Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Google features violate multiple privacy laws

Google has always been an innovative brand and seems to always be looking for new ways to incorporate convenience and originality through new additions to the company. Google is a leader in the online world and has incorporated many new tools for users to utilize, including the popular street view of Google Maps, Google Books and Gmail.

Google Maps street view contains a new way for those to virtually scope out neighborhoods and offers various angles to view this from, whether someone seeks to view a home, business or landmark. Google Maps also provides UPS package tracking for homes and businesses and allows one to plan a trip from different means of transportation.

Google Books, the convenient online book database allows users to view full-length books online, and can be purchased on the spot. It provides a quick, easy way for everyone to read without having to cope with the shipping time it normally takes to order books.

Gmail, the top email destination on the net allows users to email with desired recipients and includes many tools in addition to iCloud, options to snooze emails, abilities to sign off with social media and the option to view personal information about contacts in your email profile.

All of these features of Google seem extremely convenient and resourceful for those who utilize them but have been shown to provoke many moral legal issues.

In a Mar. 21, 2011 article by The Associated Press, French “privacy watchdog” CNIL imposed a 100,000-euro penalty – equivalent to about $141,300 – for “collecting personal data from Wi-Fi networks – including emails, web browsing histories, and online banking details – from 2007 to 2010 through its roaming camera-mounted cars and bicycles.” This was the first fine against Google “over the data-gathering, which more than 30 countries have complained about.”

In response, Google officially apologized, saying it was a mistake.

“As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks,” Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel of Google in 2011, said, according to the AP. “As soon as we realized what happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities.”

Furthermore, the AP reported Google did not always cooperate with CNIL in their investigation.

The AP said Google had two weeks to appeal the fine from the article’s date.

Google’s “Street View” has been banned from the Czech Republic, according to a Sep. 22, 2010 article on nbcnews.com by msnbc.com news services, “because it invades people’s privacy.”

The Czech Republic’s Office for Personal Data Protection denied Google the proper registration for “Street View,” giving no reason for their action to msnbc.com.

The article notes German citizens had been skeptical of Google’s ambitions for their “Street View” project. However, Google promised to respect citizens’ privacy at the time by allowing them to apply to opt out of “Street View.”

These allegations toward Google as a whole have shown that our privacy has been violated in a level that surpasses our expectations of Google’s immoral intentions and brought to light the capabilities that online companies have when our privacy is within their reach.

Email Cardinal Points at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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