It feels a lot like, “what goes around comes around,” at least for those of us in the search engine optimization (SEO) profession. You see, the search giant Google pretty much dictates how we do our job. Algorithm overhauls come out of nowhere and we are told to simply adapt our strategies and plans to meet Google’s changes that are for “better Internet browsing.” And that’s fine; most would agree that combating spam and viruses is a good thing. But sometimes, like dropping rel=”Author,” the change is made for financial reasons. Either way, outside of the digital universe that Google seemingly controls, there is a real world. Where courts and laws and prosecutors attempt do to the same thing: make restrictions on actions and punish those that disobey.
Google is back in court. Last month it was reported by Thoughtwire about the search engine’s ongoing legal battles in Europe and South America. The judgments and rulings have not gone in the favor of Google. Now it’s finally hit home.
“The plaintiff class argues that Google violated federal wiretapping laws when it intercepted their email and other communications during Street View data collection,” reported Greg Sterling following up on a Wall Street Journal article about the case.
That doesn’t sound good. No, that sounds absolutely deplorable. Instead of the cute little street view cars taking pictures and videos to help us better map out our lives, imagine roaming, data-collecting cyborgs that will steal your confidential and personal information.
“[Google] collected ‘payload’ data that was being sent on unsecured Wi-Fi networks when the Google cars drove by. Such data can include emails, usernames and passwords sent over the Internet,” reported Brent Kendall of The Wall Street Journal.
Google tried to challenge the class-action lawsuit, but the U.S. Supreme Court won’t consider it. Maybe Google needs even more expensive lawyers? Or maybe American freedom isn’t for sale.