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OpenStreetMap Reports Data Vandalism From Google-Owned IPs

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the yes-but-where-are-the-perps dept.

Google 178

An anonymous reader writes "Following reports of misconduct by Google employees in Kenya and India, It has been found that Google IP addresses have been responsible for deliberate vandalism of OpenStreetMap data. While it is unlikely that this was a deliberate or coordinated attack by Google HQ on the competition, multiple such reports does raise the question of whether or not Google has become too big to effectively enforce its 'Don't be evil' philosophy across its massive organization."

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Warning (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724340)

Troll alert Troll alert Troll alert

First post will be by TechGuys at the same time as story rolls out.
Well thought-out, including links, bashing Google, calling for Google to be broken up.
Will throw in an apple bash
Nary a bad word about MS or FB

Troll alert Troll alert Troll alert

Re:Warning (-1, Troll)

TechGuys (2554082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724628)

What about if you stopped stalking me? Regarding the story, I have no opinion about this.

Re:Warning (1, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725076)

They stalk you because you are loved.

But let's be honest, looking at your post history, one would expect you to insert a Google bash here.

Re:Warning (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725242)

You have no opinion on it, yet you came into the thread to... what, check if the first comment was an anonymous attack on you so you could defend your good name? Come off it - you were clearly up for another anti-Google rant and are just acting affronted now that you've been caught out ahead of time. How is this kind of shilling not illegal?

Re:Warning (0)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726112)

I have no opinion about this.

Really; so you can confirm you are not the anonymous submitter of it then?

The psychosis of Slashdot (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726116)

Well thought-out, including links, bashing Google, calling for Google to be broken up.

Just to be clear, you're criticizing the fact that you believe someone will post something well thought-out and sourced with links. The horror!

Notice how the very first post to this negative story on Google is a defensive, accusatory post intended to distract people from the story by turning everyone against anyone who will be critical of Google. You don't like the position someone will take on Google, and so that automatically means they're a troll and you get modded up? That's stupid.

The moderation system has broken down. My karma has suffered from "shill" accusations because I, too, have posted things critical of Google in the past and had this same anonymous person track all my posts. The new psychosis seems to be that you are not allowed to criticize anything Google-related or else anonymous accusers call you a shill, and enough moderators go along with it to filter you off the site.

Re:The psychosis of Slashdot (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726186)

This is why I always scroll to about halfway down the comments before reading. The first post (and replies) is always unrelated and pointless. The last ones are unfunny jokes that are often the same as the unfunny jokes half-way down the comments, except that the poster couldn't be bothered to read the comments before posting so only about the middle half of the comments are of any relevance whatsoever.

Re:The psychosis of Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726290)

... and I understand the irony of posting an unrelated and pointless post to the very section of the article that I claimed that I don't read. Now let's just get past this and move on, shall we?

this, and then that other thing... (4, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724344)

It's starting to sound like Google needs to reign in their over-eager foreign subsidiaries.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724402)

Sounds like a monkey sphere problem to me.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (5, Informative)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724498)

From a comment on the first linked page:

Tom Hughes said...

As the person who (in my role as an OpenStreetMap system administrator) first discovered this `incident' let me start by saying that I consider this post to be grossly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate.

The board of OSMF are making mountains out of tiny pimples here. It seems that they want this to be some sort of organised corporate malfeasance on the part of Google which is why they have tried to link it to the recent Mocality incident where there was indeed clear evidence of such behaviour.

The reality in this case is that there is no evidence that this is any different to the numerous other incidents we get all the time where users either accidentally or deliberately make bogus edits. The only difference in this case is that there happen to be two accounts (though we do not know if that is two people) and the user or users involved happen to (presumably) work for Google.

That is the sum total of what we know, and on the back of that, and without approaching Google at all, two leading board members have decided to reveal personal information about two of our users.

It seems to me that this is just an attempt to get some cheap publicity by trying to like the project to the Mocality incident, and I cannot support such behaviour. ...

Only two of the seventeen accounts mentioned appear to have done anything identified as improper, and we have no idea how many of those accesses relate to those accounts or indeed to signed in vs not signed in users.

Trying to read that as meaning that there have been 100,000 instances of vandalism is completely misleading.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724684)

One of the blog post authors is Steve Coast from Microsoft Bing Maps. Plus, the OSMF is claiming this post is a personal communication and does not represent the position of their board. So, the whole thing is starting to sound very suspicious.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724876)

more like one immature rogue employee in a distant field office and three self-important OMG OMG reactionaries on the other side.

the google employee should not have visited the OSM site, let alone created an account to edit it.

Steve C. works for Bing, he should have recused himself.

the other two OSMers should not have signed with their board affiliation if they were not writing on behalf of the board.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725298)

Note –Steve Coast founded OpenStreetMap.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (2)

AberBeta (851747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726166)

Note –Steve Coast now works for a competitor of Google (Maps).

Re:this, and then that other thing... (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724754)

In other words it could have been.
An honest mistake.
Of course what really bugs me about all of this is that when people talke about the 3 strikes law I hear people say time and time again... IP addresses are not identity.
IP addresses can be spoofed as can mac addresses.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725442)

"IP addresses are not identity."

Thank you. The hypocrisy around here is large, but not surprising.

Does Google offer guest Wi-Fi access at any of their locations? Does anyone in Google run a Tor exit node? Are there any live jacks in Google meeting rooms? Do they NAT multiple internal addresses?

It's one thing to confirm suspicions by setting up a honeypot phone number like Mocality did, and then receive calls from people identifying themselves as being from Google. It's quite another to only point to an IP addresses and place blame with no further evidence.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724796)

> and without approaching Google at all, two leading board members have decided
> to reveal personal information about two of our users.

As opposed to what? Submitting something on google.com/support/feedback.py and hoping that someone reads it?

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724520)

Why would Google care? Google USA! USA! USA! just has to say "it was some foreign, independent subsidiary that acted without authorisation" and the vast majority of people will attribute it to "some 3rd-world-country people".

Don't kid yourself, the number of people who think Google is responsible is insignificant. It's always only "just some rogue individual" when corporations do something bad. If it's some savage from a faraway "uncivilised" country, all the better.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724696)

Monarchs reign. Horses are reined in.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724816)

You "rein in", not "reign in". As in what you horses.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725028)

As in "what you do to horses" FTFY you pedantic arse.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726032)

It's "douchebag", not "doosh bag". Please, please, go back to your day job at Wikipedia. They appreciate you over there, they really do.

Re:this, and then that other thing... (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725266)

Alternatively, it could simply be that google aren't as pro-open as they like to put across. Just like all big companies, they're pro-open when they're falling behind in the development race (e.g. android when it was first out), and pro-closed when they're way ahead of the competition (maps, search, android's increasing restrictions now).

The only way to control this is to come down hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725658)

If Google Central come down hard on "their" Kenyan employees, or at least install mandatory checking on the machines that send via that IP address (their own hardware, so it's possible to check out IP addresses being spoofed) to find out definitely that their employees are at fault before sacking them for criminal acts, then this will be a storm in a teacup.

If they find someone spoofing the IP addresses and locating that entity, that will be 100x worse for them.

So this is definitely a manageable problem for Google: this act is criminal. You CAN sack your employees for committing a crime.

Evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724398)

Like every other big company, Google has learned that "evil" is where the money is.

Re:Evil (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724460)

There's really no money in defacing OpenStreetMaps. With the admitted contracting of an Anti-Google campaign by FaceBook at least, I wouldn't put this past their competition.

Re:Evil (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724536)

There's really no money in defacing OpenStreetMaps

I have adblock plus so I don't know, but can someone verify if maps.google.com has ads?

Damage to a competitor results in more ad impressions amongst people not smart enough to use an ad blocker, leads to real money...

Re:Evil (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724720)

Disable adblock for a minute, and check it yourself. :)

They don't have the regular adword ads. They do have business listings in the map. Most of the business listings show up if you search for something like "pizza near 10011".

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724596)

There's really no money in defacing OpenStreetMaps.

So a company that decided to try to make money off their maps has no interest in devaluing a competitor that doesn't charge anything for maps?

If it hadn't gotten attention, it would be very profitable to vandalize OpenStreetMaps, just have marketing use a line like 'most accurate' for Google's maps and point to some of your subtle damages on the open model when asked about that tag line. Even better if some third party discovers the errors and you can have a bundle of complaining blog posts from OSM users.

Re:Evil (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724688)

Is OpenStreetMaps a credible competitor to Google Maps? I've only used their data for maps in the Caribbean where it is okay, but leaves a lot to be desire (which is reasonable since there is likely less of a crowd to source from). Is it better in the US?

Re:Evil (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724742)

I agree, I like the idea of OpenStreetMaps, but I'm not really sure that it's at the point where it can compete with Google Maps. Which is why if this article were true it would be so stupid. Or perhaps brilliant, sabotage the competition before anybody thinks they're competitive.

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725842)

In Germany, OpenStreetMaps is *much* more complete than Google Maps with regards to actual mapping. Even small pedestrian paths, for example in the woods, are usually present, while Google Maps just shows a green blob. Car navigation is a different piece of cake, though, with lots of disconnected paths making OSM navigation off the main through roads an unpleasant endeavour.

In France, it's the other way around: for some villages, OpenStreetMaps only has the outline of the village and the main road, with all other details (including all other roads!) missing.

Re:Evil (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726056)

It's great in Europe. Major cities have fantastic detail, far better than Google maps -- footpaths, cycle paths, phone boxes, every bus stop, name/number of every building, etc. Last time I looked (2 years ago?) the place my parents live (small village in England) was just a couple of main roads, but since then someone has filled in the rest of the roads, and the public footpaths, electricity pylons, etc. Google still have "Xxx Road" instead of "Xxx Street" for the road my parents live on, which sometimes causes confusion for visitors. And Google is useless for walking or cycling directions, it's very car-centric.

(There is far more detail on the OSM which isn't shown on the normal map, random stuff like the voltage and gauge of an electric railway line, but also the number of cycle racks outside a building (good for the cycling map), or codes/URLs for bus stops to retrieve next-bus information (good for a public transport next-bus-near-me phone app.)

Re:Evil (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725346)

In a lot of areas, their data is way more accurate and detailed than google's, unfortunately, in a lot of areas, their data is significantly less complete.

Re:Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726266)

Is it better in the US?

No. I've used their data in the past when I needed to sample data to demo web applications that would subsequently feed it into maps (i.e. it had to be real addresses.) The only area where they even had 1000 or so usable addresses was San Diego. The rest of their locations had significantly less data.

OSM is useful, but so far from complete it would be laughable for Google to consider them a threat.

Re:Evil (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725320)

Sure there's money in defacing OSM –it lowers the quality of the competition, and increases the chance that people will pay to use google maps.

Re:Evil (1)

larppaxyz (1333319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725334)

Basic Google API for commercial use costs $10.000/year. You can't get it for less no matter how little you use it. That said, i don't think Google tries to do any damage to OpenStreetMaps.

Shocking (5, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724406)

Disconcerting. What next now, Norton producing viruses?

Re:Shocking (5, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724468)

norton is itself a virus since 1995-96.

Re:Shocking (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724924)

Norton became self-replicating during that time? It may be a shit program, but it's no virus.

Re:Shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725114)

A virus can't self-replicate, it eeds a host cell (a.k.a. "Nerd"). Yes, there was a time when Norton was considered "Nerdworthy", mainly the time before the yellow packaging...

Re:Shocking (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725872)

norton commander times ...

yes (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725500)

it replicates itself through advertising and marketing and stupid hosts. once it installs on some computer, it doesnt go away unless wipe the thing clean with a format.

i installed it once in 1996 or something. the shock was so great that i have never, ever used anything that was remotely affiliated with norton. what's more appalling is that, they have not changed their behavior since the passing 14 years.

Re:yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726008)

Mod parent up! Nothing screws up a Windows PC quite the way Norton does...

Re:Shocking (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724920)

At least one AV maker used to brag about this semi-publicly in the 80s when (at least here) it wasn't a crime. I fail to believe no one does this today too -- especially that authorship of a virus is damn hard to prove and an AV maker will legitimately have samples of hundreds or thousands of viruses, including commented assembly.

Are the times that hard for these big companies? (0)

I'm Not There (1956) (1823304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724408)

All the companies that I used to love are doing shit these days. What's happening?

Re:Are the times that hard for these big companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725654)

You started believing everything you read online without anything close to proof. It's not the companies that changed, it's your level of gullibility.

Kenya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724416)

Google has become too big to effectively enforce it's 'Do no evil' philosophy across its massive organization.

It's all coming from one branch. [slashdot.org]

Outsourced Google.karma (1)

teefal (142948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724420)

Google karma points are are 1/5th the cost in Kenya and India, but Indian workers come back as ...

38724*** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724448)

These stories are so suspicious, partly because all the accounts commetning seem to be registered at roughly the same time. Is there a reference from OSM?

I hope not (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724464)

OpenStreetMap is a very good project, it is basically the Wikipedia of Maps. Wikipedia even links to OpenStreetMap when you look up co-oridnates for articles such as cities. It can also be more up-to date in areas that are having heavy construction. For example a major new bypass road was built in my city and it was added to OpenStreetMap the day it opened. Google maps still doesn't have it even a year later.

Support OpenStreetmap, I hope they do a SOPA blackout to show how useful they are in places where Google Maps isn't as good.

Re:I hope not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724670)

it's a damn damn crying shame OSM recently fubar'd their license though.talk about your cannon balls to the foot.

Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724478)

On the same blogpost,
Tom Hughes said...
As the person who (in my role as an OpenStreetMap system administrator) first discovered this `incident' let me start by saying that I consider this post to be grossly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate.
The board of OSMF are making mountains out of tiny pimples here. It seems that they want this to be some sort of organised corporate malfeasance on the part of Google which is why they have tried to link it to the recent Mocality incident where there was indeed clear evidence of such behaviour.

The reality in this case is that there is no evidence that this is any different to the numerous other incidents we get all the time where users either accidentally or deliberately make bogus edits. The only difference in this case is that there happen to be two accounts (though we do not know if that is two people) and the user or users involved happen to (presumably) work for Google.

That is the sum total of what we know, and on the back of that, and without approaching Google at all, two leading board members have decided to reveal personal information about two of our users.

It seems to me that this is just an attempt to get some cheap publicity by trying to like the project to the Mocality incident, and I cannot support such behaviour.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724582)

Also says
Tom Hughes said...
I am told that this posting was in fact made in a personal capacity and as such any suggestion on my part that it represents an official position of the OSMF board is incorrect and should be disregarded.

Only two of the seventeen accounts mentioned appear to have done anything identified as improper, and we have no idea how many of those accesses relate to those accounts or indeed to signed in vs not signed in users.

Trying to read that as meaning that there have been 100,000 instances of vandalism is completely misleading.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (4, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724908)

...without approaching Google at all...

Good point. Fairness would be to first ask google for a position, maybe it was indeed just a rogue individual, or a mistake or whatever.

but then comes the first question: how would one actually accomplish this feat, i.e. to "approach" google. Complaint addresses are exceedingly difficult to find, and those that are there don't seem to be manned. So it seems to me, the only solution does indeed be to skip the "let's discuss this first" step, and go directly to the press. Google, if you don't like this, then please become more "approachable", and people will approach you before badmouthing you in public.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725392)

but then comes the first question: how would one actually accomplish this feat, i.e. to "approach" google.<sic>

Well, you could start with the whois data for the domain. Alternately you used to be able to email abuse@example.domain.com and get a reasonable reply or at least a contact point.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725452)

Well, you could start with the whois data for the domain.

yeah right. Has that ever worked for you?

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725584)

Well, you could start with the whois data for the domain.

yeah right. Has that ever worked for you?

On occasion it has. Even with some Indian and Chinese domains. But not for google.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725570)

email abuse@example.domain.com

Well, except that abuse@google.com is not manned, and you merely get back of form letter without any followup whatsoever.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726050)

Is that a form letter with the correct contact addresses and url's in it by any chance?

Just askin...

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726210)

Nope, no contact addresses in there. Just a pointer to the FAQ covering 3 frequently encountered issues (which unfortunately didn't address the question that I had), and without any further addresses.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724926)

Just keep telling your self "ANDROID IS OPEN!" as you masturbate to your Google+ account. It's a corporation, why do you tards line up to defend them. Why does anyone line up to defend a company they don't work for... Yet the legion of Google (oh and Apple, Sony, etc too) fanboys are always here defending them.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725414)

i dont have a google+ account. who the hell masturbates to a google+ account? seriously? is it that hot?
android is open. a lot of linux drivers are closed source, doesn't mean that linux isn't open.

Re:Cheap publicity stunt--admin who found evidence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725892)

Go ahead faggot, bing, yahoo, and facebook away.

Because the competition is so much more generous and open.

Good point (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724508)

The larger organizations get, the harder it becomes to enforce whatsoever organization-wide. They acquire their own dynamics; one of the most important of that self-perpetuating dynamical processes & characteristics is mediocrity. Doing bad things, or at least a readiness in some individuals to do them, is part of that mediocrity. It is similar to what made many IBM products almost too complex to use, and an ungovernable mastodont out of, say, Bell and IBM, as corporations. I personally noticed the same thing at Airbus.

But it begs the question: Why? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724526)

Ok, so some disgruntled employees of Google have been caught munging and corrupting data intentionally.

That's a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

But it misses the most important question to me: WHY would someone do this?

To discredit Google, revenge on a "cruel" and "vicious" employer or manager?

To cause mayhem and accidents in India and elsewhere?

To make sure their favourite curry shop can't be found by others so they don't have to wait in line with the "stinking masses"?

What would POSSIBLY be the purpose of messing up street map data?

Re:But it begs the question: Why? (2)

nadaou (535365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724712)

man this post has been up for 10 minutes already without some /.er correcting you on the correct use of the "question begs to be asked" .... you guys are slipping.

Re:But it begs the question: Why? (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725548)

you guys are slipping.

But that begs the question, why are we slipping?

Re:But it begs the question: Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725732)

english has accepted that phrase now, chillax.

Re:But it begs the question: Why? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725212)

What would POSSIBLY be the purpose of messing up street map data?

4 teh lulz?

Douchebaggery is usually its own reward.

Re:But it begs the question: Why? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726100)

Ok, so some disgruntled employees of Google have been caught munging and corrupting data intentionally.

That's a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

But it misses the most important question to me: WHY would someone do this?
[snip]

What would POSSIBLY be the purpose of messing up street map data?

Easy - to discredit OpenStreetMap.

OSM produces a product that compets with Google Maps. Except, well, it's got several advantages.

First, it's free to download and use, while Google Maps requires an internet connection. For those on limited 3G plans, this can be a godsend.

Second, if people start using OSM data for navigation, it peels away Google's revenue of selling ads.

Why don't they do it with Bing Maps? Bing Maps is in competition with Google Maps. Google Maps has pretty much wiped out the whole portable turn-by-turn GPS business (who would pay $100 for a GPS unit when your smartphone can direct you for free? There isn't enough of the US where lack of coverage is a significant issue for a good majority of users). (This disregards those who don't have smartphones and who could use a portable GPS).

In addition, by corrupting OSM data, it makes OSM less reliable. Navigation apps using OSM would therefore be less reliable and people wouldn't trust it so much, so they'd come back to Google.

I don't know if OSM is doing POI stuff, but it could very well be to discredit OSM to have those businesses pay Google to be listed on the map rather than getting listed on OSM for free.

Honestly, it's probably the result of some manager forced ot increase revenue from Google Maps - by selling more ads and getting businesses to pay for being listed on the map. And when there's a worthy free competitor, well, dirty tricks.

Does an IP identify or not? (4, Interesting)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724652)

So... just for clarification, does an IP identify somebody? or not?

I'm fairly certain that when I visited the GooglePlex they had a publically accessible WIFI connection. Do those count as Google owned IPs?

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724792)

So... just for clarification, does an IP identify somebody? or not?

Depends. Let's say someone in my office, connected through our wired network, had done this. Then the IP address would most likely lead to my office and therefore to my company, and OpenStreetMap would be quite justified to say "someone at XXX did this". Since I work for a company that has a reputation to lose, I'd say it is quite possible that my company would shortly afterwards say that an ex-employee was responsible.

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724888)

Hmmm... do most network configurations restrict IPs to a certain computer/ethernet port? I'm rather unaware as to how most corporations setup their networks. Would there be something that would stop me from powering off somebody's computer and using their IP?

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (2)

greed (112493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725458)

It's possible for managed switches to lock a port to a particular MAC (or a list of them). That's done at the Ethernet layer.

Layer 3 switches can look at the IP address ('cause they're layer 3) and make sure that Approved IP Addresses are associated with Approved MAC Addresses only.

Which is still useless for all but the casual wrong-plug fault, because anyone actually breaking your network security can emit any MAC address they want. So they just need to intercept a couple of frames before switching to their gear.

You'd actually need Ethernet-level encryption or something to stop that. Or all your real connections are in VPN tunnels, and the regular LAN fabric doesn't route to anything except the tunnel server.

In other words, there are almost no networks set up that would prevent this from happening.

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724950)

So... just for clarification, does an IP identify somebody? or not?

You really ought to know the answer to this by now. But if not, I'll remind you ... it depends.

If something bad has been done to you, and you have an IP address, and that IP address has been said to be owned by a person (be it the person who pays the cable modem bill, the company that owns the free WiFi, etc.) ... then yes, an IP address clearly and uniquely identifies the responsible party. The letter your lawyer wrote up to send to the person to demand compensation *clearly* states that, after all.

If you've been accused of something bad, and the accusers have an IP address that has been said to be owned by you (as the person who pays the cable modem bill, who owns the WiFi AP that is providing free Internet, etc.) ... then obviously not. *Anybody* could have used that IP address -- hackers, crackers, etc. They could have compromised your machine, or they could have done it without touching your machine at all! The logs that have the IP address could have been tampered with, possibly even by the people accusing you. TCP connections can be spoofed, etc.

Got it now?

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725232)

Ah yes.

Crystal clear.

Re:Does an IP identify or not? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724988)

No, it does not identify you.

However, when notified of malevolent behavior from an IP address you own, you should have some explanation for who/what may have been responsible. Which may be as simple as open WiFi or as complex as Russian and Chinese hackers. Or bad corporate policy.

Do no evil? (3, Insightful)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724716)

raise the question of whether or not Google has become too big to effectively enforce it's 'Do no evil' philosophy across its massive organization.

Do not confuse a marketing slogan for a philosophy.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724930)

Indeed, and it's certainly one that they've made almost no attempt to live up to for well over half a decade. I seem to remember the first time I called google evil was back in the early noughties, when it became clear they had no intention to deliver on their promises regarding the buyout of dejanews and acquisition of other usenet archives, and provided a thoroughly inferior service. (So much so, that I take almost every opportunity possible to say googlegroups sucks now.)

Storm in a teacup (4, Interesting)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724746)

As others have pointed out, this seems to be a storm in a teacup. If it leads to more participation in OSM, however, it'll be a good thing. I recently installed the Navfree android app (free onboard maps GPS, there's an IOS version too), and noticed a number of small inaccuracies in my neighborhood. Correcting them was really pretty easy; the maps around me already seem pretty usable, and with a bit more tweaking will be as good as any of the commercial alternatives. When I had first looked at it a couple of years ago the maps around me were pretty dire, so they've come a long way. House numbering seems to be the big remaining issue for navigation system use.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725642)

This is a free advertisement, no less! I did not know about Navfree before, thank you for the pointer.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725998)

That's kinda why I posted; I only discovered it myself a couple of days ago and I like it - I have a wifi only Android phone so I am happy to have something free which has the maps stored locally. If you have 3g data the Google maps are good, but Navfree works for me. The last map update seems to have been in December so I hope they'll grab the updated OSM data sometime soon & I can see my changes reflected there.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726262)

...looks like it is ad-supported or $9 a year -- pretty steep for an OpenStreetMap user. There is plenty of other projects out there [openstreetmap.org] The question is -- are any of the open source ones usable?

I'm told that IP addresses are not identity. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38724804)

I'm told that IP addresses are not identity.

IP addresses can be spoofed as can mac addresses.

Is this true?

Or maybe there are different rules when the Big Bad Google is involved?

Re:I'm told that IP addresses are not identity. (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725170)

IP addressed do give out their identity, just not, usually, enough to narrow down to a person that actually performed the action. If it is part of a static block owned by someone, you know it is was used somewhere within their network (unless you suspect the IP was faked at the BGP level, and the attacker is skilled enough to perform it, and what was gained is significant enough). To narrow it down to the person that actually performed it, you would need the logs of all network activity, which associates network access with some sort of person identifying authentication. I dont think any one really does this, so there you go, you cannot identify the person, but you can identify the network.

Hollywood's Smear Campaign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724812)

Is Hollywood running a smear campaign? Did RIAA/MPAA execs order staffers to dig up as much dirt as they could against their new enemy? What is the involvement of Rupert Murdoch and his personal vendetta against the "Silicon Valley paymasters"?

Next on 60 minutes.

Public WiFi (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38724846)

Google has open public WiFi available on many of its offices that you can pick up from across the street. You can't easily tell machines on those networks from internal machines.

Just pointing that out.

Why? (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725010)

Seriously, why is it "unlikely that this was a deliberate or coordinated attack by Google HQ on the competition"

Just because Google's motto is "do no evil" they sure don't live up to it...

Summary has the motto all wrong (1, Funny)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725096)

Google's motto isn't "Do no evil", it's "Don't be evil". You can do as much evil actions as you want as long as you're doing them for a good cause (Google's success), then you aren't being evil.

You, too, can have a Google IP address (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725164)

Sadly, I'm an anon, so nobody will read this, BUT:

Google used to have a product called "Google Web Accelerator" which was, essentially, a Google proxy that operated similar to the idea behind Kindle Fire: Make the proxy crunch images and the like to make the browser work faster.

While using it, I noticed that IP reporting sites would all show that I was coming from Google in Mountain View, CA. ... who's to say that a savvy vandal simply isn't using GWA?

"Starting to"? (1, Interesting)

UncHellMatt (790153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725382)

Sorry, but "starting to" suggests Google's recent actions are somehow different or new. Google has been deliberately and willfully evil for years now. If memory serves, Google has revealed the names of Chinese dissidents in the past [wordpress.com] (single citation being used, though going back you do find more), and gleefully gave in to the Chinese government too many times to cite all of them, all in the name of a bit of dosh.

Why is ANY of this a surprise? Companies that have a great product, a great service, that lose focus on what their foundation is in favor of making money, will always do this, at least every instance I've seen. Even smaller companies. I'll use a local example; Here in the Boston area there is (or I should say "was") a great ice cream store named more or less for the neighborhood it was founded in. The ice cream was, to put it mildly, pure heaven. Even in the dead of winter people flocked to their locations, what they had was just that good. Over the years the quality has gone down considerably in direct proportion to how much the founder began making. Once he got some investment money from other parties, the bottom line became a bigger issue. Employees who had been with him from the first day he'd opened were fired because they looked "different" (it was a haven for artistic, counter culture people back in the 80s and to the mid 90s) and didn't fit in with his new "professional" look. The product they made became just sort of average. Walk into any chain ice cream store, and you'll get the same product. However their profits skyrocketed and they continue to do business not due to the ice cream, but the name.

Google has become no different. They own the market, and they know it. Rather than focus on doing what they do best, and NOT doing it in an evil way, they what... Release a browser, a (rather sad) OS, they see Facebook take off and using a page from Microsoft's playbook say "Why didn't WE think of that?" and come out with their own, much to the delight of dozens. Now Google is stooping to the same bush league dirty pool that other companies do.

Is anyone really surprised?

Does trust work for mapping? (2)

Bigsquid.1776 (2554998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725422)

If Google is doing this, it's not good. However, when you think about it... If a map CAN be defaced, can it be reliable? Perhaps they need some sort of moderated change system. This system need not be heavily reliant on human oversight. But for something that need be authoritative, changes should be controlled.

Re:Does trust work for mapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726020)

That depends what you mean by authoritative.

The way that Openstreetmap tends to work is that what is actually physically there, right now, on the ground is the ground truth, and takes precedence over what other sources may say, so if a 3-month old licence-compatible, possibly government sponsored, source says "Xyz Street", but the street name sign on the street right there now says "Xyz Close", then the answer is "Xyz Close", with appropriate other annotation stating it's also possibly known as "Xyz Street".

If only the government sponsored source was allowed to name the street, then WHICH government sponsored source do you allow or believe? The postal service? The local authority? The local authority planning committee? Central government statistical agency ? The committee on racial and sexual equality (public transport subcommittee)? I've seen many cases where multiple 'official' sources are all in conflict with regards to simple things like street names, and this is especially the case where different sources have different update cycles. Perhaps the street has recently been officially renamed?

Mottos (2)

WankerWeasel (875277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725456)

Do No Evil? Every company does the opposite of their motto. Think Different? This Changes Everything? Your World Delivered? Think? Yeah, not really.

Fi8sT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725680)

Why does slashdot accpt every TechGuy troll, but (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725716)

Slashdot not publish stories like: Apple sued for extortion, Microsoft licenses patents to LG for Android, Microsoft confirms UEFi fears and locks down ARM devices?

Why does every unconfirmed Google smear story by this "TechGuy" shill seems to be immediately published?
 

Nobody ever said "Do no evil" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726198)

... it's "Don't be evil".

Too big to succeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726310)

Yesterday, it was too big to fail. Today it is too big to succeed. Everything is wrong and right and the moon, well, the moon is made of green cheese.

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