Walking Surveillance Device

There is always lots of debate on the issue of privacy.  Clearly, there are military reasons to collect data (with debates on appropriate use).  There are programs we willingly opt into (like when I sign up for an organizations e-mail list).  Within healthcare, we have HIPAA that tries to protect our personal data.  Then there is the constant paranoia about how much your employer monitors on your computer – what sites you visit, your keystrokes, what you say on the phone.  Then on the more debated side there is what information is it okay for a company to aggregate and use to push information to me that makes me healthier or saves me money.  I don’t expect this will get solved anytime soon.

I think this is why I found the story about Google’s G1 interesting in yesterday’s paper where it talks about how Google aggregates information from you to better target you with advertisements.

“It enables Google to field your search queries quickly when you’re on the run. It also gives Google access to your contact lists, IMs, e-mails, personal calendar, social networking and video downloading — the videos you’d fess up to publicly, as well as the ones you might not. As for all those “personal photos” swapped with pals on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter: Google can grab those, too.

Everything gets crammed into your personal “file,” so to speak, along with a lot of other stuff — such as where you bank, shop and cruise on the Web when you’re lonely, bored or just in the mood for a little fun.

Once your information has been collected and stored, there’s no way to get rid of it. You can’t see what’s been collected or have it expunged. It’s Google’s for as long as it wants to hold onto it.”

Obviously, more and more people use mobile devices and the mobile web.  It’s one thing to have your information aggregated when you use a service (i.e., Google search).  It seems another thing for them to pull information from your device and aggregate it.  I am not sure how this will play out, but I expect there will be a lot of discussion on blogs about this topic.

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