Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt announced today that he thinks the greatest danger to people’s privacy is not from leaks of people’s data as happened earlier this week to AOL users but rather from government snooping.
I have always worried the query stream is a fertile ground for governments to snoop on the people.
This is a very valid argument and it has to be said that it is definitely in Google’s best economic interest to ensure that no-one can access their massive databases of saved searches. The same cannot be said for Irish ISPs and telcos who are being tasked with keeping three years of log files on all their customers. There is almost no incentive for them to secure this data – it is nothing but a dead cost for them and one they wish would go away. This data will more than likely be leaked and sold time and time again by everyone from crooked GardaÃ (the Irish police) to minimum wage call centre employees.
Having said that no lock is uncrackable and if someone wants to get at Google’s databases badly enough, they will find a way. The easiest way to thwart this is not to retain the data!