Recently, Google secretly purchased credit card transaction data from Mastercard to provide select advertisers with a tool called “store sales measurement” that can track how online ads lead to real-world purchases. This sounds impressive, but there is only one problem: they know what you did last night! We are all aware of the fact that we are being watched, both high and low, by “Big Brother Google” to measure their ability to make more money.
Knowing what you purchase, and how often, allows the tech giant to gear its resources toward ads that will cater to your immediate needs. This way, they can promise advertisers that they will get them directly to the purchaser. If you were one of the advertisers in need of this service, this might make you smile. On the other hand, if you are the lonesome character who makes discreet purchases online, then this might make you want to scream…and not in a good way.
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When you are in the privacy of your own home, what you do online should remain your personal business. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t see it that way. What you do can make them more money so just get used to it. The other side of this disturbing coin is that nothing is being done legislatively to protect the privacy of citizens within the United States from the probing eyes of bubble-eyed Google! If you have a shoe fetish, you will probably be inundated with a plethora of shoe ads—we can suppose—according to Googles rationale as to why this makes sense.
Does anyone other than the porn addicts of the world see the invasion of privacy and danger in this situation? If so, why is there dead silence around the world when it comes to how much information Google can have about its users? Just last week it was discovered that Google continued to keep search histories that you deleted from your phone. This information is also meant to help them “tailor your search experience” in the future. It sounds fishy because there was never any evidence that people needed assistance tailoring how to search for “10 ways to lose weight without exercise” in the past. Buyer beware! When you go online, expect that you are not alone. Everything you search for and everything you buy will now be exposed…so keep that in mind the next time you get a craving for entertainment at 2am. Just sayin’.
Missing the good old days
Convenience comes at a very high cost. Statistically, over 80% of all shopping is done online and almost all research is done through Google. It’s hard to avoid using Google because it has done such an awesome job of monopolizing the online search engine industry. Google tells you how to get to your location through Google Maps—which means they have record of your whereabouts—and they even know which games you like to play on your phone. Is there no end to the lack of privacy here? Should we simply surrender our desire to do things in private for the sole purpose of having access to something that makes life easy? Does easy always have to come at a cost?
I’m afraid so. The public can’t compete with the lover that Google is being to the government, so we don’t have a chance. Just do all that you can to be mindful of the fact that what you do, and who you wish you could do it to, is completely shared.