Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Google Plus will get your children murdered

Google has been busily linking all your accounts to your true identity through Google Plus and as far as they can insisting on real names. My wife was horrified when her YouTube account was revealed without her knowledge.

But it is far worse.

Today I was mapping out some mining operations controlled by people I believe to be fraudsters. I saved a Google map and by default Google made this public. This is (a) business critical and (b) as I may be mapping frauds conducted by organized crime might result in death threats or worse.

However my situation is unusual. It is commonplace that teenagers might save a google map so it is available on multiple devices.

Google Plus will make public your children's movements.

Now Larry Page might not be worried about the safety of his non-existent children but many rich people are. Asian billionaires are (justifiably) concerned about their kids being kidnapped and murdered. [It is not uncommon and I know people it has happened to.]

The idea that by accident - and without their knowledge - their movements are made public by Google Plus is frightening.

There will be kidnapping and murder.

I have at least a dozen billionaires that read this blog. Advice: hire someone, change your kids Google privacy settings. Do it now.

Google Plus has clearly overstepped the line here. It will not be long before there are unintended consequences and some enterprising politician somewhere criminalizes part of their business. They have demonstrated that they cannot be responsible adults.


PS. Long Google. Less happy about it every day.

PPS. There has been doubt expressed about this on Twitter.

I wish to prove a point.

I set up a new Google account with the name and disclosed age of a 14 year old girl (Samantha). I saved a map. I did not turn on location or anything - I just saved a map on a laptop.

Just a location at Bondi Beach. Here is the link.

And here is the screenshot shared with the public automatically:

Google should ask themselves who, other than a creep or otherwise perverted person tracks the maps of 14 year old girls? Does this company wish to aid paedophiles? Is that what "don't be evil" means?

PPPS. There has been some discussion via email on how to reproduce the results. It seems that Samantha maps (the ones linked above) are public but they are not indexed. In other words they are very hard to find unless Samantha reveals them. If however she reveals them once (say to share the address of a party) she will reveal all future maps that are public by default. Surprisingly this is true even if she has turned off all location services and set her G+ to maximum privacy.

One correspondent insists my post is inaccurate and inflammatory because Samantha has to reveal her maps once. I beg to differ. How often would a person chose to reveal one map (and otherwise turn location off)? Teenagers would do it all the time I suggest.

In the above Samantha map someone (BronteBoy) has chosen to comment. He has thus revealed all his maps. BronteBoy (who is also me) has chosen to turn all their location settings off. Saved maps are public by default. You can find this by clicking the link above. Note that BronteBoy never made location settings public and has revealed his maps. The average user would have no idea that by commenting on someone else's maps they are giving them access to all their maps.



Anonymous said...

"her YouTube account was revealed without her knowledge"

This happened to me,too. Even if the default is changed back to an alias, Google has already permanently archived a link between your Youtube alias and you real name in Google search. Just Google search the alias and recover the real name.

"I saved a Google map and by default Google made this public. "

Could you be more specific about what you mean by "save", so that I can avoid this action.

Anonymous said...

won't someone think of the billionaires?!?!
: -/

Anonymous said...

I have reduced my exposure to the GOOG by 95% and deleted all contacts.

Anonymous said...

To be fair... people who are NOT Asian billionaire fathers can have homicidal stalkers just waiting for a saved map to be revealed by an unsuspecting young family member.

Google + seems universally, viciously & carelessly crappy, to people of any & all demographics - snooty or modest, sacred or profane.

Anonymous said...

T'is great for SEO though. Bloggers next John ;).

Anonymous said...

maybe Google's another name is NSA?

Unknown said...

Also tell your children that Android phones will auto upload their photos.

What a world we live in. Where the majority no longer values their privacy, and the munority that does will find that money may not even be able to buy it.

Soon enough the gov will attempt to chip every individual with RFID chips. And its not even impossible. A huge order of Billions of bio-based RFID chips was shipped off early this year.

And now I cant even Google the disappeared newslink anymore. =(

Anonymous said...

They now FORCE you to link your youtube and google+. Take this as a warning to phase out your email, searches etc away from google or you will repent later.

Anonymous said...

Google’s Role In Woodland Child Pornography Arrest Raises Privacy Concerns

Anonymous said...

I Think you miss the point. There is an option below the tittle of the map to make it private, so if you have done public it is your fault, not Google´s. I am sure a 14 years old child will read that before publishing or saving a map.

Having said that, I recommend Billionaires and noot Billionaiers to be careful with your data online and OFFLINE

CurmudgeonlyTroll said...

I blame Facebook. They have a total disregard for privacy and were eating Google's lunch for a while, so Google decided they had to take drastic action, link all Google accounts, push Plus, and compete head-on. I hate it too, but if they hadn't done it a lot of people would also have said they were asleep at the switch.

Anonymous said...

You have discovered the rationale for a fake google identity.

Some people have a suite of fake identities - horses foir course.

So how many users/accounts are fake?

Anonymous said...

Completely agree. I think this is a bad move by Google. A few years ago I deleted my Facebook account because I felt that they no longer respected my privacy. Don't miss it at all. Since graduating University many of my peers have also deleted, deactivated, or hardly use it. I believe this will be the undoing of Facebook.

When people are young they want to share everything because they don't realize the value of privacy. However, as they mature they start to place a larger value on it. I think Facebook has the potential to degrade into little more than a forum for narcissistic teens to feed their psychological disorders.

The value proposition of Facebook (and potentially now Google) diminishes rapidly as you get older. Everything I might want to do on there can be accomplished with basic email - or even a low end handset equipped with whatsapp, bbm, or a handful of other instant messaging aps.

uair01 said...

If you're messing around with really bad people then you might find this opsec reading useful:

Absalon said...

Anyone can be a victim. I am a middle aged professional. I recently had the erstwhile, would be, but unsuccessful, male suitor of a female friend of mine decide to invade my privacy, my friend's privacy and my wife's privacy all to cause as much pain as possible (he falsely told my wife I was having an affair with my friend). The modest information I had put on Facebook helped him identify me and my wife.

Anonymous said...

My YouTube account was recently hacked by someone in Russia. The account even shows the city in Russia where numerous videos which violate decency standards were uploaded from. YouTube sent me a message in Russian which I ignored, assuming it was spam. I have never been to Russia, don't speak Russian; I don't even know a single Russian. Within a day or two my account was suspended, then terminated. I can no longer access the account. I can't seem to reach a human (email or phone). With the linkage to my Goggle account, I really am worried about what else was accessed. Google docs, spreadsheets or other things I have used for business because of the ease of access? With no access to a human to help resolve clear fraud, storing or doing anything on Goggle is a risk. I've learned my lesson; I don't use Goggle for anything anymore unless I absolutely have to.

Anonymous said...

Google does a lot of their product testing "in house" with their thousands of employees. These employees naturally are of a certain BIAS. Many are awfully smart and can figure out issues by simulating, but sometimes they just don't get it. They have previously done awful mistakes due to this.

P.S. I used to be long Google. Aren't you concerned about the NSA fallout and the impact on Google's global services?

P.S.S kids should be kept in a cave for their own safety until they are 55. This is how I feel about my toddler. Just saying. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

i have stopped using any and all google services - your blog is the only place i do anything with google (blogger). you might want to rehost?

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that my (anonymous) blog account has somehow mutated into a Google account - and that they've also linked it to my (anonymous) Youtube account.

They're becoming the Goldman Sachs of the internet, in a vampire squid sense. You have to try hard to make Microsoft look good.


Anonymous said...

Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the smartest people around in business these days and the IP in their company is unprecedented; however they are also extremely ruthless and evil; I wonder what must happen yet for all their users to understand it

FelixRay said...

The thing that makes this especially egregious is that Google is insisting that the reason for requiring real names is that it will discourage trolling. That's just manifest nonsense. Has requiring real names eliminated trolling from Facebook? Or has it armed the more malicious trolls with a powerful weapon to torment their victims, sometimes even to the point of taking their own lives? Do a search for "FACEBOOK BULLIES" to see the tip of the iceberg.


I like the new youtube comments. I can tolerate being forced to use Google Plus. Google's entitled to make money, a lot of it, for the good things they've done in the world, but there's nothing they can give or take away
that will compel me to let me use my real name on an account. When I do so, it will be my choice, and I will do it to benefit MY business model, not Google's.

These people would never willingly make their computers less secure than they now expect us to make our lives.

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