Google ‘not interested’ in privacy, say information tsars
Google has repeatedly shown a “disappointing disregard” for safeguarding private information about its users, the privacy officials from 10 major countries have said.
Britain’s Information Commissioner Chris Graham and equivalent officials from Canada, France, Germany and Italy were among the signatories to a letter to the search giant’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, which condemned the way the company has delivered both its Streetview mapping service and its Buzz product, which was conceived as a rival to social network Facebook.
The letter, organised by Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, calls on Google to lay out how it will meet concerns about its use of public data in the future, and says that it has “violated the fundamental principle that individuals should be able to control the use of their personal information”. The search giant has already acted to address a number of the points now raised in the letter, but said that it had no further statements to make on its privacy policies.
The launch of the Buzz network in February sparked an international wave of protests because it took information about email users’ most common correspondents and automatically built each individual a network of followers. This meant that links which people wished to keep private could immediately become public.
Google Streetview, which provides an eye-level picture of almost every street in dozens of cities around the world, continues to cause “concern about the adequacy of the information [Google] provides before the images are captured”, the commissioners said. The product has also been launched some countries “without due consideration of privacy and data protection laws and cultural norms”, they added.
In a statement Google said that it had quickly rectified the problems that caused Buzz users concern. “We have discussed all these issues publicly many times before and have nothing to add to today’s letter,” the search company said. “Of course we do not get everything 100% right. We try very hard to be upfront about the data we collect, and how we use it, as well as to build meaningful controls into our products.“
The commissioners, however, said that they “remain extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues [as Buzz] was launched in the first place”.
The hypocrisy of the state is a bottomless well full of the excrement of a thousand years of violence, theft, lies and bastardy. They “remain extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues [as Buzz] was launched in the first place”. What an extraordinary statement, especially coming from the people who issue mandatory Passports, ID Cards, forced enrolment in ContactPoint and all the other harmful things that these states have deployed, knowing full well in advance that they were harmful to the privacy of the people who would be forced into being violated by them.
Lets think about what Google DOES NOT DO, compared to what these states DO DO.
Google does not:
- FORCE people into a National Identity Register, where your fingerprints are taken BY FORCE.
- Operate a system of MANDATORY passports where if you want to exercise your right to travel, you need their permission in advance.
- FORCE people to apply for and carry a driver’s license to drive their own cars
- FORCE people to carry an ID Card when they leave their own houses
- FORCE people to ‘register’ their children at birth
- FORCE people’s children onto databases like ContactPoint
- FORCE people to reveal their private banking transactions to facilitate theft
- FORCE private companies to violate the privacy of their users
- SPY on people’s telephone conversations
- SPY on people’s emails
- READ people’s snail mail to spy on them
- FORCE people to be locked into their violations and predations with no opt out
- FORCE people to _________ their own ________ so that they can __________
Google is a provider of VOLUNTARY SERVICES that exist on a PRIVATE NETWORK OF COMPUTERS that is the internets. In this respect, they are absolutely moral, clean and without blemish of any kind. You do not like their services? Go to Yahoo, Hotmail or the devil for all they care. Google will not hunt you down with guns and murder you for refusing their voluntary services, unlike the state.
All of these purely evil people, namely Jennifer Stoddart Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Alex Türk Chairman, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (France), Peter Schaar Commissioner, Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit (Germany), Billy Hawkes Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland, Yoram Hacohen Head of the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority, Francesco Pizzetti Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (Italy), Jacob Kohnstamm Chairman, College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens (Netherlands) Chairman Article 29 Working Party, Marie Shroff Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand, Artemi Rallo Lombarte Director, Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (Spain), Christopher Graham Information Commissioner and Chief Executive (United Kingdom)
Are ALL guilty of working for criminal and immoral organisations that routinely steal, murder and violate the property and privacy of hundreds of millions of people on a daily basis. There is no escaping this, and they have a huge amount of PURE GALL attacking Google in this way.
When these idiotic, violent, violating, computer illiterate agents of the state offer:
giving people simple procedures for deleting their accounts and honouring their requests in a timely way.
so that the state has none of the information they hold on citizens, THEN and ONLY THEN will they be in a position to say ANYTHING to Google. The state should not have a monopoly on privacy violation; this is what it has now, and that is unacceptable to any decent person with a properly formulated code of ethics.
While we are at it, we must make special mention of Germany and Canada, who outlaw speech that they find objectionable. Obviously (you read BLOGDIAL after all) you know that what anyone feels about a particular speaker is irrelevant. Freedom of speech is a non negotiable absolute. It is entirely illegitimate for the state to proscribe strings of words.
But I digress.
These people, these unproductive, unethical parasites, have a hell of a nerve writing a letter to a company that provides a useful and completely voluntary service to anyone who wants it.
People do not like being on streetview. This is understandable. If all the roads were private, then streetview would be impossible. The people who own the streets would have the right to exclude the streetview cars from travelling down their roads. Libertarians WIN again!
Of course, this would not stop people making drawings of what is on a street and publishing them; those would be just as useful as photographs and would not violate anyone’s privacy.
Thankfully, Google has some balls:
As we have written before, there are definitely questions to be asked over the privacy implications of StreetView and the so-called ‘joined-up’ online world Google is creating with phone, email. social networking, GPS mapping and, potentially, medical records all being held on the database of one large multinational company.
Well, it seems that Google took the accusations to heart and – in a wonderfully catty reaction – has today published a a tool that shows how often governments around the world have either asked it for data on users or asked that data be removed from Google search results.
Top of the list of user information requests is Brazil with 3,663 inquiries, reflecting the strength of Google’s Orkut social networking system in that country. The US comes second with 3,580 requests and the UK third with 1,166, the highest in Europe by a considerable margin.
Brazil also tops the lists of information removal, with 291 requests. Germany comes second with 188 and India third with 142, edging out the US, which made 123 requests.
Congratulations should go out to Google for publishing this table and revealing the extent to which Governments around the world are prepared to lean on internet-based companies – and potentially control what we see on the web. Congratulations are also due to our Information Commissioner for recognising the privacy issues with StreetView etc.
It further proves that it is not just state databases we should be concerned about.
Actually, Big Brother Watch is wrong about the non state databases being something of concern; it is only the state’s mandatory access to private data that causes the problem, not the fact that company owned databases are used as a tool. If there were no state, there would be no threat from databases because it is the violence of the state that makes a database dangerous.
Google and more recently Talk Talk are demonstrating that they have some guts and are not willing to passively be the apparatus of the state.
At last, a ram amongst the sheep!