Give me privacy, or give me death!

They see everything!

Lately, major concerns about our privacy online has been the talk of the town. And it’s completely understandable.

Recently, Mashable released an article stating that Google swears up and down that they will not release our private online information unless they absolutely have to. Wait, what? Unless they have to? What does that mean? And what kind of information are they giving away or storing even?

It turns out, Google knows just about everything there is to know about us. Every search you have ever searched for on Google, Google has that information stored on their severs. Everything from medical symptoms, to people searches and much more. The following paragraph written by Frida Ghitis in the article titles Google Knows Too Much About You can give a disturbing insight to just what exactly Google has on you:

Google has every e-mail you ever sent or received on Gmail. It has every search you ever made, the contents of every chat you ever had over Google Talk. It holds a record of every telephone conversation you had using Google Voice, it knows every Google Alert you’ve set up. It has your Google Calendar with all content going back as far as you’ve used it, including everything you’ve done every day since then. It knows your contact list with all the information you may have included about yourself and the people you know. It has your Picasa pictures, your news page configuration, indicating what topics you’re most interested in. And so on.

Talk about crazy right? That’s not even the half of it. If we were to take a look at other emerging media technology, such as Facebook, we would see that Facebook saves all the information regarding our friends, likes, photos, and even un-friends. So who does this information go to?

According to the Mashable article, “Google gets dozens of requests for user’s information from governments, courts and police forces from around the world every day”. If Google received a request from an authority, say for a police investigation, Google takes the first step in seeing if the request complies with the laws as well as Google’s policies. If the request passes that step, then Google will then try narrow that request down; basically they try to give the very least amount of information necessary. So, I can guess we can sort of rest easy at night, Google will do everything  they can do to prevent the release of our private information.

What do you guys think? Should Google even have the right to store all of our information at all? Do you think they have the right to release our information to official authority figures? What would you do differently?

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3 Responses to Give me privacy, or give me death!

  1. macromary says:

    I think the Google history becomes anonymous after 9 months when IP addresses are removed.

    It’s always creepy though when true crime stories report odd Google searches that tie into a motive.

  2. MK says:

    As we’ve come to learn, when anyone uses the Internet, a digital footprint is created. In the case of Google and the information they save, perhaps it could be viewed as a necessary part of doing business. If a malicious person is using a gmail account, for example, to harass or plot something nefarious, and there is a way that investigators can obtain information about that person, I don’t have a problem with Google sharing information. I don’t even mind that cookies and keyword tracking are used to market products to me. What bothers me are websites that aggregate your various information available online such as pictures, public records, home address, family members, etc. and puts it out there for anyone to see or to purchase. That is completely unnecessary and dangerous, especially when it comes to people who use it for malicious actions (whether it’s stalking, harassing, etc.).

    • Agreed! There is definitely something disturbing about the idea of information that creates a profile of me being stored by a company. While generic information about the types of sites we visit is fine by me, I draw a line when I hear information is being tied directly to my name. At some point we’re crossing a line between marketing information and corporate cyber stalking.

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