Google Public Policy -- Calls for International Privacy Standards

http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/09/call-for-global-privacy-standards.html

Normally I like google, they provide a lot of cool services and for the most part is a pretty cool place to work. They employ some of the best PHP programmers in the industry and treat them really well.

That said, they're still a corporation.

Today they called for international privacy standards, but without saying how they'd like to set those standards; what google's values are or even mentioning the massive elephant in the room. The fact that our privacy commissioner called google out on their invasive street-view technology.

Despite a _lot_ of violations, Canada actually has some of the strongest privacy legislation in the world. Corporations are not allowed to collect data they don't need, they're not allowed to disclose information you willfully tell them unless you specifically consent (like when you want to buy something on credit) and the descision must be conscionable, meaning that slipping into an eula that we collect and dissemenate everything we possibly can is simply not good enough.

Now, the call for global privacy standards is being asked for through the APEC mechanism. I have my own issues with APEC -- guys like me don't get a seat at the table, but we do when governments hold public consultation. When the govt goofs, like they did yesterday on lawful access, bloggers and professors keep them honest and ... for the most part... we have an effect. At APEC, the issue of the day is business, not consumer rights, not the impact to privacy in general.

Further, as a citizenry we have a DISTINCT sense of what privacy is. Canadian's hold privacy much more dear than do Americans, and comically more so than would a british citizen who is used to being watched by the govt on CCTV all day long.

International privacy standards are _good for business_ but thats where it ends -- privacy is a regional problem and deserves regional representation. What works for britian or nyc absolutely does not work for me in Duncan B.C.

Googles surveilance system is not nearly as invasive as projects that are currently being piloted by the government of canada through the RCMP. These programs install CCTV cameras in public space and employ sophistocated technology to scan license plates and in the future, faces.

The standards we set for privacy in public today will govern just how invasive CCTV and ALPR technologies are in the future; and for that reason, even if you are not afraid of once-upon-a-time being snapped by a street view camera, remember, that the argument that the information is not realtime is NOT the argument made to allow this technology.

The argument is that you have no privacy in public space. I extremely disagree, and I'm not getting over it.

Google, you're goofing again.