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Google Privacy Principles: where does CISPA fit in?
President Obama's veto threat of the House Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) should have made news. The actual existence of CISPA should make news. It's a phenomenally sweeping bill that would give private companies broad immunity for collecting and sharing all kinds of private data about customers: the emails we send and receive, the websites we visit, who we talk to online, what information we store online, in the cloud.

That immunity, and the violation of privacy that it would allow, is one of the primary reasons that President Obama opposes the bill, with the Office of Management and Budget spelling it out in their veto threat: the bill "inappropriately shields companies from any suits where a company's actions are based on cyber threat information identified, obtained, or shared under this bill, regardless of whether that action otherwise violated Federal criminal law or results in damage or loss of life."

Despite the relatively rare veto threat, and despite the unprecedented sweep of the bill, traditional media has barely registered its existence, writes The Nation's Ari Melber.

Obama has not publicly explained why civil liberties concerns played such a strong role in his position on this bill, especially in contrast to telecom immunity, let alone his policies on assassination and drone attacks. The president has not been asked, either, which may provide one clue to the politics at play.

Even after passing the House, the White House press pool has never asked a single question about CISPA at the daily press briefing, let alone in discussion with the president or senior officials. Out of all public transcripts and statements, there is only a single CISPA reference on the White House website, from the administration’s proactive policy announcement. (There are over seventy references to “long form birth certificate,” to compare another topic.)  In standoffs between civil liberties and national security claims, sometimes it’s easiest to do the right thing when no one is paying attention.

There's a way to change that, and a way to help hold President Obama to his promise to veto this bill on civil liberties grounds. Make it an issue. Make people pay attention. Granted, that's a challenging proposition, given a traditional media consumed by the personalities and not the issues in this election (as usual). It's made doubly hard by the fact that it's a technology issue, which automatically makes it too complex for most traditional media reporters to want to think about, much less start asking questions.

We faced that problem in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act, too. And how it was surmounted then was by getting Google involved. When Google went black, it made news, because Google is big enough to make news. Right now, Google won't give a public position on the bill, though they quietly lobbied, for something, in the House. They've got very good reason to oppose this bill: they've got more to lose than almost any other company because of the millions of users who use Google services to store their information. What happens when all those customers realize the information they put into the cloud could go straight to the National Security Agency, or any other government agency, with none of their identifying information stripped out? Google isn't going to look so good for not protecting their customers.

It's in Google's best interest not to be evil on this one, and to join the opposition. Let's see if we can get them to do it.

Tell Google: "Don't be evil. Take a public stand in opposition to CISPA."

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:06:44 AM PDT

  •  Google SHOULD be embarrassed over this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, annieli

    We should remind them of it at every opportunity.

    (...& start using startpage...)

  •  It's my understanding that Google supports CISPA. (6+ / 0-)

    And why wouldn't they?  They are not a tech company.  They are a marketing company.  We are not their customers.  We are their product.  They deliver us to their customers, who are advertisers.
    They use technology to do this.  "Hey! Want to have a handy tool to find anything on your computer (and you don't have a Mac with Spotlight?)  Let us index your entire hard drive!" so they can sell the information they find to their customers.  How about a free e-mail service?  An operating system for your phone?  C'mon, it's all free! And our slogan is "Don't be evil."  So what have you got to fear?
    Google is currently in hot water for lying about how their Google Map and Google Earth vehicles also snoop for unguarded Wi-Fi connections, downloading every bit of information they can.

    Who says government supplied healthcare can't be wonderful? It gave Dick Cheney a heart, didn't it?

    by jazzmaniac on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:50:04 PM PDT

    •  exactly right ! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      big badda boom : GRB 080913

      by squarewheel on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:25:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We aren't just a product, we have pricetags! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's indeed important to remember that WE are the product now. We are sold to advertisers and partners. Just doing things like searching on Google increases your worth, because they can target you better. (Not to mention all the personal data Facebook can glean...)

      The valuations vary...

      You Earn Facebook An Average Of $1.21 Per Quarter

      And other sources value us at about $125 per user. That's just simple math, dividing an IPO of around $1B by their userbase of around 800M.

      Yeah, the numbers are a bit fuzzy, but we are essentially products with pricetags for Google, Facebook, and the like.

      If CISPA passes, our value as a product goes up, so there's no reason for them to oppose it...other than the user backlash that's unfortunately failing to materialize.

      •  Er, that's $100B of course... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I bet we still have internal pricetags of a sort. I'm sure there are metrics for each user on how valuable that user is.

        For example, I have my search history disabled on Google, so I'm probably worth less to them than a user with the default of having your history enabled. (Since they can target ads better with all that search history.)

  •  If Wall Street is backing away (0+ / 0-)

    from contributing to Obama does that make Hollywood's money more important?

  •  The Google is a 900 lb gorilla (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Takes a lot of pushing to overcome its inertia.

    "Oh, I guess so . . . " will likely be the result we get, but hey, keep on pushing.

    Sometimes . . . I feel . . . like a redneck with chopsticks . . . Dreaming of squirrel while I'm sucking down squid . . .

    by Pale Jenova on Sat May 05, 2012 at 09:49:10 AM PDT

  •  I've already switched to DuckDuckGo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and am very happy with it - I especially love that the dictionary info shows up in full without clicking.

    I go to Google still for images, but that's about it.

    Just Fyi.

    TPM on DuckDuckGo

    "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

    by Unduna on Sat May 05, 2012 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

  •  GOOGLE is into making money. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

    by orlbucfan on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:07:52 AM PDT

  •  Google CHANGED it's privacy policies a few months (0+ / 0-)

    ago at the beginning of 2012.  I don't think that 2010 video is totally s operative any more.  

    Google made a big deal about these changes
    Last modified: March 1, 2012

    Information we share

    We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google unless one of the following circumstances apply:

    With your consent

    We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

    With domain administrators

    If your Google Account is managed for you by a domain administrator (for example, for Google Apps users) then your domain administrator and resellers who provide user support to your organization will have access to your Google Account information (including your email and other data). Your domain administrator may be able to:

    view statistics regarding your account, like statistics regarding applications you install.
    change your account password.
    suspend or terminate your account access.
    access or retain information stored as part of your account.
    receive your account information in order to satisfy applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.
    restrict your ability to delete or edit information or privacy settings.
    Please refer to your domain administrator’s privacy policy for more information.

    For external processing

    We provide personal information to our affiliates or other trusted businesses or persons to process it for us, based on our instructions and in compliance with our Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.

    For legal reasons

    We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google if we have a good-faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to:

    meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.
    enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations.
    detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.
    protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.
    We may share aggregated, non-personally identifiable information publicly and with our partners – like publishers, advertisers or connected sites. For example, we may share information publicly to show trends about the general use of our services.

    If Google is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, we will continue to ensure the confidentiality of any personal information and give affected users notice before personal information is transferred or becomes subject to a different privacy policy.

    Information security

    We work hard to protect Google and our users from unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of information we hold. In particular:

    We encrypt many of our services using SSL.
    We offer you two step verification when you access your Google Account, and a Safe Browsing feature in Google Chrome.
    We review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorized access to systems.
    We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process it for us, and who are subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations and may be disciplined or terminated if they fail to meet these obligations.

    Our Privacy Policy applies to all of the services offered by Google Inc. and its affiliates, including services offered on other sites (such as our advertising services), but excludes services that have separate privacy policies that do not incorporate this Privacy Policy.

    Our Privacy Policy does not apply to services offered by other companies or individuals, including products or sites that may be displayed to you in search results, sites that may include Google services, or other sites linked from our services. Our Privacy Policy does not cover the information practices of other companies and organizations who advertise our services, and who may use cookies, pixel tags and other technologies to serve and offer relevant ads.

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:17:38 AM PDT

  •  I can't believe that people still refer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to "the don't be evil" line.

    they put that in as a joke.

    they're going to be just as evil as is "legal", fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders, etc...

    if CISPA doesn't hurt the bottom line they will support it, so the only strategy is to make sure that it's going to hurt the bottom line.  Stop using google, that's your only hope.

    99% of the people using google don't know what cispa is, and even if they knew they wouldn't care.

    sorry - I understand the desire to something, anything to fight hese sorts of incursions on privacy, but at this point they are so widespread that we, the people have already lost.

    still care about your privacy ? You better get familiar with anonymous proxies and strong encryption.

    the corporate states of america have already won this battle, and they'll keep at it because they're immortal, have lots of lawyers and own both parties.

    anybody see this ? wiretap ready websites
    or this ? FBI returns stolen servers

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:24:10 AM PDT

  •  This is rich!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All this outrage after Google punked the public into believing falsehoods and lies about SOPA/PIPA so that they can continue to exploit other peoples IP without compensating them in many cases.  Many on here bought the Google propaganda hook, line and sinker without even knowing it.

    Both Google and facebook support CISPA.  Both were full of shit in the SOPA debate and they are full of shit now.

    Right man, right job and right time

    by Ianb007 on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:27:02 AM PDT

    •  You Sure You're On The Right Site? (0+ / 0-)

      Accusing the other side of "nonsense and lies" without any evidence whatsoever sounds Republican to me.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:42:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i have no idea what the "right" side (0+ / 0-)

        is to you.  I am on the side of song writers, writers, actors and movie makers and all the millions workers who bust their asses everyday in the making of entertainment and IP in general.

        Whose side are you on?

        Right man, right job and right time

        by Ianb007 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:57:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be the anti-SOPA side, then.... (0+ / 0-)

          On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

          by stevemb on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:25:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. That would be the pro SOPA side (0+ / 0-)

            Anyone who believes that being anti-Sopa is being pro the creative professionals has sadly fallen victim to Google massive misinformation campaign on what SOPA actually did.   Google et al will support or oppose any bill that is financially beneficial to them.  Whether it screws over artists and writers or the public.  Hence their support for this bill.  

            I am willing to bet that that Google will not have a "blackout" day in protest of this bill.  

            Right man, right job and right time

            by Ianb007 on Sun May 06, 2012 at 03:30:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, puh-leeze (0+ / 0-)

              Since you have failed to actually identify any of this supposed "misinformation", I consider myself verified in my initial conculusion -- you're just spewing the sort of BS name-calling one would expect to find on FreeRepublic, not here.

              On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

              by stevemb on Mon May 07, 2012 at 06:36:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

                Misinformation myths

                1) SOPA would censor legit sites like Daily Kos and Youtube and could close them down

                Not true Sopa only applied to foreign rouge sites.

                2) SOPA would give copyright holders power to shut down sites or stop Ad networks and payment networks from doing business with them without due process.

                Not true All remedies in SOPA go through federal courts with all the standard civil procedures in place.

                3) SOPA would be abused to shut down sites for political ideas or speech.

                BS on two fronts. SOPA does not have any provision to shut down any sites neither foreign and domestic, legit or rogue.

                Secondly SOPA did not apply to domestic sites because all the legal tools to go after domestic sites are already in place.

                4)  SOPA was a power grab by the MPAA and the RIAA

                SOPA was supported by large alliance of entities from trade unions to the Better business Bureau, from the 50 state attorney generals to creative independents.

                That's just a few of the myths.

                Right man, right job and right time

                by Ianb007 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 01:17:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmmm... Who To Trust... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...1)over 100 legal experts sounding the alarm...

                  While there are some differences between SOPA and PROTECT-­IP, nothing in SOPA makes any effort to address the serious constitutional, innovation, and foreign policy concerns that we expressed in that letter. Indeed, in many respects SOPA is even worse than PROTECT-­IP. Among other infirmities, it would:
                  •Redefine the standard for copyright infringement on the Internet, changing the definition of inducement in a way that would not only conflict with Supreme Court precedent but would make YouTube, Google, and numerous other web sites liable for copyright infringement.
                  •Allow the government to block Internet access to any web site that "facilitated" copyright or trademark infringement -- a term that the Department of Justice currently interprets to require nothing more than having a link on a web page to another site that turns out to be infringing.
                  •Allow any private copyright or trademark owner to interfere with the ability of web sites to host advertising or charge purchases to credit cards, putting enormous obstacles in the path of electronic commerce.
                  ...or 2)some guy on the intertubes saying to roll over and go back to sleep?

                  On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                  by stevemb on Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:30:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Google and CISPA (0+ / 0-)

    go together like peas and carrots. They're no longer a search engine. The SERPs are now a flimsy vehicle for ads they serve up by tracking your travels around the web, watching where you go, and serving up "interest-based advertising" generated from the data they collect on you. The New York Times just did a fine article on this and they actually dare to point the finger at Google as a primary offender.

    “The worst part is they sell this extremely creepy intrusion as a great boon to your life because they can tailor services to your needs,” said Paul Ohm, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder who specializes in information privacy and computer crime. “But do most people want to give that much away? No.”
    It was Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, who famously said,
    "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
    Google isn't the same company it was before it went public. With hungry shareholders to appease, snooping in your life has become its raison d'etre.
  •  Google is neutral, while Facebook supports CISPA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Facebook support:

    Microsoft support:

    Yet Dkos isn't using the front page to pressure Facebook or Microsoft; and happily has a "Find us on Facebook" plugin on the front page right column; and is using "share this on Facebook" as part of the followup process for its action alerts.  The true facepalm here is that by participating in this pressure-Google campaign, many Dkos readers are helping to build the walled garden and market power of a company that DOES support CISPA.

    If Dkos is going to use front page space to lobby on this issue, it might be better to call out the actual bad actors rather than attacking the neutral actors.

    •  It bothers me too...but what's the alternative? (0+ / 0-)

      It does trouble me, as well, that DK is extensively using Facebook while actively opposing Facebook!

      Except, we've allowed ourselves to be built up into this product, a walled garden as you aptly put it, and we'd just hurt ourselves by not using Facebook. And it's not like it'd make a dent in their revenue that they'd care about.

      The problem is that there are no alternatives, because we've let ourselves be "owned" by Facebook. At least there are some alternatives with Google and the like, but they don't have any better policies.

      I guess the alternative is to not use them. I still use Google, but no Gmail and with the search history and other crap disabled.

      I can't recall the last time I logged into Facebook, which is really the only alternative there.

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