Friday, November 20, 2009

skeptical to say the least

I like Google's products and services. I think they're useful and intuitive. I also realize that they're all ultimately tied to the "mother ship" in one way or another. Whether it be for reporting usage statistics for "product improvement" or if it's a web app which is directly hosted by them or something in between like Picasa which is on YOUR computer and manages YOUR pictures, but still logs on to Google via your Google account for enhanced services.

It all seems fairly innocuous, but if you stop to think (and read the EULA) about what you are giving Google access to, you'll realize that your email, (gmail) pictures, (picasa & email) videos, (youtube) chats, (google chat & AIM) voice conversations (google talk) and may other things are all archived and accessible. Even if you opt to keep your profile information private, (or rather non-public) Google and possibly partner companies still have access to it. The recent release of Google Dashboard is an attempt at transparency, but we all know that he who controls the information can also be selective in its disclosure. READ THIS

I guess what a lot of this boils down to is what we're comfortable with being "out there" and how much we're willing to make known about ourselves.


Here's where I'm going with this ramble...

The new Google Chrome OS is a new window manager running on a Linux Kernel which basically runs the Chrome browser. This is Google's idea of what an operating system should be. Their video describing the reasons behind it's development even state that. In the video, they say "if you're like me, you spend 95% of your time in your browser" (on the internet) so why not just eliminate everything else? On the surface, it seems like a good idea especially since netbooks are becoming so popular. Why not just make everything a 'net client? Google Chrome OS aims to do just that and make everything we do part of "the cloud" on the internet. People are only fooling themselves if they feel secure in doing this.

By doing everything via 'net app (internet application) you no longer have to worry about losing your data with a hard drive or computer crash. It's always available online from any computer with internet access.

No more massive hard drives with tons of storage for all of your music, pictures, videos, personal documents, etc. clogging up your system and slowing it down. Also, no security patches to be regularly installed because it's just a browser. Nothing else to be hacked right? Wrong.
What about the systems that store all of the data that everyone uses online. That's still online ALL THE TIME and how can you be sure that it's protected from intruders? Who's to say that you're not trusting all of your online life TO the intruders? Don't be so naive as to think that the password to your Google Accounts makes all of the information contained therein YOURS!

It is entirely possible based on profile information, (address, phone #s, etc) blogs, pictures, (picasa facial recognition) geotags, GPS, and many other "useful" tools for the keeper of all of this information to develop a full profile of you to be used however they see fit.
When I did intelligence in the Army, we used psychological profiles based on MUCH less information than we give to our online personas. As much as I hate to sound like one of those loony conspiracy theorists, this information could be used for different types of profiling which leads down a very slippery slope.

Think that idea is a stretch? It's already being done. It's called targeted advertising and is the basis for Google's Adsense and Adwords.


Anonymous said...

Yikes- not only from a personal point of view, but think if every document that was written in word was out there for the "internet" world to see- client confidentiality would cease to exist. That has ethical violation written ALL over it. Thanks for the food for thought brother. You do give me plenty! Ame

TheGeek said...

I have come to the conclusion that Google will eventual run the world and they will do it for "free"

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