Charles Arthur on Google’s Street View Data Collection

Charles Arthur:

And if there’s one thing that the last few years have taught us, it’s that the suggestion of a “rogue” worker having acted alone to do something which led to an intrusion is never correct. There has to be a failure of management oversight as well.

And what did Google say? Initially, that the data collection happened “mistakenly”. No, it didn’t. Initially, that only “fragmentary” data was collected. No, it wasn’t: the first page of the FCC report says that: “On October 22 2010, Google acknowledged for the first time that ‘in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords’.” That it was the work of one engineer acting alone, and not in any way part of how Google rolls.

Arthur posits that the problem is arrogance — his headline reads, “Google’s Problem Is That It Now Believes Itself Above Others — Even Governments”. I’d say it’s more of a reckless sense of entitlement regarding privacy. Google sees itself as entitled to all information. If they can see it, they can collect it. I can see their thinking (though I don’t agree with it): they were just driving around on public roads, collecting data that was in the air.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012