Most of us wonder what exactly happened to the information superhighway. We were told the internet would connect humanity in a way where the earth became a village, where the free flow of information would benefit mankind for an eternity. Instead, the information superhighway became the misinformation superhighway with an alligator filled moat on one side, and a toxic cesspool on the other.
Navigating the interwebs these days is fraught with horrors– hackers steal identities, drain bank accounts, and commit fraud via email and websites. Worse, major entities track online users to the point of stalking, and that includes Google among the worst offenders; a company that offers free online services and applications in exchange for tracking our online whereabouts, habits, and actions, and then selling that information to advertisers.
Google’s databases have become so large, so pervasive, so personal, and so accurate that you-know-who wants some of it. Yes, the federal government, entities from the good old U.S. of A. hits Google up for your information to the tune of tens of thousands of requests.
For the first six months of last year various governments made almost 50,000 request for data from nearly 84,000 Google accounts. Whatever information Google has about you cannot be considered safe and secure.
Google has warned its users– you’re not really a customer at Google; as a user you’re part of Google’s product– that governments are demanding more of your private data than ever. Would government agencies do that if Google didn’t have so much of it? Complaining about government requests for information that Google captures without consent* seems hypocritical to me.
Where does Apple fit into this?
Hypocrisy rules these days. Apple gets billions of dollars in free money from Google simply by making Google’s search engine the default on Safari for more than 1-billion Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. Apple knows Google tracks their customers and culls personal and private information about each one of us. Apple knows that but still pushes Google onto its customers as the default search engine.
Yes, Apple’s Safari browser has settings which can help reduce such tracking. Apple allows ad blockers on Mac, iPhone, and iPad which further reduce such tracking efforts. But Apple receives billions of what some describe as pure profit by its collusion with Google. How is that not hypocrisy?
Pretty much. When was the last time you read Google’s Terms and Conditions? Or, any terms and conditions. Those details that most users never read contain the rights we give away to Google, Apple, and other entities in exchange for using whatever free software entices us to give away said rights. We don’t want to be stalked and hunted like prey online but we allow it thanks to terms and conditions we never read.
The information superhighway has become more like a slow walk down Alligator Alley during feeding time.