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back to article Google boss: 'Creeped out by Street View? Just move'

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don't like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can "just move." “Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN's “Parker Spitzer" late last week. “So, you can just move, right?” Schmidt's words were broadcast across the net on Friday …

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Am I *still* the only one ...

... who drops all of google's IP space on the floor wherever and whenever I can?

Anyone who didn't see the potential for massive personal privacy abuse issues surrounding google several years ago needs to take "Critical Thinking 101" ...

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Converted to Bing myself.

It isn't perfect...I still find myself going back to Google for the more techie-oriented searches. Still, Bing does me just fine for 95%+ of the work I need. My Google searches work beautifully from a burner VM on my offshore server routed through TOR, with all the cookie killers on.

Also: WTF Schmidt. Can we please get some not-batshit-crazy CxOs for our large IT companies? Have you looked at our choices lately?

Free-Candy-Van privacy mongler

Temper Tantrum chair-throwing company-destroyer

Just change X to suit me egomaniacal OCD walled garden king

Soulless community-destroying, customer-sqeezing, vertically integrated yacht boy

Hoo yeah. We’re cooking with gas.

Stop the world please, it’s time to exit the vehicle.

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Happy

Dead on and hilarious

Schmidt, Ballmer, Jobs and Ellison -

Come on everyone, no matter what camp your in you fanboys have to admit WE ALL knew exactly which guys he was talking about... brilliant!

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Hmmmm.....

From your post, you seem to have a grasp of the concept of "batshit-crazy", yet you are so determined to use Google that you run your searches "from a burner VM on my offshore server routed through TOR, with all the cookie killers on".

That seems batshit crazy to me.

How about either not using Google, or accepting the fact that yes, Google harvest your data, but all they do with it is target advertising?

I got to the end of this post and then considered not posting it, because I know the reg-reader tinfoil hat brigade will down-vote.

But hey, its a point of view.

Too much time on the internet is spent chasing shadows. Over in China really bad privacy stuff happens. Maybe some of our energy could be better spent fighting that than some advertising monopolist?

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Well,

All bar the last one

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WTF?

Converted to Bing?

So you only search on Google through a "burner VM on [your] offshore server routed through TOR"? That's seriously paranoid. I mean- why? I really hate the whole "what have you got to hide" argument: I don't like being spied upon any more than the next man, but really- what have you got to hide THAT deeply? And you trust Bing for some reason?

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Anonymous Coward

re: hmm

"How about either not using Google, or accepting the fact that yes, Google harvest your data, but all they do with it is target advertising?"

Kent ... is that you ?

Substitute Google for Phorm and that sentence makes just as much sense.

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Black Helicopters

Re: "but all they do with it is target advertising"

I've just finished watching season 2 of Dollhouse, and I'm having trouble adjusting to that turn of phrase...

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A Burner VM.

You know, periodically people do have reasons to take a few simple precautions. I do serve as intermediary to periodically funnel information to Cyrptome. I prefer to never shuffle the goods in the same way twice...and that requires doing a little bit of research each time. I devote a reasonable amount of my spare time to setting up censor-busting systems for folks stuck behind the Great Firewall of China. Again, I would prefer that the details of what I am looking up as well as the e-mail counts and online webspace purchases be as untraceable as is humanly possible.

Sometimes I do a vanity search: I spend a lot of time on the internet and I am professionally curious about my “footprint.” It helps me advise people about how to do things like Internet marketing. Tor allows me to look at this “footprint” from multiple different countries – in essence bypassing Google’s geolocation. Shock and awe: I sometimes look up old acquaintances as well: see how they are doing, maybe try to find an e-mail or Facebook page. I would really rather that Google not be associating me with “the people I know” any more than *I* personally choose.

I participate in my local political scene…enough to want to keep much of that to myself. I am fairly certain my current government has next to no scruples and I since I am pretty left wing, when I go searching for evidence that ends up political documents or propaganda then I really don’t need my right-wing government even having a snowball’s chance in a neutron star of finding out who is supplying the research time.

Beyond that, there is simply a large amount of Google thwarting. Google have made an entire business out of knowing everything. Small as it is, a drop of water in the ocean maybe, I do have the tiny little bud of an ego. For whatever bizarre reason, that ego gets a real kick out of thwarting Schmidt even the tiniest bit. Adding some noise to their signal.

As to trusting Bing…oddly, I do. Google has proven to me over and over and over that they will sell you to the lowest bidder at the drop of a hat. Then they’ll sell you to the highest bidder…and everyone else in between. Bing is run by Microsoft. Microsoft might well make me pay some astronomical amount. They might code something so poorly that someone else might find a way to “hack” it…but I seriously doubt they’d sell my information to a third party. Their biggest card right now to individuals or businesses is “we’re not Google! Look how not creepy we are!” They’re going to dine on that for as long as people are creeped out by the privacy monglers at the chocolate factory.

For the most part though, even if Joe Spammer manages to find out that I personally ran a search for ‘+Europa +Surface +Radiation’ or ‘+Ibuprofen +”blood brain barrier” +”traversal rate”’ I don’t care. That’s random enough and harmless enough they can go nuts with it. I am entirely unsure what value that could have to an advertiser (beyond maybe legitimately advertising me things I might want.) It is of zero use to a government.

If you want to call the above paranoid, then I am paranoid. I accept that. I simply don’t trust Google. They have lost that trust. I also don’t trust the Canadian, American, British, Australian and virtually every third-world or developing government out there. It is distinctly in their best interest to quash dissent, intimidate folk who might consider speaking out against them and otherwise being dicks. Even though I personally would not present much of a threat, I do devote time towards doing a lot of research on behalf of folks who might well seem it to their governments.

People who want to (for example) figure out how to emigrate from China into Canada with the least amount of hassle, or who want to make sure information about some tragedy in Zimbabwe makes it to the press.

So screw Google’s all-seeing eye. Even if the whole world calls me paranoid for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Either / Or

You are freely leaking intelligence.

Is that a good idea?

Or is it smoke and mirrors?

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Anonymous Coward

@Trevor

"I do have the tiny little bud of an ego"

No kidding. I don't think you would write for the register if you didn't.

But I can see where you're coming from wrt. Google.

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@AC

I don't think you have to have much of an ego to write for El Reg; quite the opposite in fact. El Reg commenters are /not/ friendly people. I write for El Reg really for two reasons. First, I was hugely flattered when they offered me the chance. Secondly...I have always wanted to write. It seemed like a great chance to learn how.

From the standpoint of “being an ego boost” however, it’s the digital equivalent of going on a polar bear jump and then climbing out of the water to have a thousand tittering teenage girls point and laugh at your junk. I would not ascribe “ego boost” to it; “soul destroying” is perhaps a better term.

It’s not all bad. There are unexpected moments of awesome. The people I have had the opportunity to work with here at El Reg are absolutely fantastic. My editor – Tim Phillips – is a great human being. Among others who have helped me, he has been an excellent resource and taught me a lot. I even seem to have a couple of fans, something I still find eternally bizarre given that I am a complete greenhorn at this writing thing.

If I have an active ego then I think it is most actively evidenced not through my writing but rather through my work. I specialise in MacGyvering computers into doing things they really were never designed to do. There’s pride in that. Even if it’s not the “by the book” way to do things.

Beyond that…I don’t think I’m any more prideful or egotistical than your average human male. I probably have the same number of insecurities and hang ups and the next guy. I just like ranting is all. Writing for El Reg – and more appropriately the comments section – gives me the opportunity to do so.

And hurray for that!

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@John Dee

I am talking about my activities in generalities. I may be afraid to let the governments and political organisations involved in on the detailed specifics, but I do believe that I live in a country where talking in general terms about what I do will not get me in the shit. I am absolutely certain that my time spent protesting, talking at rallies, etc. is enough to have me on a list of “minorly annoying people” somewhere. I do tend to work within the system wherever possible.

Protest coming up? I am almost always the person to organise it with the Police. Indeed, the local Police seem to be far less tense about protests when I am directly involved – they are familiar with me and know that I would never let such things get out of hand. (I would call them if the attendees at a protest I was helping to organise got too rowdy.)

By the same token, the specifics of what I do could get me in trouble. The biggest issue is the research. I dig up primary sources for a lot of very embarrassing stuff – the kind of thing that I am certain some rather powerful people would prefer had never come to light. At the moment I am safe in that regard because no one can really pin any specific item to me.

The majority of politicians, officials and whatnot are not so far gone as to try to disappear someone simply because they might have been one of potentially thousands of such people that leaked an embarrassing whatnot that got them fired. That is even assuming I have ever gotten even close to digging up information that embarrassed someone in a position to have people disappeared!

If someone could pin my /specific/ activities on my however – that’s another story. Who’s to say that someone down the chain isn’t so far gone as to try something stupid? Or that someone currently under pressure to shape up thanks to recently revealed information isn’t willing to take a step like blackmail? I realise that even conceiving of that is cloak and dagger stuff – which in real life is fairly “out there” – but why take the chance?

I am not so crazy as to thing “the boogymen are after me.” In all likelihood, I could freely talk at length about the specifics of what I do and no harm would ever come to me. Canada is a fairly safe country in that regard. Instead, consider Google thwarting like buckling up your seat belt just to drive to car to a different stall in the same parking lot. It is in all likelihood unnecessary, but just as some car could come tear-assing through the parking lot at just the wrong moment, Google thwarting is a measure I put firmly in the “better safe than sorry” category.

In all honesty, I am mostly worried about folks in other countries. I work very closely with some of them…and I am heartbreakingly aware of what happens when someone drops the ball. As such, beyond “better safe than sorry,” learning to thwart Google is hugely important if for no other reason than to be able to teach those skills to others. While Googlethwarting is likely not truly necessary in my case…it absolutely is for others.

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Anonymous Coward

@TP

What I'm getting at is that you mark yourself as someone particularly interesting in a certain way, and therefore worth spending some extra resource on. It's much easier to tell that someone is engaged in espionage or espionage-like activities if they are pre-flagged. You no longer blend in. Your every move is scrutinised and it becomes impossible to hide the details.

I now know that your internet traffic is an interesting starting point for further investigations of a particular sort. That endangers you and the chain you belong to. I know I'm on a few lists for a few things, but that doesn't mean that when a "who?" question is asked that I will be of interest.

Hey, that's my opinion. Perhaps you're from the hiding in plain sight school.

Either way, props.

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@John Dee

Oh, I'm no crafty as all that. I simply always figured that by showing up at protests and helping co-ordinate things with the cops etc. that I would be on such a list to begin with. Step one is to never actually do anything illegal. Step two is that if what you are doing is perfect legal, but may potentially annoy someone in power…cover your tracks. If there is a magical list of people to go shake down for such things then I was probably on it a decade ago after my really intense spate of late-teens protesting.

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Anonymous Coward

Only once?

He obviously expects to be fired before the Google Street Views apparatuses set off on their next round. I expect this to be true, considering that people who tell the truth often get fired.

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It will be over a year and a half...

So they will have forgotten that they did it the first time.

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Go

And of course...

...if he is fired, he can apply again for the position in a year and a half. No-one will remember he was fired.

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This is like ...

<shudder>

... watching One Hour Photo.

Seriously, Google has been creeping me out for a while now and Schmidt is just such a fucking in-your-face weirdo I'm surprised they haven't hidden him in a cupboard under a stair already.

He just shouldn't be seen OR heard.

What a gigantic liability.

</shudder>

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Pirate

The problem with Identifiers is

whether cryptographic hashes or not, once any hash becomes linked to multiple characteristics a set of multiple identifiers to the same person or individual is eventually formed.

The only sane solution is to delete the Personal Data & the hashes at set periods! :(

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Jobs Horns

How on Earth.....

did this loon get to where he is today?

Oh yes, just remembered, it's happened before. Hence icon

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All this has happened before...

...and all this will happen again.

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Unclear? Really?

"it's unclear whether the comment was meant as a joke."

I can see how that would be unclear to a baffoon yes. To a thinking person, it's pretty clear it was a joke, so suggesting otherwise is disingenuous.

I'm not commenting on the tastefulness of the joke.

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Boffin

An old saying...

The level of a man's humor reflects the level of his thinking.

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WTF?

Baffoon?

A baffoon? Is that a cross between a buffoon and a balloon? What a lovely mental picture...

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Joke

Joke?

He laughed to make out that it was a joke because he knew it was wrong to say it, but it reflected his feelings on the matter.

Which can be interpreted like so:-

If you don't want us to drive past your house, take photos of it and put them on the internet then tough. There's nothing you can do about it. Also we don't care about how you feel about this, we don't care so much that I'm even making a joke that you should sell your house and buy one in a completley different area. HAHAHAHAHAHAAH funny yes?

Something like that.

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FAIL

it may be a joke

but when all his jokes revolve around how google are going to trample on everyone's privacy then they stop being funny. Methinks he's trying to hide the truth in plain sight inside one of these "jokes".

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Pint

As granny would say...

"Never a truer word spoken in jest."

When you crack a joke off without thinking, it often reveals a lot more about what's really in that noggin than you'd normally like people to see!

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But....

Even if you move, the Google nazi's will come and photograph your new abode. There's no escape from the all seeing Eye of Sauron, sorry poodle.

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Anonymous Coward

When your "jokes" make people scared and uncomfortable, it's probably time to stop telling "jokes".

see title

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Go

Absolutely...

...unless you're Bill Hicks.

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Never

have I seen so many " boxes " so glibly " ticked ".

Much more unsaid than said in the CNN interview I saw.

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Anonymous Coward

Google vs. Schmidt

I like Google. Having followed the company closely I feel that I can safely trust my personal data to the company.

But Schmidt is another story. Don't know if he is joking, an a-hole, an idot, or all of the above.

One of the jobs of a CEO in a consumer oriented company is to be the public face of the company. Schmidt has failed miserably at this job. He should be replaced before he can do much more damage.

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FAIL

FAIL - AVOID

Jesus christ when will people learn to avoid this company?

a Company POLICY of getting right up to the Creepy line?

Shit, that is a scary company, and scary bunch of people running it.

Think about your own company, and how they fall short or vastly exceed their goals at different times. Google is BOUND TO CROSS the CREEPY Line if insists on dancing on it. That they refuse to see this, or can't is scary either way. A third option I suppose is Google damn well knows what they are doing and doesn't care. Their deliberate spying actions on people's unsecured wireless networks was proof of how far these creeps will go.

Don't care if this was meant to be humorous, this guy has to realize he is costing google shareholders big $ when he mouths off and makes seemingly true people's fears about his company.

And I'm tired of this BS argument of only the guilty need fear Google or the Govt / Big Brother.

Why do people not see the fear of an organization knowing anything about you? Because EVERYONE has beliefs and opinions that are objectionable to SOMEONE. If someone is collecting that information then they can share it, or it can be taken. No matter who you are if you have any strong convictions, then you have opponents who feel the opposite way.

Ask Jews that survived through WWII Germany if you still don't get the link.

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Go

Google is just dishonest.

I don't even think "getting right up to the Creepy line" is an accurate policy description. In practice, Google does backflips over the Creepy line, then obfuscates the fact.

And yeah, I agree. Privacy is not subject to the whims of this creep. He obviously has a flawed sense of ethics.

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Stop

I call Godwins.

That didn't take long....

GJC

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Sir

Knowledge is power, power corrupts, therefore Schmidt is a Neuremburg trial waiting to happen.

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Wireless Snooping

IIRC Google offered to destroy the data without looking at it.

It was the 'privacy watchdogs' in various governments not known for honouring their citizens privacy that insisted they get their grubby mitts on it to have a look see to determine if our privacy had been invaded.

However much Google stepped over the creepy line and violated our privacy the f**king retards in government went a whole leap further.

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FAIL

@Rob Dobs

"Don't care if this was meant to be humorous, this guy has to realize he is costing google shareholders big $ when he mouths off and makes seemingly true people's fears about his company."

Did you not see Google's recent Q3 earning report then? All I remember is the numbers were in $billions and share holders were happy enough.

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Creepy line

They cross the creepy line all the time and then apologise when they're caught (see El Reg ad nausum).

We need to start our own anonymous search engine... with black jack... and hookers...!

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Forget the Search Engine!

Let just get hookers and go play blackjack!

;-)

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FAIL

Everyone loved the numbers from WorldCom and Exxon too

Sure the pigs are happy at the trough.

but how long until the privacy concerns spawn a better competitor.

Goggle's market dominance is still subject to their (currently) superior product.

If the masses won't trust you to use your product, eventually the money stream will dry up.

Don't believe its possible... just look at comments in this thread:

People are actually saying in public that they are using A MICROSOFT PRODUCT because they feel their PRIVACY IS MORE SECURE!

Really!?!

With M$ "Screw you everyone you PC belongs to us" Microsoft....

Google ought to watch out their little algorithm is not so special as they think.... and not even patentable in the EU.

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WTF?

Totally Bemused

Now I'll admit, that I've read very little on the topic. Deliberately so. But I really don't 'get' the problem here. So Google knows where I live, knows my browsing habits and if they really wanted to, could probably tell that I buy underwear from M&S. So what.

I get no more spam email or unsolicited post or automated calls than I ever did, and I get a nice history of web sites I've visited that's useful as I'm rubbish at keeping organised bookmarks. I get my email, calendar and other docs anywhere I have a connected device, and it's all free.

What am I supposed to fear by Google knowing lots about me?

It's not that I don't 'care' (in an anti-social, loner sense), but so far, it's not detrimentally impacted my life. I don't see the problem.

Feel free to tell me what I'm missing by being scared of a computer company that it's possible to choose not to use; or being 'creeped-out' by some bloke with a socially-inept language set.

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Anonymous Coward

OK, I'll bite

Bit more than that. Lets say as well as your google account you chrome and have an Android phone which you use for navigation and browsing. Then they know or can deduce:

Where you live

Who your friend are and who their friends are.

Age and date of birth

What products you like to buy

What product groups are popular among your circle of friends so you might be into as well.

Where you work

Your hobbies and interests

Where you like to go at the weekend

Your phone and phone company

Who you bank with and who you have credit cards, mortgages or savings with. (They can't read your sessions but they can pull your history and see that you went to www.BankofAmericaonline.com and then went into a secure session.

When you are likely to be out (calendar)*

What make of wi-fi router you use

Who your ISP is

When you are out, even if GPS is off they can get your cell ID*

Who you call and are called by

The content of all your texts

Who you talk to on google Talk

What you say and what is said to you on google talk

Your YouTube account

Got you CV in your google docs? The add:

Where you went to school

What qualifications you got

Every company you have worked for.

Social security number

* Not much use to an ad broker but imagine if that leaked...

I doubt very much that is a comprehensive list of all they could learn about you. It would creep me out if any person set out to learn all that about me, I don't see any reason to be less creeped out by it being a company.

Think I'm mad? If you have an Android phone go into settings -> Manage Applications and pull up Google Talk Service or Google Search, scroll down to Permissions and see what those inocuous little apps have permission to do.

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Black Helicopters

Amusingly enough I am less bothered by this....

Than by the fact that the US government might be able to tap into this information.

Google does not have men with guns to come and get me.

Google does not have the ability to extradite me for a crime I may or may not have committed.

Google does not pay me and has no direct impact on the amount of money I earn.

Google cannot ruin my life other than selling my information to sales people or identity fraudsters.

If Google started making a habit of ruining peoples lives I (along with a large number of other

people) would stop using them.

However now try and replace the word Google with the government of your choice and you can see my only concern.

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Anonymous Coward

RE:Amusingly enough I am less bothered by this...

Who is to say that some governments haven't already leveraged the data google have collected?

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Alien

Yeah OK

However when the alien overlords arrive from Zeta-Reticuli and start sorting us into categories, gang-probing us, they will have a lot easy time of it thanks to Google databases!

Don't say you weren't warned!

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Wow....

....it's a whole thread full of people deliberately misunderstanding the obvious in order to work themselves up into a lather. You go, guys! You and your self-righteous outrage!

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