[LINK] Regulate Google says Australian public

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Mar 23 10:41:27 AEDT 2011

[interesting to see Michelle Grattan writing for the Tech section]

"Google should be regulated: survey
Michelle Grattan
March 23, 2011

Nearly two-thirds of Australians believe internet 
search engine Google should be subject to 
government regulation on issues such as personal privacy.

While people overwhelmingly (84 per cent) have a 
positive view of Google, and most (58 per cent) 
say it does not have too much power, polling by 
opinion research company UMR also has found significant concerns.

Google this week received its first ever fine — 
from France's privacy watchdog — for improperly 
gathering and storing data for its Street View 
application. Apart from a 100,000 euros fine, the 
New York Times reports that Google was criticised 
for continuing to breach privacy rules in 
relation to a mobile app which lets users 
broadcast their location and pinpoint where friends are.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner was among one 
of many countries' privacy agencies to 
investigate the Street View service which picked 
up information from private Wi-Fi networks as 
Street View cars drove about. [AND did nothing about it, unlike the French]

Google said the collection of this information 
had been inadvertent — it only intended to 
collect publicly broadcast Wi-Fi network data via 
Street View cars to improve location-based services like search and maps.

Just under one-third (32 per cent) of Australians 
believe Google manipulates search results for its 
own benefit, while fewer than half (45 per cent) 
in the poll of 1000, taken March 11-16, say it 
does a good job respecting people's privacy, with 
13 per cent saying it does a bad job and 42 per 
cent unsure. Nearly seven in 10 would oppose 
Google, which gets requests for data, passing on 
Australian information to US intelligence or law enforcement agencies. [70%!]

Overall 63 per cent believe Google should be 
regulated; Labor voters are marginally more 
likely than Coalition supporters to believe that 
Google should be subject to government regulation 
(69-64 per cent). Those under 30 are least likely 
to favour regulation (50 per cent).

John Utting, UMR managing director, said there 
were "warning signs" that Australians' honeymoon 
with Google could turn to acrimony. "Despite 
Google's solid profile, a privacy breach or the 
like could lead to a rapid erosion in its 
standing. If Google wants to maintain its 
position, one strategy would be to embark on a 
program that demonstrates more transparency in its operations", he said.

A spokeswoman for Google said there was no comment on the survey.

Google says it maintains "industry leading 
standards" of protection of personal information, 
applying these standards globally, not in 
response to the differing levels of national 
regulatory protection of privacy of individuals. 
it has to comply with local laws."


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the 
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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