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EFF warns of Google hacker threat

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning people not to use Google's newest desktop search product, saying it provides a "convenient one-stop-shop for hackers" who've gotten a user's Google password.


The new search tool allows consumers who regularly use multiple PCs to search all of those systems simultaneously, even when they are not connected to the Internet. But EFF says that feature makes personal data "more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants."

Google has included some privacy protection measure to the feature, allowing users to screen out specific files or folders and promising to delete any copies of the files from its servers within 30 days and encrypt the data.

But recent legal tussles over Google's search records were enough to scare the EFF off using the system. Still, that wasn't enough to convince everyone in the blogging world.

Blog community response:

"The bottom-line is that we currently have a say, and we do not have to use Google Desktop or that feature in Google Desktop. Also be aware that this feature is NOT turned on by default. If enabled, data is kept only for 30 days if not accessed, Google says."
--Search Engine Watch

"While the EFF is right that Google's latest features present new legal and privacy problems for users, you can see in the comments at Slashdot that there is a lot of FUD being spread around, since so many people do not understand the intricacies of the situation. Since it isn't in the EFF's interest to correct them, maybe Google could do a better job calming down users over these concerns?"

"Still, the idea of Google storing such user data, even for a limited period of time, turns my gut"
--Good Morning Silicon Valley