Just a quick post this morning regarding this story in yesterday’s New York Times about Google’s admission to violations of privacy as a component of its Street View project. For those who haven’t followed this story, the crux of it is that while Google’s vehicles have been combing the streets, mapping the world through pictures (something that is admittedly very useful), they’ve kinda been collecting personal data from household computers with open wi-fi connections. I suggest reading the article for deeper insight.
As I have argued many times, and shall continue to argue, there’s nothing wrong with questioning the federal government’s ability or willingness to spy on us in cyberspace; but there’s a lot wrong with over-dramatizing this fear while turning a blind eye to both the capacity and the motive for a company like Google to point its virtual proboscis where we may not want it. Moreover, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which I criticize with some frequency, is perceived as a privacy advocate in the digital age but remains rather silent on the matter of Google’s invasions of privacy in contrast to the amount of “ink” it devotes to drones and other forms of government surveillance.
I leave it to you to decide which worries you more: a government with a limited budget, a defined scope for surveillance, and a mess of competing oversight processes; or a private corporation whose entire business model is based on amassing every bit of data it can gather.