My nomination for the best television commercial of the year goes to the search engine “DuckDuckGo,” which competes with Google’s search engine and others. The commercial shows a young man wearing a T-shirt that says Google. It shows him looking over the shoulder of Americans using search engines to find things online. The 1983 musical classic by the Police, “Every Breath You Take” is perfect, as Google whispers “Every Stroke You Take.” They are spying on us, which is creepy!
Generally speaking, it is not always illegal to spy on each other, but does that also make it acceptable? The reason Google and others spy on us is to charge advertisers more, by placing their advertisements on web pages of viewers whose search engine usage indicates they might have be interested. It is the profit-motive, pure and simple. Your data, their profits! Your privacy be damned!
An amazing number of people simply shrug their shoulders, saying who cares? The viewer is more likely to get advertisements they appreciate. Besides, we have already lost our privacy. Who wants to be Don Quixote, wasting time and treasure titling at windmills. Since we have no privacy left to lose, who cares if they continue to study our online searches. Don’t forget that the data you produce today is more valuable than the data you produced yesterday, so stop giving them more data/profits!
Besides, isn’t there a difference between surrendering your already-violated privacy . . . and the data from your daughter’s smartphone.
At long last, Congress is taking an interest in this issue. Republicans distrust big tech companies, because they assume all “media” companies like Google and Facebook exist solely to spin news. Democrats are less complicated, because they assume all big companies are simply evil and selfish. Fortunately, both see “Big Data” as a threat to democracy.
Truth-In-Blogging: I have been a longtime user of DuckDuckGo . . . just to maintain some tiny remaining shred of privacy.