Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jun 2011 09:33 UTC
Internet & Networking Remember when Altavista was the search engine? Or Yahoo? They stuffed their search pages with useless, distracting crap, and using them became unpleasant. And then, bam, along came Google, with a simple, clear search page and uncluttered search results. However, now that Google has become this massive behemoth, tracking our every move, and tailoring our search results, leading to only being fed those pages you agree with - isn't it time for something new? Something simple? It might be, and you've undoubtedly heard of them: DuckDuckGo. I'm switching. Update: Just got an email from Gabriel Weinberg, the guy behind DuckDuckGo. The OSNews !bang (!osnews) is now live!
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" You (and many others), on the other hand do, and what I ask is that you please elaborate on WHAT that threat is.

Oh that's so simple I assumed you figured that out by yourself. As LulzSec and Anonymous have shown - no data repository is safe from hackers. Say Google gets hacked, and search data, purchase data, and god knows what else is out on the street. Criminals could simply take a peek at the data, see when you booked your family vacation, and burgle your home. They don't even need to stake out any more. A simple peek at such data, et voila. The data doesn't even need to be leaked.

Sure, I'll grant that anybody, including Google, is potentially hackable. But I have to say I think people saying "Off to vacation!" on Facebook/Twitter/whatever is a much more likely scenario to lead to them being burgled. Not to mention that usually burglary is not one of the things organized criminals do—not that they're necessarily against it, it's just that it entails one of the biggest risks of being caught of any crime.

You have no idea what kind of people have access to this data at Google,

Nor do you, Thom. Unless you're in charge of Google's data and not telling us?

or, in the case of a subpoena, who in the government has access to it.

If documents are subpoenaed, the subpoena should say who you're supposed to give them to (and subpoenas themselves, with some exceptions, are public records, although the documents named in them may or may not be), so you know who has access to it.

What if they sold such data to criminals?

Government officials—at least in the US, and I would think, the EU—are unlikely to do this; the penalties are just too great. The calculus isn't worth it.

Such data is incredibly valuable, and there's no reason to assume that just because people work for the government or Google that they won't be susceptible towards abuse of the access they have.

There's no reason to assume they will be susceptible either. That's not to say that we (interpreted broadly) shouldn't protect against unauthorized access—but we do protect against that, with privacy laws as well as private penalties (Gcompanies or governments firing employees who leak data) and civil lawsuits.

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