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Google Asks Property Numbers As Security Question

April 17, 2012 by rochelle in Tech with 0 Comments

Reports have indicated that tech giant Google appears to be violating privacy by asking users to identify street numbers documented by its Street View cameras.

It used to be that when a user logs in to his Google accounts, he is asked to type random letters and numbers to prove the user is human and not a bot. Reports, however, revealed that Google asks users to identify property numbers as part of its security questions.

The latest change has raised more than a few eyebrows and a lot of tongues wagging. Big Brother Watch privacy and civil liberties director Nick Pickles said that Google’s latest move is a serious privacy issue. He said that it appears Google uses the public as unwitting data loggers. He added that the move is crude and underhanded.

A spokesperson from the tech company confirmed that using house numbers as part of security questions is a trial. He, however, said that house numbers are not used all the time. Instead, it only appears 10 percent of the total security questions.

The spokesperson insisted that the move doesn’t pose any security risk. He reiterated that the company remains committed to privacy and that asking for the property number doesn’t necessarily mean asking for the complete address.

He added that getting the numbers doesn’t involve contextual, geographical nor individual information.

Over the last few years, Google has figured in several controversies concerning violations of user privacy. Just recently, the company paid US$25,000 for gathering personal data via the Street View project. The data were collected without the users’ permission and knowledge.

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