A while ago, Edward Snowden published a very wide range of documents showing us how the U.S. government spies on everybody and everything. Especially non-US citizens are apparently fair game. Google’s (and other companies’) call for reform of government surveillance is of course laudable (you can read more about it here: https://www.reformgovernmentsurveillance.com/USAFreedomAct), I totally support it. However, it is also fairly hypocritical, and the average users’ privacy is not much helped…
Private companies that demand reform are actually themselves gathering all that data about you, they’re just doing it with other intentions.
- Companies (especially companies that have advertising revenue as the cornerstone of their business model, so I’m looking mostly at Google and Facebook..) have a huge incentive to gather a lot of data about you, to serve you as accurate as possible with ads. Google will read your mails, will look at what you search for (with Google Search of course!) and will gather as much data about you as they can find. If you’re looking for a new TV, chances are very high that Google knows. If you’re planning a next vacation to country X with a few friends, Google knows. I could go on and on here..
- Governments of course look at all that data being collected (for ad-serving purposes) and want in on the action! This is where I totally support the initiative: I don’t want the American government (or any government for that matter) to peer over my email and other private communications, just to check if me and/or my friends are up to any mischief.
But if any government surveillance reform will actually happen, we are still stuck with private companies gathering data about you to an extent the average user does not even begin to fathom..
More interesting thoughts about this topic can be found here: http://www.idlewords.com/bt14.htm