Google is no stranger to criticism about privacy issues, the most recent of which concerned data “accidentally” collected as part of the Google Street View project. The news was reported on the BBC “Privacy body to re-examine Google”
“Britain’s privacy watchdog is to look again at what personal information internet giant Google gathered from private wi-fi networks… Google had “accidentally” grabbed data from unsecured hotspots for years as its Street View cars captured images of street scenes. In total it is thought to have grabbed about 600 gigabytes of data.”
The concerns mounted as it surfaced the data included emails and passwords. An interesting comment that was included in the article from a radio phone-in, the caller had questioned individuals who do not secure their networks and then complain that their privacy is breached. Of course we have a responsibility to make sure our data is secure – and stories like this one serve as a reminder of our own responsibilities. However, Google knows a lot about its users and given their product improvements depend on this knowledge they need us to trust them! To their credit they appear to take this responsibility seriously – they even have a team of engineers dedicated to help users control the personal details held in Google products – see dataliberation.org
I like to pay attention to stories like these, as privacy issues are of interest when considering the managing of information and intellectual assets.