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Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service (Time to rethink using Gmail)

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-12-10 11:44 PM
Original message
Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service (Time to rethink using Gmail)
SAN FRANCISCO When Google introduced Buzz its answer to Facebook and Twitter it hoped to get the service off to a fast start. New users of Buzz, which was added to Gmail on Tuesday, found themselves with a ready-made network of friends automatically selected by the company based on the people that each user communicated with most frequently through Googles e-mail and chat services.

But what Google viewed as an obvious shortcut stirred up a beehive of angry critics. Many users bristled at what they considered an invasion of privacy, and they faulted the company for failing to ask permission before sharing a persons Buzz contacts with a broad audience. For the last three days, Google has faced a firestorm of criticism on blogs and Web sites, and it has already been forced to alter some features of the service.

E-mail, it turns out, can hold many secrets, from the names of personal physicians and illicit lovers to the identities of whistle-blowers and antigovernment activists. And Google, so recently a hero to many people for threatening to leave China after hacking attempts against the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, now finds itself being pilloried as a clumsy violator of privacy.

As Evgeny Morozov wrote in a blog post for Foreign Policy, If I were working for the Iranian or the Chinese government, I would immediately dispatch my Internet geek squads to check on Google Buzz accounts for political activists and see if they have any connections that were previously unknown to the government."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/technology/internet/1...

Well, this is great. I firmly establish my business email in a gmail address and this happens.

Tomorrow's project. Switching from gmail to my personal domain email.

Sigh.

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Raschel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. I made up a gmail acct. just for signing up for freebies and coupons.
Glad I don't use it for anything else!
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
2. Never mind. Self deleted. n/t
Edited on Sat Feb-13-10 12:08 AM by Greyhound
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
3. Oopsie! Relationship George runs into Independent George on Google.
:hide:

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mfcorey1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. OMG!
This is scary. The other day I decided to sign up for something called Justin tv that was recommended to me. As soon as I finished signing in, the camera on my dell popped on. That was scary because it seemed to be controlled by the site. I quickly shut it down and did a 440 out of that site and have not returned.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. wow. that is scary
Edited on Sat Feb-13-10 08:07 AM by WhiteTara
remember 1984? "they" could see in...

BTW...welcome to DU :hi:

edited to say welcome
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Blue-Jay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 02:43 AM
Response to Original message
5. I think I'll keep my Gmail account.
I have no interest in "Buzz" or Twitter or any other thing that delivers uninteresting minutiae.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #5
35. Agreed.
It took me two seconds to decide to click the "no thanks" button and go straight to my mail. I "tweet" once a year or so.

It's not the medium for me, either. :shrug:
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 02:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. I like Fastmail a lot in that it lets you create multiple addresses for one box.
If you don't trust someone not to spam you, you can create an email address just to give to them. If and when the spam arrives, you just ditch it!
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seabeckind Donating Member (406 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
7. I'm afraid I don't understand


If you value your privacy, don't give it away.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:01 AM
Response to Original message
8. Open your GMail account
Scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the link that reads:

Turn Off Buzz.
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DisgustedInMN Donating Member (956 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. Done and done. Thank you. n/t
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. Thanks!
Done.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #8
21. That doesn't shut off the followers Google picked for you...
Or your profile. Check out this article:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10451703-2.html
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Thanks. It's never one click easy.
Damn Al Gore! First his 'Global Warming' hoax and now his Internets are ruining our lives.

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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #21
31. A helpful article
DUers (like me) appreciate the instruction on how to further rid ourselves of Buzz-associated stuff. I was not aware that there would be remnants after having "turned off Buzz". Since I never used Buzz, I have no "contacts". However, this article shows me how to get rid of extraneous Buzz trails and had me take a second look at my Google profile, where I got rid of some other identifiable info. Thanks for the link. :hi:
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ohiodemocratic Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
9. I experienced a privacy problem the first time I used Buzz
Edited on Sat Feb-13-10 06:09 AM by ohiodemocratic
This is what happened. I went to my gmail. Saw an announcement that said, wanna try Buzz? Or something like that. I clicked yes. I went to my gmail. I was told to set up my buzz.

The default option was to share Picasa and Google Reader information with other contacts. Picasa was listed as "public." I already had two buddies sharing my Buzz before I even blinked. I never checked any boxes saying I wanted to have those buddies.

Anyway, what if I had, say, a naked picture of my wife or girlfriend or myself a Picasa album or something? That would have gone straight to the google search engine for everyone to see. I unchecked the option to share Picasa, but the problem is that other people might not be aware that they are sharing Picasa, since it's been proved that people most of the time leave default settings untouched.

Sharing Picasa was an opt-out agreement. It should have been opt-in.

I don't know if Google fixed that problem. They probably did.
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Princess Turandot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. The Picasa 'opt in' in Buzz only applies to your (already) Public Albums in Picasa..
I assume your naked lady photos are in a 'view by invitation only' aka private album in Picasa? Tying Picasa to Buzz did not send your private albums to Google Search.

The public v. private designation in Picasa is set in Picasa itself. The Buzz setting means that if you post a comment to a photo in a Picasa album already designated as Public in Picasa, that comment will supposedly make its way to your Buzz stream. (I say supposedly because I haven't yet tried to have Picasa send comment to Buzz.) Posting comments in non-public Picasa albums does not transmit information to Buzz or Google search.
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:08 AM
Response to Original message
10. Imagine having all your email contacts/address-book for the world to see..?
Edited on Sat Feb-13-10 06:21 AM by wroberts189
And not even realize it has happened.


unbelievable.
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ohiodemocratic Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:11 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Google and the NSA have been cozy as of late
In this country you often don't find out what's going on behind the scenes until after a decade or so. God knows what Google and the NSA have agreed to do in order to get information out of the public.
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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. No wonder why they gmail you so many gigs. I agree with op ..get your own domain name.


You will always own it and be able to move it.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #11
27. I always wondered about the start up $$ for google
Seemed, I dunno, sorta spooky to me. Thinking way beyond NSA in the covert agency turf wars.
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Rich Uncle Pennybags Donating Member (3 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 02:19 AM
Response to Reply #11
33. Remember when the Chinese tried to "hack" Google?
They were trying to gain access to Gmail accounts through the back door that Google created for the U.S. Government.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #11
36. Goggle and teh FEDS OMGZZZ!!!111!
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:15 AM
Response to Original message
12. Not to mention unnecessary.
Between email, gmail, chat, texting, facebook/twitter, etc - do we really need another communication platform?
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
14. I thought Google..
.. owned Facebook? In fact I'm pretty sure they do. How can Buzz be an answer to their own product?
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. No... it's privately held.
Google has NOTHING to do with Facebook.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. Thanks for correcting me..
.... I do know that Facebook accesses my gmail account for potential friend finds.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
20. How to disable Google Buzz:
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. Thank you so much for that!
I do trust the geeks at cnet for solid help and advice.
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OrwellwasRight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
24. Is anyone really surprised anyway?
Google not only reads all your email, they admit that they do, and advertise to you based on that. It's creepy.

Anyone concerned about privacy should not be using Gmail, Gchat, or any of it. Try Spamcop instead. Protects your privacy and protects you from spam. Seriously. It is worth the 30 bucks a year for the peace of mind.
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SallyMander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
25. Question -- my website is registered with Google Sites

So my email is sally@mydomain.com, but it's still Gmail (despite not being gmail.com). I don't see Buzz, or an option to turn it off. Am i missing something? Or are they just doing gmail.com addresses?
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belpejic Donating Member (431 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
28. Holy cow. What a nightmare.
That CNET article is really helpful. Do no evil indeed.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10451703-2.html
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heli Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
29. Makes ya wonder what else they're doing behind your back
Edited on Sat Feb-13-10 12:52 PM by heli
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belpejic Donating Member (431 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-13-10 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. Reminds me of what Scott McNealy (former Sun CEO) said over 10 years ago...
"You have zero privacy anyway," Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company's new Jini technology.

"Get over it."

http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1999/01/17538

I've assumed he knows more than me ever since.

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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 01:59 AM
Response to Original message
32. Sounds like they're being evil
And this ain't the first time.
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cbdo2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
34. Is this just for free Gmail users? We have a business account with them
where we have our own domain...it is still through Gmail - Google but we did not have Buzz forced upon us.
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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
37. Nothing is for free folks
typical mentality nowadays is to expect full services for free and then complain when you find out its not really free. Nothing is free. Not Google, not facebook, not hotmail...none of it.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
38. Google responds:
...Sounds like a bunch of Dr. Evils to me. :D

http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-buzz-start-up...

...We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised. Today, we wanted to let you know about a number of changes we'll be making over the next few days based on all the feedback we've received.

First, auto-following. With Google Buzz, we wanted to make the getting started experience as quick and easy as possible, so that you wouldn't have to manually peck out your social network from scratch. However, many people just wanted to check out Buzz and see if it would be useful to them, and were not happy that they were already set up to follow people. This created a great deal of concern and led people to think that Buzz had automatically displayed the people they were following to the world before they created a profile.

On Thursday, after hearing that people thought the checkbox for choosing not to display this information publicly was too hard to find, we made this option more prominent. But that was clearly not enough. So starting this week, instead of an auto-follow model in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most, we're moving to an auto-suggest model. You won't be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked "Follow selected people and start using Buzz."

For the tens of millions of you who have already started using Buzz, over the next couple weeks we'll be showing you a similar version of this new start-up experience to give you a second chance to review and confirm the people you're following. If you want to review this list now, just go to the Buzz tab, click "Following XX people" and unfollow anyone you wish. If you don't want to share the lists of people who are following you and people you are following publicly on your profile, you can opt out at any time from the edit profile page.

Second, Buzz will no longer connect your public Picasa Web Albums and Google Reader shared items automatically. Just to be clear: Buzz only automatically connected content that was already public, so if you had previously shared photos in an "Unlisted" album or set your Google Reader shared items as "Protected," no one except the people you'd explicitly allowed to see your stuff has been able to see it. But due to your feedback Buzz will no longer connect these sites automatically.

Third, we're adding a Buzz tab to Gmail Settings. From there, you'll be able to hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely. In addition, there will be a link to these settings from the initial start-up page so you can easily decide from the get go that you don't want to use Buzz at all.

It's been an exciting and challenging week for the Buzz team. We've been getting feedback via the Gmail help forums and emails from friends and family, and we've also been able to do something new: read the buzz about Buzz itself. We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so.
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