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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2010-11-11 11:03
Google's latest privacy controls are a bad joke, certainly not sufficient to warrant the FTC completely absolving serial privacy violator Google from all responsibility in the Google WiSpy Affair, especially given that other law enforcement bodies have found misrepresentation of facts and violation of users' privacy.
Why are Google's latest privacy controls insufficient?
First, Google's leadership is clearly not publicly supportive of more privacy controls, but openly skeptical and defiant that Google does not need to alter its approach to innovation to better protect privacy and security.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2010-11-01 11:56
Google won't allow you to opt-out of their location tracking for search, we learn from CNET's Chris Matyszczyk's outstanding post "How Google stops you hiding your location."
What does this mean?
First, it means that Google has not learned much from its serial privacy problems, like Google setting a default that everyone's house should be included in StreetView photographing and Spi-Fi signal recording, and everyone that signed up for Google Buzz by default should share their Gmail addresses with the public.
Second, it means that Google profiles and tracks your location by default and that you can't opt out from Google knowing where you are, you can only select what local setting Google will use to customize your search results.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2010-10-27 22:45
Congress needs to conduct oversight hearings to learn why the FTC is apparently giving Google special treatment, and more specifically why the FTC inexplicably dropped its Google StreetView spi-fi privacy probe without any charges, before it even learned all the facts, and without any accountability mechanism in place to protect consumers or prevent repeat violations.
Google's wanton wardriving in 33 countries for over three years secretly recording people's WiFi transmissions, including full emails and passwords, arguably is the single broadest privacy breach in the Internet era. And the FTC did nothing. And the FTC sees no need for any further action. Amazing.
What's wrong with this picture? A lot. A better question might be what's right with the FTC-Google privacy enforcement picture?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2010-09-21 10:53
In another Google fit of no-self-awareness, Google has launched a new web tool that they call the "transparency report" in order to promote transparency as "a deterrent to censorship," per a Google spokeswoman in the NYT's Bits Blog.
While I applaud the tool and Google's effort to promote transparency as a deterrent to censorship, the effort appears disingenuous because of Google's double standard that others must submit to transparency, but not Google.
Google's tool will have "a map that shows every time a government has asked Google to take down or hand over information, and what percentage of the time Google has complied," per the NYT's Bits Blog."
If transparency is good:
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2010-09-21 09:39
Google CEO Eric Schmidt claimed to reporters last week that all the conflict surrounding Google was a good thing because it meant "This is winning. If we were losing, we would not have these problems." Ever the first to try and politically frame whatever Google is doing or experiencing, this particular frame backfires badly for Google.
First, Google's clear implication here is that all the conflict surrounding Google is just losers complaining, and losers are well losers so people should not listen to what a loser says about Google. Apparently, Mr. Schmidt sees himself as the BMOC on the tech campus and everyone that
We know the word conflict can mean contest, but we also know the word conflict mainly means a disagreement, generally over ideas.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2010-08-25 14:44
The top U.S. spy agency for mapping announced a no-bid digital mapping contract with Google on August 19th. However, after media inquiries, the agency modified the contract's no-bid format, but made clear "the agency's intention to award the contract to Google without entertaining competitive bids" -- per a Fox News story by James Rosen.
Has anyone in a position of authority or oversight even begun to think through the irony and stupidity of contracting out the Nation's most sensitive intelligence gathering and analysis function to a company that has:
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2010-07-22 16:25
The fateful policy decision by the FTC/DOJ to exclude privacy as a factor in antitrust enforcement has fostered a perverse market dynamic where many online advertising companies now effectively compete on the basis of who can most take advantage of consumer privacy fastest, rather than compete on the basis of who can best protect consumer privacy.
This analysis will show:
I. Implications of exempting privacy from antitrust enforcement.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2010-07-21 13:12
37 States are now involved in a "powerful multi-state investigation" of "Google's Streetview snooping" per a press release from investigation leader, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who released a new follow-up letter to Google asking for more information and clarification of its representations to date.
The letter shows the investigation is very serious. Its prosecutorial exactness strongly suggests that investigators believe Google has not been forthright in its answers to date and that it could be covering up material information to the investigation.
What appears to be the most problematic line of inquiry is whether or not Google tested this software before it was used in public to collect private information on consumers.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2010-07-09 11:00
In an exceptionally uncharacteristic low-key PR manner for Google, Google announced on its blog in one sentence that China renewed its license to operate in China.
What's the rest of the story here?
Google and China have been at loggerheads with one another in one of the highest-of-profile international standoffs between a private company and a superpower in modern history, since Google publicly accused China in January blogpost of being complicit in a hack of Google that resulted in the theft of Google's intellectual property, (which John Markoff of the New York Times reported was the extremely sensitive computer code for Google's password control system.)
What is the quid pro quo here?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2010-05-18 18:21
Google's wanton "wardriving," i.e. detecting, accessing, and recording residential WiFi networks in 30 countries for over three years, was not simply a "mistake," "inadvertent," or an "accident" as the Google's PR machine has spun it. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming to anyone who bothers to examine it closely.
The case for why Google's wanton wardriving is more than just a "mistake."
I. Identifying the questionable practice: "Wardriving"