Monday, March 05, 2012

13 Years Later

A lot changes over 13 years, but we realized that the camaraderie we shared was not one among them, thankfully!

K and I have been good friends since 1996 and shared many a wonderful moment in the company of sworn comrades. Those were times of bliss that now seem from a different era altogether. Together, with several others, we've seen the passage of a phase which marked many a wonderful moment of life that is now etched deep within as an unforgettably iconic spell, which I'm certain will be related to posterity with deep passion and enthusiasm.

As time took us our different ways, we drifted out of touch, momentarily, and then re-connected, thanks to the ever so far-reaching capabilities of new generation technology!

And now, just sometime ago, when K announced a visit to Chennai, I was thrilled beyond words. We met, after a whopping 13 year interlude, like old-timers, who parted fleetingly, only to come back into the fold once again. Over a fare of exquisitely spiced Indian fare, we caught up on times that were fresh in our minds, yet seemingly so distant. Reliving those times, we became young once again, transported back to a phase that we continue to relish and will do so forever.

I'm always in awe of how life is a giver - a giver of good things, times and people that make living truly a blessed event.

Like every coming together of such epic proportions, there is always a before and an after - and this time too, I found that the only difference was in the pictures taken, back then and now! 

Friday, March 02, 2012

Privacy & Google

There's a lot of hullabaloo about Google's new privacy policy that kicked in, effective yesterday. As I leafed through some pointers, a few mentions, I thought, were worth making a post, given that there is an increasing blur in the lines that divide an individual's privacy and the public domain at large.

I found these quite interesting, so to speak.

Is there a way to prevent Google from combining the personal data it collects from all its services?

No, not if you're a registered user of Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, or other Google products. But you can minimise the data Google gathers.

It's important to keep in mind that Google can still track you even when you're not logged in to one of its services.

But the information isn't quite as revealing because Google doesn't track you by name, only through a numeric internet address attached to your computer or an alphanumeric string attached to your Web browser.

Is Google's new privacy policy legal?

The company has no doubt about it. That's why it's repeatedly rebuffed pleas to delay the changes since announcing the planned revisions five weeks ago. But privacy activists and even some legal authorities have several concerns.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy rights group, sued the FTC in a federal court in an effort to force the FTC to exercise its powers and block Google's privacy changes.

A federal judge ruled the courts didn't have the authority to tell the FTC how to regulate Google. The FTC says it is always looking for evidence that one of its consent orders has been violated.

Earlier this week, the French regulatory agency CNIL warned Google CEO Larry Page that the new policy appears to violate the European Union's strict data-protection rules.

Last week, 36 attorneys general in the US and its territories derided the new policy as an "invasion of privacy" in a letter to Page.

One of the major gripes is that registered Google users aren't being given an option to consent to, or reject, the changes, given that they developed their dependence on the services under different rules.


Excerpts from a slideshow article on Google's privacy policy featured in the Times of India