2006/02/10

Google Goggles, Government Grins


Talk about biting the hand that feeds... Did you know that a new feature of Google's Desktop stores your PCs files remotely on their servers so that you can search them from wherever you are? Well neither did I, but just set the Search Across Computers option and all of your text based files, from tax returns to love letters, financial records to trashy "Scooter-style" pot-boilers will get uploaded to Google's servers where it can be:
  • Scanned so that you can search it from anywhere in the world (the party line)
  • Indexed so that Google can target ads in your direction (not yet, but how long can they resist really), and...
  • DELIVERED INTO THE HANDS OF THE FEDS WITHOUT A WARRANT, BECAUSE THEY ONLY NEED A SUBPOENA TO GET AT RECORDS STORED WITH A PROVIDER LIKE GOOGLE!!!
Now how's that for a feature?!

18 Comments:

Nice!
And Kvatch, I'm sure you saw the Yahoo China story today.

With services like yahoo, google, etc, there doesn't even have to be a reason! They just request from your ISP or Minister of Search. They don't have to say why they want it.

Time for us to encrypt our recipes, frog judas.
Thats why I don't use Google's Desktop..when I saw it could be accessed from anywhere or any computer I was on I knew they had access to my "stuff"..

Glad I read through it before I downloaded it months ago.
Is this a preference that can be switched off or is it a "feature" that's build in to the Google Desktop DNA?

(Yet another reason to love my Mac, where OS X's Spotlight search is fast, relevant and private.)
I haven't done any searches for "how to make weapons" or for child porn, so I'm probably safe. Just don't tell them I own "Steal This Book" by Abbie Hoffman.
Ain't that a great ol book snave?
Good thing the only thing I do with Google is search. I don't trust anyone with anything if it involves access to my computer.
epm... My understanding from EFF is that the feature is on by default, and requires some careful configuration to turn off.
And Kvatch, I'm sure you saw the Yahoo China story today.

Actually no, but I haven't checking in with my tech sources since last night. Got a particular source in mind?

frog judas.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ??? WUWT?
At this point, I'm just going to put Alberto in the cc: line for everything ...
Okay, I'm going to have to figure out how to unplug my google tool bar. Right now.

Thanks for the heads up Kvatch.
Blog on.l
Karl--or should I refer to you as 'Herr Reichmisister'?--Your's is probably a good plan, but you may also want to "bcc" John Yoo over at Berkeley for an Constitutional opinion.
Windspike, don't have it installed myself. So I really don't know, but you may want to check the EFF's article. Unless you configure Google Desktop from the toolbar (which I doubt), removing the toolbar probably won't do it. In fact, you may not even have Google Desktop installed. It's a separate app, isn't it?
Damn Kvatch.
But then, what is the deal with Google hosting 'free blogs'?
Don't tell me the 'future potential profits' by people who put ad-pay on, will pay for the huge amount of space/storage needed.I don't buy it.

I've always had the feeling that it was an easy -as- pie way to keep track of the potential 'leaders'and their comments-
BEFORE they try something brave, daring and stupid.

It's allot easier, exacting,and cheaper than applying ECHELON.
Kvatch, I'm delighted to see something finally writing about this. I have been following the separate threads of the Google subpoena stories and the Google feature stories in news channels ranging from corporate media to lifehacker.com...without anyone connecting the dots.

Good on you for raising a stink. I hope more people will follow suit.
AJ, think that the two aren't necessarily related. Iron is cheap, and although EFF thinks that the feature is going to upload all of your files, maybe only the indices are stored at Google and updated periodically. Probably still enough information to incriminate you for that soft-core that you write :-), but not enough to impact them that much from a storage perspective.

My guess is that the whole indexing system was tried out on the blogs first.

Shaula, thanks for dropping by. You'll find if you spend any time here that I'm always on about something privacy related.
Trust me from experience, there is NOTHING you can do to secure yourself. If you're connected to the internet using WinXP, the tools they need are already uploading your everything from web page history to documents to TIA.

My computer used to tell me "There are other users logged onto your computer, if you shut down now they will lose work, do you wish to continue?" A quick check of the firewall log gave me the IP, WHOIS identified the "US Navy - Dept of Space & Naval Warfare."

I did nothing to attract attention except have the wrong name (Google search revealed 7 pages about a dead Israeli celebrity who "died tragically"). That's been changed back to the maiden name, believe me. Otherwise, I am Christian, Caucasian, family in US since 1805, and did nothing wrong.

I honestly can't tell you what's worse - the electronic spying, wondering what else is being tapped, the physical tail I had while driving on several occasions, a probable sneek & peek, the destruction of computer hardware, or simply wondering if I spoke out publicly or tried to document and whistle blow if I too might disappear into that world of secret prisons, no lawyers and unlimited detention.

By all means, don't make it any easier on them by using this tool, but don't kid yourself that you too don't have a secret TIA file somewhere with a security ranking.
If you're connected to the internet using WinXP, the tools they need are already uploading your everything from web page history to documents to TIA.

Round of applause for our anonymous poster who has given us the best reason yet to use Mac OSX. Thank you, I could not have said it better myself. :-)

BTW: It's called ADVISE now. TIA has been consigned to the dustbin of history...but of course lives on.

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