Officials from Germany, Canada, France and seven other countries are raising privacy concerns about Google's mapping service and the company's fumbled foray into social networking.
Although the concerns they raise are not new, the officials said the online search leader "too often" forgets people's privacy rights as it rolls out new technologies.
The bulk of the complaints are over Buzz, which Google launched in February as part of its Gmail service. Buzz quickly came under fire for automatically creating public circles of friends for users, based on their most frequent e-mail contacts. After complaints, the company apologized and made changes to the service.
But in the letter sent Monday to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, privacy and data-protection officials from the 10 countries said they are still "extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues was launched in the first place."
2:17 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Privacy like any other type of freedom comes at a cost. As I build options in to my work that may touch upon any privacy related I directly place the privacy option for the option itself directly under the option. Just as there is a demand for getting at important information there is a need to protect it.
One of the best things I've ever learned in life is that no one, no one has my best interest in mind except for me; that applies to everyone else of course. You don't trust Google, Facebook, or any kind of authority because just as each individual human is fighting to take control of their life so are organizations of all kinds trying to control entire groups of people.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
3:16 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Google aint perfect but at least they admit it and they seem to actually care about privacy concerns. When people raised an issue during the Google Buzz beta testing Google addressed it.
3:21 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
they seem to actually care about privacy concerns
Actually, they seem to care about it only when there is a massive wave of complaints (such as in the Buzz case). Otherwise, as they have shown many times, your data is more valuable to them than your privacy.
Google CEO's privacy "philosophy" (real quote): 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.'
3:48 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
The officials called on Google to create default settings that protect users' privacy and to ensure that privacy control settings are prominent and easy to use.
I'm no privacy freak, but thats it right there in a nut shell.
The Google Play Book.
Automatically opt all users in Keep the user uninformed their even involved in the Google data collecting flavor of the day Make opting out above the capabilities of the average user with limited computer skills
When your collecting data, no matter how innocuous it may be, on someone who has no clue your doing it, thats a little sketchy ethics wise IMHO.
5:30 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Automatically opt all users in
to me, the biggest part of google's success lies exactly there. not only users, but basically opt everyone in without asking. for the search engine as well as for their other ventures they are profiting big time from the laxer u.s. privacy regulations. that gives them the comparative advantage to dominate the market over other companies who have to obide the mostly stricter rules of their respective home country in the first place. google creates facts. first and foremost, get everyone on board no matter how, obtain the largest possible database. the legal questioning of their projects comes only long time afterwards when the job is all done as you see in the "google books" or now in the "street view" case.
in legal systems of other areas in the world it would be unthinkable to start a venture with automatic opt-in for people - no matter how an opt-out is provided. and well, it's also the google brand that makes a difference - created through just this approach.
example youtube: the u.s. regulation of deleting questionable content on the platform not until users alert the provider.. outrageous. but exactly this is the needed starting advantage to get a chance to execute a commercial successful business at all. think of the extensive framework and manpower they had to install if all content had to be approved beforehand. they could close in a minute.
Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique Mac (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along. Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar says he's "horrified" by the discovery. "I am appalled… I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View,"
Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide. And when there's nowhere left to hide...?
I think I heard this before from a very famous leader of the past totalitarian regime…
There are search engines with better privacy policies, however, people do not think that is a reason to use them.
2:10 am on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
so when is eric going to get the pie in the face?
12:06 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
I think the public and multiple countries are finally discovering that Google is a massive personal intelligence gathering operation masquerading as a hip search engine.
7:18 am on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)
And what about all of the other internet sites that map these same countries, such as Bing Maps?
I'm very disappointed that they seem to have sent a letter specifically addressed to Google, and not to all companies who are causing the same concerns. Government should be fair and not show partially due to hype.