Google surveillance exceeds Big Brother

Big Brother Google is watching you, even if you don’t Google:

Imagine being followed in a shopping mall by a marketer who watches what you browse and buy and then recommends products. You might find this useful at times, but some consumers might never want to be followed.

Ubiquitous consumer tracking is the reality in the online world. Your browsing is being followed on almost all Web sites by a single company: Google. In a study published last year, my colleagues found Google trackers on over 88 percent of 393,000 unique Web sites. Only governments have the ability to monitor individuals this expansively.

Yet, you have no way to ask Google to stop this tracking. Instead, you can merely opt-out of the targeted advertising – the product recommendations. Exercising your privacy options creates a worst-case-scenario outcome: If you opt out, you are still tracked, but you do not receive the putative benefit of targeted ads.

An illusory opt-out system is just one of the increasingly sophisticated sleights of hand in the privacy world….

Google used to tout its search engine advertising as privacy friendly, because it focused upon users' interests per-transaction, rather than through an analysis of past searches and browsing. But in 2007, Google quietly began behavioral profiling, tracking searches, and, with the acquisition of DoubleClick, nearly all browsing behavior.

P.S. My blog is proudly Google-free.

Posted by James on Wednesday, May 26, 2010