Google knows too much about us
Last updated: March 2, 2017
Google is a company that uses the immense amount of information it gets from its search engine in order to help place advertising and so make money. This is not surprising and as a way to provide a free service seems reasonable. However Google has been embroiled in privacy battles on a whole range of issues. Eric Schmidt Google's CEO has said it is googles policy "to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it." But many believe it already crossed the line numerous times. The internet company now admits it has been collecting data from wireless networks while creating google streetview. Does google know too much about us?.....
Google's Streetview cars captured information from WIFI networks
It is not clear that this activity by Google was as accidental the company suggests. Google's systems separated out the unencrypted data and then kept that. [[http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd=x-347-566346]]
This is the equivalent to tapping into telephone lines. Google knows things about people that people never intended them to and it is not the same as using a specific Google product, like the search engine where one knows one is interacting with Google.
Google therefore knows more about us that we know about how much they know. Many questions remain unanswered about what Google collected.[[http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2010/10/questions-for-googles-eric-schimidt.html]]
Investigations have taken place across the world and after Canada found out that medical information, names passwords and whole emails had been taken, not just fragments has had previously suggested, the UK ICO is now reopening its investigation.
The US regulators have ruled that Google would not be find for the capture of the WIFI information and is statisfied that Google has put sufficient safeguards in place.
Google comprises more products than we realise and so can build up a big picture of us from all the data
All of these Google products keep data on users, for example YouTube gives a list of personalised recommendations once the user has watched a few videos, in order to make any such suggestions Google is clearly knows what you've been watching.
If all of the information that Google takes about you from every one of its services you use and puts that all together the company can know all about your emails, your documents, which videos you have been watching... all in all Google knows too much about you if it puts all the data together.
Furthermore, the data isn't just from registered users signed in to services; the widespread use of tracking 'cookies' to monitor use means that Google can keep virtual tabs on any internet user who routinely uses the same computer in the same location without wiping these small tracking files.
Counterargument: I.P addresses are tractable so Google can tell it's you; normally :(
Google doesn't delete emails straight away
With regard to 'security' issues, the comparison is absurd. Postal services don't automatically read all correspondence, and there is no legal obligation on citizens not to burn their letters in case they are evidence of a terrorist plot - why should email correspondence be any different, just because it is technologically possible?
Actually U.S postal services are required to open and close each and every package before delivery; especially since the anthrax threat which preceded the patriot act. For public security/safety; it is.
Also there's airport security; luggage is opened, checked and closed each and every time you travel; even if it is just a two hour flight.
And no, email correspondence is no different; you are right.
Google 'reads' all Gmail emails
Worse yet, Google also scans the emails of non-subscribers who send emails to people with Gmail accounts. These people have not signed up to Gmail. There is no confirmation from Google about how long the information is kept for or how it is used. [[http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/GmailLetter.htm]]
The Patriot Act still stands and Google is an American company and as such is required to thwart all possible [[https://debatewise.org/debates/2425-google-knows-too-much-about-u]] security threats in the making( Yes,possible does not equate to plausible). All U.S phone conversations are tapped and recorded and heard under this act. Letters,luggage, anything non-living traveling without people is inspected.
As Google is an American cooperation; it has the duty to inspect information communicated during the use of its services.
All charges levied against Google in the latest copyright/privacy related trial against them have been cleared. By European law people/companies are responsible for protecting their own copyright/privacy and are obligated to report any impingement/infringement on these to Google; and then to the police if Google does not take any video of the sort down. "Google was cleared of any wrongdoing in a copyright infringement case brought against YouTube by Telecinco, a Spanish broadcaster. Google owns the popular video sharing website, which was accused of harboring copyrighted content. Telecinco filed the lawsuit claiming that YouTube should be responsible for the content that is uploaded to the site, but that claim was rejected by a federal court in Madrid, Spain.
Rather than accepting Telecinco's placement of the monitoring burden on YouTube, the federal court said that it was the copyright owners who had the responsibility to make sure that their content was not being distributed in an unwanted manner. The court noted that since YouTube had policies already in place regarding copyrighted content, the site has taken all the necessary steps to avoid such problems. In the end, it was ruled that if a copyright holder had a legitimate gripe, they would have to report it to YouTube if they hoped to have their demands met. ''
Knowingly or unknowingly we stepped in to the circle of google and its hard to come back.
That knowledge isn't just user-submitted - tracking cookies kept on our computers to monitor the sites we visit mean that we unwittingly submit data to Google and other companies about our browsing history.
Dashboard means that users can have a say on what information is stored
It is also possible to learn about other types of data that Google records which isn't covered on Dashboard. [[http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=162743]] This information is deliberately kept separately from the Google Account data in order to protect privacy.
This comes in addition to the Privacy Center educates users on privacy issues and makes it clear that the Google wants to
1. Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
2. Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
3. Make the collection of personal information transparent.
4. Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
5. Be a responsible steward of the information we hold. [[http://www.google.com/privacy.html]]
The Data Liberation Front[[http://www.dataliberation.org/]] also helps Google users to get information out:
All the steps Google has taken and continues to take mean that users can easily remove data about themselves. If they do not remove the data then they must be happy to share it with Google meaning Google only knows as much as you want it to.
The product was created in repsonse to growing unease by users and governments alike. There is actually no real need for certain information to be stored at all, for example which YouTube videos people watch.
Nearly two -thirds of all internet searches are conducted through Google and that information does not need to be kept.
With Dashboard and the Data Liberation Front, perhaps Google doth protest too much. It could stop collecting the data in the first place making the system opt-in not opt-out.
It is interesting to note that the new opt-in Google Health product where users can organise their medical history and data and access it from any computer seems to have failed to proven popular with the public so far. [[http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20016562-265.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody;1n]] Could it be that when users are given the choice about sharing data with Google they simply don't trust Google's approach to personal data and they would rather not hand information over, given the proper option.
Google is not alone. Sharing data is part of modern life.
In the US in particular the debate is heating up. Ari Schwartz, a new senior internet policy advisor at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said at the Predictive Analytics World conference:
What have you got to hide
Those worried about Google Streetview can opt out and if you're that fussed you can do as CEO of Google Eric Schmidt says and just move.
Government's haven't legislated against what Google is doing so how bad can it be?
What gives Google the right to have us running from our own homes to escape?
Governments are becoming increasingly worried and MP Robert Halfon has secured a debate on internet privacy which may mean that greater regulation may come into force. [[http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2010/10/a-call-to-arms.html]]
Googles just a target