Sunday, October 16

Theft by Google

A CalTech scientist recently had his data pilfered by a Spanish group, who tracked his studies to beat him to the announcement of a new planetoid in the far reaches of the Solar System. Seems the Spaniards gained access to computer files showing where the Californian was aiming his telescope, narrowing the search considerably. Their defense:

If … somebody uses Google to find publicly available information on the Internet and Google directs to a public Web page, that is perfectly legitimate. That is no hacking or spying or anything similar.

As any good Internet stalker should know. Just ask Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Update: In Monday's NYTimes, two scientists sound the alarm about the "extremely foolish" decision to make available online the genetic code to the 1918 influenza virus that killed 50 million people worldwide. Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy claim the effect is like posting the detailed plans for a weapon of mass destruction. Stick that in your Google and search it.