What Google knows


in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Politics, Rants, Security

I wrote before about how Google’s “Don’t be evil” slogan is really the minimum requirement for such a powerful organization.

Jacob Mchangama, a Danish human rights lawyer, has put this in a nice way: “The dream of all dictators is to know as much about you as Google does”.

Incidentally, that is all the more reason for companies like Google to refuse to comply with illegal search requests from governments.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

. June 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm
. November 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

As reported earlier today, CIA chief David Petraeus has resigned after an FBI probe into whether someone else was using his email led to the discovery he was having an extramarital affair.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation focused on his Gmail account, and that the traffic they observed “led agents to believe the woman or someone close to her had sought access to his email.” The woman in question has now been identified as West Point graduate Paula Broadwell, author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.”

. November 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

When Will our Email Betray Us? An Email Privacy Primer in Light of the Petraeus Saga

The unfolding scandal that led to the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, started with some purportedly harassing emails sent from pseudonymous email accounts to Jill Kelley. After the FBI kicked its investigation into high gear, it identified the sender as Paula Broadwell and, ultimately, read massive amounts of private email messages that uncovered an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus (and now, the investigation has expanded to include Gen. John Allen’s emails with Kelley). We’ve received a lot of questions about how this works—what legal process the FBI needs to conduct its email investigation. The short answer? It’s complicated.

anon June 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

In the online world, essentially everything we do is always being archived and searched by the companies that provide us access. There was a time when we might have asked whether those companies should be barred from using that behavioural information for commercial purposes, but that ship sailed long ago. The question we’re asking now is whether the government should be allowed to gain access to those private search archives for national security purposes. The government isn’t spying on us; Google is spying on us, and the government is asking Google for certain results.


. August 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Google filing says Gmail users have no expectation of privacy


In motion to dismiss a data-mining lawsuit, Web giant says people have “no legitimate expectation of privacy in information” voluntarily turned over to third parties.

. October 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm
. January 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

First and foremost, the surveillance state is robust. It is robust politically, legally, and technically. I can name three different NSA programs to collect Gmail user data. These programs are based on three different technical eavesdropping capabilities. They rely on three different legal authorities. They involve collaborations with three different companies. And this is just Gmail. The same is true for cell phone call records, Internet chats, cell-phone location data.

. July 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

While several U.S. judges have refused overly broad warrants that sought to grant police access to a suspect’s complete Gmail account, a federal judge in New York State OK’d such an order this week. Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein argued that a search of this type was no more invasive than the long-established practice of granting a warrant to copy and search the entire contents of a hard drive, and that alternatives, like asking Google employees to locate messages based on narrowly tailored criteria, risked excluding information that trained investigators could locate.

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