Don’t Be Evil or Whatevs
Time to give up on Gmail if you haven't already...
October 16, 2013 - 9:15 am
Google is facing a backlash over plans to put people’s faces and comments about products and places into adverts.
The “shared endorsements” policy change starts on 11 November and covers the comments, “follows” and other actions people do on Google+.
One protest involves people swapping their profile pictures for that of Google boss Eric Schmidt so his image rather than their own appears on ads.
Google said it had made it easy for people to opt out of the system.
But they’ll still collect and collate and who-knows-what your data.
Reminds me a bit of a digital version of one of the scariest moments of my life. Summer of ’84, I spent a month in Germany with our German teacher and a dozen other 15-year-old boys. We were there during the Los Angeles Summer Olympics — the games the entire Warsaw Pact (minus Romania) had boycotted in protest of… Reagan or whatever. Really it was just payback for our boycott of the 1980 Moscow games. Needless to say, tensions were high.
And there I was with my friends, getting ready to cross a Berlin Wall checkpoint to travel from West Berlin to East.
Guard towers with machine guns, soldiers with automatic rifles — the works. The worst part was sticking your passport through a slot in an otherwise blank concrete wall. You’re standing on unfriendly territory, without your passport, while people you can’t see are doing who-knows-what to it.
Every American ought to experience a police state like that at least once, although right now maybe I should be more careful about what I wish for. But I digress.
Google reminds me a bit of a much-friendlier version of that East Berlin border crossing. In exchange for free services like Google+, Gmail, and Google Docs, you surrender pretty much all your browsing information and tons more — to Google. And what are they doing with all that data and metadata you provide them?
It’s a lot like that slot in the wall in East Germany. You put your data in and Google does …stuff… with it.
Good stuff? Bad stuff? I dunno. Just… stuff.
I avoid Google’s data wall slot as best I can, by using Dogpile as my search engine, using my own, paid-for email as much as possible, and avoid signing in to Google at all. Except when I need Google Voice for conference calls or to upload YouTube videos. The rest of the time I’m signed out and using DoNotTrackMe at all times.
But I get the feeling I’m fighting nothing better than a rearguard action, and probably losing.