Sunday, February 14, 2010

Privacy and the internet

Are you concerned about privacy when using the internet?

I watched an interesting programme this evening on catch-up TV. It was
the third episode of Aleks Krotoski’s “The Virtual Revolution”. One of
Aleks’ main points was about how much information is being gathered by
Google and other large companies, with the intention of giving us
better targeted advertising.

The big question is to what extent are we being monitored by Government
secret services, and the fact that it’s very difficult / virtually
impossible (nice pun here, I think) to erase what you’ve written on
the internet ... so she says.

But what happens to your blog if you simply delete it … surely after a
short while, any reference to what you’ve written will totally disappear?

She gave as an example that in the early 1900s the Netherlands
government kept records of the religious beliefs of everyone, so when
the Nazis took over in 1940 they were able to round up all the Jewish
people for transportation, very easily. A chilling example of how
information-gathering can be badly misused.

Prospective employers can check out applicants' Facebook sites, and find
out what antics they get up to during work-time and in play-time. One
of my sisters eavesdrops on what her children are up to on Facebook,
and has been told by one of them to stop making comments on his site.

I’m not too bothered about Google collecting information about me …
and I’m not bothered about its targeted advertising, which I rarely
read, and which I don’t find intrusive.

Like most folk, I used Google for all my searches, even to find “My
Favorites” as I find it quicker to do a Google search for them. I use
Blogger (obviously) and Googlemail, and I use Google maps and its
Street View (plus G. Earth) from time to time. I’ve had a brief look
at Google Docs and G Chrome, but don’t really fancy using them. I
also use Google-based Page Ranking sites to check out how my websites
are doing, once or twice a year. I’m using YouTube more and more, for
info on how to do a whole range of things … mainly educational videos
on website creation and the like.

So all this wonderful free stuff with Google, paid for by unobtrusive
advertising. Who’s bothered about that?


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