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Google is your butler- the tension between utility and privacy

Dec 16, 2009, 21:03 (2 Talkback[s])

"Like a butler, you want your tools to work intelligently based on context and history, and Google is without doubt one of those tools- for many of us, the most important single tool in our computing lives. The problem, of course, is that your butler has a lot of incentives to keep your private information private. Surely the butler can be bribed, but therefore you pay him well and treat him like a human being, and you try to avoid these sorts of problems. Google's incentives run at least partially the other way- they have strong incentives to mine that data extensively, to share it with others, and to collect well more than most people might think is useful, in the name of being the ultimate butler. And these incentives lead to risks- incentives to share with third parties that you might not trust; risks that things might be subpoenaed; risks that they might leak to Google employees or even outside Google; risks that effective advertising might use such information to manipulate your political views."

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