back to article Google MORTIFIED by Mocality's 'scalped data' claims

Google issued an apology to Mocality late on Friday after the startup's CEO uncovered evidence that employees working for Mountain View had lied about their biz relationship with the Kenyan biz. "We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our …

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Anonymous Coward

If you must be evil

try not to get caught

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Anonymous Coward

If you must be evil →

Well, at least until you haven't won the world over, for this not to matter any more ...

Oh, wait!

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Anonymous Coward

Better still: Hire a contractor with plausible deniability to do it for you; in case you do.

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Silver badge
Megaphone

@AC

Actually, it seems with modern media that getting caught isn't the actual challenge. No, the challenge is to make people forget. Keep stalling the actions you promised to undertake, right until that time when the media has lost interest in the issue altogether. And then you'll soon be home free.

Never underestimate how quickly and easily people forget, even up to a point where they don't care anymore.

For example; Google's streetview cars not only mapped their location but also slurped up wifi information. And when a wifi router was open it would easily pick up all the information it could get from the connection and store it in a database. In some cases this was a direct violation of several laws within the specific country in which this took place.

Eventually this became known, finally Google admitted and governments and media also started to ask more questions. Google's response at that time was "that they had to investigate what had happened and how they could remove the data from their databases". To my knowledge this statement has been made several times.

Well, guess what happened? Not much IMO.

At the 9th of June 2010 they published their findings; they "mistakenly" had added code to do this and a 3rd party consultancy firm published a report which confirms that only data from open networks was slurped.

See: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/wifi-data-collection-update.html

Apparently that was good enough for most people because it seems Google stopped giving us any updates. And surprisingly enough... Only a few /days/ later did Google reveal that they stopped with the deletion process. You can see more about that here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/22/google-stops-deleting-str_n_586067.html

And although privacy watchdogs started to make threats; the news never found its way into the main media channels anymore. Sure; some tech based websites and specific other agencies covered it. But the mainstream ? They had already long forgotten.

Surprise,surprise: if the main media "forgets" then you can be sure that the government will soon follow. After all; they have "better" things to do. And should this eventually turn into a scandal then well... Lets just hope that its after the serving term has expired so that "others" can now deal with it.

That is IMO the real deal. Its no problem anymore to get caught, the deal is to become forgotten again.

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Anonymous Coward

Mortified

that they got caught, perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Do Know Evil

I am (actually increasingly was) something of a Google fan - I use their search, gmail, calendar, docs, news, analytics, and until they f*cked up the UI Reader. I wouldn't touch Android with a 10 foot pole, but apparently I'm in a minority. That said I'm actually amazed both by how much of a free ride Google gets in the press and amongst geek commantards, given what a nasty company they've become. The Mocality thing isn't some unique one off event that Google wasn't aware of. These calls will have been scripted, and someone at Google will have approved the script. Now in any organisation of the size of Google bad things will happen, but there's something of a pattern of Google pilfering stuff it has no right to. The Plausible Deniability defence is all well and good, accept that Google has used this one a lot recently. Like when they were caught having ripped the conversations from WiFi in 30 countries. "We didn't know", they said. Sure. Though you kept the data.

Imagine how vitriolic the thread here would have become if Apple had done this.

Google - do Know evil.

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Anonymous Coward

There's nothing wrong with taking data from unsecured wifi - After all 90% of the Internet population would probably freely give all their info to Facebook/Twitter/Google+ anyway!

<-- Icon!

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Anonymous Coward

AC 13:31

> There's nothing wrong with taking data from unsecured wifi

Do you mean other than breaking the law, e.g. for the UK that would be the Data protection law?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually

I momentarily forgot that A/C's could no longer choose their icon. the <-- icon was supposed to be pointing to a 'Joke Alert' icon

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Anonymous Coward

"One bad apple" defence

Well a few, OK a crate...

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Ru
Coat

Well.

Given that we've had a rogue engineer who was responsible for the wifi sniffing debacle, and now we have a rogue salesman responsible for this... whatever it is, I'd say you're looking at a bad pear, not one bad apple.

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Except

If you read the blog post you'll see that it was multiple Google people. First in Kenya and then on a much bigger scale from India. it's actually a lovely piece of detective work and Google will struggle to explain it away. Best to just let it go away. It's pretty clear that Google knew what it was doing and it was coordinated. Pretty clear that there was more than one bad apple. They've been busted, fair and square, and need to figure out how to get away from this. It does seem that Google is becoming increasingly grubby in in it's actions. Filthy lucre does that every time.

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@Keith Spencer

You really, really need to learn about puns. And humour. And the little icons on posts.

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Anonymous Coward

Where angels fear to tread...

It seems to be corporate policy for Google to wade straight into ethical or legal minefields just to see how far they can go without being blown up.

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Fixed it for you Kelly!

"We were mortified to learn that Mocality found out about a team of people working on a Google project that improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites," said Google's European product and apology engineering veep Nelson Mattos.

"We’ve already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We’re still investigating exactly how Mocality found out about it, and as soon as we have all the facts, we’ll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved."

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Can someone explain

the ""Apparently, the calls were made by a third party vendor." bit?

Does this mean that Google were in on it or that his analysis of the IP addresses was wrong and that this was just someone pretending to be Google, as many people commenting on his original post suggested?

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Anonymous Coward

the ""Apparently, the calls were made by a third party vendor." bit?

Oh thats easy to explain. A sacked employee is now technicaly a 3rd party, though they could appeal so in many aspect they only appear to be a 3rd party. Thats how I read it. :).

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Anonymous Coward

Your data safe in their Cloud?

I don't think so!

If you allow a third party to host your application, code and data, then it's obvious such breaches of security and trust are going to occur and are out of your control.

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