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Google WiSpy II & Privacy Scandal #11 vs. Apple's Respect for Privacy

The current media and Congressional interest in the new revelation that Google and Apple have collected WiFi location information has largely missed an exceptionally salient point -- Google and Apple have very different privacy track records stemming from their very different attitudes toward privacy.

Google Privacy Scandal #11:

Google & Apple Privacy Differences:

Since this latest WiFi privacy story came out, Apple has announced its plans to fix the iphone WiFi location problem and Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated Apple has no intention to track users like Google does.

Apple also has a very different model and approach to business that is much more concerned about privacy and security by design than Google's open model and approach.

Tellingly, Google's Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt eloquently and starkly described the core difference between Google and Apple as Google saw it:

“Apple’s core strategy is closedness...” “With Apple’s model–which works extremely well, as I know as a former Apple board member–you have to use their development tools, their platform, their software, their hardware...” “When you submit an application, they have to approve it. You have to use their distribution. That’s not open….The inverse would be open.”


Simply, wouldn't Apple's "closedness" be an inherently more secure and private business approach, than Google's touted "openness" business approach, that has yielded the eleven privacy scandals listed above and has made security Google's Achilles Heel?

WiSpy II:

In addition, it is also amazing that no one has yet connected the dots that this is the Google's WiSpy II scandal, a deja vu repeat of Google's worst worldwide privacy scandal, where their Street View vehicle fleet collected private emails and passwords without permission. Google claimed that three-year, 33-country effort was a "mistake" of just one rogue Google engineer.

  • Now we know how deceptive that assertion was.
  • When they said they would no longer wardrive and collect WiFi signals via a Google vehicle people could see, Google basically clandestinely conscripted every user without their knowledge or permission to continue to do what Street View WiSpy did via Android phones, after representing to the world that they would not do that.
    • They led everyone to believe they learned from their mistake, were reformed and would respect privacy going forward.
    • That representation was clearly not true.
    • This should be problematic for Google since the FTC just charged Google with deceptive and unfair privacy practices.

In short, Google's privacy problem is simple; as a company and culture, they do not value privacy anywhere near as much as their users and society do.

  • If Google did, they would not be having privacy scandal after privacy scandal.

At some point the sheer volume of evidence of Google's disrespect for people's privacy will make clear Google is the Internet's most notorious privacy Black Hat.