More fear-mongering from dead tree merchants

Robert Verkaik, another computer illiterate drone for a dead tree merchant, a ‘law editor’, writes about Google. Quite why these people never get their screeds vetted by someone who understands the internets is beyond me….here we go:

Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is setting out to create the most comprehensive database of personal information ever assembled, one with the ability to tell people how to run their lives.

This is exaggeration. Being able to ASK FOR ADVICE is very different to being ‘told how to run your life’. That’s what HMG does.

In a mission statement that raises the spectre of an internet Big Brother to rival Orwellian visions of the state, Google has revealed details of how it intends to organise and control the world’s information.

Nonsense. Big Brother refers directly to TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT, of the kind being cooked up in the USUK. You DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE with Totalitarian Government, you DO have a choice not to use Google, or any of their related services, and you can still have complete use of the internets. Google can never ‘control the world’s information’ this is just an ignorant lie.

The company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said during a visit to Britain this week: “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?’.”

Sounds interesting; that is what this article should have been about, not a bunch of fear-mongering computer illiterate trash.

Speaking at a conference organised by Google, he said : “We are very early in the total information we have within Google. The algorithms [software] will get better and we will get better at personalisation.”

Google’s declaration of intent was publicised at the same time it emerged that the company had also invested £2m in a human genetics firm called 23andMe. The combination of genetic and internet profiling could prove a powerful tool in the battle for the greater understanding of the behaviour of an online service user.

Really? That sounds like a pretty wild proclamation! Instead of just taking your word for it, JACKASS, lets find out what its REALLY all about:

23andMe is a privately held company developing new ways to help you make sense of your own genetic information.

Even though your body contains trillions of copies of your genome, you’ve likely never read any of it. Our goal is to connect you to the 23 paired volumes of your own genetic blueprint (plus your mitochondrial DNA), bringing you personal insight into ancestry, genealogy, and inherited traits. By connecting you to others, we can also help put your genome into the larger context of human commonality and diversity.

Toward this goal, we are building on recent advances in DNA analysis technologies to enable broad, secure, and private access to trustworthy and accurate individual genetic information. Combined with educational and scientific resources with which to interpret and understand it, your genome will soon become personal in a whole new way.

Hmmm sounds very vague, and not at all threatening. What is FAR MORE CLEAR and ABSOLUTELY THREATENING, and HERE NOW, is the DNA database operated by the UK government, the biggest in the world, which violates millions of people who have done nothing wrong. How can you call Google sinister when they have nothing up and running, and FAIL to mention that the UK already runs an Orwellian and human rights violating Police State DNA database of its own RIGHT NOW?

If you are a brain dead, computer illiterate, dim-witted journalist, well, then its easy, and while you attack Google for something that they are only talking about, your own government is committing violations, in your name and with your money, that you fail to mention in this appropriate context.

You are pathetic.

Earlier this year Google’s competitor Yahoo unveiled its own search technology, known as Project Panama, which monitors internet visitors to its site to build a profile of their interests.

I wonder if the Independent uses Web Analytics to see what people are clicking on at their piss poor website?

Lets have a look shall we?

On the very page where this screed sits, there are four ads.

One of then was served by DOUBLECLICK, which is about to be bought by Google.

They also have a devices by OVERTURE (Yahoo Search Marketing).

ROTFL you can’t make this stuff up!

Clearly The Independent takes advantage of Web Analytics just like anyone else who has a website does; does this make The Independent evil? Of course it does not. What DOES make The Independent evil is that it spreads lies, FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) in order to sell newspapers.

THAT is what we call evil.

Privacy protection campaigners are concerned that the trend towards sophisticated internet tracking and the collating of a giant database represents a real threat, by stealth, to civil liberties.

I am sick and tired of these ‘Privacy protection campaigners’ who never offer any solutions and who do not write any software. We have never EVER been in such a powerful position when it comes to protecting our privacy, and if some of these people spent less time whining and more time contributing to projects that everyone can use to not only protect their privacy, but have more privacy than anyone who lived in the 20th century during the era of the telephone, we would all be in a less dangerous situation. That means educating people about the tools you can use to protect your privacy, contributing to these software and hardware projects, and less complaining and alarm bell ringing without action. Oh yes, they might even try using these tools themselvs. Liberty, for example, does not publish a PGP key. It makes you wonder doesn’t it?

That concern has been reinforced by Google’s $3.1bn bid for DoubleClick, a company that helps build a detailed picture of someone’s behaviour by combining its records of web searches with the information from DoubleClick’s “cookies”, the software it places on users’ machines to track which sites they visit.

HA HA HA!! ‘cookies’ in DOUBLE QUOTES.

The Independent has set SIX cookies on my machine, one of them from Hitbox, who do real time Web Analytics. You FAIL IT. Not only does The Independent use Web Analytics, they are so stupid, that they PAY for the service instead of using Google Analytics!

Advice to ALL newspapers in the UK; always call a geek to fact check these articles BEFORE you publish them. That way you will not look like TOTAL IDIOTS.

The Independent has now learnt that the body representing Europe’s data protection watchdogs has written to Google requesting more information about its information retention policy.

The multibillion-pound search engine has already said it plans to impose a limit on the period it keeps personal information.

Once again, the EU is bringing in or has brought in data retention legislation which is far more important and which should be noted in this section, because it is done COMPULSORILY whereas Google is VOLUNTARY and no one is compelled to use Google.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK agency responsible for monitoring data legislation confirmed it had been part of the group of organisations, known as the Article 29 Working Group, which had written to Google.

It is understood the letter asked for more detail about Google’s policy on the retention of data. Google says it will respond to the Article 29 request next month when it publishes a full response on its website.

The Information Commissioner’s spokeswoman added: “I can’t say what was in it only that it was written in response to Google’s announcement that will hold information for no more than two years.”

YOU CANT MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!!!!

So, they wrote a letter, ostensibly on behalf of the citizens they represent, and CANNOT REVEAL THE CONTENTS OF THE LETTER.

I know who I trust more… GOOGLE. They do not hide what they are doing, unlike these people from ‘the Article 29 Working Group’ (who publish their docs in PDF format for the most part), one previous head of the group being Göran Persson no experience in computers whatsoever. The current head, Peter Schaar is at least qualified; what a pity he does not subscribe to openness! At least there is someone in there who knows what they are talking about. Sadly my german (and my time) are limited, otherwise, I would hunt down the rest of this committee.

Ross Anderson, professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University and chairman of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, said there was a real issue with “lock in” where Google customers find it hard to extricate themselves from the search engine because of the interdependent linkage with other Google services, such as iGoogle, Gmail and YouTube. He also said internet users could no longer effectively protect their anonymity as the data left a key signature.

I subscribe to FIPR, and paid for that subscription.

Ross is wrong about this. Cambridge University should have a huge software development programme, where they release useful tools under the GPL, and contribute to existing tools to help protect people’s privacy.

It is absolutely useless to complain about iGoogle. Anyone can create tools for the Web. Writely was bought by google. It was written by some coders because they had a cool idea. If you think that Google being in charge of everyone’s docs is a bad thing, then you should organize your own tools that has strict privacy policies in place that protect the user, release it for free under the auspices of the University, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

It has never been easier to create these tools, and it has never been easier to deploy them. There is no excuse anymore. We can have privacy if we want it, and companies having plans that we object to doesn’t mean that we have to put up with them. We can make our own tools, release them and supplant Google. YouTube did this; they utterly demolished Google Video, and there were only a few of them that put it together. Google itself destroyed InfoSeek and the other first generation search engines. Recent history makes this perfectly clear; we do not have to put up with any objectionable services, and there is no company so big that it cannot be beaten by a few geeks with some free software.

“A lot of people are upset by some of this. Why should an angst-ridden teenager who subscribes to MySpace have their information dragged up 30 years later when they go for a job as say editor of the Financial Times?

I have written about this before; in the future, everyone will agree that what happened in the past is the past. This is the only way that we will be able to live in a world where people leave (either willingly or unwillingly) details of their past thoughts and actions available for all to see. Everyone will understand that, “what I say NOW is what matters, nothing else”.

But there are serious privacy issues as well. Under data protection laws, you can’t take information, that may have been given incidentally, and use it for another purpose. The precise type and size of this problem is yet to be determined and will change as Google’s business changes.”

Once again, the UK is trying to dismantle these laws; THAT is far more important and horrifying than an unexecuted PLAN from Google, and if the UK dismantles its data protection laws, does that mean that Google will be excluded from taking advantage of the changes? In any case, all Google have to do is change their terms of service to allow them to use your data in the ways that they need to; you can then decline if you so choose. Compare and contrast this with the policiy of the UK, where you have NO CHOICE TO REFUSE. Take for example your NHS medical records; they are the property of the Secretary of State, and before you can get them removed from your doctors computer, you have to have permission from The Secretary of State. With Google, if you want to delete your account and all the private, personal, sensitive and confidential data you have put there, all you have to do is close your account, and its all deleted permanently.

Which one is sinister to you?

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner said that because of the voluntary nature of the information being targeted, the Information Commission had no plans to take any action against the databases.

At last, some common sense.

Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy Ccunsel, said the company intended only doing what its customers wanted it to do.

Unlike the murdering government of Bliar, that ignores the wishes of the electorate every single time.

He said Mr Schmidt was talking about products such as iGoogle, where users volunteer to let Google use their web histories. “This is about personalised searches, where our goal is to use information to provide the best possible search for the user. If the user doesn’t want information held by us, then that’s fine. We are not trying to build a giant library of personalised information. All we are doing is trying to make the best computer guess of what it is you are searching for.”

Simple. Too simple for the fear-mongers and jackasses of this world.

Privacy protection experts have argued that law enforcement agents – in certain circumstances – can compel search engines and internet service providers to surrender information. One said: “The danger here is that it doesn’t matter what search engines say their policy is because it can be overridden by national laws.”

[…]

The Independent (a VERY STUPID newspaper)

Then by all means, write a big article about that, which is a clear abuse, and don’t shoot the people who are merely trying to give you a useful service FOR FREE!

You ungrateful SWINE!

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