What is Google really doing for you?

letter-to-the-editor

I enjoy Google. It corrects me when I spell incorrectly and it makes surfing the web a whole lot easier. But what does Google really do for you?

A new policy instated by Google could allow them to sell your browsing information along with your identity. No more clearing your history to erase where you have been. Someone’s got your Internet information and more.

What does Google know about you? They know your IP address and can even boil this down to a picture of your residence. But IP address doesn’t just mean your home computer any more. It’s your computer. It’s your phone. It’s your tablet.

Whenever and wherever you choose to log into a Google account, they know where you are and what websites you visit online. With every one out of ten people being sociopaths, I don’t like those odds.

Did anyone know you could get medical records online? Steve from Greenview Data discovered that a Carnegie Mellon professor had proven that by combing “anonymized ” medical records with voter registrations, Database One can identify up to 87% of people in the United States.

Google is allowed to sell companies the information you provide them. This includes your name, email, address, and billing information. Google can also provide other information they accumulate from your Internet access.

Be careful what you provide Google with because according to Peter Eckersley’s “A Primer on Information Theory and Privacy,” a person’s identity can be determined within a reasonable doubt with three pieces of information. This includes your birthday, zip code, and gender.

So you may think you are giving Google non-essential information when in fact you are giving them everything they need to identify you anywhere at any time. So should Google be on an episode of hoarders? I think so. Google no and always has been collecting all the information you have been providing them with. This includes data from usage stored devices’ information and location. Unique applications are also stored.

“What if I do not give Google all my information?” a concerned student asks. It is ok not to fill in all the slots Google asks for because any company can get your zip code from your IP address using basic software. Anyone with your IP address can find where you live and where you are going.

Google sells the information of what websites you visit and the locations you visit them at, but only if you are signed into a Google account. This information is available to companies and really anyone who wants to know. When you are signed into Google or any Google-owned website, they know where, when, and what you are doing. So if you enjoy people following you around with a camera, then keep using Google.

We are using Google more and more to store information while we lose true potential of our brains maybe to the extent of the movie Idiocracy. While everyone owns media devices in the palms of their hands, when do we learn from each other? When do we spend time together without media? And, how far away from each other are we willing to get?

I’m not saying humanity hangs in the balance, but that it is in the balance. How we communicate has been changed forever. How far will we get away from ourselves and where will this new road take us?

Don’t worry there is hope on the Internet. One can download add-ons that prevent Google from knowing every site one visits. Just search OTP out of Google analytics tracking and one can find helpful anti-Google spying apps.