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(The Year 2012 In Review)
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|User Info||Target Finds Girl Pregnant Before Dad; entered at 2012-02-23 16:14:00|
Registered: 2008-02-05 Minnesota
Frankly, I'm much more worried about what Google knows about me than Target.|
Target knows what I do. Google knows what I'm thinking about. There will come a seminal event in the near future when the world suddenly realizes that "Do No Evil" is an impossible goal when you're in possession of exponentially increasing amounts of information and the predictive analytics it enables.
Here's what Google knows about you, what it stores right there on its servers, waiting for a hacker: Google has every e-mail you ever sent or received on Gmail. It has every search you ever made, the contents of every chat you ever had over Google Talk. It holds a record of every telephone conversation you had using Google Voice, it knows every Google Alert you've set up. It has your Google Calendar with all content going back as far as you've used it, including everything you've done every day since then. It knows your contact list with all the information you may have included about yourself and the people you know. It has your Picasa pictures, your news page configuration, indicating what topics you're most interested in. And so on.
Google, like Facebook, owns trillions if not quadrillions-plus bits of information. They mine it, use it to sell ads, algorithm it. But my real fear is not Google. My real fear is that computer technology has turned into an arms race between good guys and bad guys. Google may see itself as a jaunty white hat wearer, valiantly protecting all our information. And it may be doing it to the best of its ability. But hackers are hard at work all the time.