Friday, February 10, 2006

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Google's Newest Search Tool Raises Privacy Concerns (RedOrbit)

“Google Inc. (GOOG) is offering a new tool that will automatically transfer information from one personal computer to another, but anyone wanting that convenience must authorize the Internet search leader to store the material for up to 30 days.

"We think this will be a very useful tool, but you will have to give up some of your privacy," said Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience. "For many of us, that trade off will make a lot of sense."


Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation (Electronic Frontier Foundation - EEF)

“Google today announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers.

EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants—your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever—could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files."
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