Looks like there could be a nice, juicy battle brewing between Google and Privacy International, which recently issued a report that ranked Google way down the list when it comes to privacy.
In an open letter, Privacy International director Simon Davies accuses Google of sour grapes, allegedly fueled by Google’s apparent contention that Privacy International has close ties to Microsoft. From the outside looking in, this looks like a classic he said-she said kind of battle.
Who know which party is right or whether Google is a privacy laggard or whether there’s anything to the Microsoft influence. To me, the more interesting angle is how much information Google is gathering about what people do on the Web and how that information is being used. For many people, Google services have become an indispensable part of the online experience.
Whether you’re just a search user or if you use multiple services (Gmail, Picasa, Desktop, Google Finance, YouTube, etc.), your habits are likely be stored and analyzed somewhere within the Google empire. It gives Google an enormous and extremely valuable database given they have a pretty good idea about who you are and what you’re interested in.
Most of us probably don’t care or even think about it but maybe you should. Google may now be 1984′s Big Brother but aside from the U.S. government (the CIA is apparently collecting all kinds of information from Facebook, right?), Google is pretty close to being the online information overlord. (Note: I’m not suggesting Google is doing anything untoward/evil with all the information it has collected.)