Search Mailing List Archives
[liberationtech] Flaming Google
gfoster at entersection.org
Fri May 31 07:28:20 PDT 2013
Please note the subject change, as the previous subject featured
"Microsoft" - a notable reflection of the tides of history.
In short, what price will you pay for your privacy?
Google (like Facebook), makes the majority of its money by selling
advertisements (I've heard on the order of 95% of Google's revenue is
generated by AdWords). Like everything else the Internet touches,
advertising has been disrupted by the innovations introduced by
companies like Google and Facebook. In this case, the innovation is
highly accurate micro-targeting of groups. For example, on Facebook you
can place an advertisement that targets only current employees of a
particular organization - because individuals document their employment
history on Facebook.
Disruption of the advertising industry has been enabled by the
acquisition and compilation of information on individuals. We, as
individuals, voluntarily provide our personal information to these
organizations in the process of using the tools and amusements they
provide to us - crucially, at no direct financial cost to us. The
quantity and accuracy of aggregated personal data largely determines the
amount of advertising revenue that can be generated. Therefore these
organizations are incentivized to collect more and more personal data.
In some circumstances (but not all), these same organizations provide
paid versions of their tools which provide privacy guarantees, such as
Google Apps for Business which includes GMail. It's worth noting there
is no privacy protecting version of Facebook.
So this calculus is pretty simple. If your privacy is worth something
to you, what will you pay to keep it? Trouble finding privacy
protective substitute technologies? Well, that's part of our answer.
Technology has a cost for the convenience it provides, and that cost is
not just economic. As McLuhan said, every technology is simultaneously
an amplification *and an amputation*. And lately, there's a lot of
severed personal data being scooped up.
Gregory Foster || gfoster at entersection.org
@gregoryfoster <> http://entersection.com/
More information about the liberationtech