Saturday, November 12, 2005

Re: Free city-wide Wifi

Ed S[deleted] wrote:
> At next week's City Council meeting staff will recommend entering into
> an agreement with Google to provide free wireless Internet access
> throughout Mountain View.
>
> http://www.ci.mtnview.ca.us/citygov/council/agendas/pdf/111505_7-01.pdf

Without further clarification of what Google intends to do with the information they garner from the users of this service, I think this proposal should be roundly rejected. Don't get me wrong, I certainly find Google's search services invaluable as a user, but the thought of that corporation having the opportunity to inspect the content of everything a user does on the Internet concerns me greatly.

For current users of Google Search, every single query made to the database is logged with a unique identifier. These searches and their associated unique identifier are retained indefinitely. Will the company do the same with every URL visited via their network? Every email message sent or received? Will their index grow to contain any files offered on users' individual computers (likely through accidental misconfiguration)?

There are many things Google could do, or not do, with the information they garner through this service. Considering the company is built on gathering information, I believe the company should be up front about their plans for that information before the city enters into an agreement with them.

Todd

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