[ILUG] Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
niallwalsh at users.berlios.de
Thu Nov 18 16:02:21 GMT 2010
> From: "Kevin Lyda" <kevin at ie.suberic.net>
> Now I work for Google
Thanks for declaring that up front.
> However from what I do know it's used to track how a website is
> performing and how it's being used. This includes how users interact
> with ads - hence Google's interest in it I assume.
It seems safe to assume that Google has an interest in this and is not
simply providing a service to sites which wish to improve.
> So what we have here is part of the public service using tools to make
> their web sites easier to use, faster and better understand what their
> users want. Well gosh, that's just terrible. I can see the concerns.
I've no problem with someone trying to improve their site.
As an aside on "faster" I'll give you a random quote from irc:
"i /etc/hosted most of google and my entire browsing experience just
got 50 times better"
> And the claims in the article are absolutely over the top: "so the
> Gardaí are asking Google to track every movement of their visitors"
> Er, no. On their website, sure. But not *every* movement. And much
> of the data is provided in aggregate. If they use the tool right from
> what I understand they can answer questions like "lots of users click
> this link here instead of this other link - maybe you should put the
> navigation bar near the link they click." Or, "the site has the least
> number of users on Tuesdays at 3am - maybe you should schedule backups
> Yes, terrible. Can't have that.
Well I for one have no interest in examining the g-a code (or traffic
sniffing) to figure out just what data it is harvesting today. You seem to
entirely miss the point that not only is there no control by the site owner
over what code is being run on their site, they are quite simply handing over
the ability to track each visitor to all those sites to Google.
Do you think any of these sites audit any changes in the g-a code they try
to push out to their visitors browsers?
Do you think they can monitor what happens to the data harvested once it
goes inside Google?
Remember you said that you assume Google has an interest in the data?
Well couple that with your above statements and you come to the answer
that in fact Google are the ones who really benefit from this as they are
harvesting more from the data then the aggregate figures you refer to that
are given to the original site owners.
In fact Google gain a lot more then any individual site owner as Google
can aggregate and cross reference all the data they mine from across the
entire range of sites which use this service. They can also link it to all of
the other data they mine from their other services such as their search
engine, maps and video for example.
> There are things to be worried about in the world. This would not
> seem to even be on the list. Heck, I'd want to ask are they actually
> *using* the data they're getting? Are they building a user friendly
> culture and trying to better understand how to better serve the public
> - first on their website and then perhaps in person.
You work for Google as you declared, so I'm not surprised that you don't
have any problem or see any irony in the Data Protection Commissioner
handing over their detailed visitor analysis to a foreign company along
want on the visitors browsers.
Those visitors who don't block such behaviour at least.
Big Brother has been privatised but don't worry he will do no evil, he
only wants to make a buck.
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