Beware! Google is Watching You

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2012 and is filed under Latest News.

Google launched its new privacy policy today – despite warnings from EU top brass that the changes could breach European law.

 

The new guidelines see the company streamline user data captured from its 60 individual sites, and use this to deliver a ‘better user experience’, with more tailored search engine results.

 

 

This is all well and good, but there is an elephant in the room here. And that is targeted advertising.

 

Privacy is overrated apparently.

 

By capturing data in this way, Google has a wealth of information at its disposal regarding a person’s hobbies, habits and purchasing behaviours. This info is then passed – either honestly or clandestinely, you decide – to advertising agencies, who then pepper the individual with those often bloody annoying ads that pop up all over the place.

 

As an example, if you watch a web video about guitars on YouTube, then expect a flurry of ads containing said stringed instrument to be heading your way pronto.

 

And the best bit? Users cannot opt out of this, although Google says that by logging out of your various accounts you can search anonymously. Cheers guys.

 

Fortunately, those pesky French regulators have got stuck in again, and they are concerned about the ‘lawfulness and fairness of such processing, and its compliance with European data protection legislation’.

 

Google aren’t people, they’re a machine

 

Hilariously, Google’s argument is that they are not ‘people’, but a machine, and individual’s privacy is not at risk because this process is being performed electronically, and no sentient being is watching your every Internet move.

 

This must have been some comfort to the man who wrote into the BBC’s Breakfast Show this morning, stating that Gmail (Google’s email service) had taken specific words written in his personal emails to friends, family and work colleagues, and used them to advertise a whole menagerie of products and services directly to him.

 

Are YOU happy that Google is scanning your emails – regardless of whether that scanner is a person/machine/robot?

 

So who else is following your every move online?

 

In an increasingly ‘Big Brother’ society, people are rightly becoming more paranoid about a seeming lack of Internet privacy. This Google debate is just a small spoke on the wheel of how personal information is used – by advertisers, businesses – and the Government too, perhaps?

 

They’re watching you. Sleep well.