Google has recently joined a consortium of companies and individuals in calling for reform with the Patriot Act over in the US. Google argues that the mass collection of data should be limited. I whole heartedly agree with this however what does stick in the throat somewhat is the fact that Google seem to believe that they are entitled to carry out their own surveillance on people through nefarious means.
Recently Google had appealed a decision against the right for European people to have the right to sue them over the fact that they had collected data bypassing the security settings within the Safari browser (commonly used on Macs, iPhones and iPads). According to the article on the BBC Google’s 2 principal arguments against the right to sue were as follows.
- No financial loss caused by the privacy breach can be proven by any affected people.
- Google is a US company and should not be sued in the UK.
I find it quite ironic that Google would like to be seen as a company championing the rights of the people however flagrantly disregarding the rights of the consumer.
This is not the first time that Google has been embroiled in privacy breaches. In 2010 Google had been found collecting data from unsecured wi-fi while capturing street view images. It was also found that they had also not deleted the data once found as they had promised to do so. In this case not only did Google “accidentally” capture the data but they also “accidentally” kept some of the data. Appears Google are quite clumsy.
As things stand at present we are the product Google sells, be it to webmaster’s or advertisers the data about what we do, the pages we visit and what we buy is invaluable to them. While this model continues Google will have little regard for privacy.
This of course is not an issue limited to Google. Many other companies such as Facebook have a similar disregard to privacy.