Google’s “Privacy Rap Sheet”

Google capital G logoWe see that Google is being sued by this country and that for privacy violations as a seemingly ongoing basis these days. But did you know that this seeming disregard for privacy by Google isn’t just a recent occurrence? I don’t have anything against Google. However, their record…or “privacy rap sheet” seems to speak for itself.

Updated 3-12-2013


2013                          38 State AGs fined Google $7m for mass unauthorized collection of private WiFi data

2013                         Google Glass prompts first usage ban: Seattle bar to prevent recording private conversations

2013                         Google reversed some UK homeowner requested opt-outs from Street View in latest updates

2013                         EU found Google non-compliant with CNIL’s privacy investigation; plans sanctions this summer

2013                        Android security flaw allowed the bypass of a major Google security sign-in flaw for 7 months

2013                       Google Play found to share users’ names/emails with developers without users’ permission

2013                       F-Secure study: Android accounted for 96% of mobile malware attacks in 4Q12

2013                       Fragmentation leaves Android phones vulnerable to hackers & “smishing” consumer fraud

2012                       Google maps for iPhone default for user tracking violated EU Data Protection Law per Germany

2012                       Android app verification service misses 85% of sideloaded malware per NCSU study

2012                       Google Now’s pedometer card tracks user walking/biking distances by default without consent

2012                       Scientists test 13k Android Apps find 8% fail to protect bank and social media log-ins

2012                      US FTC fines Google record $22.5m for deception/bypassing Safari browser privacy settings

2012                      FBI Internet Crime Center warns of malware targeting Android phone operating system

2012                     Gmail users file class action accusing Google of violating California’s Invasion of Privacy Act

2012                    Google found more Australia Street View data that it did not destroy but had promised to destroy

2012                   Google did not destroy all UK Street View data that it assured UK govt. it had destroyed

2012                   Google’s UK privacy manager conflicted as he oversaw UK privacy investigation of Street View

2012                   Hacking Experts demonstrated new ways to attack and take over Android phones

2012                   Lookout report found Android toll-fraud malware creeps into cellphone bills

2012                  Google’s automated screening process missed app uploads of trojan malware for weeks

2012                  US FCC Street View WiSpy probe disproved Google story it was a rogue engineer’s mistake

2012                  Android Apps found to share personal data with advertisers without users’ knowledge

2012                  By design Android app developers don’t need user’s permission to

access users’ photos

2012                  US FCC fines Google $25k for impeding/delaying its Street View wiretapping probe

2012                 Google Drive terms of service grant Google broad rights to users’ private info in cloud

2012                Stanford researcher found Google bypassed users’ privacy protections on Apples’s browser

2012               Google Wallet shut down for week because users’ PIN to access money wasn’t private

2012               Google rejected EU request to delay new privacy policy to see if it complied with EU law

2012               Google refuses to meet with 36 US Attorneys General about objections to new privacy policy

2012               Google introduces new privacy policy without opt-out required by FTC enforcement decree

2012               EPIC asks US FTC to probe if “Search Plus Your World” violates FTC enforcement decree

2011               Google fails to fulfill its LAPD contract to ensure private/secure Gmail for law enforcement

2011              Chinese hackers accessed private Gmail accounts of US Cabinet and Defense Dept. officials

2011              Android defaults set to collect & implement network passwords without user’s permission

2011              Google abused user privacy by knowingly geo-targeting them with ads to buy illegal drugs

2011             French privacy authority fines Google $144k for Street View privacy invasion without consent

2011            Android tracks users’ movements thousands of times a day without the user’s knowledge

2011            Android’s lax security found to enable hackers easy access to users private information

2011            Google TV prevented users from installing privacy/security software for protection

2011           Google settled with US FTC over charges of Google-Buzz deceptive privacy practices

2011          Only Google made all of Wikileaks’ stolen private/secret cables publicly searchable

2011          Android’s no-curation-policy means no privacy/security by design for users private info

2011          Google enabled public download of 35 million personal profiles, adding to identity theft risk

2011          US DOJ catches Google misrepresenting it had privacy/security certifications it did not have

2011          “Doodle4Google” art contest sign-up required children to provide partial social security #s

2010         Google Street View’s unauthorized recording of private WiFi communications in 33 nations

2010         Chinese hackers stole Google’s entire password security/privacy software system

2010         Google engineer caught stalking underage teens and spying on their private chats/emails

2009         Google depends on others to discover Google’s privacy/security vulnerabilities

2009         Google’s centralization of all information creates “single-point-of-failure” for privacy/security

2009         Librarians opposed Google Book Settlement because it had no privacy protections

2008         Google opposed posting its privacy policy on its homepage as required by California law

2007         Privacy International ranked Google worst in the world for privacy for “hostility to privacy”

2007         Google Street View raised privacy concerns with public photos of private home interiors

2007         Google exposed 2,000 college students social security #s & personal info in search results

2007         Google Docs’s terms of service claims perpetual rights to users’ private material

2007         Privacy watchdogs opposed Google-DoubleClick merger on privacy grounds

2006         Poll of Google users shows that they incorrectly believe search is private/not identifiable

2006         Google publicly displayed a live feed of everyone’s private search terms in its lobby

2005         Google Earth publicly exposed aerial views of White House roof endangering its security

2004         Google chooses an “all-eggs-in-one-basket” search database design called “Big Table”

2004         Thirty-one privacy groups oppose Gmail scanning emails to target advertising personally

2004         Google desktop function exposed as big spyware risk for users compromising privacy

2002         GoogleWatch predicts: “Google is a privacy time bomb/a privacy disaster waiting to happen”

Source: Scott Cleland: President Precursor LLC; Publisher: &

Author: “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.”

Also see: “Google’s Rap Sheet” at (for antitrust, criminal & infringement offenses)

Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.

Please comment on this article; we all learn from each other when our views and opinions are shared.

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Remember, personal computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,



I’m also on Twitter, @PaulsInternet.

Images courtesy of and


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