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Thread: Some Google employees defect over user data abuse by Facebook, Google

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    Default Some Google employees defect over user data abuse by Facebook, Google

    Some Google employees defect, then rebel

    December 24, 2010|By Mark Milian, CNN



    But some of the people who do leave are challenging the company in the best way an engineer knows how: by developing programs that could detract from Google's core business.

    Brian Kennish worked at Google for seven years, managing teams of engineers on a variety of products such as the Chrome browser and the moribund Google Wave.

    Near the end of his stint at Google, Kennish developed a browser extension for Chrome called Facebook Disconnect.

    The software blocks websites that have Facebook widgets installed from automatically sending information about the user back to the social networking company. Facebook Disconnect has 75,000 users, Kennish said.

    "No one at Google asked me to do it," Kennish told CNN this week.

    What sparked Kennish's project, he said, was reading the recent scrutiny of online data-collection tactics chronicled by news organizations. The Wall Street Journal has been running a series called "What They Know," and CNN had its own last week called "End of Privacy."

    While Facebook and the applications that run on its platform can be considered personal-data hoarders, Kennish eventually realized his then-employer was, itself, among the biggest collectors.

    To name a few practices, Google can track search queries over time, target ads to its Gmail users based on the contents of e-mails, and use a person's location data to determine which shops' ads it will show. Google, like many Web advertising companies, uses small files called cookies to track internet surfing habits in order to better target ads.

    "I never worked directly with user data," Kennish said of his time at Google. "I didn't have a good sense of what was being collected. Privacy wasn't a passion of mine or something that I knew a lot about until basically two months ago, when I started reading about this stuff."

    Kennish left Google in November to focus more on programs that empower people to take control of their privacy online.

    "I had this holy-cow moment when I realized what was going on," Kennish said. "There's just so much unknown about what's being done with this data."

    "I think there is a good reason to be concerned with it all and, frankly, to be fearful of it," he said.
    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-24/t...ads?_s=PM:TECH



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    I'm very skeptical about this claim that he has this "holy cow" moment about the data Google has been collecting. The following is common knowledge to most webmasters and been for a long time. He sounds more like a disgruntled employee who is out for revenge. I'm not buying his claim:


    To name a few practices, Google can track search queries over time, target ads to its Gmail users based on the contents of e-mails, and use a person's location data to determine which shops' ads it will show. Google, like many Web advertising companies, uses small files called cookies to track internet surfing habits in order to better target ads.
    Last edited by specialK; 12-26-2010 at 02:44 PM.






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