Sunday, January 29, 2012

Google's New Privacy Initiatives

OK, fellow users of Blogger/Blogspot - which includes Gmail and Picassa by default, probably along with all the other Google services, what do you think of the new privacy policy they're mailing around?

Do you think they're trying to force us into their Google+ social network, or do you take the more paranoid view that they're trying to enable even more detailed tracking and monitoring of us? Or are they just being efficient and kind and helping us do things we didn't even know we wanted to do?  The fact we can't opt out of it kinda makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This is the only Google service I still use.  Never use it for search.  Never use it for maps.  Never have gotten the Google Earth bug. 

Years ago, 1999, Scott MacNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems famously said, "You have zero privacy, anyway. Get over it."  (started a firestorm, that, but it might well have been prescient).  You have all the privacy of the grains in a sandbox.  No particular grain stands out above all the rest, and you don't notice them, but if anyone wants to put a particular grain under a microscope, they can learn everything they want to know about it.  You don't have privacy, you have anonymity.  

I know we're paranoid, but are we paranoid enough?
Users of surveillance drones and satellites will notice smoke coming from my backyard.  Remote sensing units will swing into service to determine if another clandestine meth lab has started operating.  Chemical sensors will sniff the trail and decide it's a mix of hickory, oak, charcoal, and pork butt.  The sensors will not be disappointed; they can't feel emotions like that.  They will simply move on to the next target. 


  1. Its annoying, but there's no real privacy, in practice.

    I may use this as a reason to flop over to wordpress, though. The lack of an opt out is insulting, imo.

    It's free though.

    I might just vote with my virtual "feet".


  2. Yeah, that's pretty much where I am. I have the complication that I can't read Wordpress from work. Pretty much anything on blogger, and other blog services, just not Wordpress. Net Nanny is a bit senile, I think.

  3. Anonymity is the best one can hope for. What will "save" us isn't the collecting of information - too late to stop that - it will be the collecting of so much info about so much everything, it will be hard to find any one particular piece.

    But if "they" want you, they >will< get you. And they will err on the side to their best interests. Ever try to fight a camera ticket?

    That new TV show "Person of Interest" isn't as much fiction as many suppose ... or hope.


  4. Anyone notice the Federal court which recently ruled .gov can
    legally" force you to de-crypt your laptop for them? The court ruled that they cannot force you to _give_ them your password (yet), but they _can_ force you to type it in yourself.