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Google Businesses Patents Privacy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Google Mobile-Payment Patent Raises Privacy Flags 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-open-a-lemonade-stand-without-privacy-concerns dept.
bizwriter writes "Google has been interested in the mobile payment business, with rumored service tests coming soon. Now the rumors have some more tangible back-up in the form of a patent application that not only describes a versatile payment system, but one in which Google would obtain details of purchasing that are normally unavailable." Reader Batblue points out a related article about how the temptation of 'big data' is leading businesses to draw us closer to a surveillance society.
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Google Mobile-Payment Patent Raises Privacy Flags

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  • by peragrin (659227) on Friday March 25, 2011 @11:47AM (#35612160)

    So it isn't Big brother that you need to watch out for but Uncle CEO.

    The worse part is your not even in the will.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      So it isn't Big brother that you need to watch out for but Uncle CEO.

      The worse part is your not even in the will.

      I'm still trying to reconcile this with "Do no evil."

      Google seem to be getting as close to doing evil as they can, without actually doing evil - like 0.99999 Evilons is just barely not 1 Evilon.

      • by bfree (113420)
        Big Brother can do no evil
      • by maxume (22995)

        Their catch phrase is a lot more ambiguous than that ("Don't be evil").

      • To give a really weird analogy, it's because Google is like a Pikachu, it can be level 99, but still not be a Raichu. It's need a thunderstone to evolve.

        The "thunderstone" in this case needs to some pretty specific condition, like a VERY obvious breach of trust, *combined* with a large scale public condemnation.

        (After all, even Nitrogen and Hydrogen will not form Ammonia until you provide high temperature AND high pressure.)

        But given that according at least one evaluator[1], Google is the world's *most* va

      • by geekoid (135745)

        What evil? some one says Google has a lot of data therefore may, some day, possible, do something people don't like with it... or not.

        Yeah, evil.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787)

          I think the gist of this was that Google is digging for data that isn't normally allowed for transactions. Google is in the business of mining data and profiting off of it. It becomes dangerous when they start expecting such concessions without people realizing the risks involved. I've become more hesitant to use their services over the last year due to stories like these. At some point they have to at least be making people nervous with the various online activities. they end up collecting information for

      • by ajs (35943)

        So it isn't Big brother that you need to watch out for but Uncle CEO.

        The worse part is your not even in the will.

        I'm still trying to reconcile this with "Do no evil."

        Rather than just throwing out "Google evil Big Brother 1984 OMGBBQWTF!?!!" why don't we read TFA:

        "rumors have some more tangible back-up in the form of a patent application ..."

        What this means is that Google has applied for a patent. Not surprisingly, their business strategy isn't strongly present in this application. That said, let's continue:

        Payment systems generally [receive] from the merchant the authorization request for the total payment. Customers are not directly involved.

        Under the system described in this filing, all information goes through the customer’s device to the broker, which now can keep a running tab of everything the person charges.

        This is all based on the assumption that the patent describes an exact 1:1 mapping to the business model that Google plans to employ, and it also assumes that Google is the broker, and it also assumes that transactional details as presented to th

    • However, Uncle CEO will give Big Brother the data at any time and will also expel from the Uncle CEO community any people that Big Brother doesn't like if Big Brother wishes so. So Big Brother will remain in charge.

  • Is it really a "surveillance society" if we as an individual like to have our personal data at our fingertips?

    I would love it if we could have things like receipts digitalized so that I can see my trends/habits. Also I hate paper receipts.

    Saying a voluntary mobile payment plan is turning us into a "surveillance society", feels like "surveillance" would mean trying to criminalize us which currently doesn't seem to be Google's goal.

    • I have no clue where your conclusions came from. Digitalized receipts? The point I got was Google's aim is intercepting more information in the typical transaction, which they will no doubt surrender to the government at the mildest accusation or repackage as customer profiling data for other merchants.

    • I currently view these YRO stories as pieces in a game, and games Like combos. Try the combo of this purchase system with Microsoft's neat new proposed law that anyone who purchases something which had a pirated copy of software anywhere in the supply chain can be sued. Or mate it with Microsoft's patent-applied "Database of Blackmail Details".

      And for the crew that hope that securing communications is enough, I'm pretty sure that the items are presented on unique trackable webpages, so your choice of any 12

  • Want greatest privacy? Use cash. Want to give up privacy for the convenience? Use mobile payment. And, if we know Google well enough, they'll most likely let you track your spendings in neat little infographics. Obviously if you don't want your wife to know you bought a Fleshlight then don't use a credit card. But for mundane payments like a burger at McD, why the he'll not?
    • by Seumas (6865)

      Good luck with that. Governments and corporations are working toward enforcing a cashless society with every passing year. There are places in meat-space where you can't even buy things with cash. There are places where buying big items in cash will get you investigated. Having large amount of cash (a few thousand) on your person can get you "reasonable suspicion" as a criminal.

    • Alas there is a tendency for real shops to stop supporting anything special. "But it online" is the answer to any question for a retailer nowadays. And if you buy it online, usually you will have to use some sort of electronic payment. In the Netherlands, this was taken up by banks by setting up "iDeal", which was sold to be convenient but was really introduced because the conditions transferred all the responsibilities to the buyer. So there you have it. Shops don't sell it, and on the net you're screwed.
    • Want greatest privacy? Use cash.

      There was an article on /. about a month or two ago that said some government was experimenting embedding RFID tags in bank notes. So much for cash transactions being private!

    • Great, pragmatic reasoning. Makes perfect sense. Let's also tie the ownership of cars to voting republican. If you still want to vote for the democrats, feel free not to buy a car. Nobody forces you to have a car. Also, books should only be distributed by Google, who will require you to sign into your Google account before obtaining a book. If you don't want to use Google, no problem---just don't read any books. Nobody forces you to read books.

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday March 25, 2011 @11:55AM (#35612284) Homepage Journal
    I hate to break it to everyone but the last time I ran an online store the Merchant Account processors required that I submit everything. The persons info, CC# ISV, list of items being purchased, etc. I was running a lab supply company and the Merchant Account processor would review my sales every month and cut off my ability to process CC's. Seems that Petri dishes, syringes, and beakers are considered "Drug Paraphernalia" and if they see them they cut you off. In a 1 year time I went through 4 Merchant providers and the only suggestion that was given was to shutdown the online site and publish catalogs and do mail order only as that processing does not require you to submit the items being purchased. Needless to say, I shutdown the company. I dont trust the CC processors (Merchant account processors) There needs to be something done about them.
    • Maybe you need to diversify -

      Anon-Admin Company DBA "Lab Supply Co" and "Kitchen Ware Inc"
      item catalog_a catalog_b
      0001 petridish saucer
      0002 syringe baster
      0003 beaker teacup
      etc...

      The CC processor shouldn't have any problem with stock item 0002, if they only see catalog_b, right?
    • There needs to be something done about them.

      Yes, demand legalization of "Drug Paraphernalia", and drugs, for that matter. If you don't, it will only get worse. Don't enable them.

      • by Cytotoxic (245301)

        I'm with you! I can't figure out how a shape can be illegal anyway. Tommy Chong got arrested for selling bongs, which are essentially blown glass vases with a stem in the bottom. How in the world a particular shape of glass tube can be illegal is beyond me.

        Same goes for shapes molded in latex. No clue in this world as to how you could rule a molded piece of rubber as obscene and therefore illegal.

        Nannies of every stripe need to get over themselves and let other people govern their own lives. If you are

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)

      Have tried Square [squareup.com]?

  • Repeat after me: (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Friday March 25, 2011 @12:14PM (#35612486)

    "A patent isn't a product."

    Patents have only one power. To prevent others from using what you patented. You don't have to do it. You might not want to. You might not be able to. So why file for a patent on something you'll never use?

    Strategy. If you figure out two good ways to make something, but one is slightly better than the other, you patent both. But you're not going to bother making something the less desirable way, you just don't want a competitor to either. Or maybe for moral reasons, you don't want anyone to do it (lobotomy ray gun, whatever).

    Or maybe you can't do what you patented for practical reasons. Patent interference, market conditions, the law (i.e. bald eagle killing machine).

    If and when Google actually implements the patent everyone is commenting on, then you can worry. Until then, a patent isn't a product. It's just an idea on a piece of paper.

    • by pclminion (145572)

      If and when Google actually implements the patent everyone is commenting on, then you can worry. Until then, a patent isn't a product. It's just an idea on a piece of paper.

      More than that, the patent is a piece of paper that PREVENTS other people from doing this. Patenting evil ideas is actually a pretty clever way of making sure those ideas are never implemented (not that I place all that much faith in Google).

  • The way I see it, the temptation of 'big data' is leading businesses to draw us closer to a transparent society. I, personally, would prefer to live in a world where every public official's voting record is on display, dating back to their first local government position, correlated with their publicly-voiced positions on the issues. I'd like to see insurance companies charge more to drivers who take their cars to neighbor Bubba's barn for repairs, and (by regulation, if necessary) charge less to people who

    • The way I see it, the temptation of 'big data' is leading businesses to draw us closer to a transparent society. I, personally, would prefer to live in a world where every public official's voting record is on display, dating back to their first local government position, correlated with their publicly-voiced positions on the issues.

      While it's not quite as comprehensive as what you suggest, see http://www.ontheissues.org/tx/ron_paul.htm [ontheissues.org]

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Why should I get charged more becaseu I go to a private non franchised mechanic? That's insane. What about repairing my own car?

      "If there's less chance of a company being screwed over by any random person, then there's less chance of a company screwing over any random customer, "
      That is counter to all evidence and history.

      Companies where screwing over people and employees well before they could be sued.
      I think half the problem in the country is people don't bother to understand the history behind why we do

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        Going to a private, non-franchised mechanic with no record of doing credible work means the insurance company's taking a bigger risk by insuring you. After all, that's the historical purpose of insurance companies: to mitigate financial risk by taking small payments from many people to cover the large cost incurred by a few. If you're contributing more to the total risk, you should contribute more to the pool as well. Right now, it's an imperfect system. There's no way for the insurance companies to know if

  • Don't spend energy fighting it that could otherwise go towards getting laws to protect us from abuse.

  • I'm sure your account will be disabled with no appeal or explanation after putting your first transaction through.

  • I have voluntarily provided my information to google in return for its services and I don't care what you guys think about it. The government takes our DNA at police stations, fingerprints and nude images at the airports (besides all data on paper), giving us nothing in return. I would be happy to have a mobile payment option provided by the same company I already deal with on a daily basis. If it doesn't work well, I'll try something else...

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