Written by:2009/12/09 03:49 PM
“Big Brother” a term synonymous with people, government or other organisations watching your every move. Google has become a giant on the internet. With their fingers in so many pies, they naturally have the ability to collect a huge amount of personal data. With new applications coming online this year, their dominance is just increasing, as well as their ability to track more and more of what you do. Is Google the next Big Brother?
Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you".
In 1984, the movie version of the book was actually released, correctly entitle 1984. Directed by Michael Radford, starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton.
Since then the term “Big brother” has become synonymous with any one watching you. Especially applied to governments and large organisations.
I just wrote an article this week about Google's new Tracking method. Now they track everybody who uses their search engine. This has caused a large amount of concern and fired up a nice debate about privacy.
Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, was quoted this week telling people he is not concerned with people's privacy. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," says Schmidt. Implying that Google does not care about your privacy, and if you are then don’t use Google.
Do you really know how much data about you Google really has. They have loads of applications capable of collecting vital information. From private emails, to confidential documents to shopping and browsing habits.
What kind of data of yours does Google actually have. Think about it. A list of Google apps might give you an idea.
Have I missed any? I don’t know. Let me know.
The point is that Google does collect data. For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation." Google has no data retention policies. They are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.
Here is a list of things Google knows about you. 25 Surprising Things That Google Knows About You.
PrivacyInternational.org sponsors the Big Brother Awards. Google was nominated in 2003. Why? Nine reasons:
Well I do not know. That is why I am asking you. But think of this. If the CEO does not think that your privacy matters, then there should be a need for concern. I know that a lot of the apps that we use from Google are public. But we would want to use them with a little guarantee of privacy. I must choose to make my data available to the public, or to whom ever I want. Not Google. Anyway, even if I do make some stuff public, that does not give anyone the right to use it as they want.
Think of a picture posted on the Internet, It has copyright attached. You cannot just lift that picture and use it as you want without the artists consent. Same with any information or data you put up on the net.
Cloud computing is the future. Yes, I know that there is a potential risk when you hand your data over to someone else. But your hope is that they would guard your privacy with everything they have.
Perhaps the former CEO of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, was right: "Privacy is dead, deal with it." Maybe it's just no big deal.
Maybe it is something that we need to accept and live with. Maybe it is the path of the future. Maybe the CEO of Google is correct, if you don’t want to share it, don’t use it. Perhaps if we are so paranoid, we should not be using the internet at all. Maybe lack of privacy is a by product of the internet that we must accept. I don’t know. What do you think?
With the launch of new apps from Google, like Google Wave and Google DNS they certainly have a huge opportunity to collect data without our initial consent. Perhaps using those applications is initial consent. I don’t know. I found this post a very interesting read: Big Brother gets smarter: Google Public DNS launches.
I’d be interested in reading your thoughts on the matter. Are you concerned or are you just not bothered? Have you accepted that the likes of Google is collecting data about you? Do you actually use Google or any of Google’s apps, or any sort of cloud computing?
I don’t know if I am concerned or not. But I am certainly interested in the subject and the debate.
Introducing Google Chrome Operating System
Google - Antitrust Lawsuit.
Google Wave, collaboration on steroids.
Google’s Real-Time Search
What is Google DNS and How to set it up on Windows.
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