Google, Big Brother and Why Bother?

Real Estate Agent with Eau Claire Realty, Inc.

 Google Cuts Data Retention Length in Half

Search data to be anonymized after nine months, instead of 18

Google will now retain users’ search requests for half the amount of time that it used to, promising to scrub its server logs for personally identifiable data after nine months, instead of 18.

The change was announced on its official blog Monday evening.

Google says it was initially reluctant to reduce its retention policies because doing so would degrade the quality of its research data – based heavily on search engine logs – which it claims is a “critical ingredient” in its ongoing innovation.

 “Over the last two years, policymakers and regulators – especially in Europe and the U.S. – have continued to ask us (and others in the industry) to explain and justify this shortened logs retention policy,” reads the post, which CNET attributes to Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer. “We responded by [explaining] how we were trying to strike the right balance between sometimes conflicting factors like privacy, security, and innovation. Some in the community of EU data protection regulators continued to be skeptical of the legitimacy of logs retention and demanded detailed justifications for this retention. Many of these privacy leaders also highlighted the risks of litigants using court-ordered discovery to gain access to logs, as in the recent Viacom suit.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

Why did Google do this you might wonder? I have a feeling this has to do with the recent and more intense scrutiny. 

Why you might wonder is everyone making such a big deal about this? Well let’s just say that every time you use Google they are recording every single move you make. What sites you visit, how often, when, and including where you live and what the last site you visited was. The goal is to have ads targeted at you that are more specific to things you might like. But in the short run this means someone knowing an awful lot about you that you might not want other people to know. The risk runs deep because if you know your history you will know that this type of information has been used against people in the past. This wasn’t just Soviet Russia either this was going on right here in our own country. In fact with the renewed Patriot Act Google could secretly be giving up information to the government without your consent or knowledge all with NO warrant! This is why everyone has been "freaking out" about this. This isn’t just a conspiracy anymore, it is fact. Whether Google does give up information to the government or has done so remains to be seen, but let’s not forget how quickly they turned off Human Rights issues in China in order to get right to the bottom line

I personally love Google. When I compare the lesser of 2 evils between Microsoft and what Google is doing I cringe but somehow I keep thinking Google is so nice. They have a nice image. They do nice things  but please let’s not let them stray too far. Germany recently warned its citizens about using Google’s new browser chrome. Some might say Microsoft has been doing this sort of thing for a long time and this is necessary to remain in the competition. I agree because the way things are set up Google can't slack off now. But let’s not give them too much power. Let’s have "normal" advertising and just bombard us and brainwash like they used to. My brain seems to like turning mushy instead of freaking out and worrying about Big Brother watching me all the time.

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Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Interesting. I never really gave much thought to google tracking that kind of thing. But since computers are computers, and it is easy to do, it all makes sense.

Sep 10, 2008 05:02 AM #1
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I personally think that "1984" came to fuition with the advent of the public Internet. It was completed on 9/11/01 and the days thereafter. It's here to stay. Be good out there because someone is spying on you; you just don't know who or what it is.

Sep 10, 2008 10:30 AM #2
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Shane this is real interesting info. I had not heard Google was doing this.

Sep 11, 2008 02:22 PM #3
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Shane OnullGorman

Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell
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