Privacy? Seriously, Did You Really Think You Had Any?

lifehacker.com

I had one of my lovely epiphanies today? Is news more shocking because it is sudden? Or is it shocking because it is presented in a shocking manner, as in an hysterical tone of voice? The big squawk on Fox news this morning was the new Google interface. It harvests and combines your internet history from Google, Gmail, and other services. Hello…Gmail is Google mail? Why is this news to anyone? The merger happened years ago, and of course they share info. The contents of you email is scanned for keywords to direct advertising to you.

Fox reporters would have us all up in arms about this new Google interface. It invades our privacy, etc. This hoop de la is much like trying to slam the barn door after the horses already got out. Google claims this collecting your internet browsing history will improve the user experience. Oh right, lining a jail cell with mink will improve the user experience, but it’s still jail.

Data mining is not a new thing. The internet made it a lot easier, true. Anyone who ever got on a catalog mailing list can attest to this. I signed up for the Victorian Trading Post catalog 10 years ago. Now I get so many catalogs in the mail that we could build a pueblo out in the back yard using recycled catalogs. Most of them go straight in the trash.

living under a rock

Using Gmail is pretty much like spreading out your laundry on the front hedges to dry while living on a busy street. Trust me, everyone will see it sooner or later. Unless you have been living under a rock there is no way anyone can possibly not know this. I must be patient though. I’ve lived under other varieties of misinformation rocks many times in my life.

Even this beloved WordPress snips a little out bit of data out of our posts to use in the link at the bottom of the post that says “similar articles” or something like that. These links show occasionally on my blog and are loosely based on what I write. Although the logic of the algorithm eludes me. The problem with this process is that sometimes things are waaaaay out of context.

For and extreme example let’s say I mention something like “naked greed” in a post. The similar links may link to something about nudist camps or naked men. Now a naked man in my house, AKA, my husband is not disturbing. A naked man in the grocery store leering at me is extremely disturbing. The point is that he has nothing to do with what I am writing about. But the links show up on my blog and many can or will assume that it is my doing. Oh well, I love WordPress anyway.

So back to privacy and old news. Please pay attention and before you get all hysterical about something you hear on the news, take a deep breath and ask yourself 2 questions. 1) Is even true? 2) Is this way old news which means there is nothing left to shout about.

Friends and neighbors, as a public service announcement please read this article on LifeHacker.com Top 10 Simple Privacy Tricks Everyone Should Use. I re-read it from time to time because I get lax about it and also I tend to computer hop.

13 responses

  1. True words….and that Top 10 List is good too. I like to think I’m pretty privacy savvy …..but then I have a blog !

  2. “Google claims this collecting your internet browsing history will improve the user experience. Oh right, lining a jail cell with mink will improve the user experience, but it’s still jail.” – Today I don’t have problems with the way google handle information about me… but your argumentation here was interesting! 🙂

    1. I don’t have a serious problem with Gmail. It just annoys the hell out of me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I use Gmail only for my website. My personal mail is through my ISP, based in Australia and hopefully controlled by our laws.

    I write in my own name, but so far that has not been an issue and let’s face it, I have reasons for doing so. I protect the names of the kids though.

    I teach the kids that whatever they put on line is there for life and public, so be careful – even if they restrict there photos to “friends” on Facebook, that privacy is a fictitious as the pics can be saved to anyone’s HD.

    1. I use Gmail. But I’m not using my real name of my blog. No particular reason other than I like the name Trinity. It was the name of the herione in the movie The Matrix. My 2nd most favorite movie of all time.

  4. I use AdBlock stopper thingies and I never see an ad. Which is nice!!!

    I write an eroticesque blog, and have a different email for erotic things. My personal and private email is gmail. What I found horrible, is how once you are signed into gmail/google every page you go to they keep a listing of it and they keep you signed in. So all their services (for example blogspot or blogger) you remain signed in as and if you are not uber careful, you use your everyday professional and private name publicaly.

    I’ve made the mistake once of being open and honest and using my real name, but that brought stalkers and worse.

    Google has made it easy for this to happen.

    It sucks that I have to use two separate browsers, one just so I can use my gmail, and the other for everything else to keep them apart.

    1. I can imagine that writing an “eroticesque” blog compounds the problem of whackos tenfold. Sometimes I have attacks of paranoia when I even admit what hemisphere of the planet I live in.

  5. I’m aggravated with myself for falling for the g-mail whisper campaign two years ago.When it seemed daily,all variety of news articles along with every internet forum,cited studies offering clinical proof,followed by millions of commenters who agreed…without g-mail people would think you pathetic,useless and idiotic.Only bed-wetting,cross-dressing neanderthals didn’t have g-mail.Also outdated ancient housewives(ahem).In an attempt to keep current and not offend others with my dated email address,I finally got the hint and got g-mail.Day one I was surprised and disturbed.Not only were there now multiple ads all over my in-box,they were directly related to my e-mail correspondence verbatim!This was new to me.I’ve learned to just avert my eyes and ignore my new bffs,the ads.but it is intrusive.I’ve never expected any privacy with free e-mail,but I miss the freedom from ads in my in-box!Welcome back btw,we’ve missed ya.

    1. Oh I use Gmail myself. I just keep in mind that nothing is private. And thanks 🙂 It’s good to be back.

  6. Seems to me Fox News gets in a huff about a lot of things I’m actually in favor of–so even this is nothing new. However, I DO need to check out the LifeHacker post. Thanks for that.

    Have a great week.

    Kathy

    1. Yea I listen to Faux Newz to get an idea of what I’m for. It’s usually whatever they are against.

  7. Very entertaining – and helpful – post! I LOVE that pic of the “rockin’ house” as well!

    1. That house is a scream. I know many people who live there 🙂

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