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Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles In Anticip


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#1 KoanYorel

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Posted 10 February 2006 - 07:46 PM

Consumers Should Not Use New Google Desktop San Francisco Google announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password."Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants--your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whomever--could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files." The privacy problem arises because the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986, or ECPA, gives only limited privacy protection to emails and other files that are stored with online service providers--much less privacy than the legal protections for the same information when it's on your computer at home. And even that lower level of legal protection could disappear if Google uses your data for marketing purposes. Google says it is not yet scanning the files it copies from your hard drive in order to serve targeted advertising, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility, and Google's current privacy policy appears to allow it. "This Google product highlights a key privacy problem in the digital age," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Many Internet innovations involve storing personal files on a service provider's computer, but under outdated laws, consumers who want to use these new technologies have to surrender their privacy rights. If Google wants consumers to trust it to store copies of personal computer files, emails, search histories and chat logs, and still 'not be evil,' it should stand with EFF and demand that Congress update the privacy laws to better reflect life in the wired world." Google can and should design its technologies to avoid these problems in the first place. For example, searching across computers can be accomplished without Google having to keep copies of those computers' contents. Alternatively, Google could encrypt the stored data such that only the user has access. "Google constantly touts its creative brainpower. More privacy-protective technologies are surely not beyond its reach, so long as its engineers make that a design priority," added Bankston. (Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will.)
The only easy day was yesterday.

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#2 Scarlett

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:01 AM

Which is excactly why I will never use any
"destop search" feature no matter whose it is.
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#3 phawgg

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 01:11 AM

"This Google product highlights a key privacy problem in the
digital age," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Many
Internet innovations involve storing personal files on a
service provider's computer, but under outdated laws,
consumers who want to use these new technologies have to
surrender their privacy rights. If Google wants consumers to
trust it to store copies of personal computer files, emails,
search histories and chat logs, and still 'not be evil,' it
should stand with EFF and demand that Congress update the
privacy laws to better reflect life in the wired world."


Which is why I will.
I welcome an opportunity to highlight what is really wrong.
I saw it coming when I tested the beta in the first place.

Ya' think our government deserves to be able to "benefit" by it's lawful right to spend our money
searching a few million PC user's files? Then a few million more when they can ...
The ones stupid enough to be doing terrorist acts on the side?
Law Enforcement dredging up last year's PC files for the Prosecuting Attorney's pleasure?

Maybe just being Democrats during a Republican administration?
What entity controls the internet as it is developing?
The NSA?
CIA?
FBI?
Republican National Committee?

I guess I'll ultimately find out using the Desktop Search, huh?
Especially if I bait 'em ...

Edited by phawgg, 16 February 2006 - 01:19 AM.

patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#4 Scarlett

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 08:00 AM

Google admits Desktop Security Risk
By Tom Espiner
Special to CNET News.com
Published: February 20, 2006, 9:50 AM PST


Businesses have been warned by research company Gartner that the latest Google Desktop Beta has an "unacceptable security risk," and Google agrees.

On Feb. 9, Google unveiled Google Desktop 3, a free, downloadable program that includes an option to let users search across multiple computers for files. To do that, the application automatically stores copies of files, for up to a month, on Google servers. From there, copies are transferred to the user's other computers for archiving. The data is encrypted in transmission and while stored on Google servers.


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#5 tg1911

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 08:23 AM

I guess I'll ultimately find out using the Desktop Search, huh?
Especially if I bait 'em ...

phawgg,
If you just want to bait them: :thumbsup:

Patriot Search
A search engine that lets you report yourself to the
authorities -- before someone else does.
Patriot Search

Be sure to check out the links under the search field, Our mission, Our search syntax, and Our privacy policy:
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#6 phawgg

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:23 AM

Oh, thank you tg1911 :thumbsup:

The plot thickens.
The anticipation of just this one citizen is killin' him. :flowers:
I was wondering how several million other ones are takin' this.
Then I thought about the yellow page listings of attorneys ...

I wonder if a new specialty will develop.
Full page ads showing the firm in a hardwood paneled office around an enormous desk,
the boldface list of litigation specialties on the side now headed up by:

Patriot Act Defense

patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#7 Michael Giacchetti

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:31 AM

Also, according to Mercury News, the government said while Google didn’t hand over the information, “other, unspecified search engines” did agree to release it. (Who’s that? Yahoo? A9? MSN? Amazon book search? Ask Jeeves?)

conflicts??

Edited by Michael Giacchetti, 22 February 2006 - 02:31 AM.


#8 jgweed

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:39 AM

Yahoo and MSN quietly complied in some way or another, with the government request, just like they regularly comply with the Chinese Internet Police.
Regards,
John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#9 Michael Giacchetti

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 02:45 AM

So, who was it that gave away the data upon request? According to ZDnet, who’s quoting an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, those were Microsoft and AOL (who fully complied) as well as Yahoo (who complied in parts). ZDnet writes that a Microsoft spokesperson said, “MSN works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested ... It is our policy to respond to legal requests in a very responsive and timely manner in full compliance with applicable law.


Edited by Michael Giacchetti, 22 February 2006 - 02:46 AM.





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