Your search history shows your associations, beliefs, perhaps your medical problems. The things you Google for define you…data that’s practically a printout of what’s going on in your brain: What you are thinking of buying, who you talk to, what you talk about…It is an unprecedented amount of personal information, and these third parties (such as Google) have carte blanche control over that information…

I think the mantra of not being evil is not disingenuous, but it is a hard credo to stick to when you’re a public corporation with stockholders to please and economic incentives driving you to collect as much information as possible. I’m not saying it’s evil to collect this information; I’m saying it’s dangerous for them to collect this.

Kevin Bankston, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: CNET, 2005. Elinor Mills’ article would provide the basis for a ban on communication with CNET by Google. Mills’ article specifically mentioned the fear of “hackers, zealous government investigators, or even a Google insider who falls short of the company’s ethics standards.” Only later would the reality and consequences of this possibility come to light: China, hacking. Bankston would leave us with this warning: “Before you Google for something, think about whether you want that on your permanent record. If not, don’t Google, or take steps so the search can’t be tied back to you.”

Google is poised to trump Microsoft in its potential to invade privacy, and it’s very hard for many consumers to get it because the Google brand name has so much trust,” said Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “But if you step back and look at the suite of products and how they are used, you realize Google can have a lot of personal information about individuals’ Internet habits–e-mail, saving search history, images, personal information from (social network site) Orkut–it represents a significant threat to privacy

Chris Hoofnagle, Electronic Privacy Information Center: CNET, 2005. He had testified earlier, before the California Judiciary Committee, “Although Google is held in high esteem by the public as a good corporate citizen, past performance is no guarantee of future behavior, especially following Google’s IPO when the company will have a legal duty to maximize shareholder wealth.”

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