After watching an hour long documentary in which CNBC featured Google, an important question races through my mind. Are my daily searches through Google’s search engine really private? This hour long documentary featured the many success stories of Google and their products and how they treat their employees. This is all well and good but the question of privacy is a major issue. During this documentary, one of the employees were in front of a machine that showed the live search feeds that were coming through that exact moment (at which time the documentary was filmed). Does this raise any concerns with the average Joe like me or even you? It should. I search Google’s famous search engine almost everyday with different questions and concerns I may have or to answer a question for a friend.
I have been using Google for about 7 years and they are my favorite search engine among other things. I use Gmail, Google maps, Google Talk, Youtube, Google Translate, Google Voice and the many search options Google offers (I.E news, photos etc). It was mentioned in the documentary that if you are not logged in your Google account (in which of course your history can be traced) , the IP address where you conduct your searches are stored on their server and after about 9 weeks if I am not mistaken it is “wiped” out and can’t be traced. Many court cases over the past 10 years involving internet activity caused Google to be subpoenaed several times by the United States government for this “wiped” out information. Yes they did try and fight these cases but the United States government says that internet searches are excluded from our fourth amendment right concerning search and seizure therefore granting the release of this information.
Where does that leave your privacy? Google’s CEO says that they can use this information the wrong way if they wanted to but if they did they would lose the trust of their audience. So how do we know if they haven’t done it outside of our knowledge? Bottom line? Your information can be traced to you whether you are logged in as a regular user or a guest so it really behooves you to watch what you search online. Am I trying to give Google a bad name? Not at all! In fact even after this documentary although it raises concerns for me I have nothing to hide while searching the web. Others ask all kinds of questions on Google and you just never know if you are being watched by Google employees or even the government. Just be careful because privacy is never a definite thing it is always hoped to be taken seriously therefore always in question. Note once again that I still love Google and I am not trying to give them a bad reputation just alerting those who search all kinds of things on Google or anywhere on the web for that matter you could be being watched whether you are logged in or logged out.
CNBC: Inside the Mind of Google 12-1am (IO Digital Cable)