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Communications Google Privacy Security Technology

Google Voice Mails Found In Public Search Engine 145

Posted by timothy
from the wouldn't-mind-being-able-to-put-some-there dept.
bonch writes "Google Voice Mails have been discovered in Google's search engine, providing audio files, names, and phone number as if you were logged in and checking your own voice mail. Some appear to be test messages, while others are clearly not. Google has since disabled indexing of voice mails outside your own website."
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Google Voice Mails Found In Public Search Engine

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  • User action? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbohumil (517473) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:01PM (#29800841)
    This doesn't sound like a bug or leak, more like some users set up links or otherwise made their messages public.
  • If it's out there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:14PM (#29800969) Homepage

    Like everything on the internet, if it's public, a web-spider will find it (eventually). But I'm seriously impressed by the speech-to-text engine Google uses, quite nice.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:16PM (#29800987)

    Honestly, I wonder how many people post stuff on some obscure URL thinking only the friends and family they send it to would see it, just to find out watching CNN Headline News that it got indexed by Google and journalists were reporting on bloggers blogging about it.

  • by Mr.Bananas (851193) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:16PM (#29800999)
    At around 10am, a comment [] on the same page linked by OP revealed what the parent has pointed out, and even linked to a GV forum post explaining as much.

    And yet, at 5pm, Slashdot posts this as news...
  • by noidentity (188756) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:17PM (#29801009)

    "[...] we can certainly understand that users would want to make them [voice messages] public on their sites but not necessarily searchable directly outside of their own website. We made a change to prevent those to be crawled so only the site owner can decide to index them."

    So in other words, Google supports robots.txt? Still, if you put them on your website, some search engine will index them. Moral of the story: don't make something accessible by anyone on the web unless you want anyone to be able to access it.

  • Re:User action? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:20PM (#29801037)


    IMHO, totally a non-issue: google doesn't spider their own service, but if you post links to your voice mail on a public page with a permissive robots.txt, it gets spidered and shows up in search results with them or anyone else.

    I completely get why Google is now removing these from search results -- they must be seen to be fixing this before it blows up as a scandal -- but shouldn't this sort of media panderage qualify as the evil they purportedly "don't be"? You'd think they're big enough to stand up and enlighten morons about robots.txt specifically, and about the general truth that when you post something on the internet, it's there forever.

  • Appropriate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:22PM (#29801061) Journal

    Was that appropriate? Posting that voice mail that has names numbers and locations?

    Extremely poor ethics here at Slashdot.

  • Re:User action? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:54PM (#29801435)

    Good luck sending those 1GB attachments to anyone else......

  • by noidentity (188756) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:00PM (#29801503)

    The real problem, IMO, is that Google Voice voicemails are world-readable to begin with. [...] The url scheme is " account id/long b64 encoded binary string", and these urls can be viewed by unauthenticated users

    And my gmail account is available to anyone who knows my username and an n-character string (hunter2, starred for obvious resons).

  • Re:User action? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:26PM (#29801785)

    And best of all, nobody is sitting there watching all of your emails and serving you ads based on what you're emailing about.

    Oh noes, teh privacy. Except that if you actually cared, you'd be using PGP for important correspondence. Also, IMAP = no ads. kthxbai

  • Re:User action? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:31PM (#29801835)

    This doesn't sound like a bug or leak, more like some users set up links or otherwise made their messages public.

    I can't log into google voice without telling my browser to accept cookies from google. If they are going to use cookie-based authorization, then there is absolutely no excuse for handing out the data within an account to people who don't have the right cookie authorization.

    Even if they don't index it, the URLs are still going to be accessible to anyone who can figure out the URL.
    It appears to be a classic case of security through obscurity.
    Obscurity as an extra layer is fine, but google voice seems to have no layers excepet for obscurity and that's a ridiculous design decision for a company as big a reptuation for technical acumen as google.

  • Re:User action? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Capt. Skinny (969540) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:37PM (#29801889)

    You'd think they're big enough to stand up and enlighten morons about robots.txt specifically

    Cars have been around for about a century and there are still morons who haven't been enlightened about changing a flat tire, so I have my doubts about robots.txt

  • Re:User action? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... g minus language> on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:16PM (#29802279) Homepage Journal

    The obscurity in this case happens to be a random number that's at least 100 bits long if not a lot longer. Sure I could guess that, but I could guess your 128 bit symmetric cipher key too.

    No, what happened here is that people used this extremely obscure URL to provide public links to their voicemail messages and google happily indexed those links. And, you know, when you publicize links to things, they show up in search engines.

    Now, google could additionally require authorization before letting people have access to those links, but the way you find out what the big long random number is is by clicking on something saying something along the lines of "I want to share this voicemail with someone." which means that you want someone other than yourself to have access to it. Making the link require authorization to get to would completely defeat the purpose of sharing it with someone.

    No, in my opinion, what google should do is have a per-voicemail switch that lets you decide whether or not the public sharable link works or not. Then you can share the link with a friend, and when you want to close up access so your friend can't share the link with their friend or post it on the internet or whatever, you click on the little check box and the link stops working.

    Voicemails that you schedule for deletion should become private by default when they hit the trash can.

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