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.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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