This e-mail has started showing up in GMail inboxes.
Dear Google user,
We're getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that's a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.
Be sure to go to the link in the letter. It spells out Google's new policies. It's an interesting read. Less informative than it could be due to a liberal sprinkling of "may" and "may or may not" hedge-wording.
I had said before that, at the very least, Google's policies remove any anonymity you think
you may have when working with their services and products.
The following, taken from their new policy, confirms that to be the case:
(Note: I took the liberty of highlighting the key areas thay merit a closer look in case you still have doubts.)
Log information – When you access Google services via a browser, application or other client our servers automatically record certain information. These server logs may include information such as your web request, your interaction with a service, Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your account.
User communications – When you send email or other communications to Google, we may retain those communications in order to process your inquiries, respond to your requests and improve our services. When you send and receive SMS messages to or from one of our services that provides SMS functionality, we may collect and maintain information associated with those messages, such as the phone number, the wireless carrier associated with the phone number, the content of the message, and the date and time of the transaction. We may use your email address to communicate with you about our services.
Most disturbing is the retention of private user generated message content, which has no value whatsoever for Google's marketing - but which is very valuable for fishing expeditions conducted by various parties. Can you say: criticize your employer or the government and later face repercussions - and then wonder how they knew
? Especially since you only did so in an email sent to your best friend?
A simple information request made as a favor - or through a subpoena - would be sufficient. Big Brother doesn't exactly watch you. But he does record every single word
you utter and log every thing you do
for later recall - and evaluation.
It's called data mining. And it works.
Right now, these things have been perceived as fairly benevolent. Largely because egregious invasions of personal privacy have remained relatively rare - and were downplayed when reported.
But that's only because those who could most benefit from stripping privacy from all walks of personal life haven't felt sufficiently pushed against the proverbial wall to move on it. And the unfortunate truth is there's no guarantee they'll continue to feel that way in the future.
When you consider the huge degree of public disenchantment with politicians and the political process(mostly over rampant corruption and excessive corporate influence mongering) governments worldwide have cause to be concerned. Because one message is now emerging loud and clear: "Business as Usual" is becoming less and less acceptable. And the public is getting fed up with it. The Arab Spring and Occupy movements are just the tip of the iceberg. There's a seismic shift starting. And when it finally goes into full swing - there will be some serious pushback by those who seek to maintain the status quo.
My biggest concern, with the heightened and heated level of rhetoric we're hearing in political circles, is the very real chance of us seeing our government switch into "wounded rhino mode." That's where the large and lumbering animal feels threatened, or becomes wounded, and lashes out with deadly and indiscriminate fury at anything and everything around it.
It's a very real concern...
Especially in an era where government sanctioned "shock & awe" is becoming the preferred response to everything: from a full-bore terrorist attack, all the way down to a local arrest for a minor felony.
No matter what town or city you're from in the USA, you'll see ninja-suited heavily armed police units responding any
time an arrest is expected to be made. And that includes arrests for some of the most minor offenses imaginable.
Guess they need to do something to justify all the spending on "homeland security" training and equipment that's been used to militarize
US local police forces in the last ten years.
The problem with tech like that is, once it's out there, it begs to be used. And often creates
justification when justification can't be found.
So it goes.