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Google to Delete Identifying Information in Its Logs

Google is going to start deleting any data that connects people to their search histories after 18-24 months in a move to increase user privacy. This should make showdowns with the government over releasing user data more cut and dry, as they can't release anything that they've deleted.

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Of course, one could ask why Google needs to hang on to identifying data for two years before deleting it — why not just delete it immediately? But hey, we'll take what we can get, and this is certainly a step in a good direction.

Official Google Blog [via Boing Boing]

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DISCUSSION

Elvisisdead:

The misspelled ramblings you were looking for are in your own post.

The correct word is "moot," not "mute."

The correct phrase is "too vigorously" and not "to vigorously," unless you were meaning to vigorously point out that anyone is capable of misspellings, intentional or not.

Ya'll heah whut ahm sayin'?

Other than the above considerations, your overall premise is absolutely correct; data redundancy is already a common, inherent property of our day-to-day society.

From the use of our SSNs (which were originally never intended to be used for ID purposes) to the specific-item coupons received at the supermarket based on our purchase history, the original junk (snail) mail which evolved into the ubiquitous spam all of us love to receive in our email along with targeted advertising methodologies. What we do on the Internet is a given amongst all of this.

The latest innovation will be how RFID technology pulls it all together in ways never imagined — forget about Google holding identifiable data for the government to peruse at will. RFID tags the size of pepper specks (and edible, I might add) are now a reality.

The ramifications for the potential use/abuse of this technology is scarier than anything which Google might happen to know about any one of us.

Some might see my words as a "foil hat" alert, but then the same thing could have been said about anyone pointing out the dangers of The Patriot Act before it was passed.

By now, I'm sure everyone knows how that little bit of fecal matter managed to transform into a handy excuse for anything the government wants to perpetrate upon the citizenry-at-large.

The government knows too well how people respond to mealy-mouthed wheedling with phrases such as, "help protect our children" and "fighting terrorists."

In my opinion, we can better protect our children by fighting the "terrorism" of our own government which has no business turning a facet of private enterprise into an ersatz KGB/CIA/STASI functional equivalent.

A very interesting research paper can be found here: http://www.rileyis.com/publications/r…

It covers most of the territory I've crudely mentioned above (and more) in regards to 9/11 and how the "fight against terrorism" is effecting the United States, Canada, and the UK.

A couple of prolapsed excerpts:

In the USA, a multitude of human rights and privacy groups have sent up warning flags about the massive amounts of personal information now being stored and linked in databases throughout many government agencies. This has led to warnings about serious privacy invasions and erosion of civil liberties. Another issue tagged by the media and privacy watchers has been the increasing numbers of programs that are turning citizens into "civilian" volunteer watchdogs for signs of terrorists.

[...]

Technological innovations are developing at a rapid pace. The security industry is very much working in tandem with governments to demonstrate that more technologies mean better protective mechanisms for their respective countries in terms of the risk of international terrorism.

[...]

the East German Secret Service, the STASI... held files on all citizens of East Germany and collected information from vast numbers of the population...Citizen spied on citizen, family members passed on information about their own families; professional colleagues, academics, and all manner of people in the government workplace or any institutions were recruited and coerced to pass on information on colleagues, friends, co-workers, bosses, to the East German secret police. Attempts were made to be able to collate personal information, no matter how trivial, on every single citizen.

Of course, there's always the moron who responds to such things with the classic, "If you're not doing anything wrong, then what are you afraid of?"

My answer that question: "people like you!"

=-=-=-=

End of bonafide rambling, (possible candidate for most saliva-laden knee-jerk) "comment" of the day. :P