Sen. Rand Paul gives passionate speech against the Patriot Act: “We shouldn’t allow the government to troll, willy nilly, through millions of records”.
In response to a “scurrilous accusation” by Harry Reid on his opposition to the Patriot Act and reiterated his defense of the Bill of Rights and the American people’s privacy. Senator Rand Paul is continuing his efforts to hold Harry Reid accountable to his February promise to allow a full week of debate and open amendments on extending the Patriot Act. In defiance of Senate orders, Sen. Paul brought up three amendments and asked for unanimous consent to allow a discussion and a vote on them. Sen. Reid then personally objected to protecting gun-owners’ rights and shut the attempt down.
An article in the Washington Times is by Scott Cleland who wrote the book, Search and Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.
Google Inc.’s “Don’t Be Evil” slogan is seductive but misleading. It is the lowest business ethics standard ever devised, excusing everything Google does short of evil. Google isn’t evil – but neither is it ethical.
While perceptions of the world’s erstwhile No. 1 brand remain exceptionally strong, Google’s ethical blind spots regarding privacy and property rights are beginning to erode the public’s trust and eventually could threaten the company’s market domination. Anyone who follows Google closely knows that the company is a serial scandal machine. One of the world’s most powerful companies, with its vainglorious mission to “organize the world’s information,” has proved itself to be unethical, shockingly political and untrustworthy.
Cleland gives some examples of how Google has violated privacy rights:
Google’s privacy record is shameful. In 2004, Google sparked a privacy outcry by scanning Gmail users’ private emails for advertising keywords. The next year, Google Earth put sites, including the White House’s roof and a Trident submarine base, on public display; a leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terrorist group said he was thrilled. In 2006, Google refused to comply with a California privacy law. Two years later, Street View exposed people’s homes and license plates to anyone who cared to look; a member of the British Parliament described the service as “invading our privacy on an industrial scale.” In 2009, Google began tracking the books people searched (via Google Books) and visitors to WhiteHouse.gov. Last year, Google Buzz exposed users’ private email lists to the public while Google’s Street View cars were caught eavesdropping on millions of users’ wireless networks. No wonder Privacy International cited Google for its “entrenched hostility to privacy.” But it’s easy to understand why Google has no respect for privacy. Just consider Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s own words: “If you have something you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.”
From the WSJ:
Apple, meanwhile, says it “intermittently” collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours, according to a letter the company sent to U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) last year. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Google and Apple developments follow the Journal’s findings last year that some of the most popular smartphone apps use location data and other personal information even more aggressively than this—in some cases sharing it with third-party companies without the user’s consent or knowledge.
Apple this week separately has come under fire after researchers found that iPhones store unencrypted databases containing location information sometimes stretching back several months.
Google and Apple, the No. 1 and No.3 U.S. smartphone platforms respectively according to comScore Inc., previously have disclosed that they use location data, in part, to build giant databases of Internet WI-Fi hotspots. That data can be used to pinpoint the location of people using Wi-Fi connections.
Cellphones have many reasons to collect location information, which helps provide useful services like local-business lookups and social-networking features. Some location data can also help cellphone networks more efficiently route calls.
UPDATE: GPS in cameras and phones are also a problem, even for the tech savvy host of Mythbusters who accidentally revealed his home address after posting a picture of his Jeep on TwitPic: