Privacy in the Google Age

Google has launched its new privacy policy which streamlines all of its data collection from its various services. In theory, this will allow Google to have better grasp as to what you want. For example, Google will be able to see what your friends on G+ like and target you with ads appropriately. To put this in perspective, Google won’t know any more than they do now; however, it will be able to use what it knows more effectively. There has been a lot of paranoid in the digital age regarding privacy, but there are some simple thing that you can do to thwart Google’s attempts to learn more about you. Google’s most popular services, its search engine and Youtube do not require you to be signed in to use them. Another thing you can do is to go to your account settings and click on Web History. From that tab you will be able stop the recording of your web search history. Even with all the tricks to avoid Google’s detection, there is still trepidation about privacy on the Internet. What to know more?

Yesica Toscanini, a fashion model from Argentina, is attempting to have exercise her Right to be Forgotten. She’s attempting to get certain pictures removed from coming up in search engine queries. This is not an isolated phenomenon. There are 27 countries in Europe that are creating similar legislation. The whole situation does raise an interesting question: Do we have the right to be forgotten? On the one hand, the right to be forgotten seems like the memory hole in Orwell’s 1984. He who controls the past controls the future. For example, in Germany two convicted murders want their names removed from Wikipedia since they’ve paid their debt to society by serving time in jail. On the other hand, actress Junie Hoang is suing IMDB, owned by Amazon, because she claims that the website went through her credit card information to obtain her birthday. It’s a tricky balancing act between privacy and free speech that is playing out right in front of our eyes.

In the digital age, it seems that privacy is a dwindling resource. IT consultants are at odds about how much information too much or not enough. How do you target consumers with meaningful information without invading their privacy? These are the questions are a matter of ethics and open to interpretation. Ultimately, it will be about how businesses and individuals wish to conduct themselves on the Internet.