Online privacy cannot be taken for granted.
High-profile, damaging security breaches have become commonplace in the news.
And one tech giant is spying on you in a way that will give you chills.
As soon as you get into your car on a Monday morning, you might get an alert from Google on your smartphone telling you how long it will take you to get to work.
You never specifically put that data into your phone and you didn’t ask for the alert, but there it is, nonetheless.
That’s because tech giants like Google and Facebook know everything about you.
They have far more information about you than the government ever could have.
The Washington Post recently wrote about how Google is monitoring you.
The Post article said:
“Over a recent week of Web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends.”
Cookies, i.e. the “few thousand friends,” are pieces of data that attach to your web browser.
“Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the Web,” the Post continued.
This is why an Amazon search for a random item will suddenly cause banner ads for that item to pop up on all the sites you visit.
The Post continued, “This was made possible by the Web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.”
Chrome dominates the web browser space—they control about 50% of the market—and they’re the worst when it comes to privacy.
Poor cybersecurity can have disastrous effects.
Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil,” but the tech giant is breaking its own rules.
The soft surveillance is bad enough, but it’s made worse by the fact that the company has a strong ideological bent.
Conservatives and libertarians within the company can be targeted and even fired simply for expressing their opinions.
This is precisely what happened to former engineer James Damore, who was fired for writing an internal document that posited ways to boost female representation in tech.
The authoritarian left strain within the company is even more dangerous, because they could become an extension of the government.
Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has practically begging to be regulated by the government because he knows that mega-corporations like his get to write the regulations, enshrining their place as an unnatural monopoly.
If Google were to get too cozy with the government, the type of data they could share is deeply troubling.
This is already happening in China, which spies on its citizens in truly dystopian ways.
That wouldn’t be far off in the United States if big tech essentially merges with the government.
Many people are disentangling from Google because of these privacy concerns.
Firefox, the second most popular web browser, does a much better job of not bombarding you with cookies that track your web history.
Be careful about how your share data online because the tech overlords are definitely watching.