Chris Hoofnagle directs the UC Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s information privacy program. After reviewing the spreadsheet, he told CBS 5 Investigates similar sheets are used by would-be criminals to collect and sell individuals’ credit card numbers.
“Your main point of this would be to resell it to someone who would actually charge these numbers,” Hoofnagle said.
Expert Hoofnagle calls Google’s response “largely reasonable,” since the search engine is “a reflection of the web.”
But he points out that in the past, Google has taken additional steps to protect individuals’ privacy, such as blurring faces on the company’s “Street View” mapping feature.
“Google has taken some steps here and there to obscure information to protect privacy,” Hoofnagle said. “And there are a number of things one could do to make the document disappear if you really wanted them to.”