The #Google privacy failure continues

Photo owned by Derek Caiden (cc)

I had thought the Recommended Items feature in Google Reader was actually quite a good idea when it was introduced. Lately though there’s a sense that my Google account isn’t that secure any more, especially with the advent of Buzz (which I quickly disabled). Then today I came across a recommended post that I’m going to quote some of below:

I use my private Gmail account to email my boyfriend and my mother.

There’s a BIG drop-off between them and my other “most frequent” contacts.

You know who my third most frequent contact is?

My abusive ex-husband.

Which is why it’s SO EXCITING, Google, that you AUTOMATICALLY allowed all my most frequent contacts access to my Reader, including all the comments I’ve made on Reader items, usually shared with my boyfriend, who I had NO REASON to hide my current location or workplace from, and never did.

[…]Fuck you, Google. My privacy concerns are not trite. They are linked to my actual physical safety, and I will now have to spend the next few days maintaining that safety by continually knocking down followers as they pop up. A few days is how long I expect it will take before you either knock this shit off, or I delete every Google account I have ever had and use Bing out of fucking spite.

Fuck you, Google. You have destroyed over ten years of my goodwill and adoration, just so you could try and out-MySpace MySpace.

I can see in Reader that the post has over 200 comments, so I clicked on the post to read some of the reactions to get this:


So a private post about Google’s compromised privacy has shown up publicly in Google Reader. That’s kind of metafail.

And I get the feeling this is cascading beyond Google’s ability to keep up with it.

2 thoughts on “The #Google privacy failure continues”

  1. I already sent Alan a DM on Twitter, but for anyone reading this – a private blog on doesn’t have a feed. Anonymous users like a Google Reader reader can’t see the feed because it’s private.

    The blogger in question must have made her blog private after she made that post. Unfortunately Google Reader cached it. If she had left the post there and simply removed the content I think Google would probably have replaced their cached version.

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