Google, Hadopi and hypocrisy
France is getting terribly upset. It appears that Google has resumed its Street View filming too soon. According to Reuters (Mon Aug 23)
France’s National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) said it was “premature” for Google to restart its collection of street images, given that its investigation of those activities is still not complete.
After Google admitted on May 14 that its Street View cars had collected not just photos but also communications data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks as they drove around, CNIL ordered Google to stop collecting such data without the knowledge of those concerned. The CNIL said it wanted to make sure Google did not collect such data illegally in future, and to provide CNIL with information about the way it collected such data for use in its Street View service. Google gave CNIL access to the data on June 4.
Now, let me see… Is this the same France that values its citizens’ privacy so much that it appears to be on the verge of installing spyware on their computers? According to EDRI (the European Digital Rights organization)
Hadopi (the French Authority for the implementation of the 3 strikes law) did not make public the document regarding the draft specifications of the security measures for the Internet (part of the three strikes system), although the document should lay at the basis of a public consultation.
However, under the pretext that the document was a preparatory one, the authority decided to treat it as confidential. The website Numerama.com has made the document public on the basis of the right to information and having in view that a public consultation should rely on a public document and not a confidential one.
According to the document, French Internet users could soon be required to install spyware on their PCs tracking down their searching habits and analysing the applications installed on their PCs, in order to prevent “file-sharing piracy”.
See Exclusif : le document secret de l’Hadopi sur les moyens de sécurisation for further information (if you read French).
To be fair, although this comment is specifically about France, just about every government in the world is hypocritical in its attitude towards personal privacy. Except perhaps Britain and China. Neither of those countries make much pretence about caring about their people’s rights at all: and are therefore innocent of hypocrisy.