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Can someone explain why people don't trust Google?

0. phoneArena 31 May 2013, 23:11 posted on

Yesterday, Android chief Sundar Pichai laid out his reasoning as to why people should trust Google with their data, and that spurred on an extremely entertaining discussion in the comment thread about Google and the privacy concerns around the company. The trouble is that throughout the debate, we never got a compelling argument as to why people don't trust Google...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:16

169. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

You are losing me. So, Microsoft is using customer data to make better services, but Google isn't? Google is doing a ton to make services better, and give users value for the data that they give Google. That's what makes Google Now such an amazing product.

I feel like you just don't like advertising, because that's really the only difference here. Microsoft and Google do the same things, mining the same data. The only difference is that Microsoft subsidizes its "free" services with the revenue it makes from Windows and Office licenses, while Google subsidizes its services with ads.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 04:18 1

177. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

Isn't that what this whole charade is about, that Google uses "free" services as a bait and excuse to stick their nose deep into other peoples business? The anonymization of data isn't really the whole truth either, since most of their services (and your actions) are now tunnelled through your Google+ profile, which you pretty much had no choice but to accept the creation of. The more personal information that is connected to your G+ account, the less anonymized are you. Your YouTube account got forcefully moved into G+, your Android phone uses G+, your app downloads are entitling the app developers to receive your contact info (yes, it's truehttp://appleinsider.com/articles/13/02/16/google-asks-journalists-to-tone-down-story-of-massive-google-play-security-flaw ), your reviews of stuff are linked to your G+ account, and so on and so forth. The privacy thing, and anonymization of collected data, is more of a highly questionable topic since Google keep the tabs on you and storing it in connection to what (again) is supposed to be a private or at least sheltered social profile.

We didn't ask of Google to move YouTube into Google+, they did it anyway. I even cancelled both my accounts on that deceitful move alone. But Google are seemingly free to do and use your data however they see fit, as long as they rewrite the terms & conditions first, which nothing is stopping them from doing.

And the nerve they had when blocking me from trying to change my name in my own Google+ account..? They are forcefully making you use a real name, and even do manual screen checks of the name changes to see that you don't try to anonymize yourself. How's that for taking control of my own privacy?

And when you write "Google offers what we think is a fair amount of value for your data", then how come they make multiple billions in surplus revenue on using it? I tell you why, because they are using it for more than just to serve you ads on the service that you are using.

They are tracking your movement across the web to display their ad display ads on every AdSense connected website you're visiting, and even if you're Not using one of Google's own services they will still track you anyway through their Google Remarketing ad servicehttp://www.google.com/ads/displaynetwork/find-your-audience/remarketing.html used on the AdSense connected sites.

Point is: They sell your data, and harvest your data, over and over. Not just one or two times. Even outside of the services you think you're "paying" for. And you don't even have to knowingly participate or use their services at all in order for them to do it. So what am I paying for again?

Google's confidence in knowing that they'll be able to track and profile you down to the deepest level is used as a sales argument to attract advertisers. But why don't they stop once my "quota" for use of the services is filled? And why am I paying for stuff that I don't even utilize? Questions, questions.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 15:52

119. madpiyal (Posts: 108; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)

I didn't think of the way you did (im not in business). You did come out with a fantastic point. And thank you for the link(nice post). Mr Michel has a delusion that Google will not sell users privacy but that's originally what their business is (their customers are the ad suppliers).

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 16:50 1

123. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

You're welcome :-) And thanks!

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 13:17

155. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

I laugh at the loser who downvoted this comment out of spite. This innocent comment must've really hurt, right? :-)

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 17:18

126. MartyK (Posts: 757; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)

I think the Original question was never answer by you are anyone else-

Can someone explain why people don't trust Google?.

And can you provide a company you trust more then Google with your Data?

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 20:01

133. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Google makes plenty of money selling data that is not personal (your interests). Advertisers can already get your location easily enough. And, Google doesn't sell your personal info (name, gender, religion, etc.) As I said, if Google did sell that info, the news would come out very quickly, Google would lose all public trust, and the entire Google house of cards would collapse.

Please explain how I am wrong.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 13:02

154. madpiyal (Posts: 108; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)

Off-course Google sales my Gender, Location, My Interests, My Religion etc( how the hell they will show specific ads to us? random guesses!). Advertisers don't know my Interests but Google knows and sells it to them along with my Location. I know you knew that how Google's ad business works. But I don't know why you replied as such.
Again Google's house of cards lies on free products or services not on public trusts.

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:18

170. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Wrong, Google doesn't sell that information unless you specifically allow it to. Any website can see your location from your IP address. And, Google guesses your gender, and interests from your search queries, but it is very explicit in the Google terms of service that it will not sell "sensitive personal information" unless you opt-in to that.

Please read the article for the link.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 23:25

141. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

"I too, was an atheist when I was younger. Then I grew up."

That's how you just sounded, in case you didn't know. Your ageism is insulting, Henrik.

As for Google, I don't claim that the company is perfect. However, Google's TRACK RECORD is one of good, not evil. If they consistently f**ked around with peoples' data and such, and pulled off other dastardly deeds, we would be having a very different conversations.

I too have a track record. I was an Apple fanboy and defender of the company until I learned about all of the stupid bulls**t they pull off. Now I'm one of their staunchest opponents in the consumer sphere. Google simply hasn't done enough to convince me they're out to getcha, getcha, getcha.

The article's title is nothing but clickbait. It's a lot of fearmongering language-I recognize several of the tricks. The Street is guilty of this too-they'll write a dozen articles about how f**king awesome Apple is, and write a couple about how much Google sucks ass. Even their positive Google articles have fearmongering headlines, such as "Will Google Kill Android?"

So yeah, the article did nothing for me. There was useful information, but nothing that was scary at its core.

The thing I try to think of when a company seems to have power is this: "Does the company have guns and jails? No? Do they try to manipulate government power to their advantage? Still no? Okay then, nothing to worry about still."

I mean, really, call me when Google starts raising an army. That's what'll actually scare me.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 12:44 1

153. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

Look, if you don't think Google is out to getcha, then how come that's their exact approach when it comes to your online activity? Facebook isn't out to getcha getcha getcha either, but they too hang on to your information. And if you think that the information is anonymzed, then how come most of their services are now tunnelling through your G+ account? Your profile. They moved all YouTube accounts into Google+, and made your reviews of stuff on other parts of the web being linked to your G+ account. And how about your G+ account also being connected to your very much identifiable Android phone? And then giving your contact info out to random app developers?http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/02/16/google-asks-journalists-to-tone-down-story-of-massive-google-play-security-flaw

And if you think that Google isn't trying to "manipulate government power to their advantage", then how come they spend more money on lobbying than Microsoft, Facebook and Apple? In fact, most money among all tech companies?http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/google-lobbying-spending-leads-tech-pack-142114

You, and Google, can claim the lobbying being for the good of the consumer all you want - as it sounds very sweet and innocent - but the fact is that all lobbying is done to benefit a company's own interests. And no influential Google shareholder would let Google spend that much money on something that wasn't going to increase the revenue. And naturally so, since corporate lobbying has that monetary gain as a goal and purpose.

Google is doing what it can to break down any remaining privacy barrier, and they're doing it in their own interest. You know that they are a company bound to the faceless shareholders will. And those shareholders have nothing but monetary gain in their minds, that's why they even bought shares in the company to begin with. Google, just as the other large corporations, move billions upon billions out of the country to avoid paying tax on the revenue, and have explained it with "We have an obligation to our shareholders to run our business efficiently". http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/google-revenues-sheltered-in-no-tax-bermuda-soar-to-10-billion.html

So, please, get it out of your head that Google is any better than the rest of the monopolistic titans. They are not better at privacy, and they are not less of a greedy monopolistic corporation than anyone else. But they, just as Apple, do have a phenomenally good PR department painting an image and covering it up so that the consumers won't have to know or react to it.

There's no emotional connection between Google (the company) and you, only from you to Google. All you are to them is another buck towards the fiscal year earnings report, just as we all are to these companies. They don't know you and they don't want to know you, because that way they don't have to owe you anything. But they do want to know everything About you, because that's business. THEIR business.

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:30

171. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

It strikes me: for all of your ranting about how Google is just as evil, monopolistic, etc etc, you are extremely short on actual evidence.

1) Yes, Google gave your info to developers, not "random developers". Developers of apps that you actively installed on your device (also, the information given to those developers is only as accurate as what you entered into your Google profile, which is once again your choice to be honest or not).

2) Google services are all being tied through Google+ because Google is one company. That's why it's called "Google+". Most people think of Google as the search engine, but the company is far more than that, and Google+ is the link that pulls together all of the Google products into one coherent whole.

3) You keep saying that Google isn't better at privacy, but you haven't given any examples to support that claim fully.

4) There is no emotional connection between you and any company, but that doesn't mean that some companies aren't better about considering its users/customers than others. As I've said before, if you buy hardware, there is no real reason for a company like Panasonic to care much about you unless you are complaining about the product. Google wants to know more about you, not just so it can sustain its business, but so it can continue to make better products that meet your needs better.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 04:38

178. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

1.) Random developers, as in seemingly whatever app developer you chose to download the app from. I can quote it again if you like: ""every App purchase you make on Google Play gives the developer your name, suburb and email address with no indication that this information is actually being transferred."

2.) I don't know how to explain it further than what I just did in my other post to you (above). Didn't see that you replied to me twice, but I won't start a new thread about the same thing.

3.) And you are extremely short on evidence to contradict any of my points or concerns. So how's that? Unless you're in the board of members of Google or among the controlling shareholders getting the inside info, you're just a tech blogger on Phone Arena making guesses. Just as I'm just a commentator doing the same. So that's that.

4.) Some companies have a better approach than others, that's pretty natural since they all have separate business and separate strategies. But unless the world has suddenly flipped over, the companies at this level are all in it for the same thing. If they weren't, they wouldn't have public traded stock. They are bound to make profits, and I have already shown you that they are willing to cut a few corners to please the shareholders. Whatever emotional tie you have for Google is a one-way communication. You're just an anonymous face with anonymized data to them, or how was it that the story goes again?

And if you think that Google doesn't have a wish for dominance and monopoly, just like Microsoft have a wish for sustaining theirs, then you must be really delusional about what's going on. Why did you, for example, think they were giving Android away in the first place? Whatever answer you can come up with that doesn't in the end boil down to "in order to gain instant market share" is wrong.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 04:55

179. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

And to clarify #3. I say that Google isn't necessarily better at privacy than anyone else. In fact, how could they be when their whole business revolves around extracting as much information about me as possible?

Compare that to a company that doesn't resort to that kind of behaviour at all, and you'll have a hard time saying "Google is better at privacy". What you speak of is whether Google is the best in class when it comes to safeguard or anonymize your data, but how are you supposed to show or prove that? Just because you have a good feeling about Google's business depending on a mutual understanding about your data being out of harms way (again, very hard to prove other than in theory), doesn't mean that they are necessarily better than anyone else on it. There are a lot of companies out there handling private information about their customers and clients, you know. And they don't have a 95% income revenue coming from using that data for their own benefit.

posted on 04 Jun 2013, 05:30

180. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

And, as a possible ending to this, I'm sorry if I sound a bit irritated at times. I'm just tired of having to come back here and write more lengthy comments about pretty much the same stuff :-) I'm not like hit-n-run trolls who throws a flame comment out there and then runs away in order to not having to deal with the consequences. I play the game, I deal with it.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 13:21

156. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

And I apologize for the "when I was young" part. But it's easier to believe in fairy tales when you're young, and that was all that I was trying say.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:20 2

47. papss (unregistered)

Micheal when any company says trust me that is a good reason to be cautious... I don't think it's good to allow any company to have so much data period... While other companies have some data google collects much much more.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:22 3

48. joajok (Posts: 7; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)

Too much Google and Android haters and too much Nokia and Microsoft fanboys here in PA. LOL

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:28 2

50. papss (unregistered)

I would say the opposite is more true

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:48 2

54. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

What I like about Google is their investment in Open Source Technology

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 06:49

55. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I knew just from the title this article was written by Michael....thats not meant in a bad way. I need to read that other article now. I purposely stayed out of it....I knew what direction it was gonna go...

Why ppl dont trust Google, no I cant explain it. Some ppl dont trust Microsoft, Windows in particular. Yet Windows desktop OS is everywhere. I trust them both enough to use their products. Ppl dont trust Verizon, Sprint. Both have many, many users...

I think the ppl that dont trust X company is a small group that just look at the cons of privacy issues with that company and whatnot and go from there. I dont wanna say paranoid ppl...but...

Do ppl realize that for your cellphone GPS to work so well....alot of info about you has to be given up? For map apps like Nokia Maps, Google Maps....lots of info about you must be given up. Something as simple as caller ID....now if I call someone by accident or someone I never called before for someone else....or someone uses my phone to call someone....a person I dont know might know my name and phone number. Area code.....that places me in a specific county, city, state. Yea I can have my info unlisted....but how many ppl actually do that?

For apps like Siri and Google Now to work so well.....lots of info about you must be given up.

Sony got hacked ..PSN..was very public news. How many users did Sony lose.... Xbox Live got hacked about 1-2 years before......not much news or I missed it. How many users did Xbox Live lose... And these hacks involved very sensitive info, ppl had money taken from credit cards.

How many ppl use the points cards after the hacks? I dont know but it would be interesting to find out.

Has anything like that ever happened with Google yet? Dont really know...but if it did....most dont seem to care.

Does it scare me? No.

I mean if you think about it....who can you trust? You have to trust someone or start making your own mobile phones, create your own carrier, make your own desktop OS, ect.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 07:36

61. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

One lil add on....if ppl are really so concerned about privacy....they wont be on the internet right now. You would be surprised what your ISP knows....ask the folks that got served by the RIAA and MPAA about that.

Now.....how do we know what the ISP's do with that info.....

You can get away with not using Google or Internet Explorer or Windows....but you have to go thru an ISP to get online.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 10:13 3

77. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I understand people not trusting Microsoft. I feel like more than anything, that's a holdover from 10-15 years ago when Microsoft used some shady techniques like vaporware to squash competition.

Also, people tend to not like negative advertising, and Microsoft has gone a bit overboard with that from time to time.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 07:56 1

62. jimjam (Posts: 257; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)

It is a big company and they want your money. What is there to trust?!

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 08:38 2

63. jellmoo (Posts: 1463; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

Honestly, the logic is spurious. For the most part, we don't know *exactly* what Google does with our data, or how active they are in examining content. In addition, Google is a massive company, where there re all sort of potential risks to be identified simply due to how each department may operate.

Now, don't get me wrong. I use a ton of Google services. They have a metric crap ton of my data, but do I *trust* them with it? Not so sure. But when they have access to my search history, my page clicks, my email, my photos, my video watching, my cloud storage, my documents, my calendar, my app downloads, etc... They have an awful lot of info about me. How much of that info are they passing on? How much are they using to suit their needs? Part of the problem is that we don't know. They have all of this info about us, and we just don't know.

The question is so much "why we shouldn't trust Google". I honestly don't think there is a real concern. The question should be "why are we so quick to trust Google".

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 09:13

67. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I can see your point.

Honestly....its so many cases where ppl's privacy has been breached and major harm was done...yet those companies are quickly forgiven.

Look how many will probably get the next gen consoles....or continue to use the current gen ones from Sony and MS. I had my credit card info stolen using it online...I still use it. I am just more careful where I use it. I log out of any bank or credit card site I have as soon as I'm done.

And I set up fraud monitoring at my bank...any suspicious activity and my card is blocked and they call me to confirm it was me making the purchases, using it. I think more banks are doing fraud monitoring by default now.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 10:17 1

78. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I don't like the question "why we shouldn't trust Google" because that makes people focus on only the negatives of the case. I'm not sure that we are quick to trust Google. I think that given the amount of data Google processes and the number of users, Google has earned trust, and hasn't done anything so bad as to lose it.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 12:07 2

90. jellmoo (Posts: 1463; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

The thing is, I don't *think* they have, but it's impossible to know for sure. This begs the question "where does the burden of proof lie"? Is it on Google and their supporters to prove that they are on the up and up? Or is it on those questioning Google to prove their tomfoolery?

Also, what gets done with the data down the line is also in question. What does Google share? With whom? How personal is that info? If Google passes off info to a 3rd party than uses it for nefarious purposes, does that still count as a "strike" on Google?

It's honestly a very tricky question. Technology has moved forward a lot faster than the "ethics" behind it. 5 years ago, we were not so heavily invested in the cloud. Now, we are trusting a lot more of our activity and data to another party. Questioning what they do with that is a healthy exercise, so long as it is tempered with reason.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 14:03 1

110. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That's why appreciate Google's ongoing efforts to be transparent. It could be better, but I see quite a bit more effort with Google than most.

It's easier with Google for others to prove problems, because so much of the code is open, but ultimately it has to be a combination.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 08:45

64. JunkCreek (Posts: 407; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

rather trust microsoft and google service. microsoft for professional company/personal services and google for free with ads for company/personal services

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 09:05

65. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

I don't trust apple

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 10:19 2

79. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I'd like to note that I did remove one comment from this article. Hemlocke decided that rather than discuss the points of the argument, he would attack me, so his comment was moderated. It has been the only comment moderated, because so far agree or disagree, this has been a great conversation. Thanks everyone!

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 12:38

92. tedkord (Posts: 9932; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Perfect example of my first post in this article. It's not what Google does, it's who they beat.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 12:57 1

98. papss (unregistered)

Agreed Michael.. Agree or disagree its been very tasteful for the most part.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 11:04

85. paulyyd (Posts: 338; Member since: 08 Jan 2011)

Lol is this really a post...

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 15:19

117. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

You know... you're right. Your comment doesn't really contribute much of anything, does it?

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 13:42 1

103. theSAINTjohn (Posts: 17; Member since: 06 May 2013)

I really feel like that the main issue isn't the fact that people are concerned with Google's privacy policies at the moment, but what it COULD potentially be. Sure, yeah, Google has had it's policies for a few years now, but with the growing rate in new apps, features, and products Google is putting out almost on a monthly basis one could wonder or fantasize about where and what this technology could lead to and how they keep up with privacy.

Other reasons could just be the simple fact that people don't like Google due to being on another platform, or other competitor fan boy hatred. But these instances are irrelevant.

I feel like Michael nailed the head on this article, even if most of the article is standard information on how data is used with companies. It really spells out what Google does with this information as opposed to others, which is a definite highlight, because I feel like Google is doing it the best.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 13:58 1

108. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Two words (hmm, maybe one word?) Phonebook. Your "private" information has never been actually private. You use a service, you benefit from it, it's always been up to you to opt out if you don't want your information shared; otherwise, you're automatically opted in.

I was going to posit that you banking and financial information is one of the few things you get to try and keep private, at least until April 15th. But... after thinking about that statement, yeah no way there. Banking & financial institutions, and creditors etc. are constantly sharing what they know about you without your consent. If you've got a credit score or if you've received aa credit card offer... someone's got a folder on you and they're handing out to the highest - strike that - any bidder. Hey I guess they're covered in the fine print no one ever reads.
I suppose that really just leaves medical records that get kept undisclosed, but there's even a push to change that. Sure sure, they say it's to provide better treatment but would anyone be surprised if that "better treatment" didn't also include you seeing personailzed pharmaceutical ads?
Hmm... birth records and such, almost have to take back the whole medical files being private too.

Privacy is an illuision unless you live in a cave in the middle of nowhere. And as technology advances it will only become more so.
Gee, it's like the internet is this thing that connects people through some kind of world wide web of a social network. Who'da thunk it?!

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 18:19

128. jroc74 (Posts: 5980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Another post that gets the "exactly" comment....I agree with Michael....this has been a very healthy debate in this article agree or disagree.

Too bad comment sections like this are few and far in between.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 16:45 1

121. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I think it comes down to a few things. One is a general mistrust of any mega corp that knows too much about us. Do we ever really know how they are using the info? Not really. Among companies Google has earned a lot of trust over the years but they've had their scandals as well.
But really I think I comes down to people treating brands like sports teams. To many, loving apple means not loving Google and vice versa. You can see this across the whole spectrum of brands. Ford and Chevy, democrat and republican, Yankees and red socks , chocolate and vanilla... It doesn't matter.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 16:50

122. roscuthiii (Posts: 2150; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Humanity has had a hard time breaking away from the Us and Them mentality. It's polarization of perspectives is probably our greatest hinderance towards any kind of progress. (Unless you count progresses made because of sexual and/or violent desires... in that case, we're on the fast track.)

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 20:18

134. AFnerdTP (unregistered)

Michael, if we ever shared a round of drinks and talked about things such as this.... I'd probably be sober and the night would end very early.

I agree completely.

and.. "So put limits on the government's power. Focus the issue where it should be focused."
Well said. In too many cases and situations, people are looking to put blame and looking to resolve issues using the wrong methods. (or targeting the wrong group)
I must admit, to put the focus on the right issue isn't exactly easy or doable in many cases... But most things that matter aren't.

Articles like these are the reasons I put PA as one of my favorite site.


posted on 01 Jun 2013, 21:31

135. Valloi (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)

You state (and I quote): “I guess my question is: why do we revere this "private life" so much? Aside from examples that you say where the information can put you in physical danger, most information that people try to protect as ‘private’ is nothing more than something they find embarrassing, but if they were public about it, they would likely find many people who share the same view.”

You haven’t answer your own question. You’ve simply giving examples that support your point, but your examples are not based on facts. How do you know that most people want to protect something embarrassing? What evidence do you have to support this? What research have you or others conducted that prove this? And even if most people want to protect something embarrassing, do they not have the right to do so? People sing in the shower, write in private journals, exchange secret messages, etc., because they want to and have the right to. It might be embarrassing if discovered, but concerning their dignity and the respect we should have for them as humans, do they not have the right to do keep these things private?

Moreover, is it, as you state, that people “revere the ‘private’ life” or is it that they know that they have an inherent right to it? Our country is founded on inalienable rights. The right to privacy is one such right. Other than something illegal, it doesn’t matter what people wish to keep private or why, they have that right. We don’t live in a society where because you value something more, such as what you gain from public exposure or social networking, that you get to reject the right that others value something else. Again, the right to privacy is not just inherent, it helps us to maintain our dignity and respect. It also helps to guard against those in power.

As to Google specifically, they lack transparency in certain areas and do not give customers an opt-out option, other than you can delete this or that. Even then, they do not say exactly how long the data stays on their servers. They give a vague answer. Transparency means to be clear. They need to give exact times as to how long before the data is completely deleted. And even then, do we trust their word? Google might not necessarily be evil, just greedy and manipulative. They know that most people don’t change the default settings or that they will not take the time to go to “dashboard,” so they turn certain things on by default or bury everything where most people won’t find it or look for it.

I don’t use Google for anything, so they are not a problem for me, because I realize that I have options, but the premise of your argument is seriously flawed. It’s not just the government that people should guard against, but anyone/company with the combination of money, power, and influence, which includes Google. Or are we confusing good capitalism with good intentions?

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 23:55

143. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Do you know that the idea of a "right to privacy" is an idea that is extremely new? The idea of a "right to privacy" didn't really exist before the rise of apartment buildings, and everyone being locked away in their own compartments with hallways between.

The right to privacy is in no way an inalienable right bestowed by America. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Bill of Rights lists a number of things, but none are about privacy.

I'm just trying to think about this logically: what reason could someone have for desiring privacy? There is the threat of danger, the fear of ridicule/ostracization, and the intimacy of a secret. That's about it. The first and third reasons are valid, but also very easy types of privacy to hold, even with Google's data collection. That just leaves the second.

Of course, maybe it's just not a logical idea to desire privacy. After all, no man is an island. You can be as private as you like, but you still live in a society on a planet with 7 billion other people. I think people today severely discount the value of being open, public, and a part of that world.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 12:15

152. Valloi (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)

I’m not talking about laws. I’m talking about the inherent right to privacy. It doesn’t have to be written into the U.S. Constitution for it to be a right. Certainly we are a country of laws, but we can also agree that certain laws are unnecessary. If we have to write a law that states that people should have a right to privacy, then we are far from understanding the human condition vis-à-vis dignity and respect. I don’t want more laws. I want fewer laws and a smaller, less bureaucratic government. What I’m talking about here are de facto principles. And yes, I understand that the world is populated with others (7 billion and counting). I am perfectly fine with that. I do, however, respect their right to keep what they want private. If they choose to expose some or all parts of their lives, then that is their choice (or rather should be). It’s not that anyone necessarily devalues public interaction, but rather that we respect both the public and the private space, because they are our choice and our right.

As to Google, it’s more about do I trust that they will use my data as they say they do and how long after I delete it do they keep it. They have stated that when the authorities request personal data from their customers that they require a warrant. I still need to know more, such as what kind of information are they requesting, from whom exactly (criminals, suspects, etc.), for what reason, and how are these warrants obtained or worded. Like I said in my precious post, I don’t have a problem with Google, because I don’t use their products, but I do have an issue with the idea that we should blindly trust them, simply because their business model would dictate that. Google isn’t in business for altruistic motives, but rather to make money.

Moreover, your argument about Google not wanting to lose people’s trust just isn’t a strong enough incentive for me. I’m sure Google can and will find other ways to monetize their services, even if they have to flat out charge for it. It would change their business, but that doesn’t mean that it is not possible. Google isn’t just an advertising company; they are an information company as well as a software and hardware manufacturer (they did acquire Motorola, after all, and it’s not just for the patents). They are a great example of how capitalism works, but when we’re talking about people’s rights, it shouldn’t just be a dollars and cents discussion.

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:40

173. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

All I'm saying is that claiming a "right to privacy" doesn't explain why you need privacy. You are who you are. If you accept that, and you love yourself, the only things that need to be kept private are things that could put you or loved ones in danger, or intimate secrets (the second isn't even a "need" but a valid desire). But, more and more, people are pushing this inane "right to privacy" to cover the most mundane stuff that makes no sense.

We're talking about Google here. Google doesn't know anything about you that you don't feed into the system while logged in to your Google account. Are you going to be logged into Google when researching how to overthrow the government? I would doubt it. Are you going to tell Google what you did with your wife last night? Probably not.

So, again, what exactly is the privacy concern with Google?

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 21:33

176. Valloi (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)

I’ll eventually get to privacy, but let me begin by stating that laws do not define right from wrong. Laws define what is currently acceptable. In this country, it used to be a business to own another human being as a slave, as property. It used to be that men or whites were the only ones that could vote, but today, due to certain laws those things are no longer acceptable. Yet did laws determine whether those things were right or wrong? No. It was always wrong to own people as property or to deny certain groups the right to vote. Laws simply made them unacceptable, because for a long time it was clearly acceptable and considered right to own slaves or deny women their rights. Laws did not make racism or sexism wrong. Nature made them wrong: we are inherently equal. If you need a law to explicitly state that, so that you can see others as equal, then common sense has eluded you. As to your statement that right does not equal need, that is an inane argument. That’s like saying the right to pursue happiness does not equal a need to be happy. Privacy is an inherent right, not a legal one. If you’re waiting for some law to explicitly state that privacy is a right (for you to accept it), then you don’t understand the human condition; you do not understand dignity and respect for others.

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 03:26

164. johnbftl (Posts: 280; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)

I'm sorry Michael, I am usually behind you on your arguments because you are pretty well researched compared to some other writers on here, but this is the second time I must disagree with you on this article's thread.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." - The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, 1791. I'm pretty sure a man's privacy was taken into account there.

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:34

172. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

That law is to keep the police and government from abusing power. You can't steal, and the police can't steal from you. It has nothing to do with privacy. It's just about accountability and harassment. Unless you do something illegal, the police can't bug you. That's what the 4th Amendment is about.

posted on 01 Jun 2013, 21:57

138. gallison1983 (Posts: 47; Member since: 19 Dec 2012)

Google is primarily focused in the cloud. The one big question that no one can answer as of yet is who owns data in the cloud? I recently met with folks from IBM that run a massive cloud infrastructure for the enterprise market who pretty much said that the question of ownership cannot be answered based on current policy and law.

They want the trust so that they can branch beyond the current cloud offerings (true to Google's innovative history). Unfortunately they are running mostly on faith. All cloud service providers are.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 10:42

145. rbiowa (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)

Eric Schmidt. Overly cocky. I'm smarter than everyone attitude. If he's setting the 'tone' at all in Google... I'd trust d**k Cheney before I'd trust him.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 13:55

158. jpal12 (Posts: 6; Member since: 06 May 2013)

Because we don't want to get scroogled, and because no one who uses BlackBerry is trustworthy.

posted on 02 Jun 2013, 16:26

160. xtremesv (Posts: 297; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

For me it's simple, not even my mom knows everything about me and of course l won't trust a big corporation sneaking in my private stuff

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 17:40

174. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2700; Member since: 26 May 2011)

So don't give Google that info either. Google only knows what you give it. So, what's the privacy concern?

posted on 03 Jun 2013, 21:08

175. cameogt (Posts: 88; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)

i trust Coca-cola. you just open the bottle and drink. no worries, no data collected.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 05:24

182. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 798; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)

Who out of all the people who have commented here has never done an online transaction wherein you have not provided your sensitive data like Credit card details, pin, CVV, online passwords? Why you people are trusting online service providers when we all know about internet frauds by these kinda service providers? I dont think there has been any incidence about any fraud from Google. And you people are more bothered about your photos, emails etc getting stolen. If you dont trust Google, dont use their services. Dont use Gmail, Youtube, drive, play store, maps, search, picasa, blogger etc.

posted on 06 Jun 2013, 18:12 1

183. tania.monov (Posts: 1; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)

Half of the bunch here is either extremely naive or hired googlenuts. Apart from multiple google applications that literally spy on you, including reading and transmitting the keys you type on your smart phone, there is such thing as Google Services Framwork that is a system application. This application (as well as others) can call phone and send/receive sms without you knowing about or seeing it. GSF regularly collects every piece of data on your smartphone and transmits it to Google servers for permanent storage. In addition, it has the ability to remotely activate your microphone and camera and transmit any sound and imagery surrounding you to Google. You are under constant survaliance, if you use android smartphone. Some people apparently like to be watched, good luck to them...

posted on 07 Jul 2013, 14:43

184. ragonarf (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Jul 2013)

ya and that is why google will never beat out Microsoft...in the long run people would rather pay a little for service and quality rather be run a round for free stuff that really is not free. simply put Microsoft is a reputable company google has become a company of ill repute and can not be trusted...and I have no association with Microsoft other than shelling out money for their products

posted on 16 Jun 2015, 14:57

185. crystalcachet (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Jun 2015)

On the surface "targeted" advertising seems like a win-win for bother advertisers and consumers. But there are several serious downsides: 1) Bombardment with negative stereotypes. If you're over 50 you're going to get served a lot of ads that say you're old, fat, unattractive, uncool, in poor health, ready to retire and ready to die. You're more likely to see ads from "over the hill" brands like HP than "trendy" Apple ads. 2) Online media siphon off local ad dollars that used to support local editorial coverage, so there is much less local news today. 3) These "dossiers" are not protected under the 5th Amendment and can be used by law enfocement aginst you.

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