Sorry, Richard Littlejohn, but you had your chance to kill Google
Richard Littlejohn? Exactly. But just how much of an ill-informed asshat is he? In his latest column for the Daily Mail, Littlejohn turns technology commenter and reveals a tantalising solution to Google's recent data-grabbing antics:
Littlejohn states that Tony Martin - who in 1999 was found guilty of murder, after shooting an intruder in the back as he attempted to flee Martin's farm empty-handed - should treat Google the same way, for inadvertently downloading personal information from unsecured WiFi networks.
Unsurprisingly, there are several reasons why Littlejohn's article is fantastical horseshit:
"Now it has been revealed that the [Street View] cars, which are bristling with high-tech equipment, have also been tapping into home wi-fi networks and rummaging through our PCs and laptops."
No, they haven't been doing that. Google did no such thing. The information was collected passively was from unsecured WiFi networks. Google collected and stored this information without permission; they didn't hack into home computers and deliberately search the content.
If Littlejohn had furthered his already boss-eyed analogy, then it's the equivalent of Tony Martin hauling his belongings onto the street outside his farm, leaving them unattended and then shooting anyone who attempted to pick them up.
"I don't bank online, not just because I am fortunate enough to still have a proper bank manager, rather than a computerised account wallah at a call centre in Mumbai."
That's right Richard, because to use online banking on the internet, you have to telephone staff at a call centre every time. Except no, that's not how it works at all.
Google might call it 'downloading'. I call it stealing, just as if they'd kicked in your front door. This is a matter for the police, not the Government's information quango. Officers routinely abuse anti-terror laws to confiscate the cameras of legitimate photographers taking pictures at 'sensitive' landmark sites. They'd soon stop and question anyone acting suspiciously by photographing homes at random. Yet the police have sat back and watched Google's camera cars casing every joint in Britain.
Google "stole" information in much the same way that we "steal" conversations we overhear in the pub. That is to say, they didn't steal anything. That's why the ICO are investigating and not the Police, because the concern is the collection and storage of the information.
As for Google cars "casing every joint in Britain", unless Street View is updated 24 hours a day, then it'll be less use than walking past a house and seeing whether the lights are on. Like, say, in 1999 when Tony Martin's farm was broken into. Yes, even before Street View existed, homes were still burgled.
"Only when one of these cyber criminals is sent down the steps at the old Bailey will this outrageous larceny cease. Better still, point Google in the direction of Tony Martin's farm in Norfolk. He'd soon put a stop to their little game."
Sorry Richard, but Martin has already had the chance and he didn't take the shot. With not too much trouble, thanks to the internet and all that personal information reported by the likes of newspapers, we found Tony Martin's farm on Street View. Google have already drove straight past Martin's property and he was nowhere to be seen!
Where was your saviour then, Littlejohn? WHERE?
To sum up, then - a Daily Mail columnist asking a supporter of the BNP to shoot a Google Street View car will achieve very little. Asking them to shoot an ignorant, ill-informed, thick-headed fool like Richard Littlejohn, however, would probably make for an exciting two hour special on Channel 4. That sort of thing would definitely be in the public interest.