Animation: How Google views user privacy

Nobody HAS to use Google or Picasa or Gmail…

What’s your point?

Gmail can affect you even if you don’t use it. If you exchange email with others who uses Gmail, your privacy is invaded by proxy. There’s even been class-action lawsuits over this from non-Gmail users who consider this wiretapping.

If we ignore the issues, then less people know about them and make less informed decisions about their choices (or lack thereof). Also, please consider that Google has become so large as to practically become a utility when it comes to search. Businesses that don’t play ball with Google can suffer consequences and when Google uses its monopolistic, anti-competitive might to hinder other players, that affects consumer choice, speech and privacy choices as well.

Also, since Google isn’t upfront about privacy invasions or tries to hide some of them in lengthy EULA’s and legalese, (or within their proprietary code itself) much of the public isn’t going to be aware of the risks when they use products like Picasa. Also, even if you don’t use Picasa, someone else with a photo of you may very well put your photo into their app and, once again, privacy is invaded by proxy.

Are you not aware of the things Google does to subvert privacy without the user’s knowledge? Please educate yourself:

Google bypassed privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to use cookies to track users:

More:

Did Google trick Apple’s Safari into tracking users?

Google to pay $22.5 million fine over Safari privacy violations

“Free market” solutions are a neo-libertarian myth that ignores greater, complicated externalities that affects far more people than you’re accounting for.

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That’s nice, you’re a true champion of freedom and I’m a horrible apologist for unbridled capitalism. I’m not making the argument that they couldn’t do things much better to protect their users. I’m making the argument that it’s a publicly listed corporation, beholden to its shareholders, so any rage or surprise that they’re making choices to help themselves over the privacy of their users is laughably ignorant of who they are and what their purpose is. This applies to all corporations.

The problem for Google and its data-gathering peers is this: The infrastructure for privacy works directly against their main revenue source: advertising. The more privacy their users have, the less valuable their advertising profiles on users become.

My reply to marc45 was getting at the idea that Lavabit’s actions, while noble and commendable, mean that the service no longer exists. That’s not a solution to the privacy problem because as long as that’s a possible outcome for standing up against the TLAs for principles of privacy, we’re still fucked.

The bottom line is that users have a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you use google or its services. Furthermore, every web company is behaving like google since they’re all under the thumb of the fucking patriot act. Shouting and screaming at google is all well and good but if there was a mass exodus from google to yahoo, everyone would just be saying the same things about yahoo.

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I’ll concede the point. You are correct.

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You’re reading what @agger_modspil is saying, but not listening. You are trying to redefine “insist” to only mean “require”.

No I’m not. He was talking about theirs nags once you’ve logged in but my original point was that you don’t have to log in in the first place. If you don’t log in they don’t nag you for your phone number. You even quoted the bit where I agreed the phone number nag is annoying.

“Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android”

I’ve addressed this before when it happened. I’ll agree it was silly to remove that feature but it’s partly a choice of usability. If you forcibly disallow apps from accessing certain things they behave unpredictably - force closing or freezing up. A non-technical user won’t understand why and put it down to it being a “bad phone” - obviously not the UX a company wants. In any case you can do this yourself if you care to using an app called Permissions Denied (requires root).

“every time I pick up my Android tablet I get the distinct feeling I’m being watched… closely by Google.”

You know this isn’t a convincing argument. You don’t even have to give an android device a google login if you don’t want to. Obviously google’s services won’t work (including the play store) but there are alternative stores on android and you can get pretty much any app from tpb and side-load anyway.

IRT Picasa: It sounds very shitty but the main question is why are you using Picasa? Again: it’s not necessary for anything. No one has to use Picasa. Bridge is far, far more useful.

Do you really obey EULAs? Do you actually give anyone your real name when you don’t actually have to?

8.3: It’s a photo-sharing website. Pre-screening could relate to running your images through google’s pr0n filter to make sure they don’t have more shit to moderate. Not excusable, I’ll agree, but why is anyone using Picasa anyway?

11.1 is insanely broad, but is included to allow them to legally display your content on Picasa.

11.2 “available to” does not mean they can use it in the ways that 11.1 allows google to use it.

11.3 again covers their legal right to show your content on their network. You just want to use a private photo gallery? There’s tons out there.

11.4 just covers their ass in case you upload photos you don’t own the copyright for. You don’t have the “authority” to grant the above licence if you don’t own it or otherwise have legal control over it.

You’re not wrong that their stuff is invasive but you are reading these things from the perspective of Google is evil. Confirmation bias is an amazing thing. I’m not arguing that their EULA isn’t overly broad but I think if you were to read through the EULA of flickr (a yahoo property) you’d find very similar legalese.

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How Google views user privacy, except when they totally don’t give a shit, which is 99.999% of the time.

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No I’m not. He was talking about theirs nags once you’ve logged in but my original point was that you don’t have to log in in the first place.

You first responded to @agger_modspil , it’s his original point that matters. But, whatever… this is just a distraction and I shouldn’t have brought it up in the first place, I suppose.

You even quoted the bit where I agreed the phone number nag is annoying.

That’s beside my point. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this part.

I’ll agree it was silly to remove that feature but it’s partly a choice of usability.

It was an insidious move on Google’s part. You can polish that turd by saying it was partially a “usability” issue, but that doesn’t float.

Google should have made it an optional “advanced” feature with a warning that it may cause some application instability and should only be used by advanced users. That is, until Google gets its shit straight (more on this below).

Google currently has a similar option within its security settings where you can check “Unknown sources - Allow installations of app from sources other then the Play Store”. When you check the option, it displays a warning that says, “Your tablet and personal data are more vulnerable to attack … You agree that you are responsible for any damages… etc”

Google can and should do that in this case.

Then again, if Google really gave a shit about its user’s privacy and security they’d change the way apps work where you’re able to disable overreaching access without causing instability in the first place.

I have apps on my Mac that want to “phone home” and I can block them without any hinderance in stability whatsoever. For apps that require Internet access, I grant specifically what they can and can’t access. Once again, I do this without instability, crashes, etc. Google needs to get on the ball.

Did you not read what the EFF said in that link I provided in my previous post?

Here’s some of their suggestions:

• Android users should be able to disable all collection of trackable identifiers by an app with a single switch, including data like phone numbers, IMEIs, information about the user’s accounts.

• There should be a way to disable an app’s network access entirely. It is clear that a large fraction of apps (including flashlights, wallpapers, UI skins, many games) simply don’t need network access and, as we saw last week, are prone to abuse it.

• The App Ops interface needs to be smoothed out an properly integrated into the main OS user interface, including the Settings->Apps menus and the Play Store. There are numerous ways to make App Ops work for developers. Pick one, and deploy it.

In any case you can do this yourself if you care to using an app called Permissions Denied (requires root).

I’m well aware of those apps. Requiring people to root their devices (which has its own issues) in order to utlilize the previous functionality is ridiculous.

Your polished turd is still a turd. :smiley:

You know this isn’t a convincing argument.

You took one statement out of context and tried to convey that as my entire argument. There’s goes that desperate turd polishing again.

Go back and read the rest of the text in my posts in this thread and elsewhere for context.

You don’t even have to give an android device a google login if you don’t want to.

If you think that’s the only way that they track you (statistical analysis, anyone?), then you’re grossly misinformed.

Anyway, most average users are going to tie their email account to their Android tablet or phone for basic functionality and Google removes a lot of basic functionality if you don’t play ball (i.e., unlock pattern requires it, etc., etc.)

Speaking of Google logins. You reminded me of yet another privacy issue that Google has yet to address. The Google backup feature (which requires using a gmail/google+ account) in Android has a major issue. The backup data contains passwords, etc. for app settings you may use along with wifi passwords as well. While Google does claim the data is sent via encrypted packets, they do not store it encrypted. SCREW THAT.

more:

Update: Does NSA know your Wi-Fi password? Android backups may give it to them

The Google spokesperson could not speak to how the data is encrypted in transit, or how the data was secured at rest.

more:

Do you really obey EULAs?

Yes, I do depending on the situation. And, sometimes the EULA is enforced within the code and user options itself whether you like it or not. Also, by breaking the terms of a EULA, you can be at risk of losing data, etc. at the whim of a company.

Do you actually give anyone your real name when you don’t actually have to?

I’m not your average user. I’m not particularly concerned for security experts or other security conscious people who are knowledgeable and properly trained in best security and privacy practices. I’m mostly referring to average people that use Google’s products that aren’t informed experts, etc. - More on this below…

You should also be aware that it’s fairly trivial to determine a person’s real identity even if they don’t provide their name especially on a smartphone, etc.

IRT Picasa: It sounds very shitty but the main question is why are you using Picasa?

As I explained to @newliminted in this post here, that’s beside the point and far from “the main question” that you’re trying to reframe like you tried and failed to reframe @agger_modspil 's points.

No one has to use Picasa.

A poor argument. I already addressed that here within this thread.

You’re not wrong that their stuff is invasive but you are reading these things from the perspective of Google is evil.

I’m reading them at face value and from the perspective of Google’s actual poor track record as I’ve documented repeatedly within this thread and this thread.

Confirmation bias is an amazing thing.

Please stop projecting. Once again, I implore you to actually read my multiple sources within this thread and this thread that show a wealth of evidence that Google is a well-documented, repeated bad actor in regards to user privacy, etc.

I think if you were to read through the EULA of flickr (a yahoo property) you’d find very similar legalese.

Yahoo/flickr isn’t the same, but that’s beside the point.

More Google turd polishing. Please don’t resort to the “other guy’s do it” false argument. That’s a common tactic of right wing conservatives who embrace distracting false equivalencies instead dealing with specific issues. I respect you and I would’ve hoped that sort of tactic was beneath you.

The EULA was just one example of many that’s a part of a distinct pattern for Google.

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That’s nice, you’re a true champion of freedom and I’m a horrible apologist for unbridled capitalism.

Jeez.

Going this route with @wysinwyg really doesn’t bolster your arguments very well. :wink:

The bottom line is that users have a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you use google or its services

That’s not the bottom line for most people except you. More

Mod note: Cut back on the snark, or I’ll be cutting comments.

Yup, the business model that succeeds is not necessarily the one that considers your privacy or your rights under law.

What you say is very true. The argument against Google is ironic in that the only way Google can provide the world with free email, docs, etc, etc. is by harvesting information and selling it. I think most users assume at least some of their info is being used for advertising and aren’t bothered by it. Where it gets sticky is when Google proudly talks about keeping users privacy intact and then turning around and handing it over to whatever secret court asks for it. Lavabit was an anomaly and an untenable business model but as an example it shows that there are ways to keep things transparent even if it’s at the expense of losing business. I think email providers could instill systems that would alert users to any compromises even if the government doesn’t like it…and the government will fight this tooth and nail.

Man, I appreciate the effort you put into your comments but you’re not addressing a huge part which is: this is a corporation. They are going to market themselves to us. Purveyors of homeopathy nonsense aren’t going to tell you that their wares are bullshit, just as google isn’t going to tell you that they could do stuff to better protect users privacy (to the detriment of their bottom line). Let’s just be realistic about who they are and who they serve.

FWIW the article you linked to regarding all the stuff Google is tracking on your android phone: It’s HuffPo… they publish positive articles on crank remedies and TCM. In any case they list in the very article what to do if you don’t want these things shared:

you can simply turn off location services on both your iPhone or Android device. In Android, go to Menu > Settings > Location and Location setting. iPhone users: tap Settings > General and turn off location services.

@agger_modspil reframed his OWN point in his reply to me. He started talking about log-ins. Then it became about nagging you for your phone number once you’ve logged in. They’re different.

Please don’t resort to the “other guy’s do it” false argument. That’s a common tactic of right wing conservatives who embrace distracting false equivalencies instead dealing with specific issues.

Wait… I’m embracing false equivalencies by comparing two photo-management and photo-sharing services, but you’re not embracing false equivalencies by comparing my argument to those of right wingers?

If you exchange email with others who uses Gmail, your privacy is invaded by proxy.
PS: I didn’t take up your point about gmail invading the privacy of people outside the service because it doesn’t prove what you’re saying it does. You still have the choice of whether to email people who have gmail addresses or not.

I take issue with several of the things you say but I’m tired of this discussion. Neither of us will budge and both of us think the other is polishing a turd, I’m just not going to say it repeatedly to try and elicit anger. Snarkily trolling people who disagree with you isn’t usually considered a mark of respect.

@agger_modspil reframed his OWN point in his reply to me.

No, he didn’t. He only tried to make you understand what everyone else already understood. That insisting on something isn’t the same as absolutely requiring it.

you’re not addressing a huge part which is: this is a corporation.

A poor argument. I could care less what a group of people calls themselves, they are still people with social responsibilities whether they attempt to hide behind paperwork, legalese or not.

“This is a corporation” means nothing. It’s just a tired excuse to pass self-responsibility away from people. The mark of an apologist.

It’s HuffPo…

Yet another fallacious argument.

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#well

A tired tactic and diversion from facts brought forward. Attacking the source’s name, instead of the specific content brought forward isn’t really a tactic I can respect in this case.

In any case they list in the very article what to do if you don’t want these things shared:

And, you miss the point once again. Google shouldn’t require that you opt-out of privacy invasion and lose functionality in the process.

You still have the choice of whether to email people who have gmail addresses or not.

Not in the real world.

If someone emails me with a gmail address and I refuse to respond because of their choice in email provider I will not be in business very long. Also, if I fill out a form on a website and they quote my text and respond back with a gmail address, I had no control over that scenario. “Free market” solutions are a neo-libertarian myth that ignores greater, complicated externalities that affects far more people than you’re accounting for.

Snarkily trolling people who disagree with you

Once again, please quit projecting. You’ve been misrepresenting and exaggerating two other posters’ positions and mine along with throwing out numerous false arguments, ad hominem, etc. while blatantly sidestepping points, links/sources that’ve been presented to you.

I take issue with several of the things you say but I’m tired of this discussion.

As am I. It’s just best that we agree to disagree.

My links and sources along with Google’s despicable, well-documented track record speaks for itself quite well.

THEY. DON’T. INSIST. What don’t you understand?

ad hominem

Really? Where?

Once again, please quit projecting.

You’re the one who has constantly gone with this “polishing a turd” line over this and the last post about google. You are being a snarky troll. Falcor even asked you to cut back on it.

THEY. DON’T. INSIST. What don’t you understand?

Sigh, I’ve already explained it to you several times. SCREAMING doesn’t change anything. If you still don’t understand, then we’re just going to have to agree to disagree as I suggested to you a long time ago.

Really? Where?

I’ve already pointed it out above. Here’s one obnoxious example I already pointed out. If you still don’t see it, then we’re just going to have to agree to disagree as I suggested to you a long time ago.

You’re the one who has constantly gone with this “polishing a turd” line over thsi and the last post about google

The turd is Google’s actions. If you think by insulting Google, I’m insulting you, then I can’t help but ask that you try to disassociate your own personal self from the corporation you defend.

You are being a snarky troll

Please stop insulting me.

Falcor even asked you to cut back on it.

You’re incorrect. Falcor wasn’t singling me out. You are.

I think it’s you who doesn’t understand.

I’m still failing to see how that’s an ad hominem attack. It was sarcasm to demonstrate how my argument was being portrayed by wysinwyg.

I’m merely responding to what I feel is your gross mischaracterisation of the facts. You argue dishonestly in such a way that seems convincing, but relies on people not clicking your links and reading them thoroughly. When I read your links and quote the parts of your own sources that go against what you’re saying you then say I’m missing the point.

Are you seriously saying that accusing me of polishing someone else’s turd is not insulting me?

Falcor wasn’t singling me out.

The timing on his reply must just be a coincidence, then?

You’re heading down the rabbit hole again Cow.

Are you seriously saying that accusing me of polishing someone else’s turd is not insulting me?

Yep, it’s just an expression and isn’t offensive unless you want to play a victim or something because of some feigned fragile sensibilities. Once again, the turd is Google’s actions. If you think by insulting Google, I’m insulting you, then I can’t help but ask that you try to disassociate your own personal self from the corporation you defend.

I’m still failing to see how that’s an ad hominem attack.

Right, of course you don’t.

The timing on his reply must just be a coincidence, then?

No, it was right after I called you out on being snarky and sarcastic with @wysinwyg.

Again, if Falcor approved of your behavior and only didn’t approve of mine he would have responded directly to my post. The reality is Falcor isn’t happy with you or me bickering and wants us both to knock it off.

I think it’s a good idea. If you want to continue to complain to me, it’s probably more productive to simply personal message me.

The difference being that my comments aren’t formulated to insult and belittle, whereas yours are. I’m sure Falcor supports discussion in a discussion thread. I’d rather call you out here because it’s growing old and I can’t be the only one here who’s tired of your tirade.

The difference being that my comments aren’t formulated to insult and belittle

Sure they are, you just refuse to see it.

I’d rather call you out here because it’s growing old and I can’t be the only one here who’s tired of your tirade.

Sure, I’m seeing the likes on your comment really pile on… sigh…

PS: Sarcasm isn’t snark. Nice try there though.

you just refuse to see it.

Everything is always everyone else’s fault according to you.

Everything is always everyone else’s fault according to you.

Resorting to false arguments even to the end. :smiley: I have a theory, I guess you’re hoping if you badger me enough here I’ll lose my cool. Sorry, it’s not going to work. Have a nice day.