Messaging Blogger again today If you visit Blogger, it says I have no blogs, which is correct. I deleted all of them in 2009. However, if you visit Google Dashboard, it claims I have one. This is not a miscount: when I approached Google about this a few years ago, it admitted it held on to data of a blog. The staff member then told me the name of the blog, which was one I had no connection with whatsoever. The situation remains in the air.
It took Google seven days to stop blacklisting our sites, when it claimed it would take several hours. It took Google six months to restore a friend’s blog, when it claimed it would take two days. Google tracked your advertising preferences even if you opted out, and it got away with this deception for several years till I exposed it to the NAI. It took Google four years to remove my Adsense details after I cancelled my account there. This is nudging ﬁve years now. I wonder if it will be resolved this decade.
The settings that cannot be changed on Google Plus
Unless I don’t know how to use Google, which is unlikely since I have been web surfing for longer than most people, here are the Google Plus proﬁle settings you cannot change. Even if you press ‘Save’, you can come back, and Google will put things back to where it wanted things to be. So if you don’t want Google broadcasting information about you, don’t give it to them.
The tagline is public, but at least Google admits you can’t change it. So leave it blank if you don’t want the public to have one.
The following are always set to public. I have left all of them blank because regardless of what settings I use, I go back to that page, and Google has changed them back to its own default:
Links (other profiles, contributor to, links)
These are set to different things:
Looking for—set to ‘Extended circles’
Contact information (home and work)—set to ‘Your circles’
If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather be on Facebook. At least they don’t pretend to be all nice and warm fuzzies.
Typical Say you have Google Plus (unwillingly). It has a ﬁeld marked ‘Public’. You want to keep this private, so you select ‘Only You’, then you click ‘Save’. What does this do? Absolutely nothing. Google will keep certain privacy settings public. It’s the same for most of the proﬁle categories in Google Plus. Unless there’s some sort of trick that you do to make sure Google respects your privacy (I know that’s highly unlikely, mind).
YouTube spam Never mind if you have turned off all your emails in YouTube. Google will still spam you, because there’s another window that’s hidden. Why Google doesn’t include this on the page with all the other email notiﬁcations is beyond me. It begs the question: how many other hidden windows are on YouTube? Wait for the next spam and ﬁnd out.
Google will always use you in marketing: you have no say Very dutifully, the moment Google Plus announced its shared endorsement settings, I turned mine off. There was no way that I would permit Google Plus to use me for its marketing. What you have no say over: Google Plus using you for its marketing. OK, so it’s not a search result, but it’s still dodgy behaviour since I had never given Google permission to use my name in connection with spamming my friends.
And, really, Google? Are you sure you want to do this? I’m about as positive toward you as Mel Gibson is toward promoting a synagogue.
In my Google Dashboard Google has always had problems with counting. Apparently I have three contacts in Google, none of which are mine. It has regularly miscounted the number of blogs I have (none, still reported as one after the last was deleted in 2009), the number of Adsense accounts (none, usually reported as one), and groups (one, presently reported as 16).
The major driver of the GCSB bill has been the improper use of the agency by John Key. This bill was thrown together on the ﬂy to cover the PM’s embarrassment arising from his misuse of GCSB resources to spy on Kim Dotcom. With an honest PM, the legislation might not be problematic—but Key makes personal and intemperate use of the GCSB. He is therefore incapable of providing impartial oversight to the GCSB, and that leaves this bill fatally ﬂawed. It will have to be scrapped, and the current GCSB will have to be disestablished in favour of a more scrupulous organisation.
On Q&A this morning, the PM made his case for the GCSB amendments. First, he dismissed criticism as misinformed or politically aligned. On this issue, none of the people I heard addressing the public meeting or the march sounded misinformed. In fact, none of the expert testimony I have heard or read seemed misinformed. Quite the contrary. As for politically aligned, if opinions are to be dissed for their political alignment, presumably the National Government, indeed Key himself, would have to recuse themselves from the debate for their political alignment (only Peter Dunne could express an opinion via this logic, for as we know, he has no political alignment). Then the PM went to say that if we were to host big events like the Rugby World Cup, we need adequate security laws. Fair point. Well, it would have been had the Rugby World Cup not actually gone off without a hitch under the existing legislation. Then he said we needed to get our laws in line with those of our allies. Debatable. Well, it would have been had New Zealand not, all by itself and with the extreme disapproval of its allies, adopted staunch anti-nuclear laws that prevent the visits of US warships. So quite what the man was banging on about on Q&A this morning beyond fear-mongering propaganda, I’m not sure. When it comes down to it, the threat that he’s so concerned about is economic (I doubt he’s considered your physical well-being). Kim Dotcom’s crime, whatever it is, is economic. He didn’t kill anyone, or rape them or fly anything into anything else. Ostensibly (and deportably; I’m talking FBI armed-raid-on-you-house-ably), he breached someone’s copyright. This whole issue is about security only to the extent it’s about securing some people’s right to print money. And I far as I’m concerned, my right to privacy, like Dotcom’s, and like yours and your children’s children right trumps this any day, every day and forever more.
How typical of Google This is not the ﬁrst time this has happened. Despite switching off my YouTube history countless times, I have a YouTube history. It includes at least ﬁve videos (above) that I have never seen before. So not only is it inaccurate, it goes against my privacy preferences. This is nothing new with Google. I despise them for lying about respecting the user, by giving us false opt-out options. As Edward Snowden has shown us, no wonder these crooks never get prosecuted for the privacy breaches that I and others have exposed over the years.
You can’t come forward against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they’re such powerful adversaries. No one can meaningfully oppose them. If they want to get you, they’ll get you in time. But at the same time you have to make a determination about what it is that’s important to you.
And if living unfreely but comfortably is something you’re willing to accept—and I think many of us are, it’s the human nature—you can get up every day, you can go to work, you can collect your large paycheck for relatively little work, against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching your shows.