Friday, September 08, 2006

Goggle versus privacy

It's not easy being Google. Once you take the moral high ground, and make your unofficial company motto "Don't be evil", people actually expect you to not be evil -- even when it is inconvenient to you.

Google is currently blocking a number of privacy-enhancing proxies, such as FoxyProxy and Tor, possibly because some bot or bots are misusing them all. (Why am I skeptical that all of these services have been compromised by a bot?)

Just maybe Google has a legitimate reason for blocking these proxies. But, legitimate reason or not, they're putting their convenience ahead of people's right to privacy -- and that is stretching "Don't be evil" virtually to breaking point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not just 'bots' that they're trying to block -- several viruses and worms make use of Google (e.g. by searching for strings from default pages on vulnerable servers) to identify targets. So yeah, it's a valid concern.

There's also a financial incentive, seeing as Google's currently embroiled in a lawsuit over 'click fraud' by -- you guessed it -- automated bot programs.