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Jaiku Bought By Google, Some Fear Privacy Issues 85

Platonic writes "According to the New York Times, Google's recent purchase of Jaiku, a little-known micro-blog service (think Twitter) might raise privacy concerns due to the automated nature of the web site's services. From the article: "The deal, announced this month, has much of the tech-tracking blogosphere abuzz. Some claim it is the harbinger of a new, truly interconnected world, where a chunk of our existence will migrate online ... Chris Messina, an open-source entrepreneur and founder of the consulting firm Citizen Agency, takes it a step further. In a blog post after the Jaiku deal was announced, he said that he envisioned a world where all information had migrated online, where the address book "lives in Googleland,"'"
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Jaiku Bought By Google, Some Fear Privacy Issues

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  • Jaiku (Score:2, Funny)

    by jcicora ( 949398 )
    I can see the point of people concerned about privacy. However, I think the kind of service discussed in the article, a sort of address book 2.0, sounds pretty cool. Its something I would probably go for if I had a life. And as for the privacy deal, there's nothing forcing people to use this kind of service.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And as for the privacy deal, there's nothing forcing people to use this kind of service.

      If 90% of the people in the world are constantly updating the site with where they are and who they're with, the site will almost always have your location whether you sign up for it or not.

      If 90% of the people in the world are a part of the service that degrades their privacy, the reasonable expectation of privacy gets lowered, and people start thinking that you have something to hide. It's an idiosyncrasy until it's a cop that gets that suspicion.

      On the other hand, if 90% of the people in this wor

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It seems like every action Google takes raises privacy concerns.

      Google is an information company. They do stuff with information. There will *always* be privacy concerns. I don't think that makes Google evil.

      Though, as far as I am concerned, Google became evil the day they turned down my employment application.

  • I can see it now... I need that address I saved to google to send that document to that important client but- uh-oh! 404! I love the internet! I'm so glad I migrated all of my personal information to Google!
    • I don't think Google is capable of giving a 404 anymore, short of Global Thermonuclear War (TM). Of course, when Global Thermonuclear War breaks out, that's when you need your address book the most, but good luck with your phone working then, either.
        • I know there were some DDOS attacks that brought down Yahoo, but has Google ever been successfully attacked like that? The only time I've ever heard of Google having any sort of problems with malicious users was their insecure javascript running gmail, and that's been fixed.
          • Not yet, but as the internet gets more advanced in security, so do the attackers. Forget the DDOS of Google scenario for a second... how about just a DDOS of your own local ISP or, even simpler, no telephone service for a few days. We already rely on the internet a lot... imagine having to rely on it totally for all of your information when so many things could prevent access.
            • by Chyeld ( 713439 )
              That's what "Google Gears []" is for. In otherwords, the only time you should have a problem is if you are not only being DDOS'ed, but on a completely new machine that's never hooked up with your service before.
      • by MrDoh1 ( 906953 )
        You obviously don't use GMail.
        • I use gmail for all my email. It has never been down as long as I can remember.
          • by MrDoh1 ( 906953 )
            "I use gmail for all my email."

            I do to, and all I can say is you've been very lucky. I've had 6 or 8 GMail outages, some for 30 mins, some for a few hours. Not in the distant past either. The most recent outage for me and my accounts (or, probably the server my account was on) was about 3 months ago.

            Go search Google Groups. You will see lots of people that get random messages from GMail saying it's down. There's some people in those groups where GMail has been down for days at a time.

            For you, GMail won
    • To be fair, that's one of the nice things about google. They've been pretty good about moving applications they've bought out into gdata, with the offline backup that suggests. Not to mention gears.
  • If Google bought my company I'd tell everyone to migrate their whole lives to Google, too.
  • by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:04PM (#21087319) Homepage
    More space for me. On a more serious note, don't put things online if you don't want the world to know. Better yet, assume everything transfered via the internet is world readable (444)
    • Truer words haven't been spoken (nor written) about the internet. After all, the company you trust today may wind up in the hands of Google tomorrow...
    • by tppublic ( 899574 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @02:06PM (#21088363)
      "don't put things online if you don't want the world to know"

      My concern has rarely been what I put online. It's what others put online about me that I can't control or remove.

      • My concern has rarely been what I put online. It's what others put online about me that I can't control or remove.
        So true, so true. It mattered little that I guarded my (work) email address like a paranoid, when a "trusted" friend of mine sent a stupid joke email to me. And 70 other people. From Hotmail. (Oh, and our corp spam filter sucks, naturally.)

        *takes off hat and takes a moment of silence, for privacy lost by the carelessness of others*
    • by LordP ( 96602 )
      And in the case of Wikipedia, writable (666)
  • It's a little late to start taking privacy issues with Google...
    • Why do you say that? Google still requires participation from the users or else they'd shrivel up and die. If everyone stopped searching with Google, a large portion of their revenue would disappear instantly. If everyone disabled or white-listed javascript, then Google would lose the foothold in third party sites too. It's the nature of the internet that you can do whatever you wish, and you get to determine what happens in your browser. People use Google because they trust them, and if that trust disappea
  • From TFA: "This kind of information paints a picture of what a person is thinking or doing." ... "In practical terms, Jaiku's mobile application allows users to broadcast not only their whereabouts, but how the phone is being used, even what kind of music it is playing. ... "

    It has leaked that there are plans to make the use of the service mandatory for US-inhabitants.

  • Blogosphere (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theantipop ( 803016 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:10PM (#21087419)
    Is there a way I can block all stories involving usage of the word blogosphere? I've accepted blog as the hip way to say webpage, but blogosphere takes it a step too far.

    What's next, newspapers are papticles and the news industry becomes the infoknot.?
    • by zdzichu ( 100333 )
      Remember, that sphere is geometrical object which is hollow. So everyone proudly claiming he is part of blogosphere is empty inside.
  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:11PM (#21087433)
    For those who were as baffled as I at first FTA:

    Petteri Koponen, one of the two founders of Jaiku, described the service as a "holistic view of a person's life," rather than just short posts. "We extract a lot of information automatically, especially from mobile phones," Mr. Koponen said from Mountain View, Calif., where the company is being integrated into Google. "This kind of information paints a picture of what a person is thinking or doing."

    So this tool automatically gathers little scraps of information about a user and draws lines between what it thinks are logical connections (like any good tinfoil hat aficionado might do in a dank basement) into some sort of tag cloud for that user. Ostensibly the use is used by applications as a sort of "stuff about you" repository, so maybe in one application you set your default home address as something when you go to use an application that requires your home address it could dip into that repository and insert it for you.

    The pro: It's like having an assistant
    The con: It's like having an assistant who works for the FBI
  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:12PM (#21087453)
    _________ (random company)bought by Google, ____________ (some random blogger) fears _______________ (some wild ass speculation).
    • by jcicora ( 949398 )
      I wanna play! Microsoft (random company)bought by Google, tinfoiljoe(some random blogger) fears Armaggeddon (some wild ass speculation).
  • See Google reliance on Mozilla []. They're using open source software and net standards as a way of warring against Microsoft, Sun and Apple. Soon they will own just about anything, so we the consumers should make a decision now about how much of our data we want Google to be able to correlate from the many different sources (search, blogs, micro-blogs, cloud OS, chat) it has at its disposal, and can reveal to law enforcement agencies.
    • That decision is actually fairly easy to do. Just don't put it online. If you don't want people to know about it, don't make it publicly accessible.
    • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

      All of it?

      Phew, that was easy.

      Seriously though, omnipotance is only scary when it's one way. If the government knows everything about me, but I also know everything about them, I really don't need to fear them.

      90% of the things people are worried over the world finding out about them are things that 90% of the world shares in common with them. And the remaining 10% of the things people are worried over others knowing about them are easily overlooked when you know the 10% of everyone else as well.
  • Weak article. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes ( 861706 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:14PM (#21087509) Journal
    I usually avoid commenting on how bad an article is, but TFA was frustratingly fluffy. I had to read halfway through before even having a vague idea what the company in question actually does. To save others the trouble, allow me to condense the article down into only the meaningful sentences:

    Google [acquired] Jaiku, a small Finnish start-up active in the obscure field of microblogging ... Petteri Koponen, one of the two founders of Jaiku, [said] "We extract ... information automatically, especially from mobile phones" ... In practical terms, Jaiku's mobile application allows users to broadcast not only their whereabouts, but how the phone is being used, even what kind of music it is playing. ... a live diary, constantly updated so that we can see, on our cellphones, where our contacts are and what they are doing.
    And the worry is, apparently, that this kind of live updating information (via mobile devices) will be an invasion of privacy. Of course it will be. But, people will learn what intrusions they are willing to tolerate, and take it from there. Take Facebook as an example: many people put all kinds of personal details on their profile. Others set their privacy settings quite high, so only their closest friends can see anything. Others don't use Facebook at all. At the end of the day, users will simply activate features to the extent that they find them useful. A close-knit group of friends might quite enjoy keeping track of each other so that they can meet up at a concert. Privacy-conscious people will disable all those features, of course. Most people will learn enough about the interface to activate/deactivate these features as desired.

    I understand the danger of having a single company (Google in this case) having easy access to comprehensive data about your life (location, email records, search habits, etc.). And I firmly believe that people need to educate themselves about the dangers of releasing too much personal information. But I fail to see how this recent Google acquisition is cause for great concern. Mobile devices are increasingly useful. So are social networking tools. Merging the two is an obvious next step, and a step that Google is taking.
    • I had to read halfway through before even having a vague idea what the company in question actually does.
      With 2.0, you don't do! You just are.

    • Jaiku - because YAWN (Yet Another Wiki Network) was already taken.
    • by Rexdude ( 747457 )
      I've used Jaiku []. It's like a combination of Twitter [] and an aggregated feed publisher. You can register all your 'places' on the net, and it publishes a consolidated RSS feed about your activities. For example, you can add your [] bookmarks, your Flickr photo stream, your [] 'recently played' music, or any other feed (say from your blog), and any updates to any of these are published as one combined feed. You can add other Jaiku users as friends and view similar updates from them.
      They provide
  • 1. Google buys some somethin' or other. 2. OMG!!! It threatens your privacy. 3. ??? 4. Profit!
  • Jaiku haiku (Score:3, Funny)

    by benhocking ( 724439 ) <[benjaminhocking] [at] []> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:36PM (#21087835) Homepage Journal
    Jaiku, blogger site Once alone, now of Google Privacy, evil
  • by mmurphy000 ( 556983 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @01:38PM (#21087869)

    Here is Chris Messina's blog entry [] on his inclusion in the NY Times piece.

    In a nutshell, he doesn't like the NY Times' headline.

    So, to put it simply, there are no "new" privacy issues raised by Google's acquisition of Jaiku; it's simply the same old ones over and over again that we seem unable to deal with in any kind of open dialogue in the mainstream press.
  • Remember the uproar from the PIII chip serial numbers? How about the GPS tracking enabled in phones? We didn't even know what they had planned but the fact they existed and could potentially be used to track us was enough to foster consumer action that eventually made it possible to at least disable them. Granted in those cases the fact we had no way of disabling it was an important aspect but my point is that we had issue with it in principle. Unfortunately over the years I've noticed a decrease in hea
    • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for saying this.

      I know the Apple fanboys and Gmail Sheep don't want to hear it but it needs to be said. Just because a company's motto is "Do no evil" doesn't mean it's living up to it. Just because it may be the best/dominant search engine right now doesn't mean you should use it. Frankly, Google having a monopoly on internet searches is a little frightening. It's like having only one company that controls the TV, only one that controls newspapers, or one that controls radio
    • by caller9 ( 764851 )
      Isn't it obvious why they need all this info? They're breeding the AI that causes the singularity.

      I think I'm joking, but I probably have overly healthy paranoia.
  • The idea of Google or Facebook pulling data from my mobile phone and adding it to some on-line profile seems a bit much, although really it's a small and logical step from what places like Facebook do already.

    If anyone can pull this off it will be Google precisely because despite some bad press the vast majority of people outside of Slashdot still trust the company to "do no evil."

    As we move from Web 2.0 to Web 3.whatever, companies will increasingly need to be able ensure that user data is both respe
  • even without concerns for misuse, it's a question of informed consent && a free market for the value of your personal data. Google's self-proclaimed goal of collecting all the world's information is possibly monopolostic and in its economic interest to reduce the percieved value of that information to you.

    For example, in exchange for datamining your search and placing highly valuable tagetted ads, Google et. al. gives you free websearch. People get this, and agree to it-- but its probably not so muc
  • I have to admit, I am getting a little sick of Google purchasing Web 2.0 sites and closing them to new users. I was literally on my way to register when I found out that Jaiku had gone the way of GrandCentral...
  • Oh well, guess everyone will dump Jaiku. I know I have....It's all about Pownce for me now. Hate on Kevin Rose all you want, his take on micro-blogging is MUCH better than Twitter and Jaiku.
  • Actually, Google bought two mobility sites: Jaiku and Zingku [], not just one.

    This may be in anticipation of the launch of the gPhone, rumored to be launched end of this year.
  • Like farts in the wind
    Your data floats free from you
    Your porn's now public

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