When unveiling its search-data-driven Flu Trends modeler earlier this week, Google insisted it could never be used to identify the web habits of individual people. Flu Trends, the company said, uses nothing but "anonymized" data. Of course, no one knows what that means. Following the release of the new disease tracker, two …
The smart thing to do
If you were a CIA or FBI boss would be to infiltrate Google and Yahoo et al and then who cares if data aggregation is secure or not. Just make sure that you have people in key positions to ensure that the right stuff comes to the attention of the right people.
I am pretty sure that that is the case, if it isn't then they are not doing their jobs.
Goo and the Guv
Just a co-inky-dinky that stanford is also home of SRI, stanford research institute, one of the CIAs favorite contractors.
Oh and don't forget that web proxy service that turned out to be a front created to serve the CIA and FBI.
Does one need help to connect the dots here, or are you awake yet gipper?
hack, cough, sniffle, wheeze
Does this mean that the healthcare profession will be renting time on the local botnet supercomputer? I assume flu funding will follow the google searches on flu symptoms.
See, the problem here...
...is that while there might really be an issue, Cade's Google reporting is so blatantly biased that I have no way of knowing whether I can believe ANYTHING he writes about the company. Too bad.
If you use scroogle.org for all your searches (it can even be added as a search engine to Firefox) then Google can no longer monitor your searches. If I "Post anonymously" on The Register, how is my privacy being protected?
Anonymous may be useless
Epidemiology is a branch of medical science, so the people doing it have been long aware of privacy issues.
And if you don't know who or where the people are, the data is of very little use.
For what has been reported: an early warning of a flu outbreak, the where is probably vital. The who, not so much.
What I'd want to know is whether the people collecting the data at Google have any medical background? Are they people who have ever had to think about the ethical problems, even if only in a classroom?
Do no evil? How can we know that the people involved in Google even have a clue about evil?
I have a similar question for El Reg:
I was about to post some lengthy thing about how Google probably doesn't care about privacy in the contemporary "think of the children!" sense, and their justification is likely somewhere along the lines of the greater good excuse.
I was intending to post anonymously when I realized, what does it mean if I post an anonymous comment to The Register? Can you please inform us of your method for anonymous posting? Is it tied to my username in any way? Or is it just anonymous in the sense that the public viewer can't see the name of the poster, but you store it attached to my account? I'm sure the answer is in the terms of service presented to me when I signed up for a comment account, but you don't honestly think I read it, do you? ;)
Working for The Man
Do I really remember seeing somewhere, a few years ago, a Google job ad asking for NSA experience and a high level of Security Clearance?
it's scroogle.ORG NOT .com!
Don't get the wrong one!
Which one is the "Wrong One" would depend highly on exactly what one was searching for, would it not?
Thirded. And combine with the TrackMeNot add-on for firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3173) which sends random requests to all the major search engines in the background while firefox is open.
If enough people use TMN, search engine data mining will be usless.
There. Now stop arguing and use the damn thing. I set it as the homepage on most machines I work on.
@scroogle.org/.com and others
Gee! Thanks people for noting that scroogle.com is definitely NSFW!!!!
So to anyone else interested to see what the difference is just bare (hahahah) that in mind.
That wouldn't be a little piece of Google mischief, now would it?
.... how do you all know that Scroogle.org are legit? I think we all know by now that the site exists.... But I personally don't trust them.
I use it, but I don't trust it. At all.
"Oh and don't forget that web proxy service that turned out to be a front created to serve the CIA and FBI."
What site was that ??