How private is your data?

privacy.jpg The uptake of web-based tools and applications in the Web2.0 world prompts a question in my mind from time to time – “where is all the information stored, and who has access to it?”

I thought about this again when I read Sue Water’s latest post in which she has published the results of a Twitter poll she conducted by asking her Twitter followers to name their favourite 3 Web2.0 applications (apart from Twitter, del.icio.us and Frirefox.)

I’m very interested to note the extent to which Google applications emerged in the favourites list from her poll. I’m a big fan and user of many of these myself, but recently have become aware of of Google’s reputation of being “hostile” towards users privacy.

This was brought home to me further recently a recent article in the Globe and Mail titled Patriot Act Haunts Google which highlights that the Google on-line services (Docs, Sites etc) are subject to the “USA Patriot” Act (in fact an acronym that stands for ” Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) which could make the use of the sites they consider (a) a threat to academic freedom, or (b) in breach of Canada’s privacy laws – depending on what data is put there.

Certainly food for thought, I suspect we’ll see more debate on this emerging in the next few months.

2 thoughts on “How private is your data?

  1. I have to admit I was intrigued by how high Google rated. Many of my followers wouldn’t have seen the responses from others and with delicious, twitter and Flickr out of the equation they would have had to think. Several of them only named Google Products.

    Wonder how difference the response would have been if I used a Google spreadsheet survey? Certainly would have been easier to compile the results but I wanted to model how you use twitter to get quick responses and then probe for more information.

    Google does worry me – have you watched Epic 2014 & 2015?.

    Interestingly enough they do provide a good services but there are quite a few Web 2.0 companies that are way more response and helpful to their users.

  2. Hi Derek, yesterday’s (Sunday 6th) Sunday Star Times has a full page article, “Google: Who’s looking at you?” I’ve pinned it to my board… We’re very impressed with Google services (we use Gmail for student email). They are the epitome of Web 2.0 success – free services plus healthy revenue stream – but it is difficult to tell how well their seeming altruism through the providing of free services might be subject to abuse in the future…

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