Google security alert: Universal Search scarier than Google Maps

Summary:If the Associated Press joins in on the Google Street View is "icky" bandwagon, does that make it true? NO.

If the Associated Press joins in on the Google Street View is "icky" bandwagon, does that make it true? NO.

GOOGLE SECURITY ALERT: Ongoing user tracking by Google Search is WAY SCARIER (to put it in the vernacular) than Google's new mapping service, "Street View" which, in fact, does not represent a new product at all, it is a knock-off of "Block View" by Amazon's A9, which did the exact same thing years ago. 

BUT, if AP headlines that Google is "icky" than it must be so? After all, AP claims it is the "backbone of the world's information system, the largest and oldest news organization in the world."

It is not surprising that AP would headline with the Google "ick" factor," despite that its editorial policy is to be "the essential global news network, providing distinctive news services of the highest quality, reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed."

Maybe, but sensational headlines sell, or in the AP case, garner attention.

But AP is simply "reporting the facts," the company would undoubtedly retort, as the headline"quotes" a targeted interviewee, Kevin Bankston, Electronic Frontier Foundation, who apparently said "There is a certain 'ick' factor here."

By choosing to make that emotive word from a single source, an advocate for a particular position to boot, its headline, AP nonetheless goes the tabloid route, and seems to take a side, as well.

AP also writes:

Google is hoping to elicit "oohs and ahhs" with Street View, which was introduced on its maps for the San Francisco Bay area, New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami earlier this week.

While the emotive "oohs and ahhs" are in quotes, AP does not reference who or what is being quoted, if anyone or anything in fact is the source of AP's noted "oohs and ahhs."

Why such universal media concern over Google "Street View," but not regarding the ongoing high risks inherent with daily use of the number one search engine itself?

Because, contrary to the nitty gritty, down and dirty analysis required to flesh out the real personal security risks at Google.com, flashing pretty photos of innocent cats and employing mass-media friendly "terminology" such as "icky" is easy, and crowd pleasing.

The truth of the security matter though is that even if Google were to be "shamed" into taking down "Street View" (highly unlikely), the real Google.com security danger would persist, as I persistently report and analyze.

In Google: $3.1 billion DoubleClick date with the FTC? I cite New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's Consumer Protection Board (CPB) solicitation of the Federal Trade Commission to halt the Google DoubleClick merger "until questions are answered about how Google tracks the habits of millions of Internet users."

The CPB also wants to know what will happen once the merger allows Google to collect even more information.

People may not realize it, but Google already collects and retains an enormous amount of personal data about the specific websites and advertisements that are visited by millions of people, said Mindy Bockstein Chairperson and Executive Director of the CPB.

The CPB is urging the FTC to require Google to make full and public disclosure of its current data collection practices and contemplated data collection practices post-merger and establish a publicly disclosed, clear and conspicuous data collection policy, including:

  • a plan to protect Google’s database from cyberthieves;
  • consumer access to the personally-identifiable information in Google’s database and the ability to delete or edit inaccurate information;
  • an opt-out mechanism that would allow an Internet user to prevent Google from tracking and storing information about the websites visited by an individual computer user; and,
  • remedies in the event of a data breach or failure to comply with a consumer’s opt-out request.

New York State has its consumer privacy priorities straight and is on the Google case, the real scary Google Search user tracking case.

FOR MORE SEE: Beware: Google’s big, bad privacy risks

Topics: Google

About

A former ZDNet blogger, Donna Bogatin is the founder of online directional media properties VIPOffers.com and UrbanSavings.com. In addition to her own ventures, Donna has been advising companies on Web-based business development since 1997, when she created and led an "Internet For Entrepreneurs" workshop for the Small Business Administra... Full Bio

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