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Is Google too powerful?

  1. May 10, 2009 #1
    Should it be broken up?

    Search Engine
    Web browser
    Soon to be operating system

    Should 1 company control this much information?

    No one really knows if google sends information on users to the US government. Google tracks your IP address, browser information, and date/time for everything you search for. Google also sets a tracking cookie on your computer that doesn't expire until 2038.

    Google has a profile on you that has been built up over the years and probably knows every single illness that you have had that you have looked info on, what kind of car you drive, and where you went to school.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    How about this: No storage of personal IP addresses.

    Isn't this really just a privacy issue? Why would breaking things up change that?

    Also, I replace my computer about every three years. What good does the 2038 cookie do? Isn't the information lost when I change computers?
  4. May 10, 2009 #3
    No one knows how google ranks websites when a user does a search. If google doesn't like you or your website it can drop you way down on the list. This can distort free market competition.
  5. May 10, 2009 #4
    i think it's unlikely that google would send anything to the government. more likely is that they'd contract to allow government people access to search the database for things of interest.

    'course, you know the brits are about to implement keeping a record of every place you go on the 'net.
  6. May 10, 2009 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Okay, I see your concern about having control of information.

    Isn't the privacy concern easily regulated? Couldn't we just make a law stating that personal web activity cannot be tracked? They could still establish a demographic without knowning the actual names of the users, couldn't they?
  7. May 10, 2009 #6
    doesn't NSA already tap the backbone, anyway?
  8. May 10, 2009 #7
    why does it matter if google knows what you look for on the internet anyways?

    you will never meet these people. your probably doing nothing illegal and if you are then its your fault and your problem anyways...

    i dont feel any bit uncomfortable with google knowing what i do on the internet through them.
  9. May 10, 2009 #8
    Big Time on NSA via ChoicePoint.

    Private companies such as Entersect also sell data that they buy from many sources including ISP's. They sell the information primarily to local law enforcement agencies. The information is sold with the caveat that it is not necessarily accurate.

    I have a nephew who worked for Entersect for about 9 months. He quit when he realized, and as he put it: "They are just making up crap about people." The most common computer added text was: "he/She is a member of a questionable online organization."

    Now that most patrol cars are equipped with computers, statements like the one in bold above may mean the difference between a person getting a warning or a traffic citation.
  10. May 10, 2009 #9
    This is true... but I don't think this is a problem of privacy...
  11. May 11, 2009 #10


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    Surely the only reason you would be worried about this would be if you are making dodgy contacts via the internet.
  12. May 11, 2009 #11
    Everything at one place is good. I don't want to use like 5 different sources.
    Also, you would see more of

    Privacy: I don't care if government finds that I googled for porn on March 9,2008 at 3:05:30 AM. As far, google is not selling my private information to profit maximizing companies that can use the information against me, I am happy. I think privacy fears to extreme are irrational.

    And, if someone's employer finds that he/she is bad mouthing about him on facebook/twitter then (s)he gets fired.. I don't see any problem in it. Or that this woman says she is sick to use computer but then goes home and uses facebook - employers find that out and fires her.
  13. May 11, 2009 #12
    you know what concerns me? television commercials recruiting 70-IQ mouthbreathers to pay thousands of dollars to become edumacated for an illustrious career in "surveillance". i wonder if they psych test to weed out voyeurs and stalkers, or perhaps to weed them in?

    the whole internet is dodgy.
  14. May 11, 2009 #13
    Isn't there already a "Child Online Protection Act" where google was the only search engine to refuse to provide personal information to the Bush administration !?
    This being said, I have nothing to hide personally :tongue2:
  15. May 11, 2009 #14
    Because it is open to interpretation. For example, what if you were trying to find some information about chemical reactions for chemistry class. To the person who is monitoring you, it could look like you are researching how to build a bomb, make drugs, etc.
  16. May 11, 2009 #15


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    If one has been on the internet more than one or two years, they might be beyond protection of privacy.
    As for porn, that gets old in a hurry(not much new or unusual) the biggest deterriant for me is the unlikely chance of seeing one of my kids, or grandkids doing something I could never erase from my mind:surprised:yuck:
  17. May 11, 2009 #16
    So the only people who have a need for privacy are criminals? Sorry Sorry!, that's just wrong. If (for example) the religious fundamentalists ever got enough power, I wouldn't want them to have easy access to the fact that I spend a lot of time on atheist websites (I'm sure the fundamentalists say the same thing about the militant atheists). That and the simple fact that it's no one's business what I do online but mine.

    Consider this: Would you want a company to be able to put cameras through your house, and watch you while you eat/sleep/shower/have sex?

    If I want to sit at home and watch porn, I should be able to do it in privacy. If I want to read about explosives for interests sake, that's nobody's business but mine. If I want to read about the effects of illegal drugs, again, my business.

    Your argument is analogous to putting security cameras in every house, in order to catch parents who abuse their children, and saying that "If you don't abuse your children, you have nothing to hide!"
  18. May 11, 2009 #17


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    Whether you have something to hide or not, we should have privacy online.

    Why not let the government walk in your house whenever they want? Same thing. Same idea.

    Remember, the government works for us, not the other way around (well, in America it's different).
  19. May 11, 2009 #18


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    Saying you have "nothing to hide" or "the only reason you would be worried about this would be if you are making dodgy contacts" is no argument against the preservation of your individual freedom.
  20. May 11, 2009 #19


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    You don't have to use the internet! Anyway, it's not like internet traffic isn't already monitored, it's just most people choose to turn a blind eye to it.
  21. May 11, 2009 #20
    It's reasonable that 1 company should not "control this much informatio". However, the value of search information is debatable. How often do you search for something off the wall out of curiosity or to fact check something you heard?

    Last week, one of my my kids was online with a friend playing a game... they each made up names and typed them in to Google see if the neames are real words in another language. What is the value of this info?
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