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back to article Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard

In an effort to prove that Google is a serious threat to the personal privacy of people everywhere, the National Legal and Policy Center has exposed countless Google Street View pics that detail what are likely the home, cars, and daily commute of top Google executive Larry Page. Responding to Google's addled defense of Street …

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Two words

Love it.

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Paris Hilton

Parry Lage?

Hmm ... isn't the point of the Google Spycar throwing things in the open? So why is the name of said exec blacked out in the comments when it is plainly visible in the URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/01/nlpc_outs_larry_page/comments/

No, said exec is not Miss Hilton ...

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Joke

Brilliant Description of the Lexus

a Black Rectangular Lexus

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Ironic, isn't it?

In summer of 2004, I was hassled by a Google security guard while taking nature photographs in the park which borders the east side of Google's campus on Amphitheater Parkway in Mountain View, Ca. This is a public park that was constructed when the campus was originally built, as required by the city of Mountain View. The orginal tenant of the campus was SGI.

At the moment of the hassling, I was operating a twin-lens reflex camera on a tripod. I was on the sidewalk with the Google campus at my back, photographing some trees across the street. The guard demanded to know what I was photographing and accused me of photographing the Google campus, as if that act was somehow forbidden or unlawful. Being aware of my rights, I asked the guard if I was trespassing on Google property, to which he replied, "No". I then told them that if he wished to purse the matter, he should call the Mountain View police. He left in a huff.

Needless to say, this encounter was a little intimidating and upsetting. Time passed and Google street view came out and my thought was, "How Ironic?"

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Bronze badge

A Lexus???

Can't he be more imaginative? A whimpy Toyota by any other name, and overpriced as well. How about a nice big SUV, like my Ford Explorer that they found in my driveway when they passed by.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ironic, isn't it?

I would not put what happened to you down to a policy of google to not allow people to snap their building. I would say it was a bored security guard just looking to unnecessarily spoil your day by giving you a hard time. What's the point of this guy wearing that copish uniform if he can't use it to bully people?

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My SUV is bigger then your SUV?

Maybe you could get together and have a p1ssing contest.

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JC

@ Ironic

Someone surveying the area for the best way to sneak around might well pose as a nature photographer. With an entire park, to have backed yourself up to the perimeter of the campus would seem suspicious to me, even moreso if you then seemed to be taking pictures of anything but the campus as if you were trying to hide your activity.

I've never worked as a security guard, let alone being the one who stopped you, but I know well enough that when it appears that someone is trying to hide something, more scrutiny ought to be placed on them from a security perspective.

So you didn't like being suspected of wrongdoing. Fair enough, but until that could be determined how would a guard catch anyone who was actually up to no good without waiting till that person had caused more of a breech or damage?

I'm not suggesting the guard should've said anything at all since you weren't on Google property, but perhaps kept an eye on you till you left the area.

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More Irony

Actually, my impression was that Google security had the entire area around the campus under surveillance, including the public park. I never set foot on Google grounds. The guard, if that's what he was, was wearing a polo shirt, slacks, and a Google employee badge. As I was in a park, not on the campus, he had to walk quite a way to harass me. This seemed like a general policy, not the actions of a bored guard. The rude confrontational manner may have been unique that guard.

Once in New York, I was asked to stop photographing in front of the CNN building, however, the guard was polite, citing "security issues". I was on their property, even though I was only a few feet off a crowded sidewalk and there were no signs or barriers. Ironically (once more), I was photographing an American flag. Here is the shot.

http://drenaud.com/photofriday/symbol.jpg

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Black Helicopters

The good, the bad and local government?

Of course, Google could have used an unmarked car and everybody would have assumed it was one of the unmarked mobile traffic monitor cars that are commonly seen on the roads.

Which is worse, Google openly taking pictures or local government using unmarked camera cars?

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Alert

Storm in a tea cup!

Other people and "security" cameras watch you 24/7 when you are out in public... Part of living in a "modern" society...

You have no right to privacy unless you are in your own home.

You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs...

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Happy

Larry's name is visible on the page

Just highlight the text. It's an old joke after some stuff was blanked out in a "sensitive" pdf (UK or US govt can't remember) and you just had to highlight it, or C&P somewhere else.

They're messin wif your mind man ...

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Hoi!

It's foist not hoist.

As in "foist by one's own petard" (a shaped charge of gunpowder originally designed to blow holes in gates and later used to remove hinges and locks etc.)

To be so pedantic indicates I don't have a life but at least it won't be appearing anywhere but online.

And who pays any attention to

Why doesn't the "none" button work?

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Anonymous Coward

i remember way back WHAN...

folks knew the difference twixt THEN and THAN...

"...My SUV is bigger then your SUV?..."

i'm sure you mean 'bigger THAN'. think about it, or read this beautifully crafted idiots' guide....

http://bilgebrain.net/2005/06/11/can-anyone-else-out-there-actually-spell-and-understand-basic-grammar-or-am-i-alone/

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Alert

RE: Larry's name is visible on the page

Haha indeed.

Found this funny, Nice one reg!

Wonder when they go through Downing Street...

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Boffin

@ Foist by his own petard

Shakespeare got it wrong then, did he?

"For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

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Rob

@ Hoi!

If you are going to try and be pedantic maybe you should check your facts first, hoist is the correct term :

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hoist+with+own+petard

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Flame

@ I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

Actually it's hoisted or hoist by your own petard, foist means to pass off as genuine, to impose on another or to insert fraudulantly. Still the body was willing.

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Stop

@ I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

Shame on you. I-can't-believe-you-are-such-a-pedant...

...when you don't even check your own facts.

The phrase is "hoist with your own petard", so you're both wrong.

Google is your friend (or used to be, anyway).

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@ Francis Fish

Well done! Have a cookie.

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Joke

@David Renaud

Obviously you were taking photos of the American Flag as part of your terroristic preparations to burn it.

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Anonymous Coward

Keyboard shortcut

Yeah, just hit Ctrl-A and everything becomes clear...

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Happy

@Hoi

"It's foist not hoist."

Er, no. Hoist (past tense) means lifted or, in this case, blown up by. Foist means to pass off as genuine. You're right about petard, though...

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Sweet

This is one of the most satisfying stories I have read.

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Anonymous Coward

Title goes here

Or just look in your address bar...

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Anonymous Coward

FOIST by your own petard? Oh yeh?

Rubbish! I have this on the authority of Shakespeare, who wrote the quotation in the first place, that the word is HOIST! See http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-pet1.htm

I have no objection to I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects's "To be so pedantic indicates I don't have a life but at least it won't be appearing anywhere but online", but is does so help if you are pedantically accurate!

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@Hoi!

No it's not, it's hoist.

Tit.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hoist%20by%20your%20own%20petard.html

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Go

PDF

Someone forgot to use Adobe 8's redaction features?

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Silver badge

@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

Actually hoist is correct. It's quite likely a variant of the middle english "hisse" ("heave!") and in the contemporary context generally meant lift or carry away, which is usually what happens to you when a petard goes off in your hands.

Originally petards were just bombs with a slow fuse designed for undermining castle defences and it was possible to set them off accidentally, whilst carrying them, and consequently be "hoist" all over the roof of the undermining tunnel.

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Ed

Read it?

If you actually read the article, Larry's name is in clear 'unredacted' text right on the penultimate paragraph.

----

When we redact xxxxxxxxxxx's name from a story that shows Street View invading his own personal space, we have no problem telling you we're talking about Larry Page.

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@ Hoi! by I.A.

Much fan of pedantry, but I cannot find any international references to 'foist by his own petard' It's clearly in every reference "Hoist" it comes from the medieval seige engineering true enough, and is quoth in shakespeare;

"There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,

Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,

They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way

And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard

But I will delve one yard below their mines

And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,

When in one line two crafts directly meet."

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Paris Hilton

@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

from the dire wikipedia:

"Hoist with his own petard"

The word [petard] remains in modern usage in the phrase to be hoist by one's own petard, which means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall in one's own trap", literally implying that one could be lifted up (hoisted, or blown upward) by one's own bomb. Shakespeare used the now proverbial phrase in Hamlet.

*

and from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hoist%20by%20your%20own%20petard.html...

Hoist by your own petard

Meaning

Injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.

Origin

A petard is or rather was, as they have long since fallen out of use, a small engine of war used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later cubical wooden boxes. Whatever the shape, the significant feature was that they were full of gunpowder - basically what we would now call a bomb.

The device was used by the military forces of all the major European fighting nations by the 16th century. In French and English - petar or petard, and in Spanish and Italian - petardo.

The dictionary maker John Florio defined them like this in 1598:

"Petardo - a squib or petard of gun powder vsed to burst vp gates or doores with."

The French have the word 'péter' - to fart, which it's hard to imagine is unrelated.

Petar was part of the everyday language around that time, as in this rather colourful line from Zackary Coke in his work Logick, 1654:

"The prayers of the Saints ascending with you, will Petarr your entrances through heavens Portcullis".

Once the word is known, 'hoist by your own petard' is easy to fathom. It's nice also to have a definitive source - no less than Shakespeare, who gives the line to Hamlet (1603):

"For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

Note: engineers were originally constructors of military engines.

*

Please do not foist vocabulary nonsense on us - you are ending up hoisted by your own petard!

Paris - because she makes men fly without a petard.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if

You did the two fingered salute at the car as it passed by whether the image would be disgarded as I dont want a front view of my hourse on street view.

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Alert

Re: Hoi!

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hoist%20by%20your%20own%20petard.html

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@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

"It's foist not hoist."

Not according to Shakespeare.

"For 'tis the sport to have the enginer / Hoist with his owne petar".

Apparently.

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@ francis fish

"Larry's name is visible on the page"

No shit, Sherlock! Your deductive powers amaze us all! (Neat <span> trick, El Reg. Like it).

As to Google's "Do no evil"... like hell

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Coat

@Joe Bloggs

"You'd have to be daft to leave your curtains wide open while you romp around naked with the mrs..."

Dance like no one is watching, make love like everyone is!

Mines the one with dubious stains....

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Coat

@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

Not according to Mr Shakespeare...

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar;

Mine's the one with the copy of Hamlet in the pocket.

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Boffin

@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

No, it's "hoist" - check it out in Hamlet, which is probably the most popular source of this phrase.

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Stop

@Hoi!

Oh dear.... If one wants to be taken seriously as a pedant then one should at least try to get the facts right.

A petard was a early middle ages bomb. The expression 'hoist by his own petard' is a modern day derivation from a line in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

"For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar; and 't shall go hard"

(Yes that is the spelling in the original text).

i.e. "blown up by his own bomb"

It most definitely isn't 'foist' as then the expression is completely meaningless.

Stay behind after school.

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Paris Hilton

@I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

While "foist" has a meaning of breaking wind, as does the etymology of "petard", the common usage almost certainly comes from Shakespeare (Hamlet, III.iv.185-6):

"For 'tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petar;"

(Of other note is the use of "enginer" - someone who operates an "engine" - one of the roots of "engineer" in modern English... which is why we have "protein-oxidisation equalisation engineers" instead of burger flippers)

Paris, because the rest of that line is "and 't shall go hard".

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Jobs Halo

Just drag your cursor over the black boxes

and stop guessing. It's right there in front of your eyes.

Oh, and stop wasting money on Windows. Buy a mac instead they are cheaper and better.

Shut up. Yes they are.

Shut up.

Have you ever used one? No? Then shut up.

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Anonymous Coward

In case nobody points this out...

...it really *IS* 'hoist'. Popularized via Hamlet, if I'm not mistaken...

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Happy

@ "I wonder if"

We'll find out soon enough, a friend of mine claimed to do exactly that to the street view car yesterday afternoon.

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Anonymous Coward

Good for Google!

The Google publicists are right; there is no privacy in this bright new century. If privacy campaigners have their way and StreetView and Google Earth are restricted, we still won't have privacy -- governments, companies, and the rich will watch us, and we won't be able to watch them back.

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Fisted by my own Picard

I've been watching out for said vehicles so I can moon them. Google only pixelate faces, but my arse is already pixelated.

As to the foist/hoist thang, has nobody here heard of the word 'troll' ?

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Silver badge
Coat

Syllogism

Google: "even in today's desert, complete privacy does not exist."

Google: "Google takes privacy very seriously."

Therefore, Google takes nothing very seriously.

Oh, and by the way, it's "hoist". ; )

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some of you might be missing the point

the document in question is not just an embarrassing ironic "gotcha" - it is meant to emulate a kidnapping plan. the profile of the security guard, distance measurement, service business identification, and, most telling of all, LIST OF STOP SIGNS on their way to work are all things that would help with abduction by subterfuge or force of one of the richest men in the world.

the missing link: this is a particularly sensitive subject in Silicon Valley, where Adobe executive Charles Geschke was kidnapped for several days back in the early 1990's. this abduction was IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, before Adobe moved to San Jose, with a paltry ransom of US$650,000. the FBI recovered Geschke after baiting the kidnappers with the payment.

those were just a couple local yokels from San Jose and Campbell looking to make quick cash with a gun and a rural house. now imagine some more desperate, experienced and resourceful men from Sergei Brin's lovely home country of Russia decide to try the same thing.

this article would do well to link these two events, as this is a more sensitive issue than it seems.

(side note: fuck mandatory signups. what a fucking annoyance. you can't even get the accented a in my name, either.)

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Anonymous Coward

joist not hoist or foist

You're all wrong - the word should have been 'joisted' ie shot to the joists, but Shakespeare hit the 'H' instead of the 'J' on his keyboard.

Google that.

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So It's Hoist Then

...and always was.

Dude, you may well Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects but just remember that Notlookinglikeatotalasshole is just a click away if you can be arsed to do it.

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