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Google Privacy Security IT Your Rights Online

35 Million Google Profiles Collected 151

Posted by timothy
from the are-you-feeling-lucky dept.
Orome1 writes "If you are one of those individuals that made their own Google Profile, chances are that you knew and agreed to the fact that the information you included in it will be available for anyone who searches for it online. But, maybe you haven't thought about the possibility of this information being harvested and indexed in order to make mining of it easier. Whether you have or not, it is ultimately irrelevant — you have shared the information with Google, and it does not forbid the indexing of the list."
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35 Million Google Profiles Collected

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  • Why wouldn't you? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sarahbau (692647) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:22PM (#36253822)

    Why wouldn't you think about the possibility of the information being harvested? That's a main part of Google's business model.

    • by adisakp (705706) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:39PM (#36254092) Journal
      If you're not paying for a service, then you are the product being sold.
      • or you're a thief.
      • by npsimons (32752) *

        If you're not paying for a service, then you are the product being sold.

        Wow. I wonder what Linus, RMS, ESR and DJB are doing with my personal information.

      • If you're not paying for a service, then you are the product being sold.

        You write that as though being a "product" somehow dehumanizes you, and yet at the same time you're creating a false sense of self-worth. Why is it a problem if I'm the "product"?

      • No, you are being sold either way, one way or another. Privacy policies and even laws be damned, it's the all-mighty dollar that ultimately wins out.
    • by doti (966971) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:41PM (#36254106) Homepage

      If I didn't want the data available to the world, I wouldn't put it there in the first place.

      Duh..

      • by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:57PM (#36254262) Homepage Journal

        This is my google profile:

        Introduction

        At first I was just two cells, one of which won an informal swimming competition. Then, a blastula. Then an embryo, a fetus, a baby, a really, really annoying child with a guitar, a totally out of control teenager with several guitars and amplifiers, a reformed young adult, an engineer, then finally, I matured into the sexual tyrannosaurus that I am today. Tomorrow, however, I may be senile, not to mention that whole sexual thing depending on drugs. Possibly there will be drugging to avoid depends, too. If you need more information, you're advised to ask me soon, before I forget entirely who I am. Wait, what was the question?

        Occupation

              Pondering

        Employment

                I ponder conundrums

        Previous employers

              Many

        Education

                University of Life
                Ph.D in Hard Knocks
                Masters of Reality
                Bachelors in Dating
                Associates in Matters of Degree
                Honorary "Get off my Lawn" with "Or I'll Shoot" cluster

        • by PNutts (199112)

          So much for getting a decent job.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I prefer to just put [PRIVATE] in every field, then people think I am some kind of uber hacker who can block access to his Facebook profile.

        • by siddesu (698447)

          Assuming this is your real profile on google, you just connected your slashdot account, your posting history and opinions to it. That, and your slashdot homepage and your blog (same as your slashdot ID) gives me quite enough to stalk you as I please, especially if I am a company who's in the business of indexing home pages and blogs.

          And so on.

      • by creat3d (1489345)

        If I didn't want the data available to the world, I wouldn't put it there in the first place.

        Duh..

        Also: If you don't want your real personal info available to the world, you never give your real info in the first place. If you're technically-savvy enough, you can alter your footprint considerably as well...

      • by Risen888 (306092)

        Do you want your search history available to the world? You put it there.

        • by doti (966971)

          Good point.

          If you want to hide something, just don't do anything online with it, even if you "trust" the other party.

          When I put anything online, even if configured to be seen only by my friends, or even only by myself, I am aware that it may breach to public access. That is the nature of digital data ("information wants to be free").

          The most important action that need to be taken in respect to information security and privacy is a campaign for people to be aware of that.

          • by Risen888 (306092)

            I can see your point, but that logic leads to "I can't use the internet ever again." You can't search, you can't follow links, you can't chat, you can't do nothin'. I do not find that solution acceptable. Do I have a compelling answer? No I do not. But we'd better find one.

    • And probably anyone can access it through OpenId (S/A/L), same for Facebook, Yahoo, and anyone who supports OpenId.

      "OpenID is rapidly gaining adoption on the web, with over one billion OpenID enabled user accounts and over 50,000 websites accepting OpenID for logins. Several large organizations either issue or accept OpenIDs, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Sears, Universal Music Group, France Telecom, Novell, Sun, Telecom Italia, and many more.

      Who Owns or Controls OpenID?

      OpenI

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Why wouldn't you think about the possibility of the information being harvested? That's a main part of Google's business model.

      Because: "Don't Be Evil"

      A lot of people (understandably) assume it means more than it really does.

      • Because: "Don't Be Evil" A lot of people (understandably) assume it means more than it really does.

        I like to think that Google is not directly responsible for the deaths of any kittens.
        I assume they probably have some internal policies about dos and don'ts, a few of which was spawned by a feeling of self-righteousness, and they probably obey these for the most part.
        And I'm under the impression that they treat their employees fairly well.

        Other than that, just another company, looking to profit.

  • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:24PM (#36253852)

    because i made sure my profile was complete with my address and everything since everyone on the internets is friends and cool

    • >> my profile was complete with my address

      Ernest Borgnine, you're at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Isn't that a pretty rough neighborhood?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Holy shit, dude! I just found out about this thing where the phone company (those evil fuckers) put your address in this large book with white pages. It even has your name and phone number too. How will we ever survive in this modern world where we have all these totally new privacy issues that have never come up before?
      • by creat3d (1489345)

        Holy shit, dude! I just found out about this thing where the phone company (those evil fuckers) put your address in this large book with white pages. It even has your name and phone number too. How will we ever survive in this modern world where we have all these totally new privacy issues that have never come up before?

        I'm not calling BS on this but do you have any proof of your claims? What's the name of the book?

        • by Unkyjar (1148699)

          We always just called it the BAB, a shortened acronym for Big Azz Book That Won't Fit On A Shelf.

        • by pnutjam (523990)
          I wish it was only one book, they leave 12 different editions on my porch every year.
      • by Risen888 (306092)

        You can opt out of that. Call the phone company. It's free.

    • because i made sure my profile was complete with my address and everything since everyone on the internets is friends and cool

      LoL, you just described the Facebook Friendlist phenomena.

  • Isn't it something we all agreed to: trade ease of use and functionality with a little bit of privacy loss?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Decide what the world sees when it searches for you.

    Create a public profile to display the information you care about and make it easy for visitors to get to know you.

    Seems pretty self-explanatory.

  • Petition (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kamiza Ikioi (893310)

    Let's get a petition together to get Google to put up a robots.txt on Google so that Google can't Google Google.

  • Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:33PM (#36254006)

    I'm glad no one started harvesting any of my Facebook Profile.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      MySpace was great, if your private information was leaked, you could just have the FBI take care of it for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These days, anyone who hasn't been living in a gave for the last 15 years knows that this kind of data is not private.

    The bigger issue for having no searchable online presence is stuff from the early days of the internet, like 1980-1985. Back then, everyone posted (to usenet - this was long before the web) with their real names. Furthermore, nobody had any idea that someday all that would be archived retroactively. At the time, posts were considered ephemeral - once they decayed off servers, they were th

  • by jarich (733129) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:35PM (#36254040) Homepage Journal
    We've allowed our bed to be made. Now will we continue to use services that require us to give up our privacy while we complain loudly at the loss of privacy? Come on everyone. Pick one.
  • They need a new compass the points to "evil" when they do stuff like this.

    Just because they can, doesn't mean they should!

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      No it's not evil. You made the profile in order to be found, they index the profile so you can be found. They told you about it beforehand, you knew about it beforehand.

      The service is advertised with Decide what the world sees when it searches for you. [google.com]

      Useless maybe, but not evil.

    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      How is this evil?

      (And Google does plenty of evil stuff. I'm pretty everyone considers that "Don't be evil" mantra a joke at this point.)

      Perhaps I'm missing something, but isn't this like knowing/agreeing to having your phone number in the phone book, and then finding out the phone book is indexed so people can easily find your phone number?

      If you don't want your phone number easily accessible, don't put it in the phone book. If you don't want your personal details easily searchable through Google, don't c

  • In a world where being anonymous is getting difficult these examples are something you expect. I am sure it's a bit too late to do anything but I think I should make everything private but I am sure Google has already cached my profile.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:39PM (#36254088) Journal

    What is the point of creating a Google Profile if not for it to be indexed such as someone else can find you and read about you in relevant queries?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Your profile is used when you post from gMail or on other Google services like Maps, Checkout, Shopping (reviews) and Sidewiki. Other sites that allow login via Google profile also use profile data for putting names on posts and the like. I think YouTube uses it too now.

      I think a lot of people assumed that the reason Google wanted this data was to provide these services, not to allow anyone to come along and mine it. For example when you post a review on Amazon as long as you didn't use your real name there

      • Um, we're talking about Google Profile [google.com], capital "P". You know, the place where the title page spells it out:

        Decide what the world sees when it searches for you.
        Create a public profile to display the information you care about and make it easy for visitors to get to know you.

        This is not the same as a Google account that you use to log into GMail/Maps/Checkout/...

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        No, IT IS NOT.

        This has nothing to do with Google Accounts. It is talking about Google Profiles. The incredible majority of people who have Google Accounts would not have Google Profiles set up because unless you go looking for it you won't even know what it is.

        www.google.com/profiles

        The whole point of setting up your Google profile IS SO THAT YOU WILL BE INDEXED BY GOOGLE - that is why this story is so ridiculous. This guy just downladed 30 million profiles and said "look, I indexed them!"

        Umm... what do you

  • by makubesu (1910402) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:40PM (#36254102)
    at all. I'm just waiting for the day when I sign up for some google social network, only to find that they already made my profile for me, full of all of my interests, contact information, relationships, and even pictures.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/google/google-opens-up-your-profile-to-search-engines/1158

    Google opens up your profile to search engines
    By Garett Rogers | October 15, 2008

  • by sanchom (1681398) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:48PM (#36254188)
    That's the point of a Google profile! To let people more easily find you. I would certainly hope that they allow indexing of this information.
    Why would you want a private profile? Like Creed from The Office, I can make a private profile with Microsoft Word.
  • Ahem. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @02:56PM (#36254254) Journal

    The Internet is not secure.

  • Anyone know of any alternatives that will let me sync my Android phone with all the information I do now? Calendar, phone book, installed applications, bookmarks, etc. It is really handy whenever I wipe my phone or get a new one, everything just magically transfers over. I was even able to cross devices when I switched from Symbian to Android, because I was using the Symbian Google syncing stuff.

    I hate that Google has all that information but it's just so damn handy. There is no reason why I couldn't ru

    • by jittles (1613415)
      I set up my own Zimbra server and it does all of that except for the apps. I decided long ago that I wasn't going to just hand any of these companies my entire address book.
  • You mean...data I choose to make public on Google is... PUBLIC ?!?!?!
  • by not entering a bunch of information in the first place. People need to read the terms of service, and think about what kind of information they put online.
  • So someone is complaining that information posted to something that is specifically designed to make the information public and searchable, on a website that is famous for it's incredible indexing and filtering capabilities, and the complaint is that the information is easy to get? Lets put something into sane terms ok.

    If information is claimed to be private (e-mails, your contacts, messages etc...) is compromised then it's a privacy violation
    Information that is announced to be public designed to be easy to

  • In 2003, Arlene Corpuz [gregerson.org] did a Google search for "microsoft word class handout". She found my website where I had teaching handouts I wrote. Arlene was in the Philippines, emailed me, and I provided the documents she wanted.

    She had a Geocities homepage in her signature. I read it, and we corresponded.

    In September of 2004, I landed in Manila. In June of 2005, Arlene and I were married in the USA. In March of 2008, our daughter, Athena Corpuz Gregerson was born.

    This was the advantage, for us, of sharing informa

  • My Google Profile consists of my name, e-mail address and an avatar of the "Awesome Smiley" for GChat. They can mine that all they want.

  • Why is this news?? You make a profile online, not for yourself, but for others... for public consumption. So... huh?
  • I allowed them to index my socks and underwear drawer, but not before I bought new underwear so's as to show off my spiffy skiveys. Now, no matter my mood, the right undies are no more than 0,.27 msecs away. And to think all that is even available now via my phone (or yours). Great googly moogly we have arrived.

  • How much is Facebook paying for slashdot stories? News flash: Public Profiles are . . . Public! Welcome to teh webz.
  • Does Zeljka Zorz make articles about the obvious?
    And if so, howmuch canyou earn?

    "Sun emits heat"
    "Images relay information"
    "Computers consume energy"
    "New agencies accept quantity of quality"
  • The whole purpose of creating a Google Profile is so that your profile will be included in Google's index.

    In fact the Google Profile mission statement says exactly that. The whole thing is geared around you wanting to be returned when people search for you.

    What a non story this is.

  • It turns out that if you intentionally and explicitly put information into a public database, it will then be available in a public database.

  • I still have a some of the free Google Profile business cards that Google gave away to promote this when it first came out. I thought it was a pretty cool way to control the information that appeared when someone googled you. And the reason why I thought that was because it was pretty much how Google sold it.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein

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