Few years ago, before the social networks explosion everybody knew that it is important to keep your identity hidden and not to reveal any personal information about yourself. People used nick names and not shared personal information on the web. But as time passes where more and more services were being used in the cloud and social networks became popular we have lost all control of our privacy and personal information.
Lets take for instance Google and see just how much information Google know about us. It started with email services like Gmail where Google knows all about our personal correspondence. Even if you didn’t fill any personal information when you signed up for Gmail just by reading your emails the information there is priceless. Then we use Google calendar, where Google can learn about who we meet, what is our schedule and routine and significant dates and events in our lives.
Other people reveal information about you and you don’t even know it.
Even if you are not using Gmail Google knows a lot about you. People who do use Gmail have you in their contact and fill in your email, address, phone number, birthday and even your picture, and you have no control or knowledge that they did.
Even if you do try to keep private by using nick names on the internet, well in order to register to message boards like Google groups you fill in your email, and there you go Google and cross your nick name on the internet with your real identity.
The use of cell smart phone now puts a location tracker in our pockets, so now in addition to all the other vast information Google have on us, it also knows exactly where we are at all times. Adding Google wallet lets Google also know what we buy from whom and when. Not only what we are looking for in a search but potentially what we also buy offline (given cell phone payment will take off in the next couple of years).
Adding other services like note taking – Google knows out thoughts, YouTube and play – our taste in movies music books and what we like to play.
Given all these “Free” services we use Google know anything and everything about us, our lives, our friends and relatives. Adding Google+ and circles to the equation Google knows our relationships to other people interest, how we look like, what we like on the web and our hobbies.
The last piece of information is Google voice where Google knows who we speak with about about what.
While Google knows anything and everything about us, it is not just Google. Cloud services and social networks like Facebook hold a lot of information about us too. While we use these services more and more and rely on them in our daily lives we basically pay these “free” services with our privacy and no matter how much you try to keep information out of the web you have no control about what information your friends and family are sharing about you.
What do you think, is loosing your privacy a small price to pay for free services? Can you trust commercial companies to keep this information safe?