back to article Schmidt explains the Google way to self-erasure

Google bent over backwards yesterday to show that it has learned its lessons and is really finally taking individuals' concerns over privacy seriously. Honestly. And while there were some tangible commitments, they were unlikely to satisfy the regiment of privacy activists, academics and bloggers the ads colossus had arranged to …

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Data collection

I'd imagine most search engines will collect some data on user searches beyond logging that someone, somewhere in the world, at some point in time was motivated to search for Hello Kitty. Your IP address, browser, OS and possibly screen resolution are automatically made available to every single site you visit; so in the interests of collecting demographics about their users many sites will log that information. With Google being a major ad-broker, it might also be able to log whether you're blocking its ads or not.

Of course, if you sign into Google when you use its search engine, it will be able to isolate you, even if you use multiple computers to use it.

That's pretty much par for the course for most businesses / websites. So I suppose one way Google could address concerns is to produce a page somewhere stating what data was collected, which bits of data collected were tied to individual users and which were automatically aggregated, and what the data was used for (in more specific terms than the general cop-out "improving the user experience").

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Megaphone

Get stuffed Eric!

Use Scroogle and be damned!

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RJ

Scroogle is nice but.

Scroogle is very good but if you want to hide yourself from google all the time and are using Firefox check-out the 'Google-Sharing' extension.

It works on the main search site but also every time you interact with google (say, for example when you run across their analytics web bug)

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Gold badge

.. or startpage.com..

The problem with a "not-Google" search engine is that Google gained its prominence by simply offering a better search experience - which it still seems to do.

startpage.com (which seems to be a sister company of ixquick.com) has recently added Google search results to its output, but it anonymises it like every other search you do. So you get the best of both worlds.

The only challenge now is to *verify* that they are serious about anonymous searching, because I can't see the business model here yet. The site doesn't even have ads (which is IMHO a recommendation in itself, but I digress)..

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"Better to have industry best practice emerge unimpeded by red tape"

In other words "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission" or "we'll go ahead and do what we want until someone eventually passes a law to stop us which we can't ignore or bypass..."

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oh, but of course Schmidt is right

Wait a minute, isn't "industry best practice" what gave us the subprime crises we're still trying to recover from ?

Yes, it is exactly.

Congratulations, Schmidt, even when you're trying to make yourself look good, you still manage to slip in a horror or two.

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Joke

Google way to self-erasure

My name is "Experts Exchange" and I would like Google to erase all the information they hold about me, especially for searching.

Also my parents, named "kelkoo" and "pricerunner" would like to have all their information deleted...

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Anonymous Coward

Oh I dunno ...

It is possible to freetard Experts Exchange.

It's also possible to rebuild pages that have been purged from google's cache. Although I'm not yet sure of the time period during which this is possible.

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freetard Experts Exchange

Yeah, that may be, however I'm not that convinced that there are many experts there.

When I've looked at the answers they often seem to be answering another question, or have missed relevant bits of the question (for example answering questions about Excel 2003 telling poeple to select this or that from the RIBBON!)

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Anonymous Coward

blah blha

Guess what, just because google doesn't make it into a publicly usable interest and social tool that normal people may find interesting, doesn't mean they or someone else wont sell the technology to governments around the world so they can add the technology to their ever growing networks of cctv surveillance.

It also doesn't mean someone else wont make an interesting tool out of the technology that young people and people who are either a: unaware of potential risks or b: don't care and arn't particularly paranoid can use (like facebook, but with more faces.)

You do all need to get a grip and some perspective.

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Anonymous Coward

My mummy used to say

'I don't care was made to care'. You wouldn't have liked my mummy.

By the way, you escaped a downvote only because of the sentence 'like facebook, but with more faces', which I read first as 'like facebook, but with more faeces'.

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WTF?

hypocritical

theregister.co.uk/2011/05/05/google_backs_do_not_track_opposition/

need I say more?

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JDX
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Privacy

If it's genuinely anonymous, what is the problem with Google gathering data they can use to generate statistics and make money from those? Is it just a spiteful "why should they make money out of me" attitude? Personally, if that information makes their service better to me, they're welcome to the money people want to throw at them.

As for Scroogle... great idea, steal their service. Just because it's not something you pay for doesn't mean it's free,

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re: Privacy

"If it's genuinely anonymous, what is the problem with Google gathering data they can use to generate statistics and make money from those... etc etc?"

Shill much?

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Re: Privacy

"If it's genuinely anonymous, what is the problem with Google gathering data... As for Scroogle... great idea, steal their service"

But if it's genuinely anonymous, what's the problem with using scroogle? Anyway, I'm happy with google adding me to their 'doesn't want to be tracked' demographic along with the other scroogle users.

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Big Brother

Because it never is really anonymous.

Anyone remember when AOL released the search data, supposedly anonymized, but when examined, the search texts themselves were revealing?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_scandal

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That's a big....

"If it's genuinely anonymous"

The first word is the one upon which the logic of your post collapses. By its nature, search history information is not anonymous

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Silver badge

Schmidt creeped out by facial-recognition database?

So, I guess that means Google is hard at work on one, then.

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Big Brother

Google's privacy - The Emperor's New Clothes

Hang on, so Google will delete data on me provided I first login to Google, which means in the process of trying to stop them spying on me, I first have to tell them who I am?! and so I end up confirming to Google, who I am?!. So my login data fixes me as one unique customer anywhere I login in the world, whenever I travel or whatever I do, or say or search for. But that's what Google have wanted all a long from the very beginning. A way to confirm precisely who everyone is, so they can then associate all data with that login information.

So Google's privacy move isn't a privacy move at all. If it was a true privacy move, it would be to not store data in the first place (i.e. it would be opt in to store data, not opt out of already stored data). I don't want to have to login after every email I make, every phone conversation I make and every Google search I make, all to stop Google scanning my data (by which time they have already had a very good look at the data anyway, and tied it to my login data, so deleting what is stored is pointless anyway). Do they really think we are all that stupid that we won't notice?!

Almost every time Schmidt opens his mouth, his two faced manipulative behaviour creeps me out. He is a perfect example of Machiavellian behaviour.

Google's idea of privacy is the Emperor's New Clothes. Hey look everyone, look at their fine protective clothing, its fine features, its the latest crazy you know, Google privacy, get it now, login now to see your new privacy settings.

WTF, its not privacy at all!

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Groups

No mention of Google Groups, with all of USENET in never expiring glory, on the Data Liberation page.

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Anonymous Coward

Why should anyone trust Google with their personal data

... when Google can't even stop Schmidt opening his mouth?

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@Google's privacy - The Emperor's New Clothes #

You're right! Google can't be trusted at all - 'Don't be evil'? Complete crap!

But if one uses Google and one knows what they are like..... Then it becomes difficult to complain.

This assumes of course that you believe that Google are actually doing exactly what they say they are doing. And who would believe that I wonder? Oh yes, the ICO, silly me.

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Freudian Slip

>>> which commits the firm to allowing individuals who use its products to remove any information they have uploaded.

Is it wrong that I read that as "commits the firm to *following* individuals?"

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Only minor hipocisy

I find Schmidt's comments a bit funny really. So it's "bad" to roll out CCTV with facial recognition software, but at the same time it's ok to photograph people's properties without thier consent and post it on the internet, and it's ok to obtain and post high quality satellite pictures of people's houses and gardens on the internet without thier consent too?

Is that right? Hmm.

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Anonymous Coward

Simple.........

Dont want google looking at your data, dont use google services.......is it that difficult to understand?

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IT Angle

Read the user agreement.

If you don't agree to let Google what it wishes with IT's data, then don't hand what was your data over to them by using the services. What is needed is a law that allows you to retain ownership and control of your data even when you use on-line services..

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