Living online requires a lot of trust in the technology that you use, as well as a lot of faith in people, generally. Posting information about ourselves for the whole world to see can be a scary proposition and not everyone feels comfortable in doing so. As someone that has “lived online” for the past 6+ years, I will admit that I have developed a bit of a blind eye to the full impact of the privacy considerations that I subject myself to everyday when I log on, even though I am very much aware of them as a technology attorney.
For example, I often joke that Google basically owns me (and most of us, I suspect). Here’s what I mean:
As soon as I wake up, I generally check my Droid smartphone; my phone runs on the Android platform, which is developed and owned by Google, and so they are privy to all of my app preferences, contacts, phone call identifiers, location, and more.
I am an admitted slave to Gmail. I run my businesses through Google Apps for Business and I house my personal accounts on the regular Gmail platform. Years of my private personal and business details flow through Google on a daily basis — it’s a just a fact of life.
An offshoot of my Gmail addiction is the use of Google Docs and, of course, Google Calendar. Just in case I didn’t think that Google had access to enough of my information via my Droid or Gmail accounts, I share spreadsheets, contracts, strategic plans and more with business partners and consultants through the Google Docs cloud service, and schedule my entire life (and my family’s life) using the Calendar.
Also? A few of the organizations and groups that I belong to use Google Groups. Zillions of messages fly back and forth all day discussing anything from meeting locations to political musings.
See a pattern yet? Well, wait! There’s more!
As this that wasn’t enough, now there’s the infamous Google+ social networking platform where we can share our thoughts, pictures, links, play games, chat, and more with our social circles.
Then I post videos to YouTube. And edit photos using Picnik. And keep updated on the happenings of my bloggy friends using Reader. And I began my blogging career on Blogger and I’m sure my old posts live somewhere on one of Google’s many, many servers. And I use the Google search engine ALL DAY. And while I don’t use some of the other Google services that exist such as Picasa or Places or Chrome, you get the picture.
Google has so successfully taken control of the online space that they own a staggering amount of information about each of us. Some days it freaks me out. But most of the time I just say a prayer that they really take their privacy principles seriously and… I log back on.