I was spending some time the other day looking through some new websites when I came across a comparison of Google to the Borg, a fictional race of cyborgs in the Star Trek TV show characterized by relentless pursuit of targets for assimilation into their collective consciousness. “The Borg” have since become a powerful symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against whom “resistance is futile”.
Stefan Tobaben:We are Google. Resistance is futile. You will be data mined. We will add your informational distinctiveness to our database. Your culture will adapt to be serviced by us.
Stefan’s comparison worries me because most things I do on the Internet are now completely transparent to a secretive company which doesn’t hide its goal of indexing all the information out there, especially concentrating on personal information.
To give you an idea how Google collects data about individuals, this is what they know about me:
- Google Adsense is my biggest source of income by far and they also do my traffic monitoring via Google Analytics so they know how much I earn and all about who links to me
- Google Australia is my main search engine and I can guarantee that they log all my searches and can cross-reference them to other activities
- I use Gmail for some of my personal emails
- Google Picasa stores my favourite photos
- I recently started to use Google Docs and Spreadsheets for university team assignments
- All my feeds are read via Google Reader
- Since Google has just bought Feedburner, they now know all my RSS subscriber details
Google Master Plan Video
There is nothing more perilous at a border crossing than a Google-happy border guard. Over the past year, two Canadians reported they were denied entry into the U.S. after a border guard Googled their names and decided, based on the search results, that they were undesirables.
-excerpt from Montreal Mirror article Net danger >> Online searches are new, and problematic, tools for border guards
“Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.” – Cardinal Richelieu
“We don’t know enough about you.” – Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Google controls your e-mail, your videos, your calendar, your searches… What if it controlled your life?
WHAT IF GOOGLE WERE EVIL? Cory Doctorow imagines the worst
– excerpt from Scroogled By Cory Doctorow
Do you agree with me or do you believe Google when they say their aim is to make money without doing evil?