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Stalked By Google: At What Point Do We Jump Out of the Van?

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There are some people in our lives who give me the creeps.

We see them as friends. They give us really nice gifts for free, and always seem to have just what we need right when we need it. When we first met them, they seemed so kind, helpful, and innocent that we all just kind of fell in love with them, and welcomed them into our lives. We gave them a spare key to the house so that they could come and go as they pleased. After all, it was the least we could do after they had been so kind to us. They were like family to us, but almost without notice, something changed. They installed a sophisticated system to spy on our every move. We noticed that they started to rifle through our email, figure out who our friends were, find out where we were going and follow us until we got there, see who we were calling, see who we were messaging, watch our video chats, find out which blogs we subscribed to, and which ones we read and at what time. Now they know what questions we ask, what medical symptoms we have, where we plan to go on vacation, how much time we spend online, where we shop, what we buy, how we manage our finances, what our house looks like, what we type into documents, what videos we watch, what videos we make, what services we subscribe to, and

every.

single.

thing we do online.

If real people were doing all of these things to us, we would freak out, call the cops, change the locks, and reevaluate our online security strategy. We would feel that our identity had been compromised and that our privacy had been violated.

How could we let this happen? It’s as if some overly friendly robot is dishing out ice cream sandwiches and jelly beans while we gobble them up and beg to go for a ride in his pretty white van with child like primary colored letters painted on the side, which oddly enough, has no windows.

It’s all good at first – you’re riding in the van eating jelly beans and ice cream sandwiches…high-fiving the robot and acting all sugar drunk, when suddenly the van stops. The side door slides open with an eery rolling rumble, and a weird guy in a suit grunts and climbs in the van. He smiles and then proceeds to Schmidt all over you. That’s right, I said he Schmidt all over you. Not like that, you weirdo… I mean that he Schmidt all over you just like he Schmidt all over Steve Jobs. Yep, I’m talking about a guy named Schmidt. He drives you around town and Schmidts you out to total strangers for money. He doesn’t give you any of the money though. He just flips you an ice cream sandwich or a jelly bean every once in a while, so you eat it and smile. You convince yourself that it’s not so bad. After all, you get to ride in this weird van and kick it with a robot, so you decide to let this guy Schmidt you out for the rest of your life. Solid plan, bro.

I guess by now you’ve figured out that I’m talking about Google. I can’t possibly be the only one who finds their business strategy of quietly mining and selling your data big brother style while presenting themselves as Neverland Ranch 2.0 to be disturbing.

Our lives are online. We have become our data, and our data has become us. If you own the data, you have captured the life. According to their terms of service, Google basically owns whatever data you enter into its services. A fair question to ask is, “At what point does Google own you?”.

Oh Wait.

Sent from my Gmail account

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  1. Pingback: 2012 in Review: Tech | Current Editorials

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