Monday, February 13, 2006

Google has rights too, you know

It seems Google can't do much good lately.

Aside from the brouhaha over their move into China, Google can hardly launch any new product beta release without having all the world's privacy activists falling over them. Gmail, Google Desktop, GoogleTalk, the list is endless. Even Google Earth has drawn criticism because a number of governments felt that their privacy (governments call it National Security) was invaded by the newfound accessibility of satellite photos.

The latest victim is Google's Desktop 3.0. The Electronic Frontier Foundation took the lead, the rest followed. Corpus Delicti is the new feature that lets Desktop users search across more than one computer. To enable "Search Across Computers" Google has to upload an index of the machines to its servers.

The EFF points out that by doing this private information can become vulnerable to anyone with a subpoena or court order. This may be true but I think the EFF goes a step too far in protesting loudly against this. Users should be aware that SAC comes with privacy risks, but might very well choose to use the feature despite those risks.

Google should not be criticized for offering people possibilities that might do them harm when handled carelessly.

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