Party – This Saturday on Sergey Brin’s Front Lawn!

Google says “complete privacy does not exist” – Internet – iTnews Australia

By Iain Thomson

31 July 2008 07:57AM

In a submission to court Google is arguing that in the modern world there can be no expectation of privacy.

Google is being sued by a Pennsylvania couple after their home appeared on Google’s Street View pages. The couple’s house is on a private road clearly marked as private property.

“Today’s satellite image technology means that even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist,” says Google’s submission.

“In any event, the Plaintiffs live far away from the desert and are far from hermits.”

The couple are suing Google for US$25,000 in damages, saying that the value of their property has been damaged and say they have suffered “mental stress”.

This is not the first time Google’s Street View has got the company in to trouble. The EU is arguing that people’s faces should be blurred out of images displayed.

The Street View program aims to photograph every street in the world and place the photographs online. A team of specially converted cars with cameras mounted on the roof are in constant action around the world.

Google is taking a page out of George W Bush’s playbook by claiming that people shouldn’t expect privacy on their own property, and that we should just ‘trust’ Google to ‘do no evil’.

I say we run with their idea that privacy does not exist! Let’s throw a party on the front lawn of the Google founders! I am sure that they will agree that anything good for Google is good for us! This week Sergey’s place, next week at Larry’s. Who is game? Can someone create a meet-up, or a tribe, and post the info here as a comment?

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Gravatar – Fun while it lasts

I recently upgraded to WordPress 2.6, and I was playing with new themes today. One of the things I noticed in the currently active theme is avatar icons next to comment postings. Thinking that was fairly nifty, I went to the WordPress admin panel to set up my icon. No dice; there is no way to set it from there. OK, right-click on the avatar image and check out the URL. The URL points to a site I had never heard of:

The premise is nifty. Globally consistent avatar images anytime you post to a Gravatar enabled blog. The gravatar enabled blog generates an image src tag that uses a MD5 hash of the email address you supplied for the account or comment, so that it references your Gravatar image without exposing your email address.

Alas, unless they ‘go evil’ and start replacing people’s avatars with advertising icons, I’m just not sure they’ll be able to make enough money to keep afloat. Surely they are using the images served to track people’s web-related activities; but is that knowledge really worth serious cash?



!Cuil (geek speak for “not cool”)

Cuil is all the rage this week, with articles claiming it is bringing back the old days of tech startups. Cuil claims to have the largest database of indexed pages, which got Google’s hackles up. Personally, I’m not impressed. It’s not just that they don’t list my site when I search for Ghostwheel, but they also miss every single Zelazny fan site that talks about the second Amber series? I find it hard to believe that while “indexing a whopping 120 billion web pages” they didn’t find a single reference to Ghostwheel when Google has 39,700 references in their system. Pffffft! Epic fail for Cuil!


ghostwheel – Cuil

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