Professor Tara Gellene
Composition and Rhetoric II
8 May 2012
Google’s Invasion of Privacy
We live in a new world. Efficient and portable technology has transformed an entire generation’s daily lives so radically that their seniors can barely relate to them. The Google search, perhaps the single most common action performed when using technology, is conducted hundreds of millions of times everyday. What is alarming and, in fact, creepy, though, is that when we search Google to explore our interests, someone else is exploring us too. Google, like a Big Brother figure, records our personal information without our knowledge and learns more about us than many would think possible. How does Google record our private information without our knowledge, and should we be concerned about their ability to do so?
One form of invasion of privacy that Google facilitates concerns the person whose name is typed into the search query, or what Omar Tene, in his 2008 essay “What Google Knows: Privacy and Internet Search Engines,” calls the “target.” Much of the target’s personal information can easily be accessed through a Google search (Tene 8). Tene argues that “these efficiency gains [from search engines] come at a cost to the search targets, whose private lives become accessible by current and prospective employers, romantic prospects, nosey neighbors, press reporters, and even stalkers and other criminals” (9). “How Privacy Vanishes Online,” a New York Times article written by Steve Lohr, informs of other potentially dangerous information accessible through the aid of Google searches. For instance, two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University reported that they could accurately predict the entire social security numbers of 8.5 percent of individuals born in the United States between 1989 and 2003, which amounts to nearly 5 million people (it should be noted that this study was not limited to only using Google for its research) (Lohr). Search engines like... [continues]
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