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Questioning the power of Google

Google. Who’s looking at you?, by John Arlidge, The Sunday Times, October 21, 2007. "It wants to know everything about you. It wants to be your best friend — or your Big Brother. Are your secrets safe with Google?"

Google’s overall goal is to have a record of every e-mail we have ever written, every contact whose details we have recorded, every file we have created, every picture we have taken and saved, every appointment we have made, every website we have visited, every search query we have typed into its home page, every ad we have clicked on, and everything we have bought online. It wants to know and record where we have been and, thanks to our search history of airlines, car-hire firms and MapQuest, where we are going in the future and when.

This would not just make Google the largest, most powerful super-computer ever; it would make it the most powerful institution in history. Small wonder that the London-based human-rights group Privacy International has condemned its plans as "hostile to privacy", and EU ministers called Google’s vision "Orwellian". Even John Battelle, one of the net’s leading evangelists, who co-founded the technology bible Wired magazine, and wrote The Search, the definitive study of Google’s rise, now says: "I’ve found myself more and more wary of Google, out of some primal, lizard-brain fear of giving too much control of my data to one source."

(see also: Google: "We don’t know enough about you"… yet.)

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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