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Author Topic: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy  (Read 2658 times)

Paul Keith

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The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« on: June 05, 2010, 07:35:35 AM »
Source: http://www.dailymail...-homes.html?ITO=1490

Quote
Google has again been accused of invading privacy after secretly collecting details of millions of home wi-fi connections to help it sell adverts.

The search engine giant mapped every wireless internet connection in the country and now uses the data to make money.

Google staff in specially adapted cars collected the signals from inside residents' homes as they toured the country for the company's Street View project.

They were able to record the location of every router and wireless network without telling anyone because wi-fi signals spill out from inside homes on to the street.

Quote
The company has admitted it should have been more 'transparent' but played down the significance of the wi-fi mapping. Spokesman Peter Barron said: 'Many other companies have been collecting data like this for as long as if not longer than, Google.

We don't collect any information about householders, we can't identify an individual from the location data Google collects via Street View cars and we don't publish this information.

This is publicly broadcast information which is accessible to anyone with a wi-fi enabled device, but we accept in hindsight it would have been better to be more transparent about what we collect.' But human rights group Privacy International has called for a 'full-scale audit' of Google.

Comment:

Quote
I can't believe you're making such a big deal out of this. Sure, it's surprising and shocking that they have personal info, but the information that was collected is open for anyone to view, and therefore there should be no problems.

The photo's taken for Street View are no different than walking down a street by yourself, or taking photographs of strangers houses.

The wi-fi hotspots and signals can easily be found by anyone walking down a street with a laptop, mobile phone or handheld games console.

And the data taken (ie, emails, forms etc) from people's wi-fi signals can also easily be picked up due to the fact that the data collected was from routers that hadn't been set up to have security settings.

If people don't like any of this, maybe they should just live somewhere where people can't see their houses (?), use wired connections, or set up wireless security.

It's not hard.


Eóin

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2010, 10:07:31 AM »
Using scanners to listen in on someones pre-GSM mobile phone calls is illegal, why do some people have such difficulty understanding this to be totally illegal too?

Renegade

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 07:24:01 PM »
I wonder when the courts are going to figure out that it's the same as a peeping Tom, and that's illegal too. Sigh...
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Eóin

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2010, 09:35:04 AM »
The more I read that last quoted comment the more stupid, and disconnected from reality, I think the poster must have been.

Their suggestion seems to be that if something is easy to do, and easy to prevent, then it's ok to do it. Extending that logic one could argue it's fine to go around shooting people. After all a gun is easy to use and everyone else could wear body armor.

tomos

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2010, 01:02:30 PM »

just in case anyone missed it -
a related thread, but focusing more on governments trying to get their hands on what google have collected:
Power corrupts... and absolute power...
Tom

40hz

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2010, 01:54:55 PM »
I find it particularly disingenuous that many of the governments (who routinely and secretly violate their citizen's privacy) are displaying the most outrage over this 'incident.'

BlameGoogle.jpg

I think Google is at risk of becoming the Straw Man for the bigger issue of personal privacy.

As long as people are kept screaming about Google, they'll be less inclined to notice what their governments are up to.




Eóin

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2010, 02:53:58 PM »
Other side of the coin of course, there was a criminal act here and the people required to prosecute Google over this are governments, and to do so they need to have the recorded data as evidence.

Last weekend, on the instructions of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Google destroyed all WiFi data relating to collection in Ireland. This action has the effect of removing any chance of further legal action of investigation. The Irish Commissioner was wrong to have issued such an instruction. The action could be seen as collusion to destroy evidence.

So don't be so quick to cry conspiracy theory when in fact these are very difficult legal waters to navigate. Ireland here seems to have already made a big mistake.

40hz

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 03:11:58 PM »
^I'm not "crying conspiracy." I'm simply making an observation that this particular issue is a lot less serious and deliberate than some people are making it out to be. And the recent spate of actions on the part of many governments to violate their own laws (all in the name if security) constitutes a much larger and more serious threat.

And far be it from me to defend Google. I was never a big fan of theirs.

But it should be pointed out that Google could be shut down tomorrow by any government that felt Google was exceeding it's legal sphere of activity. The same could not be said of governments should they exceed their constitutional authority.

Just my tuppence. :)  

edit: corrected some spelling.
:-[
 

 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 05:55:07 PM by 40hz »

Eóin

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2010, 03:21:41 PM »
Sorry 40hz, I wasn't directing that at you personally, nor anyone here for that matter at all.

But I fully admit that the last bit of my post does read as if it was directed at you previous post, I meant it to refer to the tone of the linked to 'Power corrupts' thread.

40hz

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2010, 03:38:52 PM »
Sorry 40hz, I wasn't directing that at you personally, nor anyone here for that matter at all.

But I fully admit that the last bit of my post does read as if it was directed at you previous post, I meant it to refer to the tone of the linked to 'Power corrupts' thread.

No apologies needed.  :) I think we know each other well enough from seeing other posts up on the forum that neither of us would doubt each others intentions when reading one.

Besides, we're all friends here - and this is an important topic that deserves as much challenging discussion and commentary as it can get.

Also forgive me if I sounded "snarky." One of the problems with the "low bandwidth" of forum posts is how easy it is to mistake someone's passion for anger. And vice-versa.

(Maybe there's a way to color code a sentence? Red text for anger, pink italic for passion? ;D )

 :Thmbsup:

Renegade

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2010, 07:30:51 PM »
^I'm not "crying conspiracy." I'm simply making an observation that this particular issue is a lot less serious and deliberate that some people are making it out to be. And the recent spate of actions on the part of many governments to violate their own laws (all in the name if security) constitutes a much larger and mire serious threat.

And far be it from me to defend Google. I was never a big fan of theirs.

But it should be pointed out that Google could be shut down tomorrow by any government that felt Google was exceeding it's legal sphere of activity. The same could not be said of governments should they exceed their constitutional authority.

Just my tuppence. :) 

+40 for 40Hz! :D

I would go so far as to say that there are no governments that do not exceed their mandate to govern.

I need only cite separation of church and state. Marriage is a holy institution. Civil union is the unholy, errr... I mean the secular version of marriage. Why does the state have any say in marriage? It is out of its domain. (This obviously goes to situations like gay marriage, etc. Gay "marriage" is a matter of religion, and not a concern for the state.) But I don't want to raise those issues here -- only point out a clear case where the state has overstepped its mandate to GOVERN.

In a similarly cynical vein, take the roles of organizations in general... Why is it that while other organizations generally are deemed to succeed when they increase operational efficiency, profits, throughput/output, and other key business indicators, governments on the other had only succeed when they become bloated, inefficient, money pits? e.g. Greece where 1 in 10 people work in civil service (about 5% of the population).

It's not corporations like Google that we really need to fear. It's government, and moreover, bad/poor government.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Eóin

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 07:57:54 PM »
5% is 1 in 20 :)

Anyway I don't really disagree, I don't trust governments to be honest and decent in the slightest, I've little doubt that those in power wish only to maintain and extend that power.

But I trust corporations less, and in this particular incident I think Google way over stepped the line. Perhaps it's a line that's been overstepped many a time before but nonetheless I want to see Google get their come-uppance.

40hz

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Re: The Ever-Evolving Question of Privacy
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2010, 06:41:13 PM »
In 1911, Ambrose Bierce published his classic book: The Devil's Dictionary.



Quote
LIBERTY, n.
    
One of Imagination's most precious possessions.



Quote
FREEDOM, n.

1. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods.

2. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly.

see Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.


I think Bierce might have been on to something.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 06:43:10 PM by 40hz »