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My carrier pigeon just arrived with some TCP/IP/pigeon protocol packets, and I see I've caused someone's head to explode on the Internet.

I'll put down my vegetable hoe and ask you this. Given that these are my friends, neighbors, and former coworkers I'm talking about at Google, is there any information about you that you would be uncomfortable having your friends collect and store in a database for unknown parties to eventually analyze? If there's some limit beyond which you might say, "Well, that's going a bit too far," and that caused someone else to fulminate over your backwardness, what would you say to them?

Oh, well, gotta send this pigeon off and get back to my bunker before the drones catch me out in the open....




that's silly, people at Google don't have access to your data, and even if they did, they would not have your name attached on


Just in case you're not joking: Yes, of course they have access to my data, and unless I delete all Google cookies, sign out from all Google services (gmail, youtube, etc.) and possibly reboot my browser before making a Google query, they add every keystroke of that query to everything they've read in my email, every youtube video I've watched, my contacts and my contacts' contacts (pointing back at me), driving endpoints from Google maps, phone numbers for calendar notifications, and on and on. Of course they know my name along with everything else they know about me.

Even twenty years ago, if you called a mail order catalog company, and it was the first time you'd called them, the sales rep on the phone already had your number (from commercial caller ID), your name (either "Bob Smith" or "Sally Smith"), and your household's credit card numbers before you even opened your mouth. They would still ask you for them for security reasons, to see which of your cards you wanted to use, to double-check accuracy, and in order to NOT freak you out, but companies you had never heard of already knew your name before you ever called them.

But you think Google can't figure out my name?


I think you're misunderstanding what he means. He's saying that Google employees don't have access to that kind of information (due to access controls, logging of access, etc), likely in response to your "would you be uncomfortable with your friends collecting arbitrary amounts of data from you" question.

I'm not saying that his comment was a sound rebuttal to yours or anything; just noting that he was talking in the context of "your friends, neighbors and former coworkers" accessing your data and you're talking about "Google" accessing your data, and those are potentially very different things.


Yes. User data, especially PII data, is very closely watched. If I tried to access something that I shouldn't (assuming that I managed to get the right permissions first), I have no doubt that I'd be fired by the end of the week.




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