The 29th of October is the birthday of the Internet, on this day of the year 1969, two mainframes at American universities exchanged the first Internet message. 29 years later, Google set a milestone with the invention of their search engine.
For users who took their first steps into the Internet at that time, Google was the guide. Everything looked quite harmless: colorful letters, simple operation, friendly company, founded by two computer nerds. Now, about 20 years later, the garage project has turned into an incredibly profitable global corporation with $75 billion in annual revenue and $16 billion profit.
Google is targeting the data of its users. The search engine alone is currently processing more than five billion search queries a day. From each individual request, the company generates data that it uses for its own purposes. But what about Google with privacy? How do they deal with our sensitive data?
Although the Google slogan is “Do not be evil” – now is the opposite the case. The company has almost limitless power through its knowledge of users’ browsing habits and shares these with defense companies and US authorities. How could this happen?
The search engine Google has always made money through advertising, not through the sale of equipment or services. The essential applications were “free” of charge. However, that has little to do with the fact that Google wants to do mankind a favor. Instead, the search engine Google penetrates increasingly in all walks of life of its users. The price is total surveillance and the loss of our privacy for us; Google seems to have little concern.
The Google strategy is to use different components for this surveillance. The Google search engine (1998) was the first step; its operation provided a blueprint for all the other services that followed. It works great, but it keeps collecting data, more or less anonymously. With other products such as Gmail (2004), Google Calendar and Text & Spreadsheets (both 2006), the company then encouraged users to introduce themselves in person; this required a Google account. Anyone who registers for this agrees that Google may now keep individual personality profiles. Neither privacy settings or data protection were easily found in the help. Just because of its size Google can easily exclude privacy.
The mobile operating system Android (2007) was the next logical move on the way to total digital surveillance. It costs the manufacturers nothing and runs well – at least if you commit to Google. In other words, as you enter to the world of Google, everyone hands over their business card. With this anonymity and privacy, it is over.
Even those who try to resist can barely escape Google. Because on the web about 80 percent of all Internet sites are tracked by Google Analytics (2005), a service that logs the user behavior and creates the most accurate personality profiles – well beyond the search queries.
Google’s biggest coup in 2012 was the company’s adoption of unified data protection provisions across all Google services. Previously, there were rules for each service. Officially, the new rules should make the services clearer and easier to understand for the user. The real reason, Google was now able to merge and link the data of all users from all offers and across all devices. The merger of these individual components emerged as mega-profiles, comprehensive personality images of each particular user. These contain intimate details such as political sentiments, illnesses, sexual preferences and much more.
For example, the Google Now service that was introduced in 2012 on mobile devices. The app automatically provides information when Google thinks it needs to know about the user. For example, music jams on the way to work, the number of visits to your favorite club or memories of a flight. The other way round the app monitors where the user is, what he is looking for and what messages he writes – and much more. Privacy? Of course, Google stores this data neatly and forever in the user’s personal account. Google seems less interested in Personal Privacy, after all, the account owner has consented yes to this monitoring.
The next component of the all-around monitoring was the Google Assistant, introduced in 2016. It works similar to Now but responds even better to questions and voice commands. And it is also embedded in the form of a harmless loudspeaker (Google Home) directly in the living room. The device continually monitors its surroundings via a microphone. There is no more privacy!
In Germany alone, the Google search engine has a market share of almost 95 percent, four out of five smartphones are running with the Google-developed Android smartphone operating system, and Google Chrome (2008) is the world’s number one browser by far. Add to that the billions of users of services such as Google Maps (2005), the Internet file sharing service and storage (Drive 2012) and the video service YouTube (2006) – just to name a few. Despite various privacy policies, Google knows everything. The more people use the applications of this Internet giant, the more information the company collects.
What the company does with the data is known only known by Google alone and the government agencies that regularly submit requests to the company for the acquisition of personal user data. In contrast, the group has denied independent privacy advocates insight into its databases for years.
If you don’t trust Google with your data the best thing you can do is avoid giving it to them in first place. Personality profiles can affect the cost of health insurance, interest rates and potentially future fees on loans.
If you want to make sure that your privacy is protected on the Internet and help block the creation of a deep personality profile about you by companies like Google and Facebook, use the eBlocker – the smart solution hides the IP address and blocks data-gathering trackers and advertisements – for all devices in your home network.Back to Category Overview