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Google and the slippery slope of privacy

I just noticed a new Google program called Google+ Auto Backup for Desktop installed on my Windows 7 home laptop. Since I had not installed the software explicitly, I was a bit surprised. While this is par for course on Android with Google Apps being silently installed, I imagined Windows to be somewhat more transparent. Of course, Google has done this before with Chrome, but this time they seem to have leveraged the Picasa install base to push through their software.

Granted that the tool is quite useful for backing up photos, and I have set it up to back up my photo library just as it is configured on my Galaxy S3, this kind of behind the scene surprises is quite worrying. After all, Windows installers of many a software come with their share of add-on bundles – remember those toolbars? Then again, we did have the option to opt out of those add-ons. While this behaviour is similar to the Google approach for Android and their other services, it does not inspire much confidence in a company that I trust with so much of my personal data:

  • Google knows where I am all day thanks to the location history on my Android phone
  • Google has comprehensive control over my digital identity thanks to my Gmail ID
  • Google has copies of all my photos clicked on my phone, and now even ones that were on my laptop
  • Google knows the sites I visit and the credentials I use on each thanks to Chrome

I probably trust Google with too much of my data. Coming to think of it, the NSA might as well shut shop and open up a division in Google.

Google is well down its way of the slippery slope with me (and you?) in tow, and I’m pretty worried where things are headed.


Filed under: Technology, Thoughts Tagged: Google, online identity, picasa, privacy, slippery slope

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More Stories By Aditya Banerjee

Aditya Banerjee is currently working as a Management Trainee in Cadbury India Ltd. He completed his Master of Management from the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay. He worked as an Application Developer in Kolkata for IBM India from August 2005 to July 2008. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2005 with a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering degree. He passed out from school in 2001, and also represented India in the International Chemistry Olympiad in the same year, winning a Silver Medal.