Saturday, March 28, 2015


There is nothing more annoying than being bombarded with ads and emails for a specific product within hours of running a simple search on Google for said product. What's scary is when a service like Google moves beyond the internet and into our neighborhoods... even moving into our homes where they spy on us and sell as much of our personal information that they can get their sticky webbed fingers on.

As reported in a piece in February of last year, Google Street View wasn't only taking photographs, and your Android phone can do a lot more than make calls.

Admittedly, we can simply choose to not use Google when we search the web or use
any of the products whose companies have been acquired by Google (Nest being one). And, after all, their search is "free" to use. But is it really? Or is it COSTING US BIG TIME?

In the Salon article, spokesperson is quoted as stating, “Google argues that it has the right to collect your most sensitive data, as long as it flows across an open WiFi network.” This was just after Google announced a $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, which sells WiFi-controlled home heating appliances. And, as the article further pointed out: “Now do you want to let this company inside your home?”

Google’s already in our homes,” commented PandoDaily’s Yasha Levine. “It has been in our homes for a long, long time. And not just in our homes, but at work, in our cars and even when we’re walking down the street.”

So this is more of a putting you on notice story. Or, as we in the real estate industry like to say, provide you with full disclosure. So you know what's really happening when you run that search for erectile dysfunction or home STD testing products. You are being spied on, and you and I pretty much put up with it because internet users rely on the companies and organizations doing the snooping and then selling our precious information to the world. They all do it. Yahoo, AOL, Bing.

Let me finish up with what was's main point of their piece on Google snooping: Here are four examples that undescrore Google’s corporate ethos that any data it can grab is Google’s for the taking:

1. Street View: not just street mapping. After being sued by 38 states, Google admitted last March that its weird-looking cars outfitted with roof cameras facing four directions were not just taking pictures; they were collecting data from computers inside homes and structures, including “passwords, e-mails and other personal information from unsuspecting computer users,” the New York Times reported.
2. Gmail: prying and spying. This October, a federal judge refused to dismiss a potential class-action lawsuit brought by Gmail users who objected to its practice of analyzing the content of all the messages on its network and selling byproducts to advertisers. Those suing Google said it violated federal wiretap laws.
This issue isn’t new to Google. In congressional testimony in 2009, Google’s lawyers said its email technology was used for scanning for spam, computer viruses and serving ads “within the Gmail user’s experience.” But last fall, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh held that Google never told Gmail users that Google would create personal profiles and target users with ads. Nor did people who are not Gmail users, but who were writing to Gmail addresses, agree to let Google collect and parse their messages.
3. Google Safari: not just hunting WiFi. Google’s court record includes more than just grabbing and snatching data. In early 2012, theWall Street Journal broke the story that its software was bypassing security settings for Apple devices using the Safari browser. “Google hated this [Safari’s anti-tracking features] and used a secret code to bypass this security setting,” the blog GoogleExposed wrote. “This exposed millions of Safari users to tracking for months without them even knowing about it.” In August 2012, the Federal Trade Commission fined Google $22.5 million, its largest civil fine, noting that Google also had violated previous privacy agreements.
4. Android: another data gateway. One year after the FTC fine,’s Michael Horowitz, who writes its Defensive Computing feature, noted Google was back to its old tricks. “Google knows nearly every WiFi password in the world,” he declared, explaining that was the result of backdoor access to hundreds of millions of phones and devices using its Android operating system.

So the next time your Nest thermostat kicks on your AC to cool your home, think about what else they're doing inside of your home.

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