Oct 2, 2012

Forget government data retention, Google has you wired

Mandatory data retention proposals have libertarians in a flap. But what Google and a bunch of other companies are doing via Wi-Fi is much worse.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

If the mandatory data retention proposals currently being urged by Australia’s protectors of freedom and democracy aren’t scary enough, take a squiz at how the private sector is already tracking your every move. Literally.

The smartphone boom has brought with it a boom in location-based services, providing information that’s automatically tailored to where you are right now. Weather and traffic conditions, or the closest available bank ATM or Greek restaurant or dry cleaner or easy man-s-x.

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16 thoughts on “Forget government data retention, Google has you wired

  1. Harper Colin

    Well, there you go.

    Last week an article on Iran which tried to convince crik*y readers that the Iranian government is the centre-piece of the Axis of Evil and this week an article ( no name to it ) is trying to convince us that the proposed govt data retention scheme is something we all should “forget”.

    Thanks crik*y, for giving us the option of choice on the lesser of the evils. We are all much safer now.

  2. Come On Carlton

    @Harper Colin

    Are you blind or something Harper? The author of the article was Stilgherrian. And a good article indeed. Reminding us about the Google intrusion is nothing light-weight.

  3. Edward James

    Our legislators are not even playing catch up with the speed and growth of technology and corporations interest in the idea that knowledge is power. Edward James

  4. Oscar Jones

    I have railed against Google for years now and feel like a lone voice.
    Google is a profit making corporation with decidedly dodgy morals as revealed by the $500M fine imposed upon them last year by US Justice for breaching drug advertising laws. They are currently being investigated under US Anti-Trust laws.

    Malcolm Turnbull says there is something dodgy how Google made $50M in profits in Australia yet paid a fraction in tax. They base themselves in tax havens but demand the world adhere to US laws (so-called ‘Freedom Of Speech’).

    Yet tech writers and legal writers (Fairfax) wring their hands when a European country hauls a Google exec into court when their laws are breached. Until the MSM stops worshipping Google and their ilk, nothing will change.

  5. Oscar Jones

    Edward James : our laws are inadequate as the recent trolling incidents have indicated and how Facebook are so stubborn about removing the appalling pages about the recent Melbourne murder that could de-rail a trial.
    Our politicians seem beholden to the power of the net and normally sensible legal writers actually claim that our laws on defamation and so on, should be changed to accommodate private business.In other words b**ger the citizen, let’s make it easy for Google to operate.

  6. Serenatopia

    Google misusing information to better sell us stuff is one thing…our Governments misusing information to implicate us in crimes we didn’t commit is a different thing altogether…

  7. Edward James

    @ Oscar Jones Posted Tuesday, 2 October 2012 at 6:01 pm Every time I publish a paid announcement in one of our local Central Coast papers and there have been around forty. I am literally betting my house. Understanding as I do the truth is not always a defense against a defamation action. Not being a politician I do not have the protection afforded them by cowards castle, when I identify local politicians by name as liars in print. What I do understand is I was naive to believe all I needed to do was expose abuse of power and systemic corruption in the court of public opinion and the rest would fall into place. I now understand full and well rusted on party supporters are a lot like the parents of problem children, they just refuse to accept the problems. Edward James

  8. zut alors

    Avoid the trap, don’t use smartphones. We’ve become addicted to IT and fallen for the dubious claims that our lives are better for it.

  9. Stilgherrian

    @Harper Colin: You seem to be unfamiliar with the colloquialism “forget X, look at Y”, which does not mean literally to forget X?

    Maybe have a read of some of the other things I’ve written about government data retention and you’ll see that any claim that I’m a supporter of it is very, very silly indeed.

    @Serenatopia: But don’t forget that being able to “better sell is stuff” can include selling products that are less healthy but more profitable, or political ideas that are less savoury but more beneficial to the promoter and so on — all based an a more sophisticated understanding of our psychology than we ourselves possess.

    The idea that this is just about not showing BWM adverts to people who don’t drive is way, way understating the capability.

  10. Edward James

    While I am not that good at spelling and grammar Stilgherrian. I have noticed you have written four paragraphs. The last two appears to have an error! “better sell is stuff” the word quoted is “us” the reference to “BWM” is the sort of proof reading error which often embarrasses me because I am just hopeless / lazy most of the time. Edward James

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