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Creating stronger privacy controls inside Google. Posted by Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog) In May we announced that we had mistakenly collected unencrypted WiFi payload data (information sent over networks) using our Street View cars. We work hard at Google to earn your trust, and we’re acutely aware that we failed badly here. So we’ve spent the past several months looking at how to strengthen our internal privacy and security practices, as well as talking to external regulators globally about possible improvements to our policies. Here’s a summary of the changes we’re now making.

First, people: we have appointed Alma Whitten as our director of privacy across both engineering and product management. ACLU, EFF Contend Government Needs Probable Cause & Warrant to Track Cell Phones  Organizations Seek to Defend Privacy Rights FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Jose Medina, Media Coordinator, ACLU of Texas, (512) 478-7300 x 103; AUSTIN – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Civil Liberties Union of Texas have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in opposing federal government attempts to obtain cell phone users’ historical location data from cell phone service providers without establishing probable cause and obtaining a warrant.

ACLU, EFF Contend Government Needs Probable Cause & Warrant to Track Cell Phones 

In an amicus (friend of the court) brief filed Friday in U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, EFF and the ACLU argue that absent judicial safeguards, the government’s ability to obtain detailed information about a person’s location using historical cell phone data may violate the Fourth Amendment. Download a copy of the amicus (PDF) “Texans value few things more than the right to be left alone,” noted Lisa Graybill, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas. Privacy Win: Cellphone Search Without Warrant Declared Illegal - Your Cellphone Is Subject to Warrantless Searches in California. This falls under one of those areas in law enforcement know as "probable cause.

Your Cellphone Is Subject to Warrantless Searches in California

" If an officer has probable cause to believe that there is evidence on your phone, then at the time of the arrest they may be allowed to search it. Just the same as searching your person for drugs or weapons upon arrest. They shouldn't just be going through your phone for fun. It should have something to do with the case, e.g. looking through your recent messages to see if you had been communicating with someone to set up a drug deal. Your average citizen will never be inconvenienced by this unless you plan on being arrested. Remember, once you are arrested and taken back to the jail, they are going to analyze your phone anyway. The real cost of free. Last week, my fellow Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall published a piece headlined The cost of free, in which she called it "ironic" that "advocates of free online content" (including me) "charge hefty fees to speak at events".

The real cost of free

Lindvall says she spoke to someone who approached an agency I once worked with to hire me for a lecture and was quoted $10,000-$20,000 (£6,300-£12,700) to speak at a college and $25,000 to speak at a conference. Lindvall goes on to talk about the fees commanded by other speakers, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of a book called "Free" (which I reviewed here in July 2009), Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde and marketing expert Seth Godin.

The privacy industry: Scare and sell « BuzzMachine. At two privacy conferences—one in New York, the other right now in Victoria, B.C.

The privacy industry: Scare and sell « BuzzMachine

—I’ve watched the growth of privacy’s regulatory/industrial complex and seen its strategy in action: scare, then sell. Yesterday, before I spoke at the Reboot conference, the privacy commissioner for the province, Elizabeth Denham, got up to demonize the social net and its leaders. She said that Google’s Eric Schmidt believes privacy is not relevant anymore, citing his jokes about changing our names at age 21. She belittled Mark Zuckerberg, too. She bragged about helping to bring Facebook to accounts when she was in the federal privacy office. At a later panel, I saw a vendor go through his PowerPoint showing the growth of so many outlets of social media. I spoke with the head of an association of chief privacy officers. In the draft of my book Public Parts—which I’m furiously editing now—I had not gone after privacy’s regulatory/industrial complex.

So at the end of the day, I felt a bit better. Would You Trust the Government to Control Your Online Identity? @HunterShoptaw: From the wise words of Benjamin Franklin "Those willing to give up liberty for temporary security deserve niether and will lose both".

Would You Trust the Government to Control Your Online Identity?

You can't really survive in the real world without a bank account, you can without the convenience of the internet. It is also easier to the nth degree to steal someones personal data online than in person, I could see far too many security flaws for this to even begin being a good idea. It'd be like hiding your social life from your boss if you're on a social networking site except much worse. I'm looking at this from a security point of view rather than "The government is evil" one.