Googley Eyes

I’ve written previously about privacy, our inevitable loss of it, and why it’s not only ok, but good and necessary. Nevertheless, I must rant for a few more moments because Google has changed their privacy policy once again and everyone is a-twitter, freaking out about the world. Please relax and listen to me for a second.

While looking for news on the internet (incidentally using Google news), I stumbled upon an article “Why you might want to delete your Google browser history before next week.” Was my browser history going to be stored somewhere next week where I could never delete it? I was intrigued, so I read the article, which simply talked about Google’s privacy policy change which integrates privacy policies across all of its services. This will simplify things quite a bit, and is strongly beneficial to Google’s overall goal of integrating all of its products into one powerful singular product with many features, thus calling in a paradigm shift in the internet with Google a step ahead of the competition. It’s exactly like what Apple did with the iPhone, issuing a paradigm shift which rendered cameras, mp3 players, and phones somewhat obsolete (even while other phones had offered the same services in a less sleek and fast form, not affecting other devices much).

Google’s master plans aside, people are freaking out because of this policy change, and honestly I’m not quite sure why. Almost all of the comments on the article I found were to the effect of “I’m deleting everything Google related on my computer and using other search engines,” or “ this is the beginning of NAZI germany/the world is ending.” One lone woman put forth the idea that what you do on the internet is fundamentally not yours anymore, and in quick order she too was called a NAZI, or communist or something. Yet nowhere did people connect what was specifically happening in the policy change to any possible negative consequences. All I saw was fear: pure, irrational fear.

Here’s the thing: from the moment you leave your house, you will be watched, you will be listened to, and you will be examined. You will be videotaped and recorded, and everything that is observable about you will be observed. This is not a bad thing, and to understand this you must free yourself from the context of industrialism and nations. The truth is it is not “big brother” who is watching you; it is everyone, including you. We all are watching each other, just as nations watch each other with spy satellites. We allow ourselves to be spied on because there is no choice; you can’t control a man’s eyeball and you can’t control empty space. If we didn’t watch each other closely we couldn’t possibly form a cohesive unit.

This doesn’t mean you have to give away your social security number, or address, or any personal information you don’t want to. It means that you need to be more responsible with that information. It is entirely possible to use the internet with millions of people trying to steal your identity, and never let them get what they want; it’s completely up to you.



About Prometheus

I write about the coming technological singularity and its implications for our sense of identity, individuality, meaning, and existence. I argue that the most significant aspect of the singularity is the convergence of our consciousnesses into one superconsciousness, and that we should be very happy about this.

Posted on February 28, 2012, in Ethics, Values and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I delete history Every time I end a session.

  2. I agree with you about Google’s corralling us into a blind canyon and rounding us up for slaughter. I am switching to Safari and Bing. Google has exceeded its useful life.

  3. It funny to me when I hear people complain about something that they haven’t taken the time to either look into, or understand. If you’re so afraid about Google, or any organization for that manner, gathering data on you in an effort to streamline your experience with them, well than you would have hated junk-mail back in the 60’s. Or telemarketers. Or credit ratings by three separate credit bureaus– Geez people… it’s been happening for years.
    What is so private that you NEED to hide?
    Look, the way i think about it — I look at porn on the internet, right?
    I know this, my friends know this, heck, even my mother knows this. And I don’t care that some faceless, nameless, soul-less algorithm knows this, anymore than I do that the other people who will come here and read this know this. Who cares? It’s only going to make my web-browsing, phone using, and overall experience of the net more streamlined, and I’m down with that.
    There’s already not enough hours in the day.

  4. I just had a discussion with the tech guy at work on the same subject, and he had the same opinion as you, Prometheus- Google’s new policy is nothing to freak out about (Although ever since the changes my Google Docs have gone haywire and are inaccessible- which IS freaking me out).

    The tech guy and me then turned to the subject of how much we both hate FaceBook, and it’s lack- of- privacy policy, which The Onion lampooned better than we every could have:,19753/

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