Does Google Know Too Much About You?

Google and the Government

To its credit, Google doesn’t like sharing its data with the government. The company has a history of resisting federal demands for information. Most notably, in Gonzales v. Google (2006), Google balked when the Justice Department demanded that it turn over more than a million searches for a given week. Not that Google always has a choice. Ultimately, it was forced to submit a more modest 50,000 URLs.

Ironically, says Rotenberg, Google’s decision to keep data invites subpoenas and warrants in the first place. “Its decision to keep so much user data continues to make it a very attractive target to the government, which is part of the reason we argue that Google really has an obligation to keep less information about the user,” he said.

The discovery that Google had been collecting Wi-Fi data through its Street View operation highlighted a case in which Google was not a collaborator with local governments, but a suspect. While Jeschke sees Google’s response as similarly cooperative, arguing that there is no reason to believe Google is lying when it says it collected this information by accident, Rotenberg has a more cynical take. “You don’t accidentally intercept communications in 30 countries over a three-year period,” he said.

The Search for Privacy

If there’s one lesson from Google’s recent skirmishes with national and state governments, it’s that users can’t take their privacy for granted, whether they’re patronizing Google’s services or those offered by Yahoo, Microsoft, or Facebook. It’s not always clear how long companies hold onto data, and they don’t always use it as promised. They might not delete data at all, opting instead to partially anonymize the string of numbers that links it to your real-life identity. Allowing users to see what information Google is collecting about them helps, but until the federal government modernizes its privacy guidelines, Google (and everyone else) will continue to play by outdated rules.

Does Google Know Too Much About You?

LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE