The Google Effect on Your Privacy

A couple of years ago, a friend emailed me, partly horrified, partly entranced. She had just downloaded Google earth, searched her address, and there she was, in her yellow shorts, pushing the lawn mower on the front lawn, frozen on the Web, at her less-than-finest.

google earth.jpg

In Freedoms, Borders And Google, Derek Gordon comments on Google’s challenges in Europe with privacy violation. I agree with Gordon, who writes, “While respect for individual privacy and dignity are extraordinarily important values -- ones that should be fought for and protected -- the right to freedom of expression is at least as important.”

We are finding ourselves posted on Facebook or YouTube by friends – even by strangers. Our online page visits are tracked, our searches recorded and our preferences stored. Our privacy, or lack of it, is important to all kinds of people.

We aren’t going to change things. And there is incredible value in the right to freedom of expression, creation and exploration. The Web will continue to develop, as will privacy-compromising technologies that benefit businesses and law enforcement and government. What we have to understand is that safeguarding our own privacy is in our own hands. It will be more and more important to be engaged and to monitor how we are represented. Create accounts on Facebook and Twitter and others. Be curious, stay alert. Learn how to use the tools that can put barriers between your private persona and your public data.

Have you Googled yourself lately?  |  digg it!  |  reddit reddit!  |  Google!

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