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View Full Version : google as big-brother?



sarongsong
2005-Jan-13, 04:50 PM
"... The nine points we raised in connection with this nomination necessarily focused on privacy issues:
1.** Google's immortal cookie..."
http://www.google-watch.org/bigbro.html

Tranquility
2005-Jan-13, 06:24 PM
lol that page sounds like Google really pissed him off somehow.

1) Seriously, complaining about cookies? Well, actually Google can leave two cookies, one of them to save your search preferences (if you actually specify them, like opening search results in a new page, searching only for pages in the English language, etc.), and the other AFAIK to retain the language of the Google homepage you visit (there are localized versions of the Google homepage and this keeps track of it). If you feel that these might compromise your privacy ( :lol: ) delete them.

2) What search engine doesn't? The IP delivery based on geolocation is, as I mentioned above, for providing localized Google homepages which might help in providing more relevant results, and if you don't like that, you can click on the link to the main Google homepage. Also, every website records the browser configuration to display ads/content accordingly. You can further spoof this if you use Opera by for example choosing to identify your browser as IE or Mozilla browsers. Every single website detects your browser configuration.

3) This is a moot point if the data Google collects isn't personally identifiable. A quick glance at the Google privacy policy here (http://www.google.com/privacy.html) confirms this:


Google search, the Google Toolbar, Google News and some other services do not require any personally identifying information.
Google collects limited non-personally identifying information your browser makes available whenever you visit a website. This log information includes your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser. We use this information to operate, develop and improve our services.

You can also see on that page that the cookies are used to track preferences and organize lists for searching trends, which aren't personally identifiable as the privacy policy states.

4) Obviously the guy doesn't know about the existence of a privacy policy (linked above).

5) This sounds like big-time Richard Hoagland conspiracy nonsense. How about hiring actual security experts who might provide useful insights on data security? Really, this point sounds so woo-woo I can't bring myself to stress on it.

6) Google Toolbar is spyware? Well obviously all the antispyware utilities I have used disagree. Furthermore, if you set software to automatically update it does so. Technically, Symantec, Microsoft, ZoneLabs and Valve all have access to my hard drives because they update automatically without nagging me everyday. If a person IS actually concerned about privacy and security, he would have a firewall which would let you tell whether a software is trying to access the Internet.

7) This is absolutely not true. If a website does not wish to be cached on Google, they can contact Google and they would remove them from their cache.

8) Well, yeah Google is so popular because it offers excellent search results. Why the fact that so many people are using them because they're good is a problem, is beyond me. It's not like they're driving other search engines out of business or anything. Microsoft is trying to enter the market, Yahoo is already a dominant force in it. And that trying to take advantage thing is a joke. If a webmaster tries to include certain keywords in his website to skew search results in his/her favour harms Google's customers, which is something Google needs to worry about to maintain the integrity of their search results. I am personally unaware of the occurrence of such things (haven't seen anyone complain about it), but an example of such a thing that has gone unpunished, is if you go to Google, enter "miserable failure" and click on "I'm feeling lucky" you go to a George W. Bush biography. The thing is some people were linking to that page excessively with the words miserable failure, and numerous people did that, until searching for it on Google brought that page up. Perhaps it wasn't removed because of political views of the folks in Google, who knows.

9) Again since the information collected is not personally identifiable, I don't see the merit in this argument.

This guy really sounds like he got fired from Google, or is an MSN Search fan :lol: .

Argos
2005-Jan-14, 10:36 AM
I think some degree of prevention wouldnīt hurt. I would expect all that from Google, or someone else. However, If someone is trying to get my profile based on my internet preferences, they will end-up with a non-existing person. By no means I feel my privacy is violated by internet search machines. Simply they canīt beat me. Donīt want trouble? Turn the machine off.