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Dear Google: WTF

February 11, 2010

So Google Buzz launched yesterday. My first response was that the name is dumb, though not as bad as iPad. Today I read this post over at Isis the Scientist. Then Ned showed me this thing, where the mobile version allows you to post your location, and read some more posts. And mentally I predicted that it’d take about 24 hours (from this afternoon when I was reading about privacy concerns) for me to read a story of a woman in danger because of this.
I was wrong
Try six hours.
Harriet Jacobs, over at Fugitivus, hasn’t had it so easy. Her father was abusive, and she ran away from him to an abusive husband. This man beat her, emotionally abused her, and raped her. Harriet eventually made it away, and is now living in a different city and trying to put her life together (can’t say "back together" ’cause the impression I get is that it never was in the first place). She’s learning to deal with some crippling social phobias, as well as depression and I think some PTSD type symptoms. She’s got herself a job, and an apartment in a good neighborhood, and good healthcare and a shrink and everything. She thought she was safe.
Then Google decided that it didn’t need to ask before releasing info.
Here’s where Harriet’s thoughts are tonight: (Trigger warning, her blog is pretty explicit about her past, so be aware that any of the above may be mentioned in any post)Fuck you, Google.

And so, a letter:
Dear Google,
WTF. Privacy issues are real and cause real danger. Automatically sharing locations, interests, posts, connections, ANYTHING, can be a catalyst for stalkers, crazy exs, and dangerous people to come out of the woodwork. I thought you’d been watching as Facebook fucked up time and time again, but apparently not. This shouldn’t be news, asshats.
Yours,
Marie

(how is it that I feel like livejournal is going to keep my info safer than Google…that says something.)
My thoughts are with Harriet and others tonight. As someone who has had a glancing acquaintance with a creepy ex, I can’t imagine how she’s sleeping, or eating, let alone getting ready for work tomorrow. Geek Feminism has some more thoughts on this.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 13, 2010 3:51 am

    Giant fail on google’s part. I’d expect something like that from facebook but it saddens me that google was that stupid.

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