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Privacy Concerns With Google
Not Another Conspiracy Theory
Before everyone rises up and burns down this hub, I want to say that I am in no way against Google. I use several of their services on a daily basis. I don't see any reason to abandon their company, I just have potential concerns for the future regarding some of the information they collect.
I'm still trying to formulate my thoughts properly and avoid causing a disaster here, but isn't anyone else concerned that Google saves search history that is tied to your account, IP, and other identifying information for an indefinite period of time? Although it hasn't been an issue yet, I can see it coming up.
We'll start out with a very basic example. Take someone who is in the military doing research for school from a Department of Defense computer. All Federally owned and operated computers are subject to monitoring. Now, we'll say that this research project is on drug trafficking patterns. Google has the user's e-mail address, name, and cell phone number on record due to Google Mail. They then tie these search queries to that e-mail account, and other information they've identified for this service member, "John Doe".
Stress and home life start to catch up with John, and rumors circulate that he may be drinking at home, or maybe even using drugs. Matter of fact, someone "thinks" they saw him looking at a High Times article on the Internet at work. Because of this, they start pull his internet browsing records. As the story unfolds, Google may be issued a subpoena to validate information, and John gets an exclusive urinalysis (vice inclusive, where he is part of a random drug test). With this incident, the precedent has been set. Although the military has much more authority with members of the service, it can be used as reference in a civilian court case, and applied wherever deemed necessary.
At this point, I don't think it would take long for Google to change its policy, or it would likely be wiped from the business world.
Now, all of this is very general speculation and there's no reason to believe it will take place soon. However, it's only a matter of time. With Google's involvement with the Government on various levels (Keyhole Inc., and various agencies), at some point they may be looking at burning bridges or changing their business policy.
Is anyone else concerned?