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back to article UK gov gets twitchy on Google feature creep

Google was the target of MPs' ire yesterday as four of them signed an Early Day Motion expressing concern about the chocolate factory's latest feature, one that allows willing subjects to be tracked through their phones. Google's Latitude is a feature of Mobile Maps, and allows one to share one's location with selected friends. …

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Anonymous Coward

Pot, Kettle, Black

Or are they just pissed that google are making the Govt look bad?

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Anonymous Coward

Pot, kettle, black?

The *UK Government* is worried about *Google's* feature creep?

Hello... multiple database insanity/Whacky Jacqui anyone?

At least Google let you know what you're (voluntarily) signing up for. The govt just force it upon us, whether we want it or not...

Plus Google's stuff is in beta, so when it doesn't work, they just say "Beta. Try again later" When the government stuff goes down the pan, they say "oh. That just cost twenty billion quid. Of YOUR money. Hey ho."

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Anonymous Coward

Tracking....

Not all countries routinely track, well not in as much details as your article suggest. They may record which cell you enter or leave but most couldn't tell you much more than a several kilometre "window".

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Govt's Privacy Concerns

Good one!

But not so good it couldn't have waited til 1st April.

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Flame

They are having a laugh aren't they

a saying about a Pot & Kettle comes to mind when privacy and Government comes to mind

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Joke

Re:Pot, Kettle, Black

IIRC, this EDM was raised by the Lib Dems.

So more like Fisher-Price pretend cookware calling the kettle black.

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Anonymous Coward

Unbelievable

This from the govt that brought in ANPR? You couldn't make this shit up if you tried. Time for a total blanket ban on ANYONE with a qualification in law from entering politics I think.

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Coat

That name.

"Latitude"? So your position is reported with greater accuracy as you approach either of the poles then?

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Bod
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Good for the goose

So tracking and sharing information on UK individuals by CCTV, number plate recognition, ID cards, and (the proposed) road toll tracking system, is perfectly OK, but god forbid Google offer a tracking service which asks the user if they want to turn it on and highlights the privacy issues and also by default shares the information with no one!

And what about Yahoo! and FireEagle ? They have a lot more integration with stuff like Facebook where clueless teens will just happily click OK on all the boxes allowing them to share their location at all times with their friends, friends of friends, parents, teachers, peados, etc.

Not to mention the dozens of other location based tracking services.

However, the scary thing with Google Latitude is the way it has your home WiFi access point mapped (try Latitude on a desktop with a WiFi connection and see what I mean!).

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Boss requests this...

And I tell him to fuck off. I'm not installing some random application on my phone, so he can keep an eye on me.

Of course, if it ever came down to "install this or lose your job, because we have deeper pockets than you do", then I just leave my mobile phone switched off or, if I do ever decide to skive work, I do the even cleverer thing of leaving the sodding thing at home. Heck, chances are if I do decide to skive work, then I'll be at home anyway!

Early day motions - just think, we pay money for them to grumble about things they don't understand. Besides, Jacqui will just ignore this as it interferes with her plans for Orwelling us.

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Paris Hilton

Errr, Hello! Wakey Wakey People!

This Early day motion was raised by the Lib Dems.....

So has bugger-all to do with "The Government" or Wacqui Jacqui.

IIRC the Lib Dems are, and have always been, against the whole ID cards / database state thing.

Paris, 'cos she probably opens her mouth without thinking, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wakey Wakey People!

"This Early day motion was raised by the Lib Dems.....

So has bugger-all to do with "The Government""

As far as most people are concerned, there's not a whole lot of differences between "politicians in power" and "the government".

Anyway, if they were really this much into not tracking people, why aren't they looking at mandatory ones such as ANPR and the CCTV menace than an optional system that most people won't even hear about unless it makes the news because politicians have been complaining about it?

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Black Helicopters

Road Pricing

The government meant to use this as a tier based method of enforcing road tarriffs at some stage in the future

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Anonymous Coward

All staff should be made to enable tracking

If bosses could track staff that work outside of an office it would reduce slacking off. Imagine your post being delivered on time and tracking could show there's enough time left in a postman's day to make a second afternoon delivery. Inefficient routes could be pointed out to staff and better ones planned and monitored.

And all the other industries that suffer from staff taking their time, making unnecessary diversions, or pretending they're out working when they're really at home. The efficiency gains would be worth it and it would also help managers to better plan and coordinate staff if they could see everyone's current location on a map.

The police and ambulance people don't call that Big Brother and neither do some delivery companies who use vehicle and/or employee tracking. If you're a hard worker it's an opportunity to prove to your boss how hard you work, but only if you're a slacker should you be fearing such technology. And you deserve to be fired. :-)

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Jealous much?

I'm amazed they're not paying Google to develop it so they can force it upon an unwilling public as soon as possible.

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@AC 15:39

Smells like one of those spineless manager types whose too lazy and gutless to run random calls to check if people have attended appointments and enforce their contract if they don't.

If your so in favour of it why not the Thumbs Up icon?

But for everyone else. How about an app which shuts the phone off totally and only powers up randomly long enough to check missed calls, texts etc and then shuts down? Say once in each 15min window?

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Anonymous Coward

No need to turn off the phone

Just turn off Google Maps - Latitude can't report your current position if Google Maps isn't running, even if the phone is on.

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Err...

Considering how Google have time and again shown that they can't be trusted with our private data (automated scanning of emails, accidental sharing of your documents with everyone else, storage of searches, their cheif engineer just nosing around in people's book browsing habits) this is a bloody good thing. I'm glad at least the Lib Dems are taking this seriously.

This data will be stored and it will only take a court order to make it available to the rozzers.

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Anonymous Coward

chocolate factory?

google makes chocolate in the UK?

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Stop

@AC

"As far as most people are concerned, there's not a whole lot of differences between "politicians in power" and "the government"."

And that's exactly what's wrong with this country: people are too bone idle/stupid to take an interest in who governs them and how. "Politicians in power" <> "The government". (Incidentally, the lib dems AREN'T in power.) The government gets away with what it's doing precisely because of apathy and ignorance like this. If they thought for a moment that ID cards, the surveillance culture and the rest that El Reg rightly harps on about were vote losers, they'd drop them. But they're not, because supposedly well informed, educated readers of said online journal, while professing to be opposed to the policies, would never get off their arses to learn about the differences between the parties' policies, and heaven forbid actually VOTE. Nah. That wouldn't be cool. That wouldn't be cynical and world weary enough. Why do something about a situation when you can moan and bitch about it instead?

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Stop

Never mind the Gov/Google/Bossman...

What about me bleedin' missus tracking my every move.

<shudder>

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Silver badge

feature that allows willing subjects to be tracked through their phones.

As opposed to the Government's plans to introduce a 50mph speed limit on A Roads and enforce this with a "new generation" of Number Plate Recognition Cameras (which, incidentally, would also be excellent for enabling them to track us all wherever we go and facilitate building a National Road Pricing System...)

Feature creep? No, of course we don't have anything like that here!

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Stop

Tracking

The Government already makes huge amounts of money selling data about our every move and habit. Perhaps they realise that Google will just rob them of another lucrative revenue stream?

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Coat

Kernow - quake, you bastards

A'roight, moi 'andsomes, don't you upcountry emmets take the piss out of St Piran or we'll burn your second homes to the ground dreckly. Moine's the one with the pilchard in the pocket.

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And back to Phorm

And to think the Lib Dem MPs USED to get excited about Phorm. Now Don Foster has cooled off on that topic so we get an EDM on google. What a coincidence that Phorm has been planting anti-google stories as part of it's year long failed PR campaign.

I suggest the sponsors of this EDM have a chat to Baroness Miller and ask her about privacy and tracking, and she can point them to another target.

Oh well - another four MP's to write to about privacy and Phorm and Webwise and BT.... and how they need to look at the whole picture even if it is a bit technical, and see that what BT are doing to their customers is far far more intrusive, invasive and privacy-destroying than anything google can think up, mainly because BT are an ISP and google merely a web site - albeit a big one.

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Joke

OH MY GOD!

The iphone is actually brilliant! It's lack of ability to run two apps at once, means if you have one of them, you can't be running latitude when using your phone, and remain undetected!

*goes to cancel his blackberry order and get a Jesus phone*

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Boffin

Personal liar

"Latitude does allow users to lie, but keeping up an effective fiction isn't as easy as it sounds, and the next service to be launched might not allow such er, latitude in the truth."

Perhaps the next service to be launched will be a personal assistant, which can be trained with your usual movements, and create an effective fiction on your behalf - ideal for those times when you really need to be off the grid.

Latitude presents the same problems as any privacy-eroding technology in our lives. People who aren't so tech-savvy will end up losing their liberties and never noticing. Those who truly have something to hide, and have the tech knowledge to do so, can use it as an effective cover - "of course I wasn't at an orgy honey, you could see on Latitude that I was helping out at the orphanage again".

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@Jerome

Now that's what I call intelligent personal assistance.

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