Want security? Privacy? Respect for Data Protection? Then Boycott Google…

1 06 2010

I think this last week has made me realise that, though Google offers so many great things in terms of their search engine and even some software, I have had it with them as a company and will no longer use any of their products….To put it bluntly, they simply don’t have any consideration of peoples personal data or any morals when it comes to collecting data and information that they simply shouldn’t, even if its the law…

For sometime Google has been accused of, well let’s say, tracking what people do on line and gathering personal information without consent. Recently there has been a number of issues linked with their own gMail etc. Then we come to the “street view” issue, which so many people in the UK objected too, and yet Google carried on no matter what….

Street view

Here in the UK many people and groups objected to the Google street view project. A number of national papers also voiced concerns of the project, however, Google seemed to be able to say “tough” and get on with it. Though there were a few changes made to the images that showed up online (for privacy) basically Google got to do what it wanted. However, from the same project, we hear that Google was also spying on people’s personal Wi-Fi connections, their online activities and wherever possible, gathering personal details such as eMail accounts. To top it off, Google didn’t feel there was anything wrong with this and didn’t even bother to inform local councils etc this was actually going on…(Probably because they knew this wouldn’t be approved).

Though Google now apologise for the incident, I don’t believe they will be deleting any information gathered and have only apologised for it since their PR agency has said its the thing to do… In addition they seem to come out with any number of excuses for their actions, all of which to anyone with any experience within the IT world will say is a load of old ****…

Regulations…

What amazes me is that Google manages to get away with things that many of us wouldn’t dream of doing. It makes me wonder, that if Microsoft had attempted this, that no doubt we would be hearing of massive court cases, the break up of Microsoft etc etc. Yet Google gets away with pretty much anything… In an age of ID theft, it amazes me that there are no real strong regulations in place to crackdown on Googles actions, but to top that, Googles attitude to privacy and the whole issue amazes me even further…If an individual was caught carrying out Googles actions, I am sure we would be seeing a prosecution of some kind….

I strongly believe that international bodies need to get to grips with what is technically possible, and more important what is ethical and basically should be against the law (if it isn’t already).

More things of concern…

Google has its own Browser and shortly, its own Operating System. Now just think what sort of information they could steal from you if you use their OS? I maybe being cynical but Google must be seen in this way simply because of its previous actions and record on data privacy. I wouldn’t trust Google Chrome browser or OS no matter what is said, to top it off, they aren’t even great products!

What can we do…

Well, ask yourself why is Google doing all this? Simple, it wants to know as much about us to sell on the details, perhaps not literally, but for sure in terms of advertising. The more Google knows about us, our actions, our connections and our habits, the more it can charge for its advertising and start to push these adverts and its own services on us. Which in turn makes Google a lot of money. Googles line will of course be something along the lines of “to provide the best service we can”, but again, any businessman will tell you, that the service argument is so they can sell more advertising…

I feel most average internet users don’t understand the situation, that Google provides “free services” because it makes its money through advertising, and it snoops on us to increase that revenue and revenue potential.

So what we can do as users? Simple. Stop using Google products and services. By doing this Google doesn’t have access to your internet habits or mobile habits and your personal information. If you have gMail move away from it, if you use Google as your search engine switch to Bing, Yahoo or ask (don’t be fooled that Google is by far and away the best search engine out there). If you use Chrome switch to FireFox or IE, and if you are tempted by Chrome OS, get Windows 7… The more people that do this the less of a captive audience Google will command, which means less advertising revenue for them…

The way Google behaves as an organisation and the lack of real regulation and action against them,  means this is the only way in which to make your own information safe and to make Google stop.

I for one will not be using any of their services and products again….

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