Google and Big Brother

Google, who are fairly slow to respond to accusations about their own Big Brother-esque practices, are apparently pretty quick to do Uncle Sam’s bidding. The big question, according to Sharon at Danger Room, is whether the government has the power to force Google to comply.

The answer? Probably not. They do, of course, have the option of saying, in effect, “Cousin Vinnie would be very much pleased if you would do this little favor for him, capice?”, which is what it appears they’ve done here. Forcing Google to comply, within the confines of the law, might be trickier.

I really don’t see what the big problem is, to be honest. So you can examine street-level images of government facilities, and see barriers, and guards, and stuff? Big freaking deal! Even in the worst-case-scenario of an overwhelming number of adversaries wanting to do harm to all things American, you’re looking at a finite number of potential “targets”, and a finite number of images on Google of each one – all of them as freely availably to the government as to the “bad guys”. A couple man-hours per facility, and your counterintelligence squints are going to have identified every potential “vulnerability” – vulnerabilities which, if they exist, exist whether or not those pictures are on Google.

If the government is telling the truth about why they wanted those images removed, then they’re not only trying to practice “security through obscurity”, but doing an unimaginably bad – and stupid – job of doing so…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Security | on March 7th, 2008| Comments Off on Google and Big Brother

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