Big Brother v. Google Update:

Big Brother v. Big Brother?

I just read an interesting article by David Rowan, a former Guardian writer who apparently now writes in a freelance capacity. Rowan had many head-scratching things to say in his article published by The Times, many of which, despite my scratching, made sense. Rowan's thesis is that, in its attempt to thwart the governmental requests for information, Google isn't really carrying any public banner for the safety of its users' information for the sake of the users. Rowan suggests that Google now guards such information so that they can make a good deal of money from it later: "The more data that Google and other web companies gather, the greater its commercial value to those willing to compromise you for a buck."* It may be true that Google will, in the future, turn its back on all of its privacy promises and, in turn, all of its users. I highly doubt such an event will occur, however.

If one were to view Google as such a shrewd and unethical company, then why would one assume in turn that Google has any intention of selling user-information? "The truth is that Google can never be trusted to protect your personal information," writes Rowan, but I disagree. I can trust that Google will want to protect my "personal information" precisely because it is not my information--it's Google's information. We are generators of information. Information is a bit like garbage in that respect. In this case, the garbage collector keeps the trash.

Can't one view Google as a brother to Big Brother? Perhaps my title should ask: Big Brother v. Little Brother? So far as I can see, Google might not want to give up search data to the government because such information can be used to help its own development in the future. How exactly Google might use all that stored data remains a mystery.