fingers crossed that won't be the case here. So, hail Google Badware-Block!