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December 4, 2006

Privacy Stigma

AP has an article about Google and their efforts improve children's education using technology. Google tries to promote its software, especially collaborative tools like Google Docs&Spreadsheets, that could help students work faster and more efficiently. "Google views its educational initiative as a public service for teachers who often lack the money and expertise to introduce more technological tools into their classrooms."

But there are concerns, and the article mentions them. Repeatedly.

Even if Google stands by its promise to protect its users' information, there are no guarantees that mischief-making computer hackers or crusading government agencies won't eventually try to pry into the database, said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility.

"When data is sitting on computers other than your own, it becomes a very tempting target," he said. "I have no problems at all with Google's motivation because I really do believe they want to protect their users' privacy. But I think they are creating something that will have the vultures circling."

Despite those concerns, having Google automatically store important documents appeals to absent-minded students like Palo Alto High junior Ryan Drebin. "I am always losing my flash drive anyway," he said, referring to a small portable memory chip.

It's very interesting to see how this magical word "privacy" must be mentioned in each and every article about Google. As if no other company would store user's data on its servers, and as if Google had exposed user's data in many occasions and must be reminded every time. Even though Google's software is free and can be used to access your data anywhere, everybody knows that Google's servers are much easier to hack than your personal computer, that has 1234 as a password. I mean, that's common sense.

Another story, this time a parody, unveils a new Google product: "Google today launched a handy new facility which allows browsers to observe the private lives of any other computer user. Google 'YouSnoop' seamlessly combines YouTube, its recently acquired video posting website, with Google Earth, Google Mail and Picasa to reveal images, personal correspondence and much more about unsuspecting strangers."


  1. I am all for privacy online, heck most sites do not have my real name but Google is one that does and I am more worried about my home network being hacked than my Google account. This kind of fear is over the top in my opinion, I have been online since the 90's and have not had any real trouble other than a couple of fraudulent charges at questionable websites, which were purchases by the wife that turned out to be a scam. If you are smart about your information, privacy is not really an issue online.

  2. Well put. BTW, congrats on this:


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