In line with its global Cloud infrastructure expansion plans, Google has revealed its first private transAtlantic subsea cable project designed to bring high-bandwidth, low-latency and highly secure Cloud connections between the US and Europe.
Named Dunant, after Henri Dunant, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Red Cross, the cable is expected to become available in late 2020, Google’s Strategic Negotiator Jayne Stowell wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Google picked undersea communications technology firm TE SubCom to design, manufacture and lay the cable for Dunant.
“This cable crosses the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia Beach in the US to the French Atlantic coast, and will expand our network – already the world’s largest — to help us better serve our users and customers,” Stowell said.
Google earlier became the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable with its investment in the Curie cable.
“Cables are often built to serve a very specific route. When we build privately, we can choose this route based on what will provide the lowest latency for the largest segment of customers,” Stowell said while offering the rationale behind the decision to build Dunant privately.
“In this case, we wanted connectivity across the Atlantic that was close to certain data centres, but the reasons could also include the ability to land in certain countries, or to connect two places that were previously underserved, such as was the case with Curie,” Stowell added.
Google also took into consideration factors such as capacity and bandwidth for the decision. (IANS)
A day after reports surfaced that certain Google apps track your whereabouts even when you turn off location data, experts on Tuesday expressed concerns about the practice, stressing that location and identity data can be used for both good and bad.
The Associated Press on Monday ran a story saying an investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store users’ location data even if the users explicitly used a privacy setting forbidding that.
Researchers from Princeton University confirmed the findings.
According to Tim Mackey, Technical Evangelist at the US-based tech company Synopsys, it has been widely understood for some time that tech giants like Google use data supplied through the use of their services as part of their efforts to personalize the experience.
“There is a basic saying when it comes to most technology — ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. For practical purposes, this supply of personal data has been part of the virtual fees we pay to companies in exchange for ‘free’ access to the services provided,” Mackey told IANS.
“With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU now in effect and regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) on the horizon, companies collecting personal data need to reassess their use of personal data,” he noted.
In a statement given to IANS, Google said that “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete or turn it off at any time.
“As the (AP) story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions,” said Google.
But just turning off Location History doesn’t solve the purpose. In Google Settings, pausing “Web and App Activity” may do the trick.
However, according to the information on Google’s Activity Control page, “Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session”.
According to Mackey, since we’re talking about consumer-level services, the expectation of the consumer for an “off switch” is what matters most.
“Users wishing their location be kept private indicate this preference through the ‘Location history’ setting. If vendors placed themselves in the shoes of a consumer and respected the setting, managing consent under regulations like GDPR would be simpler and the user’s expectations would be met,” Mackey emphasised.
According to Jesse Victors, Software Security Consultant at Synopsys, when Google builds a control into Android and then does not honour it, there is a strong potential for abuse.
“It is sometimes extremely important to keep one’s location history private. Other times, you may simply wish to opt out of data collection. It’s disingenuous and misleading to have a toggle switch that does not completely work,” Victors said. (IANS)