There was a time when it was cool to have a gmail account. Yes, we knew that they
searched the emails folder to show appropriate advertisement
and that was sometimes even useful. Gmail would show me adds for similar things
or competing products when I was writing emails about problems and
Times have changed since then. Google does no longer just display related
adds based on matching words. They build your personality profile. They have your name and phone number. They
know where you live. The GPS in your android tracks your location
and reports it to google.
The gmail login screen is no-longer just a gmail login. It's a google login.
They know everything you are looking for while you are logged into gmail.
Gmail keeps you logged-in by default even if your close the gmail page. It's
an extra step to logout.
They even know which pages you are visiting because they supply the adds
on those pages and they can correlate it to you while your browser is downloading the advertisement on the page.
In other words it's getting creepy. It is just a matter of correlating
all the data google has about you and you are under full supervision all the time.
I am not a criminal, I have nothing to hide
Well, I think it feels uncomfortable to walk around naked even if I have nothing
Who is watching you? Is it just the google computer? Who is google?
Google is a company and not just one person and one computer. There are many many people
that have access to your data. Do you trust them all? Do you know them all?
What if there is a "criminal" among those? Could an employee of google or a consultant with google use this data to
steal your identity?
Who is using the data? Good morning NSA
You login to a site to authenticate yourself but how is the
site authenticating towards you? How do you know it's not compromised?
Google is collecting and analyzing all that data (for advertising purposes?) and we
know now that the NSA got it too. NSA bureaucrats and NSA system
administrators have access to an incredible amount of information.
We should worry a lot if politicians are telling us that we have
nothing to worry about.
There is no trust any more when countries that where supposed to be partners
and friends are being spied upon and betrayed. It's not about counter terrorism.
We know now that it's about foul play to get advantages in negotiations and
steal intellectual property.
A free and democratic country should not supervise citizens all the time.
We know that dictators and tyrannies use such techniques to keep the population
at arms length and it is a shock to see what is going on in the US.
Is there no way out?
I think we have all been too lazy. If we would not login to google and if
we would not voluntarily give them access to all our data then it would
be a lot harder. If you use google search without ever being logged into
a google account then it will be a lot harder to know who you are. They
could take a guess but they can't be sure and they will not have all
the parts of the puzzle in one place.
I will continue to use the Internet but I will use
different services. I am moving to fastmail.fm for email. An Australian
company (different laws, different jurisdiction). I will try different
search engines and I will never use cloud computing services from
a US company.
Diversity is always better, in the real world and in the digital world.