I’ve ranted in here for the past two days concerning Google’s saddling of all Gmail account holders with Buzz, and what that might mean for info/data miners in countries where public security bureaus use geek goons to harvest information and lists. I think that if you have people in your Gmail contacts list who might be ‘of interest’ to authoritarian government cyber brutes, you need to ask yourself if you really need another (and obviously inferior) social networking program. If you do, then there are some steps you need to take. Unfollowing and blocking are two options, though opting out totally at this point is my recommendation.
So, how do you really disable Buzz? Good question. I figured it out, but it wasn’t easy. Clicking on the link “turn off buzz” at the bottom of the Gmail page doesn’t do it. You still show up in followers Buzz displays, and can still be linked back to your email address, along with your name. You must go a few steps further. After I went through the steps I found this guide to disable it, from PC World’s How to Use Google Buzz
You can disable Buzz by scrolling down to the bottom of your Gmail page and clicking the tiny turn off buzz link, but that won’t get rid of it completely (my emphasis)–you’ll still have followers and connected sites, you just won’t see them from the Gmail page. (Logging in through the mobile Web app, for example, should still work fine.)
Before you eliminate Buzz entirely, you need to go through a few steps. From the main Buzz page, click the Following X People link and unfollow everyone; then click on the X followers link and block everyone. Next, you need to delete your Google Profile: Go to Google Profiles, select View My Profile, Edit profile, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and select Delete profile.
It is curious that Google rolled out their latest product while they are still claiming the moral high ground in the ongoing horn locking match with China, and amid the persistent rumors of their expanding relations with the National Security Agency (NSA). Frankly, it’s stinking more everyday.
These two just showed up on Twitter this morning: @timothythompson:
- It’s just dawning on professionals who use GMail that Buzz may have violated their legal confidentiality requirements by naming clients.
- Google Buzz: note that the Electronic Privacy Information Center will file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission next week.
I assume that lawsuits are going to start flying. So, is there anyone out there who still believes the glassy-eyed “Don’t be evil” line. There comes a certain point when stupidity and power merge into exactly what Google claims not to be. I am still holding out hope that it’s still at the stupid level, but I can only hold my breath for so long. How Google handles this fiasco will determine what we are really dealing with here. So, which side does Sergey come down on in this one?