By B.L. Ochman
On March 1st, Google will not only compromise our privacy on a scale most of us never imagined, it also will change our ability to learn different opinions with their new search and privacy policies. And there’s really not a damn thing you can do about it. I don’t call that Doing No Evil. Do you?
Having the right to one’s point of view and expressing opinions that are unique to you are among the greatest gifts of democracy and freedom. Differing opinions and viewpoints are what push the human beings ahead, scientifically, economically, intellectually, and spiritually. Google’s new privacy and search policies take that freedom away in large degree by limiting what you learn to what you and your friends already know.
Google will aggregate information from gmail, google search, youtube, Google Adwords, Google wallet (tracking what you buy) and more and combine the information about you so it can deliver more of what it calls “relevant” ads.
Information or photos you have shared with people through gmail (what, you thought your email was private?), Google+ or Picasa are now going to show up in these people’s searches, as theirs will in your searches.
You do have other options.
Read these and then continue to learn why you’d be smart of start using them – hard as it is to leave the mother ship.
Ixquick which calls itself “the world’s most private search engine” says it doesn’t record your IP Address https://us2.ixquick.com/eng/protect-privacy.html or use tracking cookies.
Yauba is a brand new yet fully fledged semantic search engine with their own index and a claim to offer truly anonymous search with three levels of privacy. It will soon offer an uncluttered user interface which is easy to use yet holds a number of advanced search options.
Mainly, they recommend breaking our dependency on any one search engine.
- Don’t use Google for search and email.
- Don’t use the same search engine for search and news.
- Don’t accept search engine cookies
- Mix it up – use a variety of search engines for different functions.
However, they note, there is no such thing as 100% online privacy. And there never will be again.
You can only sort of opt-out, because opting out will limit the usefulness of many of Google’s services and even Android phones, which run on Google’s operation system.
Why is this happening?
Greed, my friends: pure and simple. This is happening because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. People want content, email, videos, and social networking to be free, but companies still need to make money. And few things are more enticing to Google’s money-paying customers than data they can use to target ads.
This comes on the heels of Google’s new Search, plus Your World, a feature combining search results from the public web with private information and photos you have shared (or that have been shared with you) through Google+ or Picasa. Because Google’s been following us for a long time.
In Google personalized search, for instance, as Scott Buresh explains, perhaps you’ve shown an interest in the topic of sport fishing in your search queries, while your friend has shown an interest in guitars in his search queries. Over time, as these preferences are made clear to Google, your Google personalized search results for the term “bass will largely be about fish, while your friend’s results for “bass” will be comprised of results that primarily cover bass guitars.
Where does it end? It doesn’t.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google’s gifted founders, have often spoken of their desire to turn their Google search into artificial intelligence, which could be connected directly to our brains. (Really!)
In fact, in a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.”
Google manifests The Singularity with their new privacy and search policies.
The Singularity refers to smarter-than-human intelligence, direct brain-computer interfaces, biological augmentation of the brain, genetic engineering, ultra-high-resolution scans of the brain followed by computer emulation to enable the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence
Learning is about what you don’t know
The problem is that when all you learn is about what you already are know or have expressed an interest in, you aren’t really learning. You are re-enforcing your existing views, which easily can lead to the view that what you and your friends and acquaintances think is the total of reality. But in fact, you’ll only see a small part of what you could see if other research tools and semantic databases were integrated with Google results.
Google says you can use a lot of its services without being logged in and that you are only tracked when you log in. But of course you can’t comment on a video, or post in Google+ or use a lot of other Google services without being logged in. And anyway, as they explain, they’ve been collecting information about us for a long time, they’re just telling us about it now.
Keep in mind though, that Google didn’t steal our privacy. We gave it to them. A long time ago.