Wednesday, June 09, 2010

To the Google privacy core – Is it rotten?

Kim Cameron has been blogging about Google’s Wi-Fi tracking. If you care about your own privacy on the internet you need to read his posts on this topic. The current one, “The core of the matter at hand” nicely illustrates exactly how your privacy is possibly (probably?) being violated without you even knowing it. I read Kim’s post and immediately decided to turn off Google’s Latitude service on my phone but, as Kim illustrates, it probably won’t make any difference. I’m sure Google knows where I am regardless of having Latitude turned on or off.

I took a few minutes to check out Google’s privacy policy around Latitude and found out this much:
If you choose to 'Hide your location', you can hide from your Latitude friends all at once, so they won't be able to see your location. If you hide in Latitude, we don't store your location.
I’m not worried about hiding in Latitude. I wish I could hide from Google!

Just before I published this post I came across an interesting article in Wired that goes into the legality of what Google did by collecting all this Wi-Fi information: "Former Prosecutor: Google Wi-Fi Snafu ‘Likely’ Illegal" Unfortunately, I hate the fact that it is only "likely" illegal and the crimes are only misdemeanors. The article is a good read if you have the time.

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