Is The TikTok Google Allegation Accurate?

July 21, 2022

Good question. I know that any outfit offering a “service” has individuals who can look at data, metadata, and any other “stuff” associated with a particular entity; for example, spend limit, contacts, and geodata. Privacy and security depend on access controls. In theory, certain data are sandboxed and special approvals may be needed to get into that nifty play area. The hitch in the git along is that a system fails, a senior executive needs something now to close a big deal, a friend begs for help with such and such a problem. There’s also just the endemic “good enough” and “close enough for horse shoes” attitude which affects TV personalities interaction with Air France to a busy parent trying to buy a hamburger and shake for a hungry lacrosse player at 4 pm on a blistering day in rural Kentucky.

That means… gaps, slip ups, work arounds, and doing what’s needed to fill time or get something done fast.

I read “Nothing Is Private: TikToker Who Says She’s a Former Google Admin Warns Workers about Work Accounts.” The information in the article is about a revelation on TikTok. The problem is that I am not sure the behavior described is accurate. Heck, it could be fabricated for some clicks and maybe an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. Fame is where you find it today.

The article states as what a TikTok denizen said:

Whatever you put in that account—whether it’s emails, photos, Google Drive documents, or anything else—is not private.

Okay, clear enough.

For fun, let’s assume the Xoogler spilling the beans on the utility of having access to billions of users information is sort of true.

Shocking?

Nah.

The write up says:

that means that a company has access to all of the documents within someone’s company Google account, which can include things like email drafts, G-chats, and Google Drive uploads. This also reportedly applies to universities with student Google accounts. Furthermore, one does not have to leave the job or university for their administrators to obtain this access. “I can get into any of it,” Lauren says. “Any of it!”

Ads, folks. Ads mean money. Who can resist generating revenue, beating performance targets, and getting a big bonus. Once Google would toss in a ski trip or a mouse pad. Go for it. The incentive plan is what makes the Googlers spin.

What’s the fix? The answer is:

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Sounds like reasonable advice if deletion is indeed “real.” Data are backed up and delete usually means removing a pointer to an object in a file. Those back ups, the copies of data tables in a marketing department laptop, or the data required to whip up a projection based on use of information to spur quicker depletion of ad inventory.

Probably not deleted.

Let’s assume the write up describes something the Google does not, could not, would not, and will not do. Wow. Bullet dodged.

But… what if…? Wow. Bullets incoming.

Stephen E Arnold, July 21, 2022

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