Mar 312011
 March 31, 2011  Posted by  Online, Surveillance

Nick Greene writes:

​26-year-old Yiannis Kakavas has invented Creepy, an application that he describes as a “geolocation information aggregator,” reports. What that means: Type in someone’s Flickr or Twitter account into Creepy, and it will cultivate all the information available from the user’s photos or tweets and draws a map of their locations at the time of posting. If you feel that this is an invasion of privacy, keep in mind that all the information used is already public. Scary, huh?

Read more on Village Voice.

Update:  Link to ThinQ removed after it was bought out by an unrelated firm that now redirects to advertising.

Mar 312011
 March 31, 2011  Posted by  Laws, Online

Mark Arsenault reports:

US Senator John Kerry misspoke yesterday in saying that the Internet giant Google was on-board with the senator’s efforts to craft an Internet privacy bill, his office said this morning.

The Massachusetts Democrat has discussed the bill with Google officials but those talks are still ongoing, according to Kerry’s office.


Mar 312011
 March 31, 2011  Posted by  Business, Surveillance

Yesterday it was a report about Samsung causing a privacy scare. Today it’s a story about Google.

While I was working, it seems that CNN published a story claiming that Google was developing an application that would do facial recognition and provide corresponding contact information. The CNN story, by Mark Milian, quoted Google’s Hartmut Neven, engineering director for image-recognition development for Google for some of its statements.

Google reacted strongly. In a statement to Android Community, they wrote:

We are NOT “introducing a mobile application” (as the CNN piece claims) and as we’ve said for over a year, we would NOT add face recognition to any app like Goggles unless there was a strong privacy model in place. A number of items “reported” in the story, such as a potential app connecting phone numbers, email addresses and other information with a person’s face, are purely speculative and are inventions of the reporter.

CNN does not seem to have updated its story to reflect Google’s response.

So let’s see: if I just work longer hours each day, can I miss having to post a story and then its refutation or correction?

Update: Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land provides the next round:

Here’s where it gets strange and interesting. I just got a statement from CNN saying that Google that was full of it:

Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged – on the record – and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting.

Recorded interview. On the record. Google PR person in the room.

Clearly the technology exists; Google’s not denying that. The question is whether the app or update to Goggles is about to be released.

He said/she said: where’s the truth? I guess we’ll find out if Google does release such a capability in the near future.

h/t, @PrivacyMemes

Mar 312011
 March 31, 2011  Posted by  Business, Online

Mathew J. Schwartz reports:

Are people being hurt when their browsing habits and personal details are collected by online advertising groups?

Privacy rights organizations say yes, that people’s sensitive information shouldn’t be left in the hands of businesses that benefit from buying and selling it. Online advertising and financial services groups, however, argue that tracking is essential for delivering more relevant advertising, and of course it’s the uptake of this advertising that keeps the lights on at many a Web site.

Read more on InformationWeek.