Google is moving backward from its slogan of “Don’t Be Evil.” Earlier this month, the technology giant was fined $25,000 for collecting sensitive information from Wi-Fi networks as it gathered photographs for its street-view feature on Google Maps. Also, a lawsuit claiming Google infringed on patents relating to voice control on mobile devices was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver this week.
Because it really is a technology giant, Google feels it has a right to take information belonging to others, whether it is personal information gathered over Wi-Fi networks or patents created and filed by very small companies several years ago. Google aims to make the world better by having all the information it can get, whether or not it shares that information with the world.
The FCC blames Google for collecting personally sensitive information over open Wi-Fi networks while building its “street view” feature on its mapping service. Google, of course, denies any wrong-doing, and claims the FCC took so long to complete an investigation on the issue that Google agreed to a months-long extension so the agency’s legal time limit for finishing the investigation wouldn’t end.
Potter Voice Technologies, a small company out of Brighton, Colorado, filed a patent more than ten years ago on voice control technologies for mobile devices. This technology is so similar to voice control features on Google devices that, Potter decided to sue Google (along with other technology giants Apple, Sony, and Samsung) for violating the patent on file when at least some of those companies knew of its existence.
Google’s main legal infraction is taking information that does not belong to it as a company. Whether personal information is involved or intellectual property is at stake, to keep its upper hand on the internet age, Google must learn to ask permission and play nice with others and their sensitive information. The company would probably pay less money to buy information and license an existing patent than it will in fines and lawsuit settlements.
Let me clarify: I am an avid Google user. Google organizes my life: I have my email, my calendar, a file of Google documents, the ability to shop on Google, and I find directions through Google Maps. I want Google to be around to keep my life together, but the company needs to get its behavior together to minimize the damage to its reputation and potential major loss of users. “Don’t be evil,” Google.
Articles used for this blog entry:
Google Fires Back on FCC WiFi Investigation
Tiny Brighton Company Sues Apple and Google over Siri