Animation: How Google views user privacy

Mark from Screen Novelties sends us "This little animation we did for Google regarding user privacy. We happened to direct this at the same time the whole Snowden/NSA stuff went down last year. Google finally decided to release this to the public a few days ago. Just wanted to share. It's done in stop motion to give the feeling of the old school board games."

Way of a Warrant

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    hahaha, actually we just give them whatever they want" ~google.

  2. What a whitewash. To start with, a lot of the data is available not with a warrant but with just a subpoena: the user's login history (log in from IPX at time Y), and also correlation (who logged in from IP X at time Y). How do you think Petraus got nailed?

    It also neglects to note that Google collects a huge amount of information it doesn't have to collect or retain. E.g. a warrant could get someone's entire search history (gathered to better profile a user), and thanks to Google+, every page viewed with a +1 on it. If Google has a way to identify Doubleclick ID, this can then also be used to get every page viewed by the target that has a Doubleclick ad!

    Google doesn't care about user privacy, because lets face it, we the users are the product, not the customer, and the product being sold is information gathered about us to create advertisements.

    They only want you to think they care about privacy.

  3. But they don't insist. You can view youtube videos without logging in. When you've logged in they do nag you about providing other details, which I'll agree is annoying.

    You're reading what @agger_modspil is saying, but not listening. You are trying to redefine "insist" to only mean "require".

    No, they don't necessarily require you to give a real name and phone number for various services, but they sure as hell do repeatedly insist upon it.

    Google is badgerware. I use Mac, Windows, iOS and Android extensively in my work and Android (by far) is the most invasive. Even trying to use Google's apps feels like information rape by the time I'm done trying to get everything they shoehorn into a system out of my VMs and test devices.

    For example:

    Google makes a lot of interesting choices...

    Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android

    Now let's look at just one Google app of many:

    Try installing Google's Picasa photo gallery software on a computer and watch how on first launch they put up a dialog box (that you cannot close or cancel) that forces you to scan your computer for pictures.

    The only two "choices" in this mandatory dialog box is scanning your entire computer or just everything in your user folder. The ONLY way to stop this process is to force quit the application whether you are on Windows or Mac.

    It then happily goes about not only scanning everything and grabbing all your photos, but it also starts scanning all your photos for facial recognition (whether you want it to or not).

    It's only after Picasa goes about scanning all your shit (whether you wanted it to or not in the first place) that one can slowly dig through the settings to find a way to stop it.

    I'm thankful that I've only run Google Picasa in a Windows, etc. VM that I later destroyed.

    I prefer my Android tablets over the Apple iOS iPad for many reasons, but unlike my Mac running OS X on my laptop, every time I pick up my Android tablet I get the distinct feeling I'm being watched... closely by Google.

    Oh, I should also mention that Google Picasa makes you "agree" to an extremely long EULA before the app will even run. They also make it so it's not easy to copy and paste the EULA, nor save it, but was able to snag the text on a Mac:

    Some of the highlights of the EULA:

    1. Your relationship with Google

    Aw, how sweet, I've now entered into a "relationship" with Google by running an app.

    you may be required to provide information about yourself ...You agree that any registration information you give to Google will always be accurate, correct and up to date.

    I guess they need my real name in order for everything to be "accurate" and run smoothly in a photo gallery app.

    8.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content

    How quaint, they call spying "pre-screening".

    11.1 ... By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

    Google basically co-owns your photos now. Congrats.

    11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships

    Oh wait, Google and anyone else they like also co-owns your photos now. Stellar.

    11.3 You understand that Google .. may transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media ... You agree that this licence shall permit Google to take these actions.

    That's fine, but what if I don't want Google to transmit my images to anyone else or secretly to their servers or the NSA? I just want to use a private photo gallery for my photos on my computer. Oh, well...

    11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above licence.

    This seems to give Google all the permission it needs to grab all my photos and facial recognition data without my knowledge before I was able to stop the process after installation. Actually, they can probably take the photos anyway from the entire hard drive if they want to, really.

    17.1 Some of the Services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions. These advertisements may be targeted to the content of information stored on the Services, queries made through the Services or other information.

    17.2 The manner, mode and extent of advertising by Google on the Services are subject to change without specific notice to you.

    So random advertisers get to look at my photos too? And, the extent of their access to my photos and perhaps data can increase without my knowledge, maybe in a software update? Great.

    Such a great photo gallery app, it is.

    Oh, and they install a Picasa plugin into your browser without your knowledge as well just for launching the app. Also, go look in your launchagents as well for more crap they smuggle into your computer without your knowledge. Then check Windows for more, etc.....

    Google is evil.

  4. Nobody HAS to use Google or Picasa or Gmail...

    What's your point?

    Gmail can affect you even if you don't use it. If you exchange email with others who uses Gmail, your privacy is invaded by proxy. There's even been class-action lawsuits over this from non-Gmail users who consider this wiretapping.

    If we ignore the issues, then less people know about them and make less informed decisions about their choices (or lack thereof). Also, please consider that Google has become so large as to practically become a utility when it comes to search. Businesses that don't play ball with Google can suffer consequences and when Google uses its monopolistic, anti-competitive might to hinder other players, that affects consumer choice, speech and privacy choices as well.

    Also, since Google isn't upfront about privacy invasions or tries to hide some of them in lengthy EULA's and legalese, (or within their proprietary code itself) much of the public isn't going to be aware of the risks when they use products like Picasa. Also, even if you don't use Picasa, someone else with a photo of you may very well put your photo into their app and, once again, privacy is invaded by proxy.

    Are you not aware of the things Google does to subvert privacy without the user's knowledge? Please educate yourself:

    Google bypassed privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to use cookies to track users:


    Did Google trick Apple's Safari into tracking users?

    Google to pay $22.5 million fine over Safari privacy violations

    "Free market" solutions are a neo-libertarian myth that ignores greater, complicated externalities that affects far more people than you're accounting for.

  5. That's nice, you're a true champion of freedom and I'm a horrible apologist for unbridled capitalism.


    Going this route with @wysinwyg really doesn't bolster your arguments very well. wink

    The bottom line is that users have a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you use google or its services

    That's not the bottom line for most people except you. More...

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