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Martin Visser
Geek, Network, Security, Linux, Electronics, Photography, Family, Jesus
Geek, Network, Security, Linux, Electronics, Photography, Family, Jesus

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After being asked personally a few times and reading claims by others a few more, I thought I'd set the record straight....

Working at Google does not give you access to the data of users!

It's an easy assumption to make.  After all, most companies don't put internal access controls on data making it easy for every employee to access everything inside the firewall.  Google does not work that way.

Though there are many groups at Google, we'll simplify it into Software Engineering ("SWE") and Site Reliability Engineering ("SRE").  I was the latter for 5 years and I've been the former for 3.

SWE, in general, has access to nothing.  They run their code on their own workstations and sometimes test clusters with test data.  A few get access to anonymized user data for their service -- more on that later.

SRE is the group that owns the keys to the kingdom.  They're the group (actually many small groups) responsible for running Google services "in production".  They almost always have access to anonymized user data for their service and the ability to access "raw" logs if necessary, again for only their service.  The kicker is that, since around 2011, this latter access comes through a specific interface where you must explain with each request why you're doing this.  All those actions are logged and those logs are audited.  Misuse of the access will get you fired.

What is "misuse"?  I can't even look up my own queries.  I could be on-call for my service, have you on the phone fixing a problem with you saying, "go ahead" , and I still couldn't do it.  In five years, I only used raw logs twice, both on myself during training just so we'd know how.

So, for any given service, there may be somewhere between 10 and 100 people worldwide who could potentially access Personally Identifiable Information ("PII") of a user, but doing so without a good reason would be the end of them at the company.  And should that abusive employee somehow cause "material damage" to the company...  I don't even want to speculate.

On top of that, any attempt to track a single user, whether the user can be identified personally or not, will also get you fired.  Every user with any form of logs access has signed a paper (real paper, even) stating that they understand all this and the consequences.

This is serious stuff.  My own team would turn me in without a second thought if I did any of this.  And I'd do the same to them.

What are "anonymized" logs?  They're the requests that have had all PII stripped.  No IP address.  No account identifier.  No geo-locating finer than the city, etc.

Disclaimer:  I work for Google (obviously).  These thoughts are mine and mine alone.  Mine, I tell you!  Mine!!!

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Young Street, Sydney (young and old buildings)

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+Sharon Visser and I had a lovely Sunday afternoon walk to the summit. Despite have studied and work in Wollongong for 15 years (up until '97) and live only a stones throw away in the Southern Highlands, it's the first time we have walked around Mt Kembla. A nice walk!

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Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse and Lightning Storm
What's more rare than a supermoon total lunar eclipse? How about a supermoon total lunar eclipse over a lightning storm. Such an electrifying sequence was captured yesterday from Ibiza, an island in southeastern Spain. After planning the location for beauty, and the timing to capture the entire eclipse sequence, the only thing that had to cooperate for this astrophotographer to capture a memorable eclipse sequence was the weather. What looked to be a bother on the horizon, though, turned out to be a blessing. The composite picture features over 200 digitally combined images from the same location over the course of a night. The full moon is seen setting as it faded to red in Earth's shadow and then returned to normal. The fortuitous lightning is seen reflected in the Mediterranean to the right of the 400-meter tall rocky island of Es Vedra. Although the next total eclipse of a large and bright supermoon will occur in 2033, the next total eclipse of any full moon will occur in January 2018 and be best visible from eastern Asia and Australia.

Image Credit & Copyright: Jose Antonio Hervás

+Astronomy Picture of the Day (APoD) 

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Moon #Lunar #Eclipse #Perigee #HarvestMoon #Earth #SuperMoon #BloodMoon
#Photography #Art #Astrophotography #Ibiza #Spain #España #APoD

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Song of the day

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The aircraft museum at Albion Park looks like a great place to visit someday. 
Went to the HARS aircraft museum at Albion Park yesterday. They have an absolutely wonderful collection of old aircraft engines and historical aircraft.

And of course I got to see inside VH-OJA amongst many other aircraft.

What strikes me about HARS is that every volunteer genuinely loves what they do and take care of their aircraft with a sense of pride and ownership.

If you walk around HARS you'll be surrounded by people who can't wait to tell you every detail about every aircraft.

Maybe if I come back, I'll see if I can have a fly in Connie.
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Need to find a friend with a Kora +Jillian Visser 
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