Last week, Big Government covered the exposure of US Deputy Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin’s personal contact list through Google Buzz. Though many Gmail users had the same problem, McLaughlin’s personal electronic Rolodex was embarrassing because it contained people potentially affected by the policies he was in charge of. Because of this, Consumer Watchdog filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
And then the information was gone. Left in its place are some tough questions about data on government computers – and whether or not that qualifies as government data. Does Google have to release any data they have on McLuahglin? He may have deleted his Google Buzz account, but does Google have that information backed up somewhere?
Situations like this make it clear why last week some of the biggest names in technology called on the federal government to establish strict protections on personal data. They don’t want to be forced to reveal your personal data because then it will become obvious just how much of your data they have.