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Google Didn't Delete All Street View Wi-Fi Data

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-trust-the-recycle-bin dept.

Google 150

nk497 writes "Google is in more trouble over the Street View Wi-Fi data slurping incident. Two years ago Google admitted it had collected snippets of personal data while sniffing for Wi-Fi connections. The UK's data watchdog, the ICO, didn't fine Google, but did demand it delete the collected data. Following the FCC's investigation, the ICO double-checked with Google that the data was deleted, receiving confirmation that it had. Except... it hadn't all been deleted, Google has now admitted. That breaches the deal between the ICO and Google, and the watchdog has said it's in talks with other regulators about what to do next."

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Don't be evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793035)

Sometimes.

Re:Don't be evil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793111)

Is that you say to yourself when you're sneaking into your little sisters room at night?

Admitted after being caught (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793047)

Two years ago Google admitted it had collected snippets of personal data while sniffing for Wi-Fi connections.

Yes, they admitted after being caught by the German authorities.

Re:Admitted after being caught (2, Funny)

NettiWelho (1147351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793201)

Yes, they admitted after being caught by the German authorities.

'We have ze ways of making you talk, ja?'

Re:Admitted after being caught (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793273)

That's because there wasn't anything to "admit" to. A bunch of bozos left there wifi open and now they smell drama and are crying about it. This is pure torches and pitchfork mentality and Slashdot is falling for it hook line and sinker.

Re:Admitted after being caught (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793339)

Yep. Google was also dumb to admit this mistake in the first place (they weren't caught, they admitted it.) Some testing code was collecting bits of traffic. If they'd just fixed the problem and deleted the data, it would have been no big deal, no harm done.

Re:Admitted after being caught (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793837)

This is the joke of the thing.

"Shit, we collected a lot of data that we probably shouldn't have... we better disclose that."

Headline: Google Secretly Stealing WiFi Information on Millions of People

"Well, regulators are going to want to look this over now so we better not destroy it."

Headline: Google Kept Stolen WiFi Data

"Ok, ze Germans said we're alright and to delete the data"

Headline: US Authorities Investigating Google For Destruction of Evidence in WiFi Snooping Controversy

"Shit, someone screwed up and deleted some, but not all of the data. We better disclose."

Headline: Google Faces New Street View Data Controversy

Yeah, they shoulda just kept their mouths shut. If someone spilled the beans afterwards, the response would have been, "Yeah we collected stuff by accident, it was never used anywhere, and we destroyed it." Case closed.

Re:Admitted after being caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793971)

So true and the sad thing is everything you put in quotes put in comment form on Slashdot would be modded down and everything you didn't put in quotes would be modded up. The anti-Google PR machine is strong. Don't look now but you you were modded down. Imagine that.

Re:Admitted after being caught (3, Insightful)

bwintx (813768) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794509)

Yeah, they shoulda just kept their mouths shut.

1974 version: Yeah, Nixon shoulda just burned those tapes.

Re:Admitted after being caught (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794875)

I'd say there's a minor difference between someone in the highest political office in the land destroying evidence of an intentional B&E felony committed against your political rivals, and deleting useless wifi data you realize you collected accidentally.

But, you know, spin it however you like.

Re:Admitted after being caught (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794903)

In other words, the media are responsible for Googles bad position since they tell the news in a certain way. You can tell a news that has a certain reaction to your viewers. It does take a certain degree of knowledge in communication but it's been done very well in the media.

Re:Admitted after being caught (1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794879)

Google can have what ever stupid people decide to send out in the clear.
A bunch of haters bitching about Google recording them screaming aloud in public.
Fuck them. What Google should do is put out an Ad showing the data they get just by driving around then show how easy it is and tell people "We are keeping this data just like the thieves will do."
Fucking governments telling Google they have to delete publicly available, legally attained data.
And in this instance Fuck Google for rolling over on such a stupid fucking demand.

Re:Admitted after being caught (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793283)

Two years ago Google admitted it had collected snippets of personal data while sniffing for Wi-Fi connections.

Yes, they admitted after being caught by the German authorities.

Want results? Tired of slap on the wrist penalties? Cut their balls off.

Re:Admitted after being caught (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793323)

What balls? [stopdesign.com]

Re:Admitted after being caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793375)

Douglas Bowman is a troll and he has been exposed multiple times after he took the job at Twitter. Other people working on his team at Google have corroborated the fact that he was asked to resign due to continual incompetence. Leaning on him to prove a point is a bit disingenuous.

Re:Admitted after being caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793329)

Please kill yourself now before your stupidity infects everyone else on the internet.

Re:Admitted after being caught (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794135)

Recording data that was broadcast in the clear? How dare they! Next you'll be telling me that they're taking pictures of things that can be seen from the street. Scoundrels!

Tempest... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793081)

...in a motherfucking teapot. That is all. Troll on, motherfuckers!

Wait... the UK? (4, Interesting)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793097)

Google is being fined for collecting "public" data... in the UK. The same UK that has cameras everywhere and all sorts of invasive monitoring, line tapping, you-name-it big-brother we're-watching-you technlogy and laws in place?

I think this ICO organization needs to get their priorities straight.

Re:Wait... the UK? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793135)

The thing is, Google is a private entity while the cameras are owned by the government of said country.

Re:Wait... the UK? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793187)

Yeah but the government can disappear you if they see something on those cameras they don't like. Google is making a glorified map.

Re:Wait... the UK? (3, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793347)

Yet I always hear the British apologists saying that so many of the cameras in London are privately owned? Which is it?

Re:Wait... the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793823)

Most of the cameras are privately owned. However, in order to run a CCTV system in an area that the public might visit (this includes offices), companies are required to register with the ICO, thus there is a record of who is recording what. Plus the police have feeds from a lot of more public areas (shopping centres, train stations etc).

So they're privately owned, but accessible to the government.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794043)

So they're privately owned, but accessible to the government.

Yeah, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794695)

Best of both worlds right? :-(

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794221)

The wifi routers and Google's hotspot were also privately owned. In both cases we're talking about private entities intercepting EM radiation that is public, but not intended for that entity. Either both are OK or neither is OK. Allowing one and not the other is an indefensible double standard.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794285)

. In both cases we're talking about private entities intercepting EM radiation that is public, but not intended for that entity.

Do you mean here visible light that's detected by the cameras? Because people are more aware of their privacy in that EM spectrum.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794611)

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Why should it be legal to intercept 600nM photons but not 125mM photons? It's the same damn thing.

Re:Wait... the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793571)

I thought most of the cameras were private? Mind you, I get primary source is, sadly, Law and Order: UK.

Re:Wait... the UK? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793139)

Now just calm there, citizen. We're from the government and we're here to help! *snicker*

Re:Wait... the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793511)

The state just does not like competition.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793625)

The government wants all the power for itself. It wants a monopoly or near-monopoly. And not just for spycams, but also the schools. The trains. The hospitals.....

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793669)

They have them rightful. Their job is to protect the citizens from doubleplusungood businesses that would misuse the data. That is an unissue with the government, since the government needs to protect its citizens by knowing their actions at all times. After all, we've always been at war with Eastasia. You do trust your government, don't you, citizen?

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40795011)

At war with Eastasia? ... I'm Japanese...

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794283)

Ah the US has them all over now too although most are more undetectable by eye.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40795083)

Well I'm glad I don't live in the US either. Where I live we DO have cameras everywhere but they are mostly private security cameras. In order to get the video from the cameras the police need to have a valid reason and need to make a formal request to the manager of the cameras (and since they usually have a valid reason they are rarely turned down). So if I were to commit a crime and the police were already after me getting a video of me would be trivial, but at the same time they don't just have free access to cameras everywhere. It's that difference that makes me glad I don't live in the US, UK, etc.

Re:Wait... the UK? (1)

anared (2599669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794881)

Their priorities are straight, Google is a privately owned company in another country. Those cams are in the UK, Google isnt. Data is in the UK, data isnt in the UK, but instead in another country. Not that hard to figure out, eh?

Attempting to distract the discussion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40795225)

I love this attempt to distract the discussion. "How could Google be fined for harvesting people's personal data without their knowledge, followed by promising to delete it and then breaking that promise, in the UK where there are vague monitoring laws I won't give any specific examples of?" *instant +5*

They must think we are idiots. (0, Troll)

Severus Snape (2376318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793141)

All of these accidents and mistakes, yet we are supposed to believe all of these actions have been unintentional. I call bullshit Google.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793243)

Do you have any evidence? Otherwise you are just spewing conspiratorial nonsense. But then what should I expect on here?

Re:They must think we are idiots. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793419)

Lots of evidence here

http://www.googleopoly.net/Googles_Rap_Sheet.pdf [googleopoly.net]

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793515)

That's your "evidence"? A link to BS you didn't even come up with yourself? The first line "Google is expected to". Really? Expected? That is evidence now? Hahahahahahahahah...when can I buy your DVD?

Here's something to keep you entertained in the meantime: Microsoft's "Rap Sheet"

Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, robustness, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. In the 2000s, a number of malware attacks have targeted security flaws in Microsoft Windows and other programs. Microsoft is also accused of locking vendors and consumers into their products, and of not following and complying with existing standards in its software.[1][2] Total cost of ownership comparisons of Linux as well as Mac OS X to Windows are a continuous point of debate.[3]
The company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits by several governments and other companies for unlawful monopolistic practices. In 2004, the European Union found Microsoft guilty in the European Union Microsoft competition case. Additionally, EULAs for Microsoft programs are often criticized as being too restrictiv

Vendor lock-in

From its inception, Microsoft defined itself as a platform company and understood the importance of attracting third-party programmers. It did so by providing development tools, training, access to proprietary APIs in early versions, and partner programs. Although the resulting ubiquity of Microsoft software allows a user to benefit from network effects, critics decry what they consider to be an "embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy by Microsoft of adding proprietary features to open standards, thereby using its market dominance to gain de facto ownership of standards "extended" in this way.[5][6][7][8]
Microsoft software is also presented as a "safe" choice for IT managers purchasing software systems. In an internal memo for senior management Microsoft's head of C++ development, Aaron Contorer, stated:[9]
âoe The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most Independent Software Vendors would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead... It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO (total cost of ownership), our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move. In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago. â
More recently, Microsoft had their OOXML specification approved by the ISO standards body in a manner consistent with previous attempts to control standards.[10]
[edit]Copyright enforcement

When Microsoft discovered that its first product, Altair BASIC, was subject to widespread illegal copying, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists that openly accused many hobbyists of stealing software. Gates's letter provoked many responses, with some hobbyists objecting to the broad accusation, and others supporting the principle of compensation.[11] This disagreement over whether software should be proprietary continues into the present day under the banner of the free software movement, with Microsoft characterizing free software released under the terms of the GPL as being "potentially viral"[12] and the GNU General Public License itself as a "viral license" which "infects" proprietary software and forces its developer to have to release proprietary source to the public.[13]
The Halloween documents, internal Microsoft memos which were leaked to the open source community beginning in 1998, indicate that some Microsoft employees perceive "open source" software â" in particular, Linux â" as a growing long-term threat to Microsoft's position in the software industry. The Halloween documents acknowledged that parts of Linux are superior to the versions of Microsoft Windows available at the time, and outlined a strategy of "de-commoditize[ing] protocols & applications."[5][6][7][8][14] Microsoft stated in its 2006 Annual Report that it was a defendant in at least 35 patent infringement lawsuits.[15] The company's litigation expenses for April 2004 through March 2007 exceed $4.3 billion: over $4 billion in payouts, plus $300 million in legal fees.[16]
Another concern of critics is that Microsoft may be using the distribution of shared source software to harvest names of developers who have been exposed to Microsoft code, as some believe that these developers could someday be the target of lawsuits if they were ever to participate in the development of competing products. This issue is addressed in published papers from several organizations including the American Bar Association and the Open Source Initiative.[17][18]
Starting in the 1990s, Microsoft was accused of maintaining "hidden" or "secret" APIs: interfaces to its operating system software that it deliberately keeps undocumented to gain a competitive advantage in its application software products.[19] Microsoft employees have consistently denied this;[20][21] they claim that application developers inside and outside Microsoft routinely reverse-engineered DOS and 16-bit versions of Windows without any inside help, creating legacy support problems that far exceeded any alleged benefit to Microsoft.[22][23] In response to court orders, Microsoft has published interfaces between components of its operating system software, including components like Internet Explorer, Active Directory, and Windows Media that sell as part of Windows but compete with application software.
[edit]Licensing agreements

Main article: Windows refund
A common complaint[24][25] about Windows comes from those who want to purchase a computer without a copy of Windows pre-installed, because they already own another copy of Windows available to install (ex: pre-ordered an upcoming version of Windows) or intend to use another operating system instead (such as Linux, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris or any other libre-free open source OS). Since free operating systems provide strong competition to Windows, which is a non free OS, Microsoft tries to force users not to choose an operating system by creating a market where most computers shipped from OEMs come with Windows preinstalled, and by secretly agreeing with OEMs by means of rebates, to make it very hard to receive a Windows refund.[26][27]
While many computer manufacturers have begun to offer specific product ranges with Linux pre-installed (these include HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, MSI, Intel, and others), finding such a computer from a major OEM may prove challenging. While vendors sell certain models bundled with Linux, these are often limited to high-end workstations and enterprise servers, or budget, domestic models. Dell, for example, sells Linux pre-installed on home systems, but it is only offered on a limited number of models and configurations and Dell also explicitly warns prospective buyers that "The main thing to note is that when you choose open source you don't get a Windows operating system."[28]
So while in theory computers with free operating systems can be obtained, nonetheless, most large computer vendors continue to bundle Microsoft Windows with the majority of the personal computers in their ranges. The Findings of Fact in the United States Microsoft antitrust case established that "One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed. In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction."[29] This has been called the "Windows tax" or "Microsoft tax".[30][31]
Some smaller OEMs and larger retail chains have taken advantage of the paucity of non-Windows offerings by major suppliers by specializing in Linux-based systems. Some Linux distributors also run 'partnership' programs to endorse suppliers of machines with their system preinstalled.[32] Sun Microsystems, which supports OpenSolaris distribution, runs a partnership program with Toshiba which provides Toshiba laptops with OpenSolaris preinstalled.[33]
Windows tax can also be avoided by assembling a computer from separately purchased parts, thus not buying it from an OEM. This however requires extra effort and technical knowledge, and is even more difficult in case of a laptop. Another option is buying a preassembled white box machine.
An end user can return Windows for a refund by refusing to agree to the Microsoft End User License Agreement. The Microsoft EULA specifically mentions that if you do not agree to the license you can return the product for a full refund. Vendors may have a policy of charging for the provision of the refund such that the balance received by the customer is as low as $10,[34] despite this being a violation of consumer protection law in many countries.[34][35] A certain number of customers were refunded[36] of their Windows licence, whether using the EULA or not, whether through an agreement or through court.
[edit]Acquisitions

Microsoft has acquired several companies and products during its history, including some that competed with earlier Microsoft products.[37] Such acquired assets include DOS (Seattle Computer Products QDOS), FrontPage (Vermeer Technologies Incorporated FrontPage), WebTV (now MSN TV), Hotmail, Direct3D, Internet Explorer (Spyglass, Inc. Mosaic), Visio (Visio Corporation Visio), Windows Virtual PC (Connectix Virtual PC), and Windows Defender (GIANT Company Software, Inc. GIANT AntiSpyware). Microsoft rebrands the primary products of the companies it acquires, and in many cases offers them for free or bundles them with their operating system. Former Sun Microsystems chief executive Scott McNealy occasionally remarked that Microsoft never produced technology except by buying it: "R&D [research and development] and M&A [mergers and acquisitions] are the same thing over there."[38]
[edit]Litigation

Main article: Microsoft litigation
Microsoft's market dominance and business practices have attracted widespread resentment, which is not necessarily restricted to the company's competitors. In a 2003 publication, Dan Geer argued the prevalence of Microsoft products has resulted in a monoculture which is dangerously easy for viruses to exploit.[39]
[edit]Labor practices

The entrance to Microsoft's Redmond campus
While Microsoft's permanent workers enjoy some of the best corporate treatment, a large part of Microsoft's labor pool exists outside this privileged class. This includes the use of permatemp employees (employees employed for years as "temporary," and therefore without medical benefits), use of forced retention tactics, where departing employees would be sued to prevent departure, as well as more traditional cost-saving measures, ranging from cutting medical benefits, to not providing towels in company locker rooms.[40]
Historically, Microsoft has also been accused of overworking employees, in many cases, leading to burnout within just a few years of joining the company. The company is often referred to as a "Velvet Sweatshop", a term which originated in a Seattle Times article in 1989,[41] and later became used to describe the company by some of Microsoft's own employees.[42] The focus of the idea is that Microsoft provides nearly everything for its employees in a convenient place, but in turn overworks them to a point where it would be bad for their (possibly long-term) health. For example, the kitchenettes have free beverages and many buildings include exercise rooms and showers. However, the accusation is that they try to keep employees at the company for unreasonably long hours and working too much. This is detailed in several books about Microsoft, including "Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire."
A US state lawsuit was brought against Microsoft in 1992 representing 8,558 current and former employees that had been classified as "temporary" and "freelance", and became known as Vizcaino v. Microsoft. In 1993, the suit became a US Federal Class Action in the United States District Court Western District Of Washington At Seattle as No. C93-178C. The Final Settlement[43] came in 2005. The case was decided on the (IRS-defined) basis that such "permatemps" had their jobs defined by Microsoft, worked alongside regular employees doing the same work, and worked for long terms. After a series of court setbacks including three reversals on appeal, Microsoft settled the suit for US $93 million.
A side effect of the "permatemp" lawsuit is that now contract employees are prevented from participating in team morale events and other activities that could be construed as making them "employees". They are also limited to one year contracts and must leave after that time for 100 days before returning under contract.
Microsoft is the largest American corporate user of H-1B guest worker visas and has joined other large technology companies like Google in recently lobbying for looser H-1B visa restrictions.[44][45][46]
[edit]Advertising and public relations

Microsoft contributes money to several think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. Critics allege that while giving the appearance of neutral third parties these organizations work to undermine Microsoft's competitors, for example stating "open-source software may offer [a] target for terrorists".[47][48][49]
In August 2004, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of the United Kingdom ordered Microsoft to stop a run of print ads that claimed that the total cost of ownership of Linux servers was ten times that of Windows Server 2003. The comparison included the cost of hardware, and put Linux at a disadvantage by installing it on more expensive but poorer-performing hardware compared to that used for Windows.[50][51]
On January 24, 2007, Rick Jelliffe made claim on his blog that a Microsoft employee offered to pay him to make corrections in Wikipedia articles concerning Office Open XML. Microsoft spokesperson Catherine Brooker expressed the belief that the article had been "heavily written" by IBM employees who supported the rival OpenDocument format, though she provided no specific evidence. Internet entrepreneur and Wikimedia founder Jimmy Wales described Microsoft's offer as unethical.[52]
In 2011, Moneylife.in alleged that two "anonymous comments boosting their product"â"one by a Nokia employee and another by a Microsoft employeeâ"were posted on their review of Nokia Lumia 800, which was based only on the "technical specifications" and the reviewer "hadn't laid a finger on the phone".[53] In conclusion, Charles Arthur argued "Nobody has come out of the episode looking good. Sapkale was accused of breaking his own site's privacy policy by posting the IP and email addresses of the commenters, while the commenting duo's failure to declare any interest looked, at best, like astroturfing."[53]
[edit]Blacklisting of journalists

In the 1980s, the company was notorious for keeping Nixonian lists regarding journalists on a whiteboard showing which were "Okay," "Sketchy," or "Needs work." Some believed that those in the last category would be the target of the company in an effort to get them fired. I myself was on a Microsoft blacklist for some totally unknown reason and was not allowed any information about an early version of Windows, apparently because I was considered uncooperative. I only found out about this because of documents unearthed during the discovery process of the Comes v. Microsoft lawsuit in Iowa. [...] threats from the company did manage to get me removed as a licensed columnist in PC Magazine Italy.
â" John C. Dvorak[54]
[I was] blacklisted by Microsoft for writing a story based on an internal memo penned by Mark Lucovsky (now with Google, ironically) that acknowledged 63,000 bugs were still left in Windows 2000 when the product [was] shipped. I was barred from executive interviews at the Windows 2000 launch as a result of my story. My "punishment" lasted for a few years. Certain Windows execs refused to speak to me or meet with me for ages because of that story. I believed, and still believe, that I was just doing my job as a reporter.
â" Mary Jo Foley[55]
[edit]Censorship in China

Microsoft (along with Google, Yahoo, Cisco, AOL, Skype, and other companies) has cooperated with the Chinese government in implementing a system of Internet censorship.[56] Human rights advocates such as Human Rights Watch and media groups such as Reporters Without Borders criticized the companies, noting for example that it is "ironic that companies whose existence depends on freedom of information and expression have taken on the role of censor."[57]
[edit]Worker productivity software

Microsoft has also come under criticism for developing software capable of analyzing the output of remote sensors in order to measure the competence and productivity of workers based on their physical responses.[58]
[edit]Gay reference controversy

Microsoft has come under some criticism for its attitude to homosexuality and Xbox Live. Users may not use the string "gay" in a gamertag (even in a non-homosexual context, for example as part of a surname), or refer to homosexuality in their profile (including self-identifying as such), as the company considers this "content of a sexual nature" or "offensive" to other users and therefore unsuitable for the service.[59][60][61] After banning 'Teresa', a lesbian gamer who had been harassed by other users for being a homosexual, this policy gained wide condemnation. A senior Xbox Live team member, Stephen Toulouse, has clarified the policy, stating that "Expression of any sexual orientation [...] is not allowed in gamertags" but that they are "examining how we can provide it in a way that won't get misused".[62][63] GLAAD weighed in on the controversy as well, supporting the steps that Microsoft has taken over the years to engage the LGBT community.[64]
[edit]Website concerns

Polish users of Microsoft's Business Productivity Infrastructure website[65] have noticed a white model's face has been photoshopped over the head of the African American model at center in the photograph on the main page of the Polish language version of the website. The website Photoshop Disasters covered the story on 25 August 2009.[66]
As of 1:00 A.M. GMT on 25 August, this has been changed and the image on the Polish website now reflects the image on the English website. Microsoft later issued an apology regarding the incident.[67] Spokesman Lou Gellos stated that Microsoft was "looking into the details of this situation." The apology was later restated on Microsoft's official Twitter page[68]: "Marketing site photo mistake - sincere apologies - we're in the process of taking down the image."
The reasons for the original change still remain unknown.
[edit]See also

Criticism of Apple Inc.
Microsoft litigation
General mechanisms at work:
Path dependence
Embrace, extend and extinguish
Network effect
Vendor lock-in
Appeal to fear
Fear, uncertainty and doubt
[edit]References

Charles, John. "Indecent proposal? Doing Business With Microsoft". IEEE Software. January/February 1998. pp. 113â"117.
Clark, Jim with Owen Edwards. Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion Dollar Start-up That Took on Microsoft. New York, Saint Martin's Press, 1999
Cusumano, Michael A.; Selby, Richard W. Microsoft Secrets: How the World's Most Powerful Software Company Creates Technology, Shapes Markets and Manages People. New York: Free Press, 1995.
Edstrom, Jennifer; Eller, Marlin. Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft from inside: How the World's Richest Corporation Wields its Power. N.Y. Holt, 1998.
Goldman Rohm, Wendy (September 1998). The Microsoft File: the secret case against Bill Gates. New York, NY 10022: Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-2716-8.
Lemos, Robert. (2003). U.S. funds study of tech monocultures. Retrieved December 20, 2003, from http://news.com.com/2100-7355-5111905.html?tag=nefd_hed [com.com]
Moody, Fred. I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year With Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier. New York: Viking, 1995.
National Science Foundation. (2003). Taking Cues from Mother Nature to Foil Cyber Attacks. Retrieved December 20, 2003, from http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr03130.htm [nsf.gov]
Bozman, Jean; Gillen, Al; Kolodgy, Charles; Kusnetzky, Dan; Perry, Randy; & Shiang, David (October 2002). "Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing: An assessment of business value for selected workloads". IDC, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. White paper.
In an article published by BusinessWeek, Dan Kunsnetzky suggests that study was stacked against Linux.
Groklaw portal on Microsoft litigation Microsoft Litigation * Matthew Newman "Microsoft Fined Record EU899 Million by EU Regulator (Update1)". Bloomberg, February 27, 2008
"EU says could have fined Microsoft up to 1.5 bln eur over antitrust decision". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
"Microsoft fined 899 mln eur by EU for failure to comply with ruling UPDATE". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Dale Hudson "EU fines Microsoft record $1.35 billion". Reuters, February 27, 2008
"EU fines Microsoft record $1.3 billion". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
Parmy Olson "Q&A: Microsoft's Multi-Billion Dollar EU Fine". Forbes.com, February 27, 2008
Leo Cendrowicz "EC fines Microsoft a record $1.4 bil". The Hollywood Reporter, February 27, 2008
Mike Ricciut "EU slaps Microsoft with $1.35 billion fine". CNet News, February 27, 2008
"Microsoft fined 899 mln eur by EU for failure to comply with ruling UPDATE". CNNMoney, February 27, 2008
Rory Watson "Microsoft hit by â899m fine for failure to comply with EU ruling". Times, February 27, 2008
"EU hits Microsoft with record 899 million euro anti-trust fine". AFP, February 27, 2008
Benjamin J. Romano "In the bad timing category: EU fine rains on Microsoft launch parade". The Seattle Times, February 27, 2008
Aoife white "Record EU Fine for Microsoft". The Associated Press, February 27, 2008
Stephen Castle "EU fine sends message to Microsoft and others". International Herald Tribune, February 27, 2008
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Ina Fried "Ballmer on EU, Yahoo". CNet News, February 27, 2008
David Prosser "Microsoft fined record â899m by EU over market abuse". The Independent, February 28, 2008

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793533)

Do you have any evidence? Otherwise you are just spewing conspiratorial nonsense. But then what should I expect on here?

Sometimes people lie, especially when they just got caught doing something they know they shouldn't do.

What a bunch of conspiratorial nonsense!

Re:They must think we are idiots. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793621)

That's just it. You people are completely ignoring what actually happened. Google voluntarily alerted the authorities that they had gotten the data. The anti-Google PR machine caught wind of it and now you have this mess. The government is mad because Google refused to hand over the data. If you think it is about "protecting peoples' privacy" then you are a fool.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793301)

Moreover, offenses committed "by mistake" are still offenses.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793437)

But that's just it. There's no real offense. After collecting the data it didn't quite feel right so they took it upon themselves to go to the authorities and say, "hey we got some data from open access points so just letting you know". Then the anti-Google PR initiative kicked into high gear and people went apeshit. The real offense was not handing the data intact over to the authorities. That is what pissed them off. Nice to see no good deed goes unpunished.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793679)

Actually, they were caught, by the French, stashing private user data by mistake. And they were uncooperative during the investigations in the USA ( http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/14/fcc-google-wifi-investigation/ [techcrunch.com] ). And now they even admit they didn't comply with the british regulators' order, still by mistake.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793793)

Actually, they were caught, by the French, stashing private user data by mistake.

Fucking lie.

And they were uncooperative during the investigations in the USA

Yeah, because the FCC says they were "uncooperative" it must be true. After all, the FCC is part of the government. And the government never lies, right? Right?

Re:They must think we are idiots. (2)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793895)

Fucking lie.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10364073 [bbc.co.uk]

Yeah, because the FCC says they were "uncooperative" it must be true. After all, the FCC is part of the government. And the government never lies, right? Right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_law [wikipedia.org]

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794019)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10364073

You said they "tried to hide" something. They didn't you idiot. They volunteered to the authorities that they had collected data.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias [wikipedia.org]

You really need to read that one.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794131)

You said they "tried to hide" something.

I didn't. FCC, if anything, said they "deliberately impeded and delayed the investigation".

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794183)

I hate to quote lies but this is what you said:

Actually, they were caught, by the French, stashing private user data

So they weren't "hiding", they were "stashing". Does your head hurt from talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794919)

Then suggest me a better word for "accidentally storing large quantities of private user data, including (according to the French) e-mail passwords, while saying that they weren't doing that". http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2010/04/data-collected-by-google-cars.html [blogspot.com]

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794039)

Do you even read what you link to? It's about french firm examining data after Google told about collection, not about catching them collecting.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794067)

CNIL, like many other data protection agencies worldwide, asked Google to hand over copies of the data it gathered to find out if privacy laws had been breached. CNIL chairman Alex Turk said Google handed the data to the agency on 4 June following an official request and it was now in the process of combing through the reams of information.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794143)

So bolded copypasta is making a point now? Nothing there agrees with your assertion that Google was hiding anything. Just admit you are a dime-a-dozen Google hater that no matter what they say or do it will never be enough because you don't "believe that shit, man". Whatever, loser.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794289)

The row has blown up following Google's admission that its Street View cars "accidentally" grabbed data from unsecured wi-fi networks as the vehicles were snapping stills of street scenes in 30 nations. Google has now stopped gathering information about wi-fi networks.

See, I also can use bold text. I can also read more than 2 paragraphs of linked article.

So, how's "like many other data protection agencies worldwide, asked Google to hand over data" for examination after Google's own admission is "catching Google"?

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794845)

You're missing the background. Google's "admission" was not spontaneous.

They were first investigated by the German authorities for collecting WiFi addresses (not even private data). During that investigation, they accidentally falsely stated that they did not collect private data beyond unique WiFi addresses. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/22/google_streetview_logs_wlans/ [theregister.co.uk]

Some time after that, they corrected their accidental false statement with the "admission" you're talking about. http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20005051-266.html?tag=mncol;txt [cnet.com]

So they were "caught" by the German, they accidentally lied to them, then they rectified their statement by saying that they accidentally did store users' data, they were investigated by half world as a result of that, were accused of impeding the investigations by the FCC in the USA, and they were "caught" by the French having stored sensitive data.

Re:They must think we are idiots. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793769)

All of these accidents and mistakes, yet we are supposed to believe all of these actions have been unintentional. I call bullshit Google.

Why would Google admit to not deleting the data if they were intentionally trying to hide it? Wouldn't it be easier to hide their supposed illicit activity by saying "yeah, we deleted it all. Here's the pile of destroyed hard drives it used to be on. It's alllll gone now. Yessiree. Ain't no way we copied any of that data to our servers hidden in Albania before "deleting" the data."

And really, what possible use would they have for data they snooped from unencrypted wifi except for the use they've already admitted to?

Re:They must think we are idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794085)

It could have gone something like this:

  "I've seen them shuffling the drives around here and there... well not here, and certainly not in the duplicator. Oh dear I've said too much"
-Some junior google employee

expectation of privacy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793157)

This stuff was was broadcast in the clear over public airwaves. That means it has no expectation of privacy. If you want privacy, every WAP I've ever heard of provides encryption. Turn it on, and you DO have an expectation of privacy, so if Google was decrypting it, then they should be punished.

Must we design the whole world to protect the least competent people from themselves?

Re:expectation of privacy (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793739)

>>>Must we design the whole world to protect the least competent people from themselves?

Apparently "yes". Maybe the Congressmen who admitted the people are too dumb to rule themselves was correct. They need to be treated like children. (And I agree Google did nothing wrong if they captured data that was being "shouted" from homes without encyrption.)

Re:expectation of privacy (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793763)

Must we design the whole world to protect the least competent people from themselves?

It seems to work that way already, it's something called welfare state [wikipedia.org] .

Re:expectation of privacy (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793863)

Apparently so... its already working so well with tort law...

Re:expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794169)

In the US all electronic communications have an expectation of privacy. When cordless phones first came out, anyone with a scanner could listen in on your conversation, but it was still illegal. This is no different, just because your communication is easily observable doesn't mean it's ok to record it.

Re:expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794235)

oh i dunno maybe fine them $30000,000 per item of song after All taping from the radio is piracy and it's KILLING music!

there is an expectation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794769)

This stuff was was broadcast in the clear over public airwaves. That means it has no expectation of privacy.

So is your voice inside your home.. that doesn't mean I can use a long range microphone and secretly record conversations of thousands of people. That would be against the law.

Questions... (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793227)

I'm really not sure why this is an issue. Sure, there are situations where people have an expectation of privacy. But if you are transmitting data through the air in a public space, isn't it fair game? If you don't want people to look at it, shouldn't you encrypt?

Re:Questions... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793381)

Yes. In fact, the very design of the protocol specifically intends for that to be the case, and it allows for encryption when you want privacy. It's critical that we retain the right to listen to things broadcast in the clear over public airwaves. Losing that right is pure insanity and is one more step towards a police state.

Unfortunately, most people don't think about the principles involved. They judge based on whether they "like" the party that's listening (or in other cases, copying protected IP). If we like them, then it's alright, and if we don't, then it's not. Apparently. But the law makes no provisions for this - the same rules apply to all. If you don't want to lose the ability to listen to public airwaves, you sure the hell better support Google's right to listen too, even if you don't like Google. People need to learn to support ideals of a free society, even when those ideals are used by bad guys. The KKK that we hate must have free speech if that political protester we like is to have it too. Otherwise, the rule that shuts down the KKK will shut down the protester. Same idea here. Unfortunately, this concept is beyond most people, who don't value freedom, the value freedom for those they like.

Re:Questions... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793535)

Sure, there are situations where people have an expectation of privacy.

It depends on what you want privacy to be.
For me being in a public place should not mean that all I do is public as well. The thing with technology is that it does not forget and it is available for everybody for ever.

Imagine I am at a certain place at a certain time. e.g. a protest for or against something. What used to be the case was that some of my friends might know. Some police office might see me. As long as I did nothing wrong, all was well. People would forget.

25 years into the future:
Now people will be able to see what my opinions where 25 years ago. I might have changed my mind. I might not even remember I was ever there. But others can do a search and find me there. It will be taken out of contest and decisions will be made based on that.

I do call that an invasion of my privacy.

Re:Questions... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793835)

"There is no expectation of privacy in a public arena." - Supreme Court. "Government officials in a public setting have no claim on privacy. The citizens have a first amendment guarantee to record by audio or video capture their police and public officials in the actions of their duties." - 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

If you don't want your actions to come back and haunt you 25 years later, then don't do things in public that you will later regret. Don't post messages online with a public name. And don't acquiesce to a cop or TSA or politician demanding you turn-off your camera, because they have no right to do so.

Re:Questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793937)

Airwaves are volatile. Google's datastore isn't.

This is just dumb (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793239)

Is there any explanation for this other than pure incompetence on Google's part?

I generally think Google didn't do anything wrong in the first place. People shouldn't be complaining that publicly broadcast unencrypted data is recorded by a third party, and if Google had wanted to fight them on the legality of the issue i would have been behind them. However agreeing to delete the data in some kind of plea bargain and then not actually deleting it is a d*** move. (I'm not quite sure at this point if it's a dick move or just a dumb move, but it's definitely one of them.)

Re:This is just dumb (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793439)

I'm guessing it was just a mistake.

Sounds to me like someone tasked with deleting the data must have missed a backup or metadata stored elsewhere, someone else found it later, and instead of just deleting it, legal said they should ask the IOC how they want them to delete it.

At first I wondered why they didn't just delete it without reporting them to save them the extra grief and bad press, but I guess multiple staff were already involved in the discovery and legal told them to just disclose ASAP rather than risk covering up and getting exposed and really getting reamed.

Re:This is just dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793549)

That's two mistakes (initially collecting it was a "mistake").

Up until this point I'd more or less bought Google's claim that the collection was a mistake because I can see how some prototype log-everything-and-let-MR-sort-it-out code can make it to deployment if it works.

But once the lawyers get involved and shit gets real, my assumption of good faith disappears quite rapidly.

Re:This is just dumb (3, Insightful)

lance_of_the_apes (2300548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793455)

Most people don't even realize that wireless transmissions are being recorded and associated with an address. This came as news to me. I disagree that people shouldn't be complaining.

Re:This is just dumb (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793783)

The correct response should be "holy crap, perhaps i shouldn't be publicly transmitting unencrypted information i don't want other people to see!" not complaining about Google collecting it for what seems to be non-nefarious purposes. You really ought to be thanking Google for cluing you in, because i guarantee the people who _are_ collecting it for nefarious purposes aren't going to tell you.

Re:This is just dumb (1)

anared (2599669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794947)

To transmit the data into a country like USA. I'd call that nefarious enough.

This is just association. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793947)

Associated with an address? Quick! Someone call the RIAA/MPAA.

Re:This is just dumb (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794027)

>>>Most people don't even realize that wireless transmissions are being recorded and associated with an address

Then they must be fucking stupid. Anyone with sense knows if you pick-up a walkie-talkie or cordless phone and start speaking into it, then somebody else can hear what is being said with a 2nd walkie-talking or phone, and locate its source. Wifi is no different..... it is broadcasting to everyone.

Re:This is just dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794833)

Where do you live? I'll stand outside your house and use a long range microphone to record all your intimate private conversations and put them online. Maybe I'll do that for your entire street.. After all.. why are you transmitting without encrypting..

Anyone with sense knows if you pick-up a walkie-talkie or cordless phone and start speaking into it, then somebody else can hear what is being said with a 2nd walkie-talking or phone, and locate its source

No.. the data packets are destined to go a specific server/ip address... they are not addressed to Google. Google has no right to snoop on them. You Google shills are fucking annoying..

Re:This is just dumb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794113)

Yet they did it again and again even after they were caught in other countries. Here they even offered to share the data with government.
There is no way this was a mistake. This company clearly does not care about privacy anymore.

So why would this be just incompetence when they lied about it in first place?

Health records/browsing history? (1)

lance_of_the_apes (2300548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793295)

The article mentions health records and browsing history among the data. How is that possible from the street view?

Re:Health records/browsing history? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793367)

The street view vans were basically wardriving to create a map of wifi hotspots. There was also some testing code left in that would grab bits of raw traffic. Some of that raw traffic was unencrypted, and some of that unencrypted raw traffic happened to be browsing history and health records.

Re:Health records/browsing history? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793557)

health records

I hate when people use a cause to forward their agenda. I doubt they actually had health records.
Think of the children!

Just be evil. (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793391)

I'm kinda surprised Google admitted it did wrong. I was just as surprised Microsoft admitted it didn't install the browser choice screen on some Win7 computers. The corporation ought to keep its mouth shut. (See Don't Talk to Cops on youtube.)

Re:Just be evil. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793617)

Uh, what?

Don't talk to cops applies to individuals. When it comes to corporations in the US may also be one thing. When it comes to global corporations, that is entirely different.

Re:Just be evil. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793911)

Outside the U.S. it makes even MORE sense not to talk to cops, since they might throw the management in jail & later execute them. Other countries don't have the same legal protections we have.

Re:Just be evil. (1)

anared (2599669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794977)

Like Europe that likes to make evil corporations less evil, its a big loss for them.

Did you really expect them to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793575)

Did you really expect them to? I didn't, information is to valuable. And they are certainly in the information business.

What is the magnitude and makeup of the data? (1)

mccrew (62494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793591)

Honest question: I am curious about how much (sensitive) data they were able to capture. It seems to me that a car driving through neighborhoods and past businesses will only capture a very small amount of the traffic from some fraction of the access points which have no (or weak) encryption), and "sensitive" traffic (e.g. unencrypted logins) would be a very small fraction of that. So a fraction of a fraction of a fraction diminishes the value quickly - though I suppose they make it back on scale.

Capturing HTTP "remember me" cookies for seems like it would be dangerous since they might be reused back in the lab to access all the data stored at the social or webmail site.

It would be helpful on this issue to understand the magnitude and makeup of the data, and how much of it is actually valuable / dangerous.

Data content (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794667)

It seems to me that a car driving through neighborhoods and past businesses will only capture a very small amount of the traffic from some fraction of the access points which have no (or weak) encryption), and "sensitive" traffic (e.g. unencrypted logins) would be a very small fraction of that. So a fraction of a fraction of a fraction diminishes the value quickly - though I suppose they make it back on scale.

In addition to that, you have to take into account, all the people browsing sensitive information over insecure channels.
Some stupid banks, medical companies, etc. don't systematically encrypt everything over HTTPS.

And Europe is much more privacy conscious. For example Facebook didn't start enforcing HTTPS everywhere only recently. (Remember the whole Firesheep debacle ?) If Google captured unencrypted private message between users, that would also set the EU privacy laws, even if it's not "sensitive" information (no account/session/login information, no banking information, no medical information, etc.)

Same also for E-Mail: Not every user has activated encryption between the server and their machine (not everyone uses STARTTLS or IMAPS etc) nor end-to-end encryption (PGP, etc.) thus e-mail could have been intercepted. Again, even if the mail doesn't contain any sensitive information, its nonetheless private communication.
And recipient's and destinary's coordinate (name, e-mail, etc.) are all subjected to law defining how long they can be retained.

Handed over to the ICO? (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40793671)

This makes no sense:

“In their letter to the ICO today, Google indicated that they wanted to delete the remaining data and asked for the ICO’s instructions on how to proceed. Our response, which has already been issued, makes clear that Google must supply the data to the ICO immediately, so that we can subject it to forensic analysis before deciding on the necessary course of action.

If the data is so sensitive and worrisome, why doesn't the ICO just insist that it be deleted as agreed upon? If it was ok to delete it earlier, why does it have to be handed over now?

I'd rather have my data in the hands of Google than in the hands of Google *and* some random regulatory body. Many companies have a hard time certifying data destruction with multiple redundant offsite backups and replication, and data stored in the cloud where they may not even know every place their cloud provider stores it.

Though really, why is there no outrage about the fact that plaintext email passwords (and credit card numbers or whatever other personal data they are worried about) are even able to be captured with a simple drive-by Wifi scanner? There is no reason why a Wifi router should default to an open unencrypted mode, and even if it does, there is no reason why personal data should be allowed to be sent in the clear. CPU powerh is cheap, SSL should be used to secure *all* sensitive data.

The fact that Google drove by and captured snippets of data is not the problem... they aren't going to steal your credit card number or hack into your bank account (and there is a good chance that they already host your email) - the problem is when an identify thief does the same thing.

Re:Handed over to the ICO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40793751)

This makes no sense:

If the data is so sensitive and worrisome, why doesn't the ICO just insist that it be deleted as agreed upon? If it was ok to delete it earlier, why does it have to be handed over now?

Don't worry your pretty little head about it, citizen-unit. :)

That's a culture question (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794091)

I would rather have my data in hand of governement ONLY (and anyway they almost certainly have it or can subponea it) which is beholden to keep it secure, rather than in the hand in private industry which can sell it to anybody, can be unsecure, and can just snub me if I don't want to have it spread.

Furthermore you can vote a governement out. It may be hard but it is possible. Private company ? Forget it. Once in their hand it is utterly impossible to stop it spreading.

Re:That's a culture question (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794209)

Furthermore you can vote a governement out. It may be hard but it is possible.

You can sometimes vote A government out but it's not clear that you can vote THIS government out. Vote fraud is rampant. Our votes don't really matter.

Re:That's a culture question (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794347)

I would rather have my data in hand of governement ONLY (and anyway they almost certainly have it or can subponea it) which is beholden to keep it secure, rather than in the hand in private industry which can sell it to anybody, can be unsecure, and can just snub me if I don't want to have it spread.

"Your data" in this case is a few seconds you were transmitting in the open as a car drove by.

Re:That's a culture question (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794521)

I would rather have my data in hand of governement ONLY (and anyway they almost certainly have it or can subponea it) which is beholden to keep it secure, rather than in the hand in private industry which can sell it to anybody, can be unsecure, and can just snub me if I don't want to have it spread.

But once that data is in the hands of the private company, do you want them to just hand it over to the government without so much as a warrant?

Would you feel better about Facebook privacy if they set up their systems so they could ship all of their logs and other data to the NSA without Facebook themselves being about to view it? Would you want Google (and Bing, etc) encrypt their search history logs customer emails and documents immediately in such a way that only the NSA can decrypt it and feed the data directly over to the NSA for government analysis and safekeeping?

I'd rather that the government had to get a warrant before it's able to obtain any of my data from a private company. Even if the government could be trusted to keep it secure, I don't trust them to use it responsibly. I'm less worried about what Google can do with my data than with what the government can do with it. Google can't legally put me into a secret jail because I'm a threat.

And for all of the fear of companies selling data to everyone, there's no incentive for them to make all of their data available to everyone since they lose competitive advantage. Facebook may be willing to sell some search related data to Google for a high enough price, but they probably aren't going to let Google have their customer social relationship data or Google would use that against them by enhancing Google+. So your complete data will never end up in one place -- unless the government requires that it be turned over to them.

Who cares? (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 2 years ago | (#40794665)

Why are people getting their panties in a bunch for collecting information that was being broadcast publicly?

That would be like someone getting upset because something they posted on Twitter was used to deny them a job.

Do No Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40794921)

My ass. Sounded good when you started up, Google...now you are your own enemy - all the things you loathe and heap on Microsoft and others. You are no better, plain and simple.

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