Google security alert: Universal Search scarier than Google Maps

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.

TOPICS: Google

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, 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 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

Topic: Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Privacy Issues...

    Check out this huge list of Google Street View Findings. This is definitely going to upset a few folks!

    • Can you phrase that as a URL?

      "http:\\\StreetView\streetview.html" isn't a URL.

      Try "" perhaps?
  • What About LexisNexis?

    If you are not aware of how much information there is about you that is available to suscribers of LexisNexis, you should check it out.

    LexisNexis is the "gold standard" for any investigator who wants a data dump on an individual.

    If you can get your hands on your file at LexisNexis, you will be shocked at what they have that you might have thought was private information.
    • No kidding...!

      I recently got a mailing from LexisNexis, advising that "potentially", information may have been accessed through unauthorized means, and that some of it "may have been about me.. scary.
  • What about TRW and your local courthouse or high school?

    Gotten a traffic ticket lately? How much junk mail did you get from Defensive Driving courses? Kids graduate? Check out those job search fliers!

    Checked your credit report? No point in hammering THAT point further, I hope.

    The US is years behind Europe in privacy protection, and starting with Google is more a matter of it being a high profile non-traditional target than it being an important one.
    • they're all evil

      Exactly. There's far too much information being kept by governments and outfits
      like Equifax and Experian. The frustrating thing with all of them is mustering the
      power to make them stop. Just the government is notorious for demanding
      personal private information, and then declaring it a "public record" while keeping
      actual public records -- what the government functionaries are up to -- on the
      QT. That needs to be flipped. We should rip the surveillance cameras off of the
      streets and put them into government offices at every level so we can keep an eye
      on them via the web.

      And isn't Google among those who confessed aiding the Red Chinese thugs?
      While, Sun, whose prominent ad/blog I see to the right at this moment, is
      notorious for railing against privacy. When will ZD do some interviews with CEOs
      who respect privacy, and are doing projects to increase it?