Conroy transcript shows depth of attack on Google ‘hypocrites’ and ‘rogue’ Facebook

The extent of media minister Stephen Conroy’s wide-ranging attack on Google and Facebook today emerged with the publication of Hansard transcripts of his comments at Monday night’s Senate Estimates Committee hearing.

As previously reported, Conroy attacked Google and Facebook for privacy breaches.  

But what is clear from today’s transcript is that the attack was lengthy and pre-prepared, rather than off-the-cuff remarks.

Asked by Senator Mary Fisher about Google’s “somehow” collecting wi-fi data with its Streetview vehicles, Conroy responded:

I do not think it was ‘somehow’; I think they set out to collect it.

I note that the German minister has referred it to the criminal authorities for illegal data collection.

This has been worldwide. Google takes the view that they can do anything they want— they do not evil to themselves. I do have a little bit of information. You actually cut into an answer I was hoping to give, but I will take you through the information that I have. It is possible that this has been the largest privacy breach in history across Western democracies. After being caught out by European privacy commissioners, Google has admitted that their Streetview cars—the ones that drive down your street and photograph your house without your permission so that they can make it available worldwide for use in their Streetview product—has also been collecting information from people using wi-fi connections; that is, your personal data, including, potentially, emails.

Ten privacy commissioners around the world recently wrote to Google about their concerns. Many privacy commissioners, including Australia’s, are investigating Google for data breaches. Google have admitted to doing this and claim it was a mistake in the software code, meaning that it was actually quite deliberate; the code was collecting it.

The computer program that collects it was designed to collect this information.

Senator Fisher: “Are you disputing Google’s claim that it was inadvertent?”

Senator Conroy: “Yes. I am saying that they wrote a piece of code designed to do it.

It is interesting to note that this claim that it was a mistake came only after the data protection authority in Germany asked to audit Google’s data. They continually say publicly, ‘Trust us.’ This comes on top of recent controversies relating to the Google Buzz product, which made public the details of the people users most emailed and chatted with on their social networking site.

I can fully explain the policies being adopted by a company like Google. In December 2009 their CEO, Eric Schmidt, told CNBC, ‘If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.’

At the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona in February the same CEO falsely denied any privacy breach with Buzz. He stated, ‘People thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information, which was not true’, when it was true. He said, ‘It was our fault that we did not communicate that fact very well, but the important thing is that no really bad stuff happens in the sense that nobody’s personal information was disclosed.’ I repeat that it was. Google Buzz exposed one user’s location to her abusive ex-partner, and it was only after worldwide condemnation of Google that they actually apologised.

People should not mistake the approach being taken by Google on a range of issues around the world.

Senator Fisher: “Obviously there is little love lost between you and Google.”

Senator Conroy: “No, it is fair to say I am just chronicling the activities of Google worldwide. I have not finished yet. At an Abu Dhabi media summit in March 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, ‘Google sees itself really differently from other companies, because we see ourselves as a company with a mission about information and not a mission about revenue or profits.’ Yet at the third quarter earning call for Google on 15 October 2009, Eric Schmidt told Wall Street analysts on the phone hook-up, ‘We love cash.’

Schmidt made the statement about how they were not really doing these things and the abusive ex-partner got someone’s address. Schmidt said that after a civil liberties group had already issued a warning about Buzz’s serious problems with private information and after Google’s own spokesman, Todd Jackson, had said, ‘Google was very, very sorry for getting millions of users rightfully upset.’ Google were also questioned at the Abu Dhabi media summit. Mr Schmidt was asked about the company’s worrisome stash of private data on its users: ‘All this information that you have about us, does that scare anyone in the room?’

The response from Mr Schmidt was: ‘Would you prefer someone else? Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?’ Frankly, I think the approach taken by Mr Schmidt is a bit creepy.

This is a company that says ‘do no evil’, but tries to pretend that it is not motivated by profit and that it knows best and ‘you can trust us’ when it comes to privacy. Unfortunately there are no safeguards. You are dealing with company policy. There are more issues that I will come to when we get to YouTube later. When it comes to their attitude to their own censorship, their response is simply, ‘Trust us.’ They state on the website, ‘Trust us.’

They consider themselves to be above government. They consider that they are the appropriate people to make the decisions about people’s privacy data, that they are perfectly entitled to drive the streets and collect private information by photographing over fences and collecting data/information. This is probably the single greatest breach in history of privacy. That is why so many governments around the world have reacted in the way they have to a company like Google.

We will see what the Privacy Commissioner has to say, but we will be watching it very closely.

Senator Fisher: “If the Privacy Commissioner concludes that, for example, there is no breach of privacy issues, what would you do then?

Senator Conroy—If there is no breach of privacy issues, there is nothing we can do. We will have conversations.”

Senator Scott Ludlam: “You just went on a 10-minute tirade of corporate character assassination…”

Conroy: “No. I find it intriguing that you would describe pointing to their actual activities, actual public statements by their leading company officials, as character assassination. I described their own words and their own actions. If you view that as character assassination, I would say I think it is self-assassination.”

The committee then turned to discussions of Conrouy’s proposed Inernet filter and asked about the cotnent policies of YouTube, which is owned by Google

Conroy: “Google remove content all the time. I would invite you to go to the terms of use for YouTube, where the headline reads ‘Community Guidelines’. It says that they review videos flagged as

inappropriate and goes on to say: When a video gets flagged as inappropriate, we review the video to determine whether it violates our Terms of Use … If we remove your video after reviewing it, you can assume that we removed it purposefully … They go on to say: … try to see it from our perspective. Here are some of the rules that they give you:

  • YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content …
  • Don’t post videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug or substance abuse, or bomb making.
  • Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed …
  • YouTube is not a shock site. Don’t post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies and similar things.

They say ‘we don’t permit hate speech’ and go on: There is zero tolerance for predatory behaviour, stalking, threats, harassment, invading privacy. And there is a range of other conditions as well.

These guidelines do raise some interesting questions. Who makes the decisions about those issues? We do not know—I have not been able to get any extra information on that.

There is no independent board that is representative of the community making the decisions against the legislative criteria. Are the criteria narrower than what the government is proposing for mandatory filtering? No, they are actually much, much broader, which may surprise you, given Google’s campaign at the moment. They include X18+ and R18+ content as well as RC content. How do we know what they have blocked? We do not. Whilst Google says it reports content that is removed from its search engine results to the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, with regard to YouTube content it says:

If we remove your video after reviewing it, you can assume that we removed it purposefully— that is, ‘trust us’. They just say, ‘Trust us; we know what we’re doing; we’ve removed it.’ There is no avenue for appeal or discussion.

How do you know that they have not blocked other things? You do not. There is no appeals mechanism and there are no transparency measures. Google certainly does not publish a list of content that has been blocked as they argue the government should. How do we know Google will not ban other things in the future? We do not. Google says: ‘Our policies are always evolving; decisions to allow, restrict or remove content from our services and products often require judgement calls.’

There is no commitment to prevent scope creep in the future and no legislative mechanism to underpin any future change. Contrast that with the National Classification Scheme, which the government’s filtering policy is based on, which requires the agreement of all state and territory attorneys-general as well as the Commonwealth Attorney-General and the passing of legislation by the Australian parliament. I would probably back the Australian parliament over these mysterious individuals who engage in this process at Google.

A funny instance came up just this month that you may have a chuckle at. Google was accused of, for example, double standards after it decided to censor the placement of ads for an adult dating site. Googlerefused to serve the company’s ads into third party websites. It was called Cougar Life. This is a real story. They deemed the ads for Cougar Life as unsafe for family audiences.

Google have also admitted to censoring political material in Thailand where content is critical of the Thai royal family. It blocks pro-Nazi propaganda in Germany. It removes content that criticises the Turkish founder. I did see, although I have not confirmed this, a reference on Q&A recently which suggested they block material in India also.

Sometimes, unfortunately, it does not block things that perhaps it should, as was demonstrated recently when a Milan court convicted three Google executives for violating the privacy of an Italian boy with Down syndrome by letting a video of him being bullied be posted on the site in 2006 remain there for a considerable period of time. There are lots of contradictions in the approach taken by some in this debate.

Senator Ludlam: “I have a couple of questions that do not relate at all to Google but I cannot help but ask, Minister, in your quite comprehensive comments just before, would you not acknowledge that there is a substantial difference between a corporation hosting an opt-in video hosting site where you can choose to go and host your videos or look at your videos somewhere else if you disagree with their policy and an entire country seeking to implement what I would have thought were many of the features that you just seemed to be condemning.

Conroy: “I was not condemning what it is that they censor, I was merely pointing out that Google have one position when they advocate to a government and another position in which they themselves behave and I was pointing to the inherent contradiction between the lack of accountability in their processes and, frankly, exposing their hypocrisy.

Ludlam: But you are drawing direct comparisons between the way you want to run a country and a corporate video-sharing site.”

Senator Conroy: “Ninety-seven per cent of every internet user in the UK goes through a filter similar to the one that we are discussing. We have a slightly broader content classification, but 97 per cent of internet users in the UK go through a filter. The figures are between 80 per cent and 90 per cent for at least half a dozen other European countries where ISPs have been willing to voluntarily introduce the sort of filter that we are talking about. Not one company in this country up until recently has been willing to entertain a filter. Not one has introduced it.”

Conroy was then fed a question about facebook by fellow Labor senator Dana Wortley.

Wortley: “Minister, earlier this evening you mentioned Google. Are they the only internet organisation to be committing privacy breaches?

Senator Conroy—I am disappointed to say, unfortunately no. Facebook has also shown a complete disregard for users’ privacy recently. If you are not awareFacebook, I understand, was developed by Harvard University student, Mark Zuckerberg, who after breaking up with his girlfriend developed a website of all the photos from the Harvard yearbook so that he and his mates could rank the girls according to their looks—an auspicious start for Facebook.

He was encouraged to develop this further and Facebook, the social networking phenomenon, was born.

Facebook has been rolling out changes to its privacy laws over recent months and as one blogger recently put it: Facebook has gone rogue. Facebook used to be a place to share photos and thoughts with friends and family, a useful way to keep in touch. Then Facebook realised it owned the network and decided to turn your profile into your identity online, figuring rightly that there is money and power in being the place where people define themselves. These are all quotes from this blog.

In December last year Facebook reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile public by default, including the city you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you have signed on to.

Then it went further and linked all the things you said you liked to your public profile; your music preferences, employment information, reading preference, schools—all made public.

Fourteen privacy groups have filed an unfair trade complaint against Facebook with the FTC. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, says privacy is no longer a social norm. A leaked email from Mr Zuckerberg recently referred to Facebook users—and I will have to censor this because we are in parliament—as dumb, and then the next word begins with ‘f’, for giving him all their private information and not expecting him to use it.

So, what would you prefer, Senator Wortley, a corporate giant who is answerable to no-one and motivated solely by profit making the rules on the internet, or a democratically elected government with all the checks and balances in place.?

Comments


  1. SHG
    26 May 10
    3:51 pm

  2. Jesus. The guy’s gone off the deep end.

  3. Simon
    26 May 10
    3:53 pm

  4. Wow!

    I’m blown away. I really didn’t think it was possible to hate this guy more than I already did.

  5. Anonymous
    26 May 10
    4:00 pm

  6. In simple terms Google has breached Privacy laws, as for liking or disliking Conroy well that is a different argument. :-)

  7. michelle n
    26 May 10
    4:01 pm

  8. Can someone both censor and filter his speech to make it shorter?

  9. Tom
    26 May 10
    4:05 pm

  10. Doesn’t anyone else realise that this is the first step in a violent robot uprising?

  11. David@luvyawork
    26 May 10
    4:06 pm

  12. All the hallmarks of a cornered animal.

  13. steve
    26 May 10
    4:07 pm

  14. i’m going to have a little nap.

  15. DF
    26 May 10
    4:09 pm

  16. I’m no fan of Conroy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns about how profit-hungry corporations will deal with private data. This is one of the reasons I have never uploaded a video to YouTube, or joined Facebook or similar sites. And by the way, I don’t remember opting-in to Google Streetview, but that didn’t stop them photographing my house :(

  17. eek
    26 May 10
    4:10 pm

  18. Wow. Ok, my eyes are bleeding now. Is there any way Mr Conroy can learn how to take information and turn it into a pointed argument that makes people want to listen? He might be right, but if you sound wrong while you’re doing it, you’re stuffed.

  19. anon
    26 May 10
    4:15 pm

  20. This is what he always does – diverting the attention with other arguments – ensuring that there can never be an open discussion about the filter. It’s the policical equivalent of trying to get someone to look at a flower when there’s a car crash to watch: “if you’ll just look over here please, there’s a lovely little flower.
    Car crash? On the road? No, don’t be silly, nothing to see here, move along. Lokkit the pretty flower”.

  21. Anonymous
    26 May 10
    4:16 pm

  22. Everything he has said is true.

    People are just in denial that their privacy is being intentionally breached for commercial gain and unfortunately a lot of people have stockholm syndrome when defending both Google and Facebooks actions.

  23. Jooja
    26 May 10
    4:18 pm

  24. DF – anyone can take a photo of your house, mate. Facebook is for losers, anyway. Set up a “fake” youtube account

  25. Anon's half-cousin
    26 May 10
    4:27 pm

  26. Actually, what Conroy says makes more sense than most of the posts in response. Scary I know!

  27. chris a
    26 May 10
    4:28 pm

  28. The guy has seriously no Idea….. Governments have been taking our private data for years and I have been using facebook and youtube for the three years and am having a great time. :))))

  29. Not Amused - The Original 'Amused'
    26 May 10
    4:32 pm

  30. I googled ‘Senator Conroy’…does this mean he knows where Iive or even what my house looks like?

    @Anonymous – Why would you be on Facebook if you’re worried about your privacy?

  31. jonathon
    26 May 10
    4:38 pm

  32. even accepting his points: this proves we need to filter the internet why?

    may we pls have a grownup as minister for communications?

  33. acatinatree
    26 May 10
    4:43 pm

  34. TLDR.

  35. Anonymous
    26 May 10
    4:45 pm

  36. @Not Amused – I am not and have never been on Facebook.

    However that hasn’t stopped Facebook from continually sending me invites and building up a graph of people who know me based upon other users giving Facebook access to their email accounts/address books.

  37. Anonymous
    26 May 10
    4:48 pm

  38. This guy is a fucking tool

  39. Not Amused - The Original 'Amused'
    26 May 10
    4:55 pm

  40. @ Anonymous – In your scenario the privacy breach, if any, is with the person who has allowed Facebook to access their contacts. This is most likely a friend or colleague.

  41. Adam Paull
    26 May 10
    4:58 pm

  42. Personally I want Senator Conroy to truthfully answer just one question: “What percentage of material not suitable for children will make it past the “filter”?

    When the mums and dads of Australia realise that the correct answer is 99.99% his whole charade comes to an end.

    The tricky part is getting the mums and dads to figure it out – not easy when you have a snake-oil salesman telling them he’ll make all the baddies go away so they can go on letting their kiddies use the internet unsupervised.

    A water filter that let through over 99% of bacteria would be taken off the market quick smart and the manufacturer sued beyond recognition.

    It’s time to stop using the word “filter” – it’s a list, not a filter.

  43. Scott J
    26 May 10
    5:05 pm

  44. Democracy works well in that we can choose to endorse Facebook with our patronage or not. It’s just a small click away!

    We should use that same power in Victoria to deliver our verdict to Senator Conroy and filter him out of our lives in the next election

  45. Ben S
    26 May 10
    5:05 pm

  46. he’s right, they are creepy. google does have 2 sets of rules as well.

    i’m not a fan of conroy but i don’t think he’s saying anything that isn’t true here. as for the rest of the stuff that comes out of his mouth … not so much

  47. John Grono
    26 May 10
    5:06 pm

  48. Anonymous 4:48pm … does this make him a dildo?

    Adam – spot on. And lists become out-of-date the second you press the ‘Save’ button, so what is the point anyway?

  49. Ben S
    26 May 10
    5:10 pm

  50. actually – what he is saying re the filter is nonsense. fb/goog – i’m in agreeance

  51. G Orwell
    26 May 10
    5:16 pm

  52. I actually think Conroy makes some very valid points about FB and Google. But people make the choice about whether to go on either sites and hand over their details, so the difference I guess is PERMISSION, not privacy.

    Google StreetView I think is an invasion of privacy. Yes anyone can take a photo of your house, but would they upload it to the web and make money out of it without your permission?

    Where Conroy falls down is:
    a) he’s a knobend
    b) he’s a hypocrite bagging Google about censoring You Tube when he himself wants to create a nanny state.

    Cred FAIL

  53. Ben S
    26 May 10
    5:29 pm

  54. Orwell – I think with Facebook people are handing over their info … Google I’m not so sure. They’re using it and data is being collected … the two are different.

    My question is – should data be ‘opt-in’ not ‘opt-out’ … should it be assumed WE CAN collect data unless people object … or should it be WE CAN’T unless people explicitly allow it.

    I think ‘opt-in’ is worth thinking about and the debate seems to heading in this direction.

    No question about Conroy’s hypocrisy …

  55. Anonymous
    26 May 10
    5:30 pm

  56. I also wonder if most Facebook users are aware that since the start of May, when they launched their ‘Open graph social plug-in’, that Facebook has been tracking the web browsing of all of their users. Over 100,000 top sites have integrated these ‘plug-ins’ and whenever you, as a Facebook user, visits one – Facebook knows – irrespective if you are logged into Facebook or not.

    Imagine the uproar if Woolworths hired thousands of private investigators to track, record, audit and document whenever you leave your house, where in public you visit and what you have been doing. All so, the next time you go to Woolworths (or Vintage Cellars etc) they can advertise and recommend products for you to buy.

  57. Ben S
    26 May 10
    5:31 pm

  58. btw the whole opt-in/opt-out debate gets even more interesting when you consider there are loads of companies making revenue by using/sharing/selling data that no consumer has ever really given permission around.

    if you’re using data collected on me to sell to others (through retargeting or BT or profiling or surveys etc) should I then see some of the revenue?

  59. Anonymous_Coward
    26 May 10
    5:32 pm

  60. Someone has to start questioning the likes of Google and Facebook, too many people are taking what they say at face (no pun intended) value as regards how they use and plan to use your data.

    But this tool is definitely the wrong person to be raising these questions.

  61. G Orwell
    26 May 10
    6:03 pm

  62. Ben S, A lot of consumer data lists ARE becoming opt-in…email data especially due to the Spam Act.

    And with privacy and Do Not Call laws, most list owners collect even postal data via opt-in surveys. Of course they offer a reward and the terms and conditions you need the Hubble Telescope to read…but they are opt-in.

    With Facebook you do opt-in. With iGoogle accounts you opt-in.

    And Conroy’s department announced that faxing will now be subject to Do Not Call legislation, so he did something right. You OPT IN to OPT OUT of getting a fax or a cold call from Filipino call centres selling mortgages.

    Google Streeview you do not opt-in.

    I actually work in the data broking industry so deal with it everyday.

    ..and I LOVE the suggestion that consumers should share in the revenue a list owner makes from their data. I can just see the data owners’ hair turning grey as I type. VERY funny!

    But privacy, and more importantly, permission, will continue to be a huge issue…as it should.

    3 companies scare the hell out of me:
    google
    facebook
    apple

    …and the Labor Government.

  63. Ben S
    26 May 10
    6:26 pm

  64. google accounts i am unsure you really opt-in … you agree to pages of T&Cs that no one reads in order to generally set up an email address.

    i doubt 99.9% of internet users even know what data is being collected about them or whether they’ve technically given permission for it to be collected.

    do people know what data facebook collects about them for all the sites that have ‘like’ functionality? do the sites even know. i doubt it.

  65. G Orwell
    26 May 10
    6:42 pm

  66. Ben S, you opt in to Google to use their gmail service :)

    But I agree with you…however the issue still falls back to PERMISSION. By being on Facebook you are giving them permission to use your content, and I have little sympathy with crying about privacy, as you do not have to opt in to FB.. or to gmail or hotmail or itunes or Mumbrella.

    But while it’s cool and convenient, people will opt-in and no doubt whinge about privacy on Facebook.

    As with Conroy “filtering” the internet? I haven’t given my permission for him to be my shit filter.

    BUT do we give the gvmt permission to filter kid porn and hate sites? That is, censor what we see? Yes of course! ..I think…

  67. John Grono
    26 May 10
    6:52 pm

  68. Well said G Orwell and Ben S.

    You will not find my house on StreetView – I had it removed. The thing is, I had to be pro-active to have it removed when I didn’t want or ask for it to be there in the first place. There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark. Of course I am also on the Do-Not-Call register and can’t wait for the Do-Not-Fax register – I have quite a list of businesses that I will NEVER do trade with because of that.

    While far from a Luddite, I do not have a Facebook account, but regularly receive repeated invitations from FB (not the member – but from FB) to join. The last one had 24 people I may know. 23 of them were connected to me (“good” targeting algorithms). As one example, one was a guy who used to be with the local AFL club that I emailed a few times about fund-raising raffle tickets around 5 years ago. Clearly FB have trawled his email history for my address and linked him to me. Where is my “opt-in” to this? As a non-member should I not be exempt from this rubbish?

    George (if I may call you that), your corporate list shows great depth of understanding. The only thing scarier than your last scenario would be a return to the previous incumbent Luddites who didn’t even know what an Interdoodlenetthingie was.

  69. G Orwell
    26 May 10
    7:04 pm

  70. John Grono,
    FB are actually offering a commercial service so I wonder if they are breaching the Spam Laws. They have an Aus office…be interesting to see the legal side of that.

    I might ring ACMA tomorrow and ask them if it’s spam.

    Conroy would pee his pants with excitement.

  71. AdGrunt
    26 May 10
    7:34 pm

  72. JG

    Not spam as actually initiated by a user. Rest is association algos.

    Google are in the search biz so collecting data is in their DNA. What was collected is of almost no use. Big so-what. But it makes a great strawman argument for Conrod.

    To the man himself. What a master of the false dilemma. And a twunt.

  73. Liam the distant observer
    26 May 10
    7:40 pm

  74. What ever happened to Australia’s privacy and data breach laws that the Rudd Govt was so keen on 3 years ago?

    At the 2008 release of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report into whether this law should be introduced, John Faulkner said it would within the next 18 months.

    Although it dealt with the accidental/careless release of private data rather than its careless collection, if handling of private data is such a big deal to Conroy why the hell has it – a law which in the UK (take note Conroy!) and many US states imposes financial penalties on companies that do breach private data rules – been left simmering on the back burner (no exposure draft yet! http://www.zdnet.com.au/still-.....302250.htm)?

    Senator Conroy: “Ninety-seven per cent of every internet user in the UK goes through a filter similar to the one that we are discussing.”

    Well, 100 per cent of UK citizens are covered by this law already.

    Maybe if the voting block represented by the Australian Christian Lobby cared more about privacy than it does about imposing moral standards on the public, these laws would have been introduced by now.

    Time to revive The Herd’s old song: Wake up Australia. These f*&^ing c*%ts need a shake up. Give the Privacy Commissioner some teeth and Karen Curtis might be able to do more than write laughable annual reports about how many phone calls her office handles each year.

  75. John Grono
    26 May 10
    7:56 pm

  76. I doubt it is a breach of the spam laws George, but thanks for your concern!

    The interesting thing is the first incident was when I was sent an invite by the CEO of a medium-sized global digital company specialising in data analysis. I declined and contacted the person via email who apologised and told me that he actually didn’t send it, but FB did. Cool, I thought – could happen to anyone. A month later I got another invite. And a month later another. After 4 or 5 months of invites my friend finally worked out how to stop automatic invites being sent. Remember he is the CEO of a significant player in the online world and it had him flummoxed, so what hope do Fred & Freda Factory of Flemington have!

    As AdGrunt points out that because the original invitation was sent by someone known to me, the FB reminders are not considered as ‘unsolicited’ – even though I have never given either explicit or implicit permission. One would think that after numerous reminders that were rapidly deleted they would have got the hint!

  77. Paul Dovas
    26 May 10
    8:04 pm

  78. @ John Grono

    Hey, John. I’m playing devil’s advocate here… but at what point does Google StreetView invade our privacy? My understanding of the service (I confess I’m a novice when it comes to Google Maps) is that its more like a fancy street directory rather than a telephone directory.

    Unless I already know that you live where you do I have no way of associating a ‘street view’ with an individual.

    There are other aspects of Google that worry me a lot more however, including the fact that its mandatory to provide a mobile number as part of their registration process.

  79. John Grono
    26 May 10
    9:05 pm

  80. Hi Paul. I didn’t say that it invaded my privacy – just that I didn’t want photos of my house up on Streetview. To me it is ‘fine line’ stuff. I love Google Maps – it’s a great piece of innovative Aussie software!

    The point is, I do have a ‘realtionship’ with Telstra / White Pages which involves a cable connection to my home and also a phone listing – which of course I can opt out of at any statge. I do not have a relationship with Google Maps, yet I was opted-in without consultation.

    As for being forced to provide a mobile number, it’s an instant Close X for me. When I was recently shopping around online for car insurance, the site that forced me to provide all my contact details before even asking about my vehicle was quickly removed from the consideration set. My mantra is … if it is not definitively needed then you shouldn’t be asking for it … and if the user didn’t expressly provide permission then don’t assume it is OK.

  81. Paul Dovas
    26 May 10
    10:10 pm

  82. Agree John, its a very fine line and one impossible to define.

    Your lawns need mowing btw ;)

  83. John Grono
    26 May 10
    11:47 pm

  84. So you’ve been to the beta of http://www.lawnview.com as well – cool site eh! When can you come around and mow them for me?

  85. Phil Collins
    27 May 10
    2:47 pm

  86. Why Conroy is right about Google & Facebook: http://www.commsday.com/commsday/?p=1071

  87. chris
    29 May 10
    2:44 pm

  88. “If we remove your video after reviewing it, you can assume that we removed it purposefully— that is, ‘trust us’. They just say, ‘Trust us; we know what we’re doing; we’ve removed it.’ There is no avenue for appeal or discussion.

    “How do you know that they have not blocked other things? You do not. There is no appeals mechanism and there are no transparency measures. ”

    - Surely Conroy can see the irony in this… this is EXACTLY what Labor’s Clean Feed does.

  89. Tom
    16 Jun 10
    4:10 pm

  90. He’s just playing scare tactics in a bid to win trust points. “Hey, don’t trust them cos they’re a lot more dirty than i’ll ever be”. Kinda true but off the point. He hasn’t told us how the Australian Govt. will handle our information – If they’re filtering us, they must be grabbing data.

  91. John Grono
    16 Jun 10
    4:32 pm

  92. Tom. While I vehemently disagree with Conroy’s filter plan, I think you have it all arse-about backwards. The plan as I understand it is to filter out sites that people may want to go to – not filter out IP addresses that site requests come from. So, in essence it has nothing to do with “your information”. It’s basically, like adding a site to your spam list. However, this should be at the discretion of the user – not the government.

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