Google is currently being attacked for privacy concerns due to the issue of gathering information to be used in their products. If anyone has been using Google maps in countries like the USA, you would notice that there is a “street view” option. This allows you to view in a 360 degree angle the area that you have searched. You are able to see a panoramic street view photograph of the area, allowing you to familiarize yourself with a location or route before you even visit it, a very useful tool for anyone planning to travel. I for one would love to have this for other countries as well. The recent attack, though, may just prevent this from ever happening.
During the time when Google Maps has scoured the streets to gather street view material, they have also gathered some public information from unprotected Wi-Fi access points that they have passed by during that long drive. This has been tagged by Australian Senator Stephen Conroy as the ‘single greatest privacy breech’ in the history of privacy. This has later on been flagged as point of attack in a case against Google in Europe, which may further boil down in other countries. They want Google to stop doing what they were built to do; to stop gathering information.
Yet, many people now cry “privacy”. If you want privacy, secure yourself. Don’t go on the internet. It is quite funny when people cry that they have been stalked, or they have been searched using Google after they publicly posted about their daily antics on the web using blogs, social networks and forums. People purposely share information to the public, then cry when the public sees it. Looking at it that way, you have caused your own problems. It’s Google’s job to prowl the net for public content and allow that content to be found using their search engine. Face it, there has come a time when you have used Google to find these publicly available content for your own purposes. They wouldn’t have been able to provide you that information if they did not prowl the web for you. Convenience like maps and street view can come at a cost of having to gather that information first before they can show it to you.
There are plenty of ways to secure the information that you don’t want other people to see or have. One way is to use secure transfers and locked access points. Put a password on those files. Everyone goes through the trouble of locking their house, their safe, and their drawers. People would lock their bags and seal envelopes when being shipped and delivered. Treat your information online as these day-to-day things. If you can go through the trouble of protecting your property, then surely you can extend that effort in you cyber properties as well. Privacy and security is everyone’s job and responsibility.