GOOGLE nominated for Big Brother award!

Shannon Sheppard holtlabor at igc.org
Tue Feb 25 10:55:54 MST 2003


FYI:  Some disturbing things to consider when using Google...

Shannon Sheppard, MLIS
Director
Holt Labor Library
50 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA  94102
phone:  (415) 241-1370
email:  holtlabor at holtlaborlibrary.org
web:    http://www.holtlaborlibrary.org

Fwd ----------------------------------------------------------

>Public Information Research has nominated Google, Inc. for corporate
>Big Brother of 2003. This is the 5th year that Privacy International
>( http://www.privacyinternational.org/bigbrother/us2003/ ) has offered
>this award.
>
>Any member of the public can make their nominations before March 1.
>If you agree with us, please add your nomination for Google also,
>and put your reasons in the box provided by Privacy International so
>that their panel of judges can read them. Only about 60 seconds are
>needed to submit your nomination at:
>
>http://www.privacyinternational.org/bigbrother/us2003/bbanominate.html
>
>Public Information Research, Inc., a nonprofit public charity,
>sponsors the following websites:
>
>      http://www.google-watch.org
>      http://www.namebase.org
>      http://www.cia-on-campus.org
>
>Below are some reasons why we nominated Google. Privacy International
>will announce the decision of the panel of judges on April 3 at the
>Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in New York City.
>
>1. Google's immortal cookie:
>
>Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in
>2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from
>using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and
>immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set
>the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie
>places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a
>Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one.
>If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.
>
>2. Google records everything they can:
>
>For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP
>address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser
>configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on
>your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery
>based on geolocation."
>
>3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
>
>Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they
>are able to easily access all the user information they collect and
>save.
>
>4. Google won't say why they need this data:
>
>Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When
>the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether
>Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.
>
>5. Google hires spooks:
>
>Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National
>Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security
>clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the
>spooks in Washington.
>
>6. Google's toolbar is spyware:
>
>With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for
>Explorer phones home with every page you surf. Yes, it reads your
>cookie too, and sends along the last search terms you used in the
>toolbar. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only
>because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did
>the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this.
>Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and
>without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed,
>Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time
>you phone home. Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if
>you'd like an updated version. But not Google.
>
>7. Google's cache copy is illegal:
>
>Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S.
>copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be
>illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached
>on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page
>on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many
>webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites,
>only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in
>Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters,
>not "opt-out."
>
>8. Google is not your friend:
>
>Young, stupid script kiddies and many bloggers still think Google
>is "way kool," so by now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for
>all external referrals to most websites. No webmaster can avoid
>seeking Google's approval these days, assuming he wants to increase
>traffic to his site. If he tries to take advantage of some of the
>known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, he may find
>himself penalized by Google, and his traffic disappears. There are
>no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no
>appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely
>unaccountable. Most of the time they don't even answer email from
>webmasters.
>
>9. Google is a privacy time bomb:
>
>With 150 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S.,
>Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those
>newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only
>dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already
>achieved.
>
>Thank you,
>Daniel Brandt
>PIR president
>
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