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Add facial recognition to Google list of privacy creepiness

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be another creepy way Google could threaten privacy, Google does not disappoint. Google is now adding faceprints to what it already knows about you: voiceprints, searchprints, clickprints, homeprints, emailprints, DNAprints, and readerprints -- because Google does not "know enough about you..."

  • An excellent article by Jefferson Graham in USA Today informs us that Google is now an industry-leader in... facial recognition technology!
    • In 2006, Google acquired a leading company in facial recognition, and Google is using it now to help simplify the tagging and organization of people's rapidly growing archives of digital pictures through its Picassa photo application.
    • Mr. Graham found a great quote to capture the privacy concern:

      • "I don't like it at all," says Rob Williams, who blogs for the Techgage website. "Google knows what I search for, where I live and how much time I spend on websites. Now they know what my friends look like, too. That's just too much."

The problem is this is part of a much bigger pattern of disrespect of privacy by Google.

Think about the Orwellian "Big Brother" pattern developing here.

  • Faceprints: Google now aspires to recognize your face and the faces of people you know. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how that information could be used against someone.
  • Voiceprints:  Google 411 is also recording voiceprints to master its voiceprint recognition technology. Once again, that capability could be misused if connected to other private information.
  • SearchPrints:  Google stores your all search behavior to profile your behavior for the purposes of behavioral advertising.
  • ClickPrints: With the addition of DoubleClick, Google is now able to track most everywhere people go on the Internet, whether or not they use Google, because Google knows who visits most all websites. Google is the world leader in Unauthorized Tracking on the Internet.
  • HomePrints: With Google's Streetview, Google is photographing everyone"s home. With Google Earth, Google has photos of everyone's yard too.  
  • Emailprints: Google's Gmail scans the content of users' email for the purposes of targeted advertising.
  • DNAprints:  Google funded 23andMe  a company that does genetic profiling for the masses. DNAprints may be the ultimate in private information.
  • ReaderPrints: Through Google News and other Google-DoubleClick cookie tracking software, Google knows most all of what you read on the Internet.
  • Are fingerprints, palmprints, and iris-prints next? It follows logically if Google seeks to collect the most private information about you: faceprints, voiceprints, searchprints, clickprints, homeprints, emailprints, DNAprints, readerprints -- that they would find fingerprints, plamprints, and iris-prints useful too. 

Bottom line: 

Why is Google collecting all this private and most intimate information on users? It's because core to Google's operating philosophy is a fundamental belief in "publicacy," that all information should be public and easily accessible to anyone on the Internet. As Privacy International keenly observed -- Google is "hostile to privacy."

So again, why does Google want to collect all this private information about you? Listen to what Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a revealing interview with the FT:

  • We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”    
  • “We are very early in the total information we have within Google. The algorithms will get better and we will get better at personalisation."
  • “The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ”

The FT's title of this article reeks with Orwellian "Big Brother" overtones: "Google's Goal; to organise your daily life."

Google's master plan underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to protecting people's privacy on the Internet.