Later, when I returned to that same newspaper's website, as I do every day, it troubled me when the site listed the news items that a few other Facebook friends had shared with others. Because I had read that news about the musicologist through my friend's Facebook feed, now the newspaper had data on who my Facebook friends are, and with a simple cross-checking with the database it tells me who else had read and shared other news items.
I now had to take my love-hate relationship with Facebook to the next level.
So, I am hoping that the solution I have come up with will work: all my regular web-related activities are through Firefox, while Facebook will be via the clunky and slow IE.
Take that, Facebook, because now you won't know what I am up to :)
(It doesn't look like Facebook searches for Firefox cookies when I am using IE; maybe they will soon add that code, you think?)
Meanwhile, I am being stalked by Google! It scans my emails, keeps track of what I am searching for, and who knows what else!
If you use the full range of its products, Google knows the identity of everyone you communicate with by email, instant messaging and phone, with a master list – accessible only by you, and by Google – of the people you contact most. If you use its products, Google knows the content of your emails and voicemail messages (a feature of Google Voice is that it transcribes messages and emails them to you, storing the text on Google servers indefinitely). If you find Google products compelling – and their promise of access-anywhere, conflagration and laptop-theft-proof document creation makes them quite compelling – Google knows the content of every document you write or spreadsheet you fiddle or presentation you construct. If as many Google-enabled robotic devices get installed as Google hopes, Google may soon know the contents of your fridge, your heart rate when you’re exercising, the weather outside your front door, the pattern of electricity use in your home.
Google knows or has sought to know, and may increasingly seek to know, your credit card numbers, your purchasing history, your date of birth, your medical history, your reading habits, your taste in music, your interest or otherwise (thanks to your searching habits) in the First Intifada or the career of Audrey Hepburn or flights to Mexico or interest-free loans, or whatever you idly speculate about at 3.45 on a Wednesday afternoon. Here’s something: if you have an Android phone, Google can guess your home address, since that’s where your phone tends to be at night. I don’t mean that in theory some rogue Google employee could hack into your phone to find out where you sleep; I mean that Google, as a system, explicitly deduces where you live and openly logs it as ‘home address’ in its location service, to put beside the ‘work address’ where you spend the majority of your daytime hours.
Some people find all this frightening.
Yep, I am one of those "some people" who find all these very, very troubling. And, at how much complacent we are about all these.
And now this: