by Simon Black: Action
If you’re like almost every single Internet user on the planet,
you probably use Google for something. Maybe Gmail, maybe Google
search, maybe Google Docs, maybe Google Voice… or maybe all
of the above.
take place effective March 1, 2012. With so many services ranging
from a new social network to an online office platform, Google has
consolidated all of its privacy policies into one. And it’s
a good reminder of what’s at stake.
Anytime you perform a Google search, for example, it’s logged.
Your computer’s IP address and cookie (unique identifiers that
can essentially pinpoint you and your location) are also included,
so your computer’s entire search history is archived.
When you receive an email through Gmail, or a voicemail on the
Google Voice service, it’s archived on their servers. Even
if you delete the messages, there’s still a copy on Google’s
servers. The marginal cost of digital storage is so ridiculously
cheap that they have little reason to delete this data.
Then, of course, there are all the government requests for user
data. In the first half of 2011, the US government requested information
on over 11,000 Google accounts. Google complied with a full 93%
of those requests. Your account might have been one of them, and
you would never know.
It’s not just Google either. Between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo,
and AOL, the four companies power the email accounts of over 1 billion
people. And all of them are in bed with the US government.