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Online Safety

Google Sides with Wikileaks

It is stunning that Google's decision to side with Julian Assange's Wikileaks and make all the stolen secret, private and proprietary Wikileaks information universally accessible to the world via Google search, has gotten virtually no media attention, given the:

 

  • International carnage and controversy caused by Wikileaks reprehensible actions;
  • Media's broad coverage of Wikileaks;
  • Google's serial disrespect for others as evidenced by its serial privacy, IP, cybersecurity, and antitrust problems around the world that have been broadly covered by the media; and
  • Google is the world's leading source for accessing Wikileaks secret, private and proprietary information.

 

When Google's Acting CEO Eric Schmidt told the DLD media conference in Munich (as reported by Reuters):

 

Larry Page's Biggest Challenges as Google CEO

Larry Page is very different from Eric Schmidt, consequently he will be a completely different Google CEO.

 

  • Mr. Page is the internal hardliner and the main driving force behind Google, providing the uber-ambition, the "open" philosophy/ideology zeal, the passion-for-innovation, and the impatient, aggressive take-no-prisoners approach to most everything Google does.
  • Mr. Page has always been the penultimate power, final decision-maker and driving force inside Google behind the scenes.
  • Mr. Schmidt has been the co-founders' public face and very able implementer and businessman.

 

The biggest difference people will notice will be external relations.

First, Schmidt and Page are polar opposites when it comes to external relations.

Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review

To promote "America's free market," President Obama today ordered a government-wide review of regulations that "make our economy less competitive," in order to take us "toward a 21st century regulatory system."

Here is the case for why the FCC's December Open Internet order deserves to be atop of the Administration's regulations to review for abolition.

 

 

First, the FCC's new Internet regulations violate the President's goal of a "21st century regulatory system" by applying "outdated" 19th century common carrier regulatory thinking and approaches to the previously un-regulated, and flourishing 21st century Internet. (Para 68)

Second, the FCC rules violate the President's goal of avoiding "excessive, inconsistent, and redundant regulation."

 

Wikileaks & Responsible Open Internet Boundaries

Julian Assange's reprehensible Wikileaks data breaches of secret, private and proprietary information to the web, endangering lives, diplomacy and peace, has thrust to the forefront of public debate: what are the responsible boundaries of an "Open Internet?"

 

  • It is an especially timely debate given that the FCC is proposing an "Open Internet Order" for FCC decision on December 21st, and given that the FCC is trying to officially define what an "open Internet" is for the first time, in order to restrict what competitive broadband Internet providers can and cannot do.

 

It is instructive that the term "open Internet" is found nowhere in law.

 

Privacy Neutrality?

If online users can and should be able to expect the "net neutrality" freedom of choice to access whatever content they want on whatever technology they want, why can't and shouldn't online users be able to expect to have the "privacy neutrality" freedom of choice to protect whatever privacy they want on whatever technology they want?

Isn't it curious that Google and the Open Internet Coalition are so adamant that consumers have access to all of the content of their choice, but apparently are opposed to consumers having all of the privacy protections of their choice?

How do net neutrality proponents justify the stance that consumers know best for access to content, but they don't know best when it comes to protecting their own online privacy and online safety?

Why would net neutrality proponents be opposed to allowing consumers the freedom to choose to either fully protect their privacy or to exploit their privacy for personal gain?

Could it be that consumer choice/freedom for  content is good for Internet companies' business models, but consumer choice/freedom to protect their own privacy is not good for Internet companies' business models?

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

A Google Android Botnet Problem? "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Part X of Series

Hackers have discovered a new serious security vulnerability in certain Android smartphones that is not easily or quickly patched because of Android's open and fragmented platform -- per Joseph Menn's report in the FT.

 

  • Specifically an HTC Android browser vulnerability enables a hacker to take broad control of an Android device.

 

The potential security implications of this are even more serious than they first appear.

 

Why Google's Privacy Controls are a Joke -- Lessons for FTC/FCC

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.

 

  • Hopefully, the FCC's investigation of Google WiSpy will not look the other way like the FTC apparently did, when a Fortune 200 company with the industry's longest privacy violation rap sheet, was caught red-handed violating millions of Americans' privacy and found to have misrepresented facts and misled investigators, got off without any FTC sanction, oversight or accountability whatsoever.

 

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.

Google Wi-Spy Was an Intentional Plan to Beat Skyhook Wireless

Google's 'Wi-Spy' vacuuming of all of everyone's WiFi signals was no "mistake" -- as Google has repeatedly asserted -- but part of a purposeful and comprehensive Google business expansion plan to enter, catch up and compete with SkyHook Wireless, Google's only significant competitor in mobile location services. (In September, Skyhook sued Google for deceptive and unfair trade practices and patent infringement.)

 

Google's mandatory location profiling/tracking

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."

  • Kudos to Mr. Matyszczyk for spotlighting this latest "creepy line" Google default mandate.

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.

 

Why is the FTC AWOL on Google Privacy?

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?

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths