A new documentary reminds us how intrusive social media can be in our lives and how personal privacy is quickly vanishing. Kyle Smith writes about this in a recent op-ed and mentions the documentary The Creepy Line. The name of the documentary is taken from a comment by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. He has a nickname for the invasive nature of his company. “Google policy on a lot of these things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”
In the film, Peter Schweizer illustrates how your search history gives Google an enormous amount of information. Of course, this is supposed to tell Google and other advertisers what you like to buy. But this enormous cache of information also tells anyone who has access to it all sorts of other things about you and your personal tastes.
Google also noticed that you would leave the search engine in order to surf the Internet. So, it developed the browser, Chrome. That means that everything you do online through Chrome is also collected in the cache of information at Google.
But that’s not enough. Google wants to know what you are doing even when you are not online. So, there is Android that uploads a complete picture of what you have been doing when you are not online. Smith concludes, “It’s a surveillance business model. Google Maps, Goggle Docs, Gmail . . . Google knows more about you than your spouse does.”
Over the last few months, Congress has shown some interest in understanding how Google (and the other Big Tech firms) make their editorial decisions. But Smith also reminds us that the federal government is “a heavy user of Google products, and has shown little interest in oversight.”
If Google isn’t going to self-police itself, and if Congress isn’t going to take any meaningful action, then we as consumers need to be wary of how Google and others use us and our information.