Google Gets Creepier Every Year

They want to monitor everything in your life. Everything. Google Reveals Plans to Monitor Our Moods, Our Movements, and Our Children’s Behavior at Home.

Google is developing smart-home products that are capable of eavesdropping on us throughout our home in order to learn more about us and better target us with advertising. It goes much further than the current Google Home speaker that’s promoted to answer our questions and provide useful information, and the Google-owned Nest thermostat that measures environmental conditions in our home. What the patents describe are sensors and cameras mounted in every room to follow us and analyze what we’re doing throughout our home.

They want to be able to recognize – via cameras – individuals. In their own homes.

You couldn’t pay me to have one of these things in my home.

Hat to Claire Wolfe and her Thursday Links, which you should definitely take a look at. This is (perhaps) the most upsetting link she highlights, but it isn’t the ONLY upsetting story. Not by a long shot.


Google+ Hack Convinces Google to End Google+

Or maybe it was the backlash after they covered up a data breach. Google+ to shut down after coverup of data-exposing bug.

A security bug allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user profile data since 2015 until Google discovered and patched it in March, but decided not to inform the world. When a user gave permission to an app to access their public profile data, the bug also let those developers pull their and their friends’ non-public profile fields.

They didn’t admit to any of this because – according to a company memo – they didn’t want the Cambridge-Analytica-style publicity. OK, now they have their own bad publicity.

Now Google+, which was already a ghost town largely abandoned or never inhabited by users, has become a massive liability for the company.

When will companies take security seriously? When an executive who makes a boneheaded decision – like either not funding security, or covering it up – is held accountable in a court of law. Nothing else is going to get it done.

Chrome 69 Won’t Delete Google’s Cookies

Ask to delete all cookies, Google won’t delete all cookies. Chrome 69 Keeps Google’s Cookies After You Clear Browser Data.

Because Google knows better than you. And they dropped their “Don’t Be Evil” goal, and seem to be doubling down on being evil.

It has been discovered that when you try to clear all cookies in the Chrome browser, every cookie will be deleted except for authentication cookies created by Google. This means that after clearing cookies, you will be logged out of every site that you are currently logged into, except for Google.

This “Let’s not delete our own data” behavior from Google is on top of them logging you into the browser, when you didn’t ask them to. If you logged into Gmail or YouTube, Google would log you into Chrome – even if you didn’t want them to. Log out of YouTube, and Google kept you logged into the browser. They say they didn’t scoop up all of your browser history, but given how evil they’ve become, do you believe them?

Chrome 70 will walk back some of these “evil” changes, but I’ve stopped using Chrome in the interim. You may want to reconsider your use of browsers.

I use a bunch of different browsers. Opera and Vivaldi. Firefox. Chrome. Very rarely Microsoft’s Edge (when I need to test something that isn’t working because of all the privacy extensions I have in the other browsers). I even have an old version of Pale Moon installed, though I need to see if there is a new version available. And of course the TOR Browser. I may have to drop the use of Chrome.

I do this because websites love to track you. And one of the ways they do that is by tracking all kinds of things about your browser. Version, size of display, etc.

Seems like I’m not alone: Why I’m done with Chrome. Matthew Green is a cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University. He takes issue with the “forced login” policy.

If you didn’t respect my lack of consent on the biggest user-facing privacy option in Chrome (and didn’t even notify me that you had stopped respecting it!) why should I trust any other consent option you give me? What stops you from changing your mind on that option in a few months, when we’ve all stopped paying attention?

Hat tip to Security Now.

Google Is Discriminating

No surprise here. Google Sued by Ex-Recruiter Alleging Anti-White, Asian Bias – Bloomberg

The Alphabet Inc. unit had “irrefutable policies, memorialized in writing and consistently implemented in practice, of systematically discriminating in favor job applicants who are Hispanic, African American, or female, and against Caucasian and Asian men,” according to the complaint filed in state court in Redwood City, California.

The fired a recruiter who complained about it.

Hat tip to Claire Wolfe and her Friday Links roundup.

Why do programmers constantly “improve” things that don’t need improving?

The last piece of Google’s infrastructure that I use is Google News. Until yesterday, it was good way to get and search the news.

But today, an “improvement” was released. I am no longer able to search for stuff and limit it to the past 24 hours. Once again Google is showing me what they THINK I want to see, as opposed to what I actually want to see.

I keep the gmail account attached to this blog, but really that is probably the last thing I will use.

I use ANY search engine aside from Google. (I value my privacy so for stuff not related to this blog I mostly use DuckDuckGo. Or I use Tor. Anything but Google.

And now this. I shouldn’t be surprised. I worked in Information Technology for a couple of decades, and programmers always wanted to make changes that the user community hated. What? Actually talk to end users? Why would we do that?

This isn’t even the 1st instance of this in the past month. Another service I used was “improved” right to the point of being unusable.

Google Claims “Too Big to Comply” With Wage Discrimination Laws

They say there is no wage discrimination, but they can’t produce the data to prove that because, too big… Accused of underpaying women, Google says it’s too expensive to get wage data | Technology | The Guardian

Kristin Zmrhal, Google’s senior legal operations manager, also testified that the process of compiling data for the DoL has required engineers, lawyers and employees across departments to build new systems, conduct extensive quality reviews of files, redact documents and complete other complex tasks.

“It became too burdensome,” she said, noting Google was forced to hire a third-party vendor to help. “The team was bogged down.”

So we are supposed to believe that there is no wage discrimination at Google because they say so. Because there couldn’t be any wage discrimination at tech companies… Right.

Surveys have repeatedly found that women are often paid less than men for the same jobs across Silicon Valley. An account of sexual harassment at Uber earlier this year has also sparked a widespread debate about misogyny and misconduct in tech.

And then there is age discrimination…

Google Should Relocate

If they are so unpopular in the People’s Republic of San Francisco, then they should move. Someplace where business is valued, and taxes are low. SF tech backlash: Google buses get private security guards, says Reuters..

Other companies have left the business-unfriendly-environment of the Left Coast for more hospitable locations. Google should consider the same.

With a Bay Area tech backlash in full force, Reuters is reporting that Google appears to have resorted to private security guards to protect its employee shuttles from angry protesters and other evildoers.”In recent days, men with earpieces have closely monitored passengers boarding Google commuter buses at the site of at least one bus stop in San Francsico’s Mission District,”

If the tech-base left the SF Bay Area, then the price of homes would go down. (Like a bubble popping.) And the protestors would get exactly what they want. A cheaper Bay Area.

The broader gripe is that rich, entitled young techies are driving up rents, displacing working-class residents, and undermining the city’s public infrastructure through rampant privatization.

Rents would go down. Restaurants and shops would close. And San Fran could become a bastion of leftist/socialist life. Like Detroit. (Another city where the businesses were hounded out of existence.)