More on Catawba and Google

A quick update: first, the Newton Police say that there wasn't a crime. Publishing personal information can create civil liability, but the Folks in Blue don't get involved unless someone steals the information. Of course, the impression Catawba County Schools seem to want to project is that Google did steal this information, but as I said before, that theory doesn't seem to hold water.

Second, something from the initial Hickory Daily Record article that I chose to ignore the first time around came back to me while I was showering for work, and now it's really bugging me. CCS's top tech officer said this: "One of the students on the list had a presence on the Web. ... In Google’s effort to get information on her, one of its spiders latched onto her name in this document."

Say what now? Are they looking to lay some blame for their security failures on one of their students? For having "a presence on the Web"? The facts aren't all out there yet, but CCS seems bound and determined to take zero responsibility for the unauthorized release of student social security numbers.

Comments

OK, Lance, For those of us computer dummys...

Which is the better search engine to use, and safer? Google, Yahoo,MSN??? Right now Im useing Google with no problems.

I'm not sure that any are safer than the others

I use Google, too. But Google does offer a few additional applications—like Google Desktop or Google Toolbar—that do use personal information if you let them. They're pretty good about explaining what's going on and asking you twice if you really want to use them. There could be a privacy risk there for someone who uses those extra programs and doesn't read the warnings. Otherwise, though, just using the Google search page puts you at a level of risk that's normal on the web and generally acceptable.

Now, using BlueNC, on the other hand.... :)

An example of "Let's Just Assume Google's Guilty"

Here's an NBC affiliate's website that contains sentences like "This is a serious offence by Google, as ID thieves can open credit accounts and obtain government documents via this information."

They don't explain why they find it to be more likely that Google has people hacking into middle school DocuShare servers than that the CCS tech folks didn't secure their data.

Easier to attack the big guys...

This is barely a blip on their radar screen.



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Matt Drudge..

..has picked up the story. I wouldn't want to be Catawba today, though I wouldn't mind being the W-S journal. Their ad revenue from the traffic spike will probably quadruple this week.

Good find guys, by the way.

Some Sense Said

Somebody is making sense!

"It is completely ridiculous," said Search Engine Watch's Barry Schwartz in a brief interview. "Google cannot index pages behind password forms." Schwartz said that the data may have been accidentally published on the Web, or that a page was published that contained the password embedded in a hyperlinked URL.

Google Watch : It's 2006. Has Google Indexed Your Kid's Social Security # Lately?