What does Google know about you? Table: Mitchell 2009 “Google knows more about you than your own mother” Kevin Bankston , Electronic Frontier Foundation ( in Mitchell 2009 )
How does Googlecollect information ? Information you provide - Personal information through service sign up (eg email). Cookies – Google site sends a small file to your computer to identify your browser. Cookies are used to track user trends, assist advertisers to target users by creating profiles and storing users preferences (such as peoples search habits).
How does Googlecollect information? Log information - Google's server automatically records information such as your search query, IP address & time and date of your request This information creates a digital diary of your online activities
How does Googlecollect information? Additional modes of collection of data include: User communications: Communication sent to and from Google (inquiries, requests etc) Affiliated sites – Personal information about you that you provide to affiliated sites may be sent to Google in order to create a better profile of your digital habits Gadgets – Information collected by a gadget is sent to Google as above Location data – Google maps for example, if you have used these devices, your GPS location will be kept by Google Links – clicking links from the Google page will be tracked
Privacy concerns with logging & storing personal information Potential Issues – Google records your search information history, and after 9 months it ‘anonymizes’ these records (so they cannot be linked to your IP address). In Pre-digital culture, unless you were under surveillance, there would be no way to determine what you were doing at any given time. In the digital world, people leave a digital imprint of what their online transactions were at any given time at any given day. We have now moved from being ‘monitored’ to now being ‘searchable’ (Lessig 1998).
Privacy concerns with logging & storing personal information Privacy laws were developed in a pre-digital age, before new technologies were developed, and are somewhat lost when governing social issues effecting the digital age (Lessig 1998). By Google keeping logs of transaction records , there is major concerns of what may be done with this data in the future. Other search engines: Source: Mitchell 2009
Information Sharing Who is this information shared with? Other businesses/persons who may process personal information on behalf of Google Any government agency (U.S. or otherwise) so long as Google has a "good faith" belief that such action is necessary (Johnson 2009) Third Parties may receive aggregated, non-personal information (for example: number of users who searched for a particular term, or how many users clicked on an advertisement)
What is “Aggregated, non-personal information” ? Google definition: “information that is recorded about users and collected into groups so that it no longer reflects or references an individually identifiable user” AOL accidentally released search log data from 650,000 users in 2006 (Mitchell 2009). A reporter was able to track down an AOL user using only this ‘unidentifiable’ data (Barbaro and Zeller 2006). The user was a 68 year old widow, who was completely unaware that her search histories were being recorded and used to form an ‘anonymous’ profile. The unintended consequences of storing this type of data has been said to be …. “a ticking privacy time bomb” (Marc Rotenberg, Electronic Privacy information Centre in Barbaro and Zeller 2006)
Collecting information and supplying this data to “third parties”
“An Internet user’s every movement is potentially a piece of marketing data.” (Brown & Muchira 2004)
Information that is collected has an unlimited value and can be passed from firm to firm, matched to numerous databases, and create infinite consumer profiles (Prabhaker 2000 in Brown & Muchira 2004).
11 March 2009 Google announced its launch of ‘internet based advertising’ - highly targeted ads based on who you are (your user profile) and your activity history on the Web (Mitchell 2009)