Google empire takes invasion of privacy too far

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said after being questioned on the growing speculation surrounding Google’s privacy policy.
The privacy of one’s Internet activity probably doesn’t go through the typical student’s head while he or she is surfing the Web. However, perhaps it should, given that Internet users are increasingly sharing private information in a range of multimedia connections and inadvertently leaving digital footprints at every turn. This information is a gold mine for companies looking to reach out to consumers with precision.
The 800-pound gorilla of these companies is Google, which plans on launching a new social networking site called “Google Me” in the near future as a competitor to Facebook. All social networking sites gather massive amounts of data about all of their users, raising concern about how private these sites really are.
But Google takes this a step further. Since its launch in 1998, it has expanded from its basic search engine to offer Google Earth, Youtube, Gmail, Google Voice, Google Chrome, etc. While these extra features are undeniably convenient, they also allow Google to see almost every action taken by its users on the Web.
The perfect example of this took place in upstate New York, according to myfoxny.com, where building inspectors in Riverhead, NY used Google Earth to find unlicensed swimming pools in people’s backyards.
Whether or not Google admits it, the company has a tremendous amount of power over its users. The company has records of searches by each computer that uses its services which are undoubtedly analyzed, processed and packaged by the corporation. What some shrug off, others call an invasion of privacy, sparking some anti-Google movements.
The website insidegoogle.com has been a leader in the campaign against Google.  The site argues its point in a video stating that Google’s friendly face is merely a mask for an evil corporation.
According to Google’s privacy policy, the search engine sends cookies to the computers of each of its users in order to compile a history of each consumer’s searches. By doing this, Google says the “quality of its product” is improved.
All students have been cautioned since middle school that colleges and employers use the Internet to find potentially harmful information about individuals. However, our concerns should go beyond tagged Facebook pictures of underage drinking; even more worrisome is the ongoing examining of each and every step we take in our private lives.
Google is no longer a quirky company with an amusing homepage. It is a corporation that profits from our personal lives. CHS students should think twice before they sign up for “Google Me” and allow themselves to be another consumer profile in the ever-expanding Google database.