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“Ruh Roh!…Google did it again!” – Admits it did not delete ‘streetview data’. July 27, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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I what can only be described as an absolute shock (catch my sardonic humor?)…Google has now admitted that it did not delete “… all the personal data, such as emails, its Street View cars collected in Britain and other countries in 2010.”

According to MSNBC:

“The failure to comply with a promise to delete all the data was notified to Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which said the fact that the data still existed appeared to breach an undertaking signed by Google in November 2010. (more…)

“See, Hear & Speak no Evil”- Google Censorship Requests June 18, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, privacy.
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Google today released information related to the censorship requests by Governments around the Globe.  While many are familiar with China and other nations restricting access, it is interesting to see so many “Western” countries requesting censorship.  An interesting example is the Canadian Government requesting the removal of “…YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet. “  To their credit, Google did NOT comply with this request.  In another request, Google “…received a request from the Central Police in Italy to remove a YouTube video that satirized Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s lifestyle.”  Again, Google did not comply.  The interesting part of these requests is that they request removal of material that is typically considered a right of free speech and protest.  Satire has been used as a form of protest in West for centuries (look at Voltare, Oscar Wilde…etc.etc.) and civil disobedience (urinating on a passport, is a good example) has certainly been used as form of protest.  One has to wonder whether how much more information ‘free’ governments have kept from the public.  You can see the Google removal requests here.

Social Media as a Privacy Tool? June 14, 2012

Posted by Heather Mark in privacy.
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As one that closely follows the intersection of privacy and technology I read with great interest a paper released by Google entitled “Vanity or Privacy? Social Media as a Facilitator of Privacy and Trust.”  The paper is to be presented at the  2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work.  The paper is relatively short and presented as though it was undertaken in the nature of academic research.  I doubt I need to replay for the reader Google’s recent privacy issues and its recent changes to the company’s privacy policy.  With that in mind, it is difficult to read the short paper as anything other than a justification for these recent changes.   Unfortunately for Google, the paper is patently one-sided and the premises themselves are flawed, to put it mildly. It should be noted that the authors of the paper do include the following caveat: “While these examples offer no judgment on whether social media is good for privacy in any absolute sense, they do support our contention that it is possible to design social media systems that are engaging and supportive of privacy and trust.”

Before I delve into the paper itself, it is important to provide some baseline definitions for privacy and trust, particularly with respect to the online environment.  Privacy has traditionally been defined as the right to be let alone.   (more…)

“I can neither confirm nor deny”; NSA + Google = Glomar Response May 12, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in News, Risk & Risk Management, terrorism.
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In a story on Foxnews it is revealed that a US Federal Appeals court has turned down a request under the Freedom of Information Act that would have forced the National Security Agency to disclose what, if any, relationship it has with Google and specifically a cyberattack against Google which originated in China.  According to the story: “The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which focuses on privacy and civil liberties, sought communications between Google and the NSA, which conducts worldwide electronic surveillance and protects the U.S. government from such spying. But the NSA refused to confirm or deny whether it had any relationship with Google. The NSA argued that doing so could make U.S. government information systems vulnerable to attack.”

Now for some history- In April 1968, the Soviet Union’s K129 nuclear submarine sank.  Seeing an opportunity to get some intelligence, the US CIA’s Special Activities Division came up with a plan known as Project Azorian.  Using Howard Hughes’ company as a front, they commissioned the Hughes Glomar Explorer.  Hughes claimed the ship was designed to extract minerals from the ocean floor.  The HGE was sent to pick up the remains of the submarine and return them to the US.  When the project came to light and the US Government was asked about the project, the response was: “I can neither confirm nor deny” the existence of such a project.  Thus was born the Glomar Response or Glomar Denial…

“Goodnight Sweetheart, Its Time To Go…” Away from Gmail…over Privacy March 1, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in InfoSec & Privacy, Laws and Leglslation.
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Starting today, Google will consolidate over 60 (that’s right…60) privacy policies into one, big, fluffy, wonderful new privacy policy.  Unfortunately, some of the changes are less than appealing and are simply too much for me to live with.  You can read more about the changes on CNN.com.  According to Google: “We just want to use the information you already trust us with to make your experience better. “If you don’t think information sharing will improve your experience, you don’t need to sign in to use services like Search, Maps and YouTube. “If you are signed in, you can use our many privacy tools to do things like edit or turn off your search history, control the way Google tailors ads to your interests and browse the Web ‘incognito’ using Chrome.”  My beef comes from the fact that they will be compiling a personal ‘dossier’ on every user.  They crawl through Gmail to look for advertising opportunities etc.  After watching J Edgar on Vudu a few days ago, I don’t want to end up with a personal file. (that was a joke by the way)  In the event you decide to stay with Google, here is a guide published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that explains how to use the services while protecting your privacy to some degree.  Form more privacy related information, please visit: www.DrHeatherMark.com.

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