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Google Services: Privacy and Security Concerns
Insecure Digital World
In today’s digital world, the debate surrounding privacy and security cannot be stressed further. Internet users are at a constant risk of privacy and security violations by technology companies. Google Inc. is among the biggest tech companies today with billions of people around the world using its services. Nonetheless, these services have developed numerous concerns surrounding privacy and security. Google services such as Street View does not just take pictures but collects email and WIFI information from unsuspecting users nearby. These warring revelations illustrate an increased concern for privacy and security of users. Numerous Google services continue to violate privacy and security rights of users by not informing them that their information is being collected without their consent.
Google Collects Info from People Who May Even not Be Using Their Services
Google services violate privacy and security rights by accessing and collecting data from people who may even not be using their services. Rosenfeld states that Google admitted to collecting data and personal information from computers inside homes and buildings using their Google Street View cars that were thought to only take pictures for the service. The type of information collected included private information, emails, and passwords all from unsuspicious users. This tends to be a form of security concern since Google does not seek the consent of users before accessing their information. Moreover, it violates privacy rights as well as acts in an unethical manner by illegally accessing and collecting information from users who are even not using their services. Moreover, Google’s Gmail service was also found to be violating federal wiretap regulations. This is because the email service evaluates the content of all emails on its network using the information to sell it as offshoots to advertisers. For instance, it is possible if one sends frequent emails about cars they are likely to get advertisements related to cars.
Google did not make a point of informing Gmail users that it would collect and create individual profiles and target them with adverts. Again, even people who were sending messages to Gmail addresses did not agree for Google to analyze and use their messages for target advertising. Analyzing each and every message is a clear violation of privacy rights since each person is entitled to his/her privacy. Furthermore, by analyzing all kinds of emails, it is not clear how secure the services are since other people be it Google employees may access sensitive information.
Google is also notorious for illegal tracking of its users who access the Internet. In 2012, Google was exposed for using an illegal code to by-pass anti-tracking abilities of Apple’s Safari browser. The secret and illegal code exposed millions of Safari browser to tracking without their knowledge even if they had turned on the anti-tracking abilities. Eventually, Google was found to have committed a privacy violation and fined $22.5 million by the Federal Trade Commission. The idea of well-respected multinational using secret codes just to track users clearly raises concerns in terms of security and privacy. Google clearly acted unethically in using secret codes without users being aware of tracking their online activities. This means that the company can go to any lengths to pursue its business objectives at the expense of user privacy rights and security.
Illegal Collection of WIFI Passwords
An additional issue is the illegal collection of WIFI passwords from millions of Android phone users. The company was exposed for collecting WIFI passwords for Android users who backed up their phones and allowed the Google service to restore their new phones. This means that Google knows nearly all WIFI passwords in the world. This is a clear violation of privacy since passwords and other vital information is deemed private and may indeed result in privacy and security concerns when accessed by companies such as Google. In its defense, Google has cited that the company was exploited by top U.S spymasters who illegally collected information without user consent. However, these are mere allegations that have no evidence, but the evidence of privacy and security violations can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
In conclusion, Google services continue to violate privacy and security rights of users by not informing them that their information is being collected without their consent. Some Google services can spy, pry, and secretly track information and user activities online. This tends to create increased concern for privacy and security of users. These issues may be far from resolving as even more advanced Google services are being launched. All stakeholders and mostly users have the obligation to determine where the red line lies to address privacy and security concerns.
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