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Google, Facebook And Your Privacy

We’re talking about Google and Facebook and your privacy. The rules are changing. They say it’s great for you – but is it?

In this Sept. 25, 2007 file picture a visitor passes an exhibition stand of Google company in Duesseldorf, western Germany. German prosecutors have launched an investigation of Google Inc. in connection with a privacy breach that involved it recording fragments of people's online activities through unsecured Wi-Fi networks.  (AP)

In this Sept. 25, 2007 file picture a visitor passes an exhibition stand of Google company in Duesseldorf, western Germany. German prosecutors have launched an investigation of Google Inc. in connection with a privacy breach that involved it recording fragments of people's online activities through unsecured Wi-Fi networks. (AP)

You’d better believe Google tracks you.  Facebook tracks you.  To better serve, they say.  To better sell ads, we know.  But right now the tracking and slicing and dicing and x-raying of your online life – our lives, in so many ways these days – is moving to a whole new level.

Google’s new privacy policy – which you can accept, or decline and be banished – sews together all your info across every Google property – Gmail, YouTube, Android, on and on – and tracks it all.  Facebook’s Timeline tracks you from birth.

Privacy?  Well, what’s that?

This hour, On Point:  Google, Facebook, and privacy now.

-Tom Ashbrook



Steven Levy, a senior writer at Wired magazine and author of In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.

Jeff Jarvis, associate professor and director of the Interactive Program at the City University of New York School of Journalism. His blog is “Buzzmachine.” He is also the author of What Would Google Do?

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and teaches Information Privacy Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wired “Under the banner “One policy, one Google experience,” the company’s new Policies site says that it is “getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read.””

CBS News “Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg faces new challenges as his company prepares to file for its initial public offering this week. If the tagline for the film “The Social Network” was “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” the sequel’s might be “You don’t get to 10 billion valuation without risking 800 million friends.””

Video: Google Privacy Announcement

This video, produced by Google, explains the company’s new privacy policy changes.

Video: Facebook Timeline

This video, produced by Facebook, explains the company’s new Timeline feature on its social network.

Video: Electronic Privacy Information Center on Digital Privacy

This video from the EPIC explains how search and advertising companies store and utilize your online data.

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  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’ve added blockers in my web browser to get rid of Google’s junk.  I just want the old Google, the one that was clean, without all the added bugs (or am I supposed to call them features?).

    • JustSayin

      Twice now I have been presented with welcome to Google Chrome after installing or updating some software that has nothing to do with Google.  As I delete the clandestinely installed Google Chrome, I’m asked why I’m removing it.

      It’s like having a sofa delivered and finding out a “free” video camera has been installed in the room…. Then the installer asks why wouldn’t I want that free camera, because it will allow the people who watch me decide what kind of furniture is best for my lifestyle. 

      • Hidan

        I used “Stop Script” and place Chrome on the block list. I had a better program but it was a pain cause i had to manually unblock each website. Since Id been using it I can see all the stuff a website runs without our knowledge.

        Take for example onpoint of course some are a given

        -google ad service(if using google search)
        -scorecard research

        • JustSayin

          I block almost everything, but applications hidden in the install packages is a big problem. Even now Discus is warning me that I have too much blocking.

  • Mark

    First off, the new FACEBOOK timeline looks to me like the old MYSPACE which totally sucked. The navigation is not fun and the photos are much too big. I’ll be using FACEBOOK much less.  

    As for Google. This new “privacy” policy is a joke. We are witnessing the complete commercialization of the entire internet. Information is now a mere commodity to help cluster the society into desires and interests. 

    We will pay for it not in cash but by sacrificing our independence from the corporations which buy the data…And non of us shall escape our old conversations, old emails or online history..EVER.

  • Yar

    Why is Google sending me ads for owl pellets?
    What scares me about the personal information store is, it never goes away. For example, say you don’t like your Facebook timeline, and delete your account.  What is to stop someone from recreating an account with your name and birth date?  Will your old timeline appear in the recreated account?  As people have found out with email, delete doesn’t mean gone forever.  Once you eat at the tree of knowledge, you will learn of your nakedness.I don’t worry about business exploiting my information near as much as I worry about some future fascist regime deciding they must reeducate me because of comments in my Disqus profile. Not possible, in the USA?  Look at the Patriot Act, with laws like it today; well my friend, I will see you in reeducation camp, maybe I can be the gardener.

    • JustSayin

      Not only does it never go away, but it’s usually about forty percent wrong. Corporate databases cross linked, and merged with multiple users, and erroneous data all assigned to each by software applications as a basis of sales and perhaps prosecution.

      I’ll be the cook.

    • Anonymous

      EXACTLY! Another article said a British tourist was sent back to London recently when upon landing, customs “presented” him with his own facebook message saying “ready for fun – heading over to blow America up…”. While meant in the context of “America is THE bomb”, customs said see ya…

      That’s just the tip as you mentioned. Patriot act and NDAA now mean they will quietly start reviewing each of us so that a greater profile can be built. I compare it to our credit report. Soon maybe we can pay to have a “patriotism score” sent to us. Sad

    • TFRX

      Maybe your owl is more proficient at touch-typing than you realized.

      Wait, you don’t have an owl?

      • Yar

        Google Owl pellets. They are not what you think, I don’t teach 7th grade science.  

        • TFRX

          Yar, I was making a joke.

          And given your warning, I won’t search the term.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You mean like guppy makes jokes about his Moda?

          • Modavations

            This is what is known as stalking Terry.Sort of like little girls snickering behind the enemies back.

  • Salzburg

    The pre-information for this show has me wondering, what is is show about?

    Links to Amazon? Somebodies sales might increase.

    A professor‘s link to a poorly arrange page. Guess?

    Facebook and Google ads that only present what they want us to think of as benefits to their product.

    Honestly the www is growing faster then even the creators are aware of, or seem to be aware of. The mathematicians must be quite amused. 

    Lawyers are being hired to draw up contracts that limit the scope and range of some products and to legalize other products that normally one wouldn‘t be caught dead with in public places. 

    Actors, writers, producers, singers, etc are crying that their rights are being violated because they can‘t milk every cent out of their art. Instead of nickel and dime‘ing the consumer to death they need to reconsider their distribution contracts and policies. The need to start making their content available and the market will start leading them to answers. Sponsors need to be pressured to catch up with the times. Obviously when something airs in one country and it is spreading like wild fire on the web the producer is missing the point and should be airing to the world by all available means. They are failing to keep up with demand. Who spilt their milk? Don‘t punish the consumer, your bread and butter. Figure out how to make them happy first. The pennies will come once the system is in place.

    Privacy policies are showing us a new awareness in missing etiquette and need for respect in social forms. People and products are trying to be perfect in a world of flaws. 

    It is because perfectionism has been brainwasher into so many that authentic human beings are being driven crazy. Uniqueness is great, but that thought seems to be lost in today‘s modern world. Flaws are private. Mr and Ms Ordinary Joe are so boring that privacy affects them minutely. It is just understood and accepted that certain private information like addresses are just that, private.


    In conclusion just exactly what will this show be about?

  • JustSayin

    Dictionary Privacy: The quality or state of being apart from company or observation.

    Internet Privacy: The corporate right to sell your personal habits, choices, and information to anyone without your consent or permission.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WELL SAID!!

  • Hidan

    Do no evil(unless there’s profit to me made)

    • Hidan

       Do no evil(unless there’s profit to be made)Just ask the Chinese citizen

  • Hidan

    The timeline thing is scary. besides the fact that if someone hacks someones facebook and will pretty much have all the information needed.

    South Park is great on trying to delete ones facebook(which facebook still keeps are your information)


    Tons of dummies are going to invest in facebook when it goes public at an unreasonable stock price making the wealthy even richer who were allowed to buy face book shares for around 19-20$ ahead of it. Even know facebook has been reluctant to release there financial records

    • Alex Kingsbury

      Thanks, Hidan for your idea about South Park. We used some of the SP sound during the show!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Cool, Alex!

  • Anonymous

    Do no evil (except in the fine print).

  • Cory on the Oder

    I used to think Facebook was just amazing.  It helped me reconnect with folks I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. These are people I would likely never have seen or heard from again.  I started to hear people say they were off of Facebook, and it seemed strange to me.  Now, FB changes it’s format all the time and I’m beginning to tire of it.  I’m not interested in trying to keep up with the constant evolution of a once useful product.  Now you begin to factor in the ugly and weird privacy nonsense…  I think about bailing, but it sounds daunting.  I’m not a tech guy, and the explanations I hear for disconnecting are pretty involved and complicated.

    My ultimate conclusion is that if we ever really had privacy, we certainly don’t anymore.  If someone wants to know something about my small, boring life or fiddle and diddle with my savings account I’m fairly powerless.  Meanwhile, a robot camera hanging from a lightpost can convict me of a crime and mail me a ticket and fine me.

    The best defense may be to be uninteresting, and that isn’t all that comforting. 

    • JustSayin

      As in the fascist vision of the movie Rollerball. No one can be exceptional, just ordinary.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think the best uses of social media are exemplified by one determined local politician who actually had a surrogate going after me to accept his friend request.  After about a year, I acceded.  Now I see the huge possibilities.  If there is a bomb threat downtown, here is a vehicle for spreading the word.  Not an alarm, but “word.”  If his friend base isn’t wide enough for the particular purpose, no matter, a friend of a friend can forward things.  Mostly, the “home” page brings things that can be ignored, but that is sort of the price you pay for the right to be part of the flow.  I notice plenty of people apparently dis-including me from their flow, using customized circulation, and I wonder when I see a page with say 1,486 friends, whether they are all sending to and being sent to.  So much is in code.  “Lack of passion is fatal.”  “Swim, swim, swim.”  “Best.Day.Ever.”  The rule for that cohort seems to be never ask, not in messages, not in comments.  If you do comment, you might be read, maybe even queried, but then deleted.  And is that like “message received; that’s mine”?  Or is it message rejected.  Oh, my ego muscles ache.  “Friends” — mine, anyway — don’t read minds, so if there isn’t really the give-and-take, there is a lot of coded talk and misunderstanding.  I think we’re really just trying to hear each other’s voices, tone.  Others just want a vehicle for trying to get me to do work for them or something like that; meanwhile the chirp, chirp, chirp, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.  Fine.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    Older people seem to have opted out of Facebook.  I search for people I knew long ago, and they don’t exist.  The people I’d like to connect with as an adult who I last saw through the eyes of a very young woman — they didn’t even die, apparently, just faded away.  So that’s very disappointing.  If I were buying Facebook stock today, I’d consider the MySpace phenomenon and wonder what space age tools come next.  Facebook doesn’t tell you when someone’s pulled the plug on you, and I dreamed last night that a woman was sitting in my apartment watching me work, sitting behind me.  When I turned, she got up and left.  I looked out the window, and she was with a blond teenage boy who looked strung out on drugs, from his eyes, and I saw they were a team.  They had walked in without my knowing it (visited my site), and so I picked up the phone, the landline, and it was disconnected.  Apparently that was all they had done (for the moment), so I went next door to let my neighbors know, and use their phone.  The upshot is I won’t post more photos of me soon.  I consider it divine intervention that my computer won’t let me. Interesting there was a bomb scare just where I was planning to go that week, just exactly when I planned to go.  Who knew that and when did they know it?  I note that a Joe McGinnis is here for a year (just as he was in Alaska next door to the Palins), daily sitting in on court, then hanging out at the little restaurant across the street.  Oh, Palin tell-all book, you are no match for the permutations of justice in my corner of reality.  Actually, he is facing the boringest judge in the state.  No wonder he says he is discontinuing his blog.  Bore them to death is my solution on the privacy front.  Lie, too.

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

      My 82 year old father is on Facebook, but he worked at a college for many years.  I find loads of people in their 40s and 50s on Facebook and Google.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         The seventy-something year old leader of my writers’ group told me to join as a way of announcing my writing.  That’s all I use it for.

  • Modavations

    Only the niave would make the intimacies of their lives public.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    READ the Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy? 
       How can anyone agree to contracts with hundreds of companies, that aren’t even listed in the agreement? 
      If you don’t read, and UNDERSTAND the terms, why agree to them?
      It the deceptive practice of ‘agreeing to the contracts of our affiliates, associates, or other unlisted entities’, doesn’t bother you, WHY NOT?  You have NO idea of who’s contract you are agreeing to, and NO idea of what you agree to, IN that contract!

    • Cory on the Oder

      Did you read ALL of the paperwork in your mortgage agreement?

      • Anonymous

        I did.

      • kelty

        We just re-financed and the Attorney was surprised that my husband & I read every single page – good thing too – there was a mistake. She said most people just ask where to sign. 

  • http://twitter.com/saabrian Brian

    I don’t mind companies offering me something they claim will make my life/customer experience better. But when they try to shove it down my throat without giving me a real choice, it makes me both resentful and automatically suspicious of their motives.

  • Anonymous

    Privacy? No I’m more inclined to call it an invasion of privacy.
    I have no option other than not using Google. That to me is nothing more than a corporation getting way to powerful in my view.

  • Stillin

    Ha. I don’t use fb unless it’s some message to one of my kids. I don’t trust government OR facebook. Also, as I have posted this before, anybody I care to see, would be in person. Please don’t fb, linked me when you are 10 min. to 20 min away..for real? duh. nah.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      According to the Goggle rep on the show, you are giving ALL of your info to ANYone, by using FB to message your children, SOON!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp


    Use that link, and Google doesn’t try to complete what you’re typing, and those annoying preview side windows don’t pop up.

  • gemli

    The problem I have with Facebook purports to be a social network but in fact it’s something else entirely.  It’s a huge corporate engine that consumes privacy and creates a revenue stream for businesses.  It feeds on the ego-driven need for people to “connect” with one other and fleeces them while they’re distracted and preoccupied exchanging trivial information.  We seem to willing to trade our privacy very cheaply, and expose every detail of our lives without realizing, or apparently caring, whose looking.  I’ll never enter into this arrangement, and I’m glad to see that others are getting out.

  • SomMom

    Does anyone know where to send Google feedback on its new privacy policy? I was trying to find the right Contact info this AM and gave up. Thanks!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     George Orwell was wrong in only one detail–it’s not a government that will control us; it’s a corporation.

    • Yar

      They are one in the same, resistance is futile.
      You will be assimilated.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I’m a long-time Trekkie, so I know all the tricks for defeating the Borg. . .

        • Anonymous

          Are you going to William Shatner’s one man show? 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             He’s not coming anywhere near where I live, and my transporter’s in the shop.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Cracked the Dilithium Crystals again, did you?

        • still just cory

          Rotating your shield frequency harmonics will only work for a while!  I too am a trekkie!

    • Tncanoeguy

      Tyranny is found in government and corporations. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      AMAZING that George Orwell could predict this, over 50 years ago?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Google:  Shut the #%&$^%*@$ up.  I don’t want your suggestions.  I will tell you what I want to find, if I feel like it.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Facebook’s mission statement can be: Tell all your friends how evil you are and what you had for lunch. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    When I use computers at work, Google tries to anticipate what I want, and it always gets it wrong.  Perhaps that’s actually good.

  • Gilsully

    New LAWS…time for NEW LAWS!!!!

  • L armond

    We don’t need any more divas and masters of the universe drive everywhere and on their Iphones to pick up enhancements to their lifestyle,and parking in driveways of little shops so no one else can back out.  When you try to get their attention while they are on the i phone they just smile and twist away, totally ignoring you pointing with you cane and showing them that you can’t get out.  Since they just smile and get back to their lifestyle enhancement, you are left there to wait on them, if they rotate in your direction and notice you propped with cane on your car because you are ‘waiting’ on them to be less oblivious.  All these gadgets are just going to make them look down on us and drive over us, and make us wait for them because ‘they will be just a second.  And you don’t really have a life like a Mermaid., do you.  After all, I beautify the Tidewater. I am a Southern  Belle.  Aren’t I sweet and diverting?”

    Yes, Mam.  You DO have your ways.  And they will never change, so I’ll just let MY Babies and DOGS wait.  You ARE SPECIAL. ”   

  • Chris

    Of course it’s illegal.

    Who’s going to stop evil corporations?

    The corrupt government?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The corrupt government OWNED by corporation ‘citizens’?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What’s the chance that Google will end up looking like Netflix–one massive virtual facepalm.

  • Frank Goad, Lexington, KY

    Privacy is a myth. As soon as you get a Social Security card, your privacy is dead. What people should worry about more is the security of sensitive data. Identity theft is a much larger problem than someone knowing what I eat, where I go, etc. The continual hacking of financial databases and seeing millions of users data captured and released to nefarious parties has a much more dire outcome. We all want a digital savant and servant and you can’t get that without giving it data to employ artificial intelligence that aids our lives.

  • Tncanoeguy

    So if I look up a website on legalizing marijuana or whatever it appears on my timeline? 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Probably relayed to Law Enforcement, as you are ‘obviously a pot user AND dealer’?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The caller’s twenty-three. You think that he has read a book?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Just wait until this youthful crowd meets divorce court.

  • Nate

    Just wondering if you sign off of Google services can you request all of your data erased from their system.  We do this with unwanted solicitations through the mail and phone…do we own the info about us that Google has in it’s possession.  How could we be assured that they would erase all of the data they have on us?

  • Hughmbein


  • Joe

    Similar to the bundled mortgages-back securities debacle, selling and reselling privacy info will create a system where people will abuse the info and nobody will be able to trace how they got your information and when you consented.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jim.bullard Jim Bullard

    Facebook timeline = Identity theft made easy.

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

      Not necessarily.  You can remove whatever you want from Timeline.  You can also limit who finds you on Facebook.  I have a Facebook account under my name.  You as a random person cannot find me on Facebook, only friends of my friends can.

      • L armond

        Some of us are vision compromised.  IED’s and such.  Already sick of stamping on commercial cockroaches.  Give me the natural cockroach, and not the marketing one.  

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Sorry to hear that.  Thank you for your service!  Glad you made it.  I am a Vietnam ERA vet.

  • Drtsc

    I can remember hearing a police officer saying he thought the Miranda Rule was outdated because cops don’t act that way anymore.  This was in the 80′s.

  • Chris

    This isn’t about pizza ads.

    This is about the government tracking your every move.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What possible reason do I have for being in Google’s system?   I don’t have a Google account.  I don’t want Google to find pizza for me.  I can use the Yellowpages–you know, a book.

    You want to know what’s the harm?  Look at the last decade.  Our government is digging deeper and deeper into our lives, and corporations are doing the same.  It may be fear that motivates me, but if so, it’s a legitimate fear.

    I tell you what:  If you don’t value privacy, post your home address, telephone number, and bank account information on-line right now, or shut the @!#%^*&%^ up.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     I still don’t like people taking pictures of me without my permission.

  • S.C. Listener

    Why do these people think that I want to know where the closest pizza shop is? I live “here”, I already know where the good pizza is. Maybe I don’t want to know where the nearest corporate pizza factory is located. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       How countercorporation of you.  You’ll be sent a re-education package of software to install on your home computer shortly.

      • astrayelmgod

        No, it will be downloaded to his computer automatically while he sleeps…

  • L armond

    Try having your ATM call your name out on the screen!  What are we supposed to do, wear batwings to protect our information.  You just know that has got to be a marketing major’s idea, always trying to manipulate you, and to hell with your ‘private lifestyle.

  • steve

    Information is power.  Power leads to control, often in ways very subtle to detect.

  • Dan Finley

    The point is I don’t want Google to track my EVERY move. I once made a google search on hemorrhoids and now I get hemorrhoids ads in every YouTube video I watch, on every page I go to including foreign language news websites. THERE SHOULD BE A FORGET MY HISTORY BUTTON and have a chance to start anew.

    • Chris

      Remove or block all cookies in your web browser preferences.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MOST ads are hemorrhoids?

  • TL

    The gentleman who said that these invasions of privacy are a good thing because if I look up pizza I won’t get pizza in the area in which I live.  Seriously?  I’m smart enough to type “pizza in Our Town, Our State” so I don’t need Google to trace me.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Jeff Jarvis:

    I’m still waiting.  Post your bank account numbers, social security number, home address, sexual preference, medical history, and telephone number right now or shut up.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Will he really do it, or will he admit that he is lying?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Facebook is worth a hundred billion?  Have you heard of bubble?

    • Anonymous

      And they know what types of tulips you like.

  • L armond

    I would like to be able to block transmission while I am in my car with children.  They would go to a new dimension calling out to me about the pizza deals, etc., on our way somewhere.  Well, the kids can just start walking where they want to go now, or bike it, and I’ll stay home in peace and quiet, if I can’t block all this information stream to my passengers and their squealing.

  • Tom

    Along the same lines as what Lorrie is talking about, one thing that’s always bothered me about services intended to help me is that they rarely understand my motivations on anything but a commercial level. When I am interested in material on safety hazards of a product I am not necessarily looking for the nearest retail outlet. Rather than giving my information to a commercial entity to help me sort out what I want, I think I should be be in charge of filtering my own searches through use of appropriate search terms.

    • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann


      “Laurie in Pittsburgh”

  • Editor

    I Google several dozen company names a day as part of my job. I’m not personally interested in the products of any of these companies. But Google sure thinks I am! It’s extremely annoying, but at least (so far) these job-related searches haven’t been for embarrassing products, although sometimes the artists whose names I have to spellcheck are a bit on the edge. It’s all creating a very strange profile of me somewhere …

    • Ellen Dibble

      I transcribe for the courts, so I am always googling police logs, and safe houses, shelters, drug treatment programs, and so forth.  The result is that I get ads telling me that a 50-year-old woman can look 40 if she clicks this space.  And here are such-and-such sexy guys who want a “faithful woman.”  And I would be a little more convinced they thought I was that sort of woman if it weren’t that for the first few months I was on Facebook, the person who kept showing up as a “possible friend” seemed to be the madam for the local call girls.  I am kind of disappointed that now that I’ve graduated myself to Facebook’s Timeline, I don’t get to see the “possible friends” on offer.  I can type in various letters of the alphabet in the Search box at the top and get an idea of who Facebook thinks is “interested” in my site, and sometimes I get the Madam if I go to “show all potential friends,” and scroll down, but I think the old Facebook actually showed me visitors to my site, among other things, which might be good to know. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        By the way, WBUR is broadcasting the funeral service of a former Boston mayor this hour, so I’m commenting blind here.  Sorry.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Was the ‘Madam’ interested in you as a call-girl, a customer, or what?  (If I may inquire?)

        • Ellen Dibble

          Well, I don’t know.  Some of the people being touted in that space were relatives of people I know, and it’s possible Facebook saw person Y in my e-mail address book and saw person Y’s friends includes A, B, and C.  Or it’s possible A, B, and C have met me or heard about me and thought to visit my site.  I don’t know.  Now, the madam, I believe she’s one of several thousand “friends” of the local politician.  Maybe not.  I say that because I noticed some of the “possible friends” being touted were not friends of anybody in any way linked to me.  There is the guy who runs a Gay Rights on-line periodical out of Tampa.  Apparently he’s a frequent flyer at my site.  I’m guessing that gay rights is a sideline, and his main income is from surfing the web for Facebook pages of this sort or that.  Actually, I think he was a friend of a friend.  But some have no link, and can seem spooky to me.  The madam is an Ivy League graduate, and lives within easy walking distance.  She runs a do-not-call list of some sort, which may be a sort of cover for something more remunerative.  I didn’t message her and ask, hey, are you hanging out at my site?  If so, why.  There may be a sort of conspiracy of dunces that descends on single women, not a true alliance with any meaning, but a sort of curiosity.  I’m not sure she qualifies, under the circumstances.  Sex and the single girl (25-year-old woman) is not the same as sex and the 65-year-old hag.  I get one set of benefits; she gets the opposite set.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I couldn’t resist having some fun with you Ellen!
               They do seem to have ‘clientele’ with wide desires, from what I read, and hear on the jobs.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Tom, make Jeff Jarvis answer my challenge.  He needs to post his private information right now or admit that he’s wrong.

  • John

    Jeff Jarvis = shill for the technology industry posing as a professor

  • Boone

    I never got a lot of spam until I joined FB and made a mistake by not going to my settings and just allowing e-mail from my friends. I corrected the problem since, but that e-mail address got added to a long list of those being sold. I have no problem sharing information, but I want it to be MY choice so the defaults on these sites should “nothing is revealed unless I allow it”!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Yup, I get a pile of spam every day, and this started when I joined Facebook.  I post only an announcement of my blog articles on Facebook, but still I get junk mail.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Could Moda be the one that got me on the ‘Genie Bra’ eMail list?
         My chest hasn’t gone that far yet!

      • Modavations

        Still stalking me huh.When does it stop Terry.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Privacy violation is real harm.  Just because it’s happened before doesn’t make it right.

  • Anonymous

    Just what we need – more alleged freedoms for corporations to control us. 

  • Chris

    The New York Times does not require you to use cookies.

  • A Kaupas

    I use a program called adblock to block ads on Facebook. I wonder if there will be a similar program for Google Search.

    • Chris

      Ghostery blocks a lot of trackers.

      Clear out cookies or don’t except them.

  • J Martinez

    what’s the difference between getting hired for a job and 6 months later been asked to do a drug test because it’s new policy in your company and now your choices are to abide by the new policy or quit? google offers great service and programs you can either approve of the policy chang or quit using their services.

  • Outcropacres

    Google has become useless over the past year to two years because of its linking of a user’s search history to what Google then directs to the user.  The information has lost its objectivity and to me, the integrity of the information furnished is tarnished.  Consequently, when I search, I typically go to Wikipedia and look at their links.

    • S.C. Listener

      I agree. I have noticed my searches have been “watered down” recently, or something seems different about the quality of the search results. Even when I use boolean searches it seems to over ride those. 

  • Stevelk58

    I called in and got on the air (Steve from San Diego). I ask the question about using gmail for very private discussions (e.g., adultery), and having ads pop up when I go to Google at work. My phone disconnected just as they started commenting. What happened?

    • Sam

      You can hear a replay in a few hours, but it sounded like a they just went on. It was an interesting call.

      I get the same thing.
      The scary part is when they map your location and offer you ad suggestions based on your geo location, especially after you use google.maps

      • Stevelk58

        Thanks Sam. Just saw your reply. I was hoping that would cause a bit of contention. Thinking this is naturally benign is dumb.

    • Stevelk58

      Oh well. I guess I’ll find the podcast…

    • L armond

      They had the question and did need for you to expand on it.  In other words, Gotcha!

  • Terry from Franklin

    On your last caller ( with type II Diabetes ) and getting adds based on past searches.  Both Google and Amazon have this problem.  You look for a particular book or look for something to give as a gift, or look for information on a topic and you get adds and recommendations based on those searches forever.

    • Sam

      You can edit your past searches on Amazon.
      I searched for something on Amazon, and didn’t want it to save it, so I had to find a way to edit it, and there is such a way.
      It’s a manual process, but it’s there.

      Does google provide a way to wipe out some of your searches? NO, it doesn’t.
      Not that I know of.

      • Chris

        I’ve read they keep your searches for 18 months.

        Don’t know if that is changing with their new “everything you do we know” policy.

  • C41301

    So is there an alternative to Google™ that doesn’t track you?

  • Frank Goad, Lexington, KY

    I agree with this lady caller: I fear our government more than I fear Google. They’ve been shown to be evil far more than Google ever has.

    • L armond

      Didn’t Homeland Security and NSA ‘prevail’ on AT&T to go along with the Cheney program?  I know soldiers wouldn’t talk on line or on computer.  Had trouble getting to their senators and representative to report the shenanigans of d the contractors.  It made them sick.  It is demoralizing.  They don’t want to die for anymore Bush/CHeney/Newt/Pat Robertson programs.

  • Tombo Schmitteroo

    The one guest keeps referencing mail-order advertising.  I think the big difference is that those companies never had an opportunity to open my mail and search for keywords to then determine how to advertise to me…something that certainly happens on Google.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Where do you get the idea that this foolishness is more meaningful to me?  I’ll decide what’s meaningful, and I’ll ask the questions that I want answered.  Google has no business trying to anticipate.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     O.K., Jeff Jarvis, distinguish between Google and a stalker.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      A stalker is one human, and has to sleep sometime, with other human limitations?

  • Tom

    Everyone brings up the fact that Google is a commercial entity and that they live by selling ads. What really becomes clear is that the go-to search engine should be a non-monitored private and publicly-funded organization like NPR.

  • Ysm

    I had Yahoo mail for years, and it worked great.  When Yahoo Mail added the adverts into the body of my e-mail with loads of photos, my mail started to malfunction gradually.  Now, it is slower and full of photos that I never look at.  I am considering cancelling.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Going to Google and Facebook?  :)

  • Chris

    These “benign” companies don’t have your best interests at heart. You’ll learn.

    • L armond

      “Benign” as in “benign neglect” like a parent or coach having to listen or wait and click this stuff away to handle personal issues.  I am sure some infant is going to be kicked and die, and CSI will have to see what ad was stopping them from opening a youtube video for the child. A “Benign Accident” or “Act of the Gods of  Commerce”, the death of time with your children and pets.  

  • Sam

    What if I have a restraining order against my ex, and he uses internet to find my address?

    Don’t put it out there? If I didn’t PUT IT out there, but ordered something from amazon or ordered a magazine, did a search for a pizza place around MY ADDRESS, are they going to store it, couple it with my name and then HE would be able to find it?

    Where is safety?
    Don’t go on the internet?
    Don’t use google?
    What is the solution here?

    • Zora

      I think solution can be reached.  It starts here.  The fact that we are all concerned.  Companies, good or evil are compelled to listen.  Google, though the leader in innovation and technology, could potentially lead a dangerous road.  OK. We we are all concerned and not comfotable with all we share for the price of customized service and rather have control over who and how much is out there about us.
      One choice (a poor choice) is not to use technology.  Or we can stay alert.  We do have a choice.  We could use another search engine.  Imagine if we all start using Bing for a while.
      Companies, good or evil are compelled to listen if we act.  See what happened to SOPA.

      • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

        Rather than seeing Google as the enemy, I prefer to see Google as something that is trying to help me connect the various aspects of my life – from G+ to YouTube, to Google Music, and more – on both my computer and my smartphone. I love it.

        • Zora

          Google is NOT the enemy.
          Though, I would like to be Google material(smart) and stay alert and in control rather than a passive user till power runs out..

  • Boone

    Martinez: Makes sense….but I the same context; if you have a mortgage agreement with the bank to pay 3% interest on your home loan and they now say we want it to be 9% because the economy has changed now! Are you going to pay?

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      Ever heard of an adjustable-rate mortgage?  ;)

      Come to think of it, both suck.

  • Pip

    Sorry if this issue has already been covered, I may have missed it -  but how does this privacy policy deal with Android phones?  It is ALL through Google, how do I “opt out” of that?

    • Adks12020

      I was thinking the same thing.  I think all you can do is change providers and phones…that’s what I’m doing when my contract runs out in July.

      I’m going with another service (not verizon) and a blackberry…unless I find out between now and then that doing that won’t make a difference.

  • Screamingpalms

    Check out CIA Factbook…..resembles quite strongly Facebook.

    When you grow up knowing things no other way than they are then this level of invasiveness seems natural. Countless examples of new technology coming down the road, everyone thinking it’s great, only to find out later the repercussions are quite a bit worse than anyone would’ve considered at the time.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    This is the ad dashboard that was mentioned during the show:  https://www.google.com/ads/preferences/

    However, it really doesn’t work well.  I continue to be identified as a male, based on my Google searches.  I’ve changed this at least twice since last week.  Google really has to make this feature both configurable and sticky.

    “Laurie from Pittsburgh”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You’ll just have to go get a sex-change?  :)

      • Modavations

        I’d make a comment but you guys are all having fun,so I’ll leave it alone.Peace till we get back to the political Culture wars

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Thanks.  That’s appreciated.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Google and Facebook are telling their users, and potential users, that if you have ANY desire for privacy, in ANY way, don’t use ANY of their products?

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      Pretty much, yup.

  • Bexhill Dun

    This is NOT about privacy. Google would not take such a risk with just privacy. Google’s business model is hinged on being a juggernaut. This new blanket agreement signs you up clandestinely for every single service that Google offers now and those still in the grand-scheme pipeline. This is to gain subscription and moreover protect google when you complain that you did not want to be a part of Google Plus, etc (google’s version of Facebook) They can claim that legally you gave consent for every service belonging to google.

    THIS IS ABOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE: Google new stance is take it all or leave it. How else was a company with such grand plans and this much in debt going to generate revenue. 

  • Bexhill Dun

    This is NOT about privacy. Google would not
    take such a risk with just privacy. Google’s business model is hinged
    on being a juggernaut. This new blanket agreement signs you up
    clandestinely for every single service that Google offers now and those
    still in the grand-scheme pipeline. This is to gain subscription and
    moreover protect google when you complain that you did not want to be a
    part of Google Plus, etc (google’s version of Facebook) They can claim
    that legally you gave consent for every service belonging to google.

    IS ABOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE: Google new stance is take it all or leave
    it. How else was a company with such grand plans and this much in debt
    going to generate revenue.

  • Jtillage

    When Google started It seems that searches would return a fair number of relevant results. Now, with Google and other search engines that use the excuse of tailoring results to your personal info, you get a first line that is what you’re looking for, more often than not usefull.

    On ‘Ted Talks” a fellow gave a talk about how that idea of narrowing down to your info, time after time, you’re results are much less diversified, possibly missing out on exactly what you look for.

    narrowing down to your info, time after time, you’re results are much less diversified, possibly missing out on

    exactly what you look for.

  • Bexhill Dun

    Google’s new policy is; use one service- signup for all

  • Yar

    One of the guests on today’s show talked about pizza.  I couldn’t help but searching for this video.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx9i9TDiYdA
    Thanks Google, although it took me a while to find it.  Too many references to pizza and healthcare. I refined my search to: Paying for health insurance with your pizza order.
    It is scary funny.

  • Margarita Assael

    If you don’t want anyone to know anything about you, then be like my sister-in-law and not have internet–and live in a cave and don’t go shopping—you are not that important—just delete emails and get over it!!  

    • Adks12020

      Deleting emails just removes it from your inbox. It doesn’t remove them from the email provider servers.

  • Michele

    The pizza search example is completely bogus.  Please!  Google does not need to know who you are and where you live to provide local pizza restaurants – one can search for pizza using their zipcode. Using such an insignificant search item as representative of the whole privacy issue is completely disingenuous.


      D O   N O T   U S E   G O O G L E!

      • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris


        EVEN WITH CRUISE CONTROL, YOU STILL NEED TO STEER.Seriously, it’s unnecessarily hard to read, and comes off as if you’re shouting at people.

        Even with a pseudonymous google account, it’s relatively trivial to connect that pseudonym with a real identity.  All you really need is a home ZIP code, and at that point you can achieve over 95% certainty with one other piece of personal information.

  • Waprothero

    My neice’s husband is a DUI lawyer. He noticed that if he mentioned DUI in his email to a client, the client would get ads for DUI lawyers (his competitors) on the same screen as his email message. That somehow doesn’t seem right.

  • John

    This question is not one of Google trying to expand its
    revenue stream on the private lives of its users.

    The question for me is that Google specifies a privacy
    contract.  A contract that most of us don’t

    But the fact is that it is not a contract, it is a
    dictation. “This is what we will do today that is in our interest.” So we get
    enticed and then they modify the rules and remove negate our assumptions about
    the use. Imagine filing a tax return and five years later, the government comes
    back and changes the way the tax is computed?

    It is not possible to control our lives online.





      • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

        Perhaps people are pissed that they don’t have an intermediate remedy – “just watch your step going forward”.  

        Also, it costs real time and money to change your email address, and even then you can’t always expect to be able to push your new address out to everyone you need to have contact with.

      • Googleisbad

        I am into a two year contract with an android phone. I am not happy about the new privacy policy. You can not have an android without a google account. The phone is not functional without a google account. Of course it is my choice to forfeit few hundred dollars and shop for a different phone.

    • Zora

      Excellent point!

      I tried to read it.  It is not that hard yet to read.  You will give consent everytime you use their services.
      Also under terms of service,(http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/) it states that some services may not be available without an account.  That means you are giving up more information and possible privacy in price of technology they will offer you.

      We have to think harder before we are addicted to all their offerings.

      • Nogoogle

        Back off Google,

  • Zora

    Google’s role in pioneering innovation and in technology is unprecedented.  However, I believe shifting power (in this case information) in the hands of a centralized (especially intelligent) unit, could be detrimental at some point or time.  You do not have to be a buff in history to have seen examples of that.  Do you share everything with all strangers?  Just because Google have good intentions NOW, we need to share everything about us?
    How about a hacker obtains all this information?
    What is the guarantee, it does not turn into a big brother later?
    All these questions are really alarming!

    • Bexhill Dun

      It is big brother now! while google may not do anything with the information; a simple request from the feds and every record of your activities across all of google’s sites; from search to what restaurants you plan to visit. It’s information they have NEVER had on us before

      • Zora

        Exactly my point.

  • JustSayin

    The guest that states that “we are not taking advantage of Google Dashboard to correct the information that Google collects about us”, has such a twisted view of the world it makes me sick. Guys like this and companies like Google are the reason I don’t use real information.

    Google collects the data without our consent and then we are employed to monitor the information they gather and make corrections for free. Information extortion, we are forced to work for Google to protect the information they gather!

    I only have a toe in the water for Google services, I only use their search engine. I will switch to the Ask search engine, which I like better now.

    It should be noted that it is difficult to avoid the reach of Google services. This page alone loads YouTube, Google-analytics, Google, and Googleadservices

    Timeline is a government researcher’s wet dream.

  • troll doll

    How did you go all the way back to 1995 and interview Stephen Levy?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Of Levy-Shoemaker fame? 

  • http://profiles.google.com/jim.bullard Jim Bullard

    Okay guys. Google used to have around 60 separate privacy policies depending on what part of their services you were accessing. They decided that was cumbersome and unreasonable not just for them but for users so they are trashing them all for one consistent policy across all their services (FREE Services). They aren’t proposing any new uses of the data they already use. They are just proposing to make the policy easier to understand. What’s with all the paranoia?

    • Bexhill Dun

      You are fundamentally confused on what Google is doing. Right now, if you are subscribed only to gmail, and you go to another one of their sites like youtube where you dont want to have a account, because you dont really want the world to know what funny video you have looked at today or if you went there during work hours; you can do so anonymously without taking any additional steps. After the new service agreement, you will be signed up for youtube automatically and without choice. So if you click on a link that takes you to youtube, now there is a record of your activity. But so far its still innocent, however just wait till they start wanting to become bigger than facebook in social networking, every video, map, image, search you have looked at will appear on your friend’s screens saying ‘you may be interested in this video, your friend Jim just saw it’

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Even Google’s rep disagrees with you!

  • Mfcarr

    What I find troubling is the fact that Google (I’m not on Facebook, thank God) is a commercial entity, a commercial entity that down the line could choose (in pursuit of quick profit) to do all manner of nefarious / unethical things with the private data they’ve collected. 

    By saying this, I don’t mean to suggest that Google has necessarily gone against their motto “Don’t be evil”.  They haven’t crossed over to the Dark Side YET.  But who’s to say what could happen 5, 10 years down the road?  Somebody unscrupulous could take control of the company and suddenly have all kinds of private data at their disposal, to do with as they wish.  Such a stockpile of information would give them (a single corporate entity) an awful lot of power over millions of people , does it not? 

    I’m only halfway through the program, but it sounds to me as if Jarvis is awfully non-chalante/dismissive about the power that comes with knowing so much about so many people.  His point about SOPA is well taken, though.

    • Bexhill Dun

      Yes absolute power corrupts absolutely. Google wants to be the ultimate power in all things computing; email, pictures, maps, telephone; and now even social networking. What they are doing with their new user agreement is getting your consent across the board. Moreover, they are getting you on board Google Plus their version of Facebook.

    • http://twitter.com/QuiVivity Barb Finer

      Or, more likely, a breach in security or a rogue employee.

  • revolve

    The problem with Google youth is they are ignorant–and fearsome–Children of the Corn!.  If a child is born in a dictatorship, he doesn’t know it–it’s ordinary, and he is ignorant.  These wet-wipes have grown up in a cyber-totalitarian world and are perfectly OK with it like mindless drones. The Borg-cliche..

    These tools are not creating revolutions–they are used to crush them s….4brains. 

    The problem is not about that Google is storing the information for our convenience–(Google itself might be naively innocent or benign) the problem is it makes it more convenient for dark forces in our very dark government to crush dissent, to track people, to watch people–not terrorists–but democratically motivated people–progressives–the 99 that threaten to unseat corporate killers.  If you live in a benign society organic and democratic it is never uniform and ‘convenient’ and ordered and we would fear terrorists–fascists.  however, when yo live in a police state ruled by fascists–terrorists with a sweet smile who torture, wage genocide, infanticide, eco destruction, and have erased ALL human rights, constitutional rights and the Bill of Rights–the ‘terrorists’ the ones ‘they’ fear–and you fear are democratic progressives who challenge the establishment’s right to murder systematically with very expensive killing machines.  Google provides the platform to track you, isolate you, black mail you, black-list you (job?), and label you enemy of the state–who will never know that the worst you ever did was burn the toast–cuz the media wash will paint you as a demon and nobody will ever know the difference–in fact the mob will hate you and chant murder death kill–fantasy?  No–watch congressman, senators and presidential candidates—count how many times they say–”kill’

    Abandon Google Now!  Dont be evil–be smart–delete Google!  Move your money out of the banks, move your profile off the Internet!

  • Janglang34

    I believe it’s the people who have something to hide that are worried about their lives being exposed on the web. If you don’t want people knowing your dirty secrets don’t commit them!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Some of the examples cited, convince me that I won’t use Google, Android, Facebook, etc…
         NOT that I do anything I feel the need to hide, but I disagree with MUCH about them.

    • http://twitter.com/Ian_TWL Ian Garris

      If you don’t have anything to hide, would you please post publicly your social security number, place and date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and all credit card and bank account numbers?

      In an information age, if you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t have anything at all.

      Perhaps less extreme but more relevant, what do you consider “dirty secrets”?  For example, http://www.aceonlineschools.com/?p=1420

      She didn’t see the need to hide it, and I wouldn’t have either.  But should I produce any beer-pong pictures at any college party, they won’t ever touch the ‘net.  I certainly wouldn’t put anything about sexual orientation anywhere near the internet were I John Q. Public, nor would I put anything about my political beliefs anywhere you could trivially find them.  Proving that sort of discrimination is nearly impossible, and even if you do, you can’t ever be made whole by court-imposed remedies… you certainly don’t want that old job back for fear of hazing, hostile environments, and whatever, and finding a replacement job is rather difficult – you sued your boss, you’re *radioactive* now.  When unemployment is hovering near 10%, I wouldn’t even *think* about giving anyone even a bad reason to fire me.  

    • http://twitter.com/QuiVivity Barb Finer

      Why should google or FB be able to have/share a fact that I am meeting with a client or a prospective customer? How do I know they won’t sell that info to a competitor, for example??

  • Evin Watson

    If any country did what Google is proposing and has done, there would be outrage. For those cynics who feel more comfort with a fortune 500 company than their own government, understand you have less control over google than your own democracy. And they will and continue to do what is in their best interest, not yours, no matter how clever their homepage is.

  • Susan from nyc

    Is there an alternative to Google?

    • Questioner

       yeah Ask, yahoo, bing etc.  Just search for search engines in wikipedia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550071823 Tom McConnell

    I don’t mind Google tracking my searchs BUT I would like control to turn it off or modify it. It is very annoying to get blasted online with outdated customized ads after I have already purchased an item or service I searched for. Worse yet to see ads for things I search for someone else.

  • Anonymous

    Jeff opened with an example about pizza searches.  Of course, the implications are much broader than that.

    One of my main concerns is that Google will only show you the search results that you want to see, rather than the results that you need to see.  If you’re, say, a Democrat, Google may be filtering down your news results to only news and/or news sources that you would agree with.  That shouldn’t stop you from being shown viewpoints other than your own, or else you will find yourself in an online bubble with the rest of the world isolated away from your view simply because it’s “not in your interests.”

    Eli Pariser has an excellent TED talk on this subject, “filter bubbles”:  http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

  • Joe Weiner

    Would it be ok for the phone companies to listen it to all our conversations and argue that they were then a position to help us meet our personal needs?  

  • Mona from boston

    It is not just about privacy, it is about choice. Now if the arguable response is that about I shouldnt balk because google provides a free service, then Give me an opportunity to pay for the service. I would gladly pay.



    • Terry Tree Tree

      Try it, and report back to us about sucess?

    • Zora

      There is always a way.  It seems like we have to keep up.

  • Adiosmuerte

    your guest’s comment about not posting secrets is not the issue. the posts in question were posted with a very specific privacy agreement, the planned actions of google do not say from this point forward all data will be connected, it is retroactive so users made decisions under one agreement about information that will now (if this goes forward) be actioned under a new agreement.

  • Still Here

    Google is useful, Facebook is a waste of time

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RMD75D2TM2FOIR7RTURDHBHSAQ njdriver

    First, I take exception to the caller who said she intentionally misleads Google by searching for any disease; to me this is the same as lieing on the census. If you signed-in to Google, and they give you the option of choosing which ads are relevant to you, why lie? Why skew all the results? Don’t sign in.
    Secondly, I think this is a great service. It’s as if I walkin to a club and tell the bartender what I like and what I’m looking for. If I don’t want anyone to know, then why go to the club? 

  • RN

    Random thughts/concerns:
    -My husband and I share the same computer…is facebook going to put stuff up on my timeline that is actually r/t HIS interests? Will be interesting….-I checked out Romney’s website a month or so ago and now we are INUNDATED wtih his ads on line so much so that I am REALLY sick of him.
    -What’s to stop and insurance company to guess on your health history by looking up what you;ve looked at etc etc…altho I suppose they may be already doing that.
    -I’d like to close my facebook account but found that it’s impossible?!?  Anyone have any ideas on how to do it?  Do I just “unfriend” everyone??  What’s to stop a stranger from then taking over “my” online identitiy?

    • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

      It’s true, you are never really off of FB. You can deactivate your account, but they keep everything and all you have to do is sign back in and you’re back on the thing.

      I’ve heard some people say they’ve gone in and erased everything in their profiles (or created a new profile with totally fabricated info/likes/interests) and unfriended everyone before deactivating.

      I was on FB only briefly a couple of years ago, couldn’t stand all the chit-chat so got off it. I’ve been trying Google+ (the belly of the beast), which I like a little better (it is an especially good platform for photographers), but we’ll see.



  • Lynnb

    I wanted to know how far things travel on google and one day I got a call from someone that insisting on talking to my dog (I had put this name in a form).  They got really mean at me and wanted to know why they couldn’t talk to him and was there a problem.  The woman was almost ready to take a hit out on me till I told her she was asking for my dog.  Said dog, still gets emails once in a while.  A year+ has passed.  I laugh when I tell people this story and say darn dog.  I’m guessing if he was publishing a book I would be rich.

    I had to renew my drivers license this past year and the on line form asked what kind of car I drove.  I thought this was strange, what was stranger is that I had to fill out another form when I got to the DMV and they didn’t care if I already did it on line.  Within a week I got a call from a insurance sales person.  needless to say I was pissed.  Your right, I trust google more than I trust our government.

    Oh well I still smile about what my dog does while I am at work.  

  • Concerned User

    So if i have this right, all of these Google entities collect information on us and sell it. Which means that anyone can buy it from each entity individually and put it all together and use it, sell it, whatever. So what Google is saying is that they are     going to combine the information themselves so that it is more useful to them in serving us, as well as being more lucrative for them when they put our info up for sale. I’m not saying i condone this, but i don’t see how it is any more of a violation of our privacy than it was in the first place.

  • http://whilewestillhavetime.blogspot.com/ John Hamilton

    Tom Ashbrook has to be the worst person in broadcasting at managing conversation. A habitual interrupter, when there is more than one guest, and then people calling in, the show borders on farce. Case in point is when a woman calling in talked about doing Google searches about her diabetes.

    One mistake talk show hosts are vulnerable to is thinking of themselves as “players,” of being co-experts on anything and everything, and of therefore being someone who matters concerning these subjects. The next step is for them to presume being authors of note (Tom Brokaw, Scott Simon, etc.). Hint to Tom Ashbrook: don’t write a book.

    Worse than just interrupting people is the denigrating manner in which Tom Ashbrook treats some people who call in, and guests with whom he disagrees. 

    I don’t listen to this show to hear Tom Ashbrook. I would prefer Jane Clayson did the interviews. By the tone of her voice you can tell she actually knows something (reserved, articulate, respectful). The opposite is true of Tom Ashbrook. 

    This likely will not change until there is someone else doing the show. I can wait.

    • Redneckjesus3

      Tom’s great.  If you don’t like the show, go watch FOX. 

      • Redneckjesus3

        I had a text.  Now I’ve read the rest of your overly long commentary.  Jane’s not bad.  But Tom does a better job of steering the commentary.  Juggling several guests at once may seem easier to you than it actually is.  I think Tom does a great job.  Jane I think is being broken into the position which she may one day inherit.  But Jane let’s people go on too long and propagandize rather than staying, no pun intended, on point. 

      • http://whilewestillhavetime.blogspot.com/ John Hamilton

        Tell yo mama to watch Fox. Maybe you can articulate just wherein his greatness lies. And Redneckjesus? Isn’t that a tad presumptuous? The truth is likely far less than both.

  • Redneckjesus3

    Don’t be afraid.  Big Brother is here to protect you.

  • content strategist

    If you are worried about what Google and other companies know about you, take a look at the ads you see when you are checking your e-mail online, when you are on Facebook, or other places, and then ask yourself: do these ads demonstrate they really know who I am, or not? My guess is that the ads that seem to follow you around the internet are obviously pegging you wrong and are oversimplifications of who you are. As one woman caller said during the program, Google assumes she’s a man. If these services can’t even get sex right, they’re in trouble.

    The truth is, most personalization on the internet is incompetent.

    I heard this program after spending several days preparing to advise a client on how to personalize what they show to users based on what they know about these users, with the idea that this would help them serve their customers better. Instead of showing ALL their customers the same suggestions (one-size-fits-all) as they do now, I suggest they tailor what they show you based on what they know about you. Why? So they can be helpful, and in being helpful, earn your loyalty.

    This client is one of the world’s largest companies, with about 60 million customers in the US; if you knew who they were, you would probably assume know a great deal about you.

    But you know what? They don’t know bupkis. They don’t actually track everything you do on their many web sites. The things they do know about you are stored in many different places that are not connected with one another.

    Now, it’s not that hard or technically complicated to do personalization well. You don’t
    need massively complex algorithms, you just need a spreadsheet. You
    don’t need math so much as you need a creative and sophisticated
    understanding of categories and how to structure content. Yet few
    companies out there have mastered personalization.

    Just look at the ads you are shown and
    you’ll see that most of the time it is one big fail.

    They don’t know you. And you know what? They don’t care. These big companies aren’t like detectives, following individuals around to learn what they are doing, what they are buying, what they need to know… they are robots. They are uninterested in individuals. They only care about the aggregated activities of large groups of users — they don’t care about you personally. That’s what makes you safe.


    • Zora

      Yes, you are right.  But this is the beginning.  Google, though the leader in innovation and technology, has come a long way.  The point is how sure are you if it will not get there; to be able to gather and analyze more and more about you.  I’d rather have control over where I look for resources and what I watch: ads, movies, or any other content on the web.  It should let you opt in, not set by default.

  • Concerned User

    Referring to my previous comment, can anyone explain to me how the new Google policy violates user privacy any more than it already does?

    • Zora

      Your information is being used across platforms. That means they are learning more about you by watching your inquies on google, by people you are in contact and the content of your email, by observing what interests you ie. Youtube, etc. ..

  • Obeiengina

    What about the limiting of ideas based on googles ideas of our views? Aren’t I getting a narrow view of the world if I search NPR or on the opposite end Rush Limbaugh? Google will gear articles to me based on my political views and wont that continue to limit perspectives and dialogue.

  • Suemcallister1

    Is there, or should there be a ‘freedom from advertising’ act? All of this sharing of personal data results in hours of my time wasted on weeding through and getting rid of junk mail –both paper and electronic. Is anyone else bothered by this aspect of loosing our privacy?

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  • Tim E

    Jeff Jarvis was rude and condescending.  Please don’t invite him back.

  • Dorky08

    Too bad Marc Rotenberg was cut-off by the program break. He was just starting to discuss the real issue and … shh

  • http://profiles.google.com/glen.k.peterson Glen Peterson

    I’ve been building professional web applications for 12 years and everywhere I’ve worked, we built the most complete profile of our users that we possibly could.  There is really no other way to operate.  When there is an issue, the first question is, “How many users are affected?”  You need to know as much as possible about the user in order to answer this question.  Usually, that starts with their browser, operating system, and IP address.

    The second question when an error occurs is, “How did this happen?” For that, you need a history of everything every user has done.  Web applications are not the only ones who collect or use this information.  The domain name system, your ISP, and every hub and router that your communications pass through has to have some level of logging, auditing, or tracking in order to function correctly.  Unless you break into someone’s computer, the web has never been anonymous.  Something like Tor can create some anonymity.  If you are really concerned, use Tor.

    You suggested using Yahoo! mail instead of Google mail, but Yahoo!, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and others are trying to collect every bit as much information about you as Google is.  The only reason that Google might collect more is that Google is just doing a better job of capturing everything.

    I think what really upsets people is that Google has been so successful at using this information to target ads for people.  Without the targeted ads, the information collection is not visible to the end-user.  All of a sudden, it seems like Google and Facebook are doing this terrible thing, when really, everyone is doing it and you only *see* the results when you use those products.

    Having paid to advertise using Google Adwords, I can say without a doubt that when Google shows you an ad for Type II diabetes, they are not telling the advertisers that you have Type II diabetes.  The advertiser does not know anything about who you are, just that someone, somewhere used the word “Diabetes.”  Google has a program that sees the word “Diabetes” in your profile and that fires ads that also have the word “Diabetes” in them.  They are not disclosing anything about you to advertisers.

    Now, if you share your Google login with someone else, or use your computer where someone can see your screen, well, Google can’t protect you from that.  Tell other family members to get their own profile.  Don’t discuss divorce with friends in email – use the phone or talk in person.  People don’t read porn in public.  Why should they expect to surf web sites in public that they don’t want other people to know about?

    As far as Google being evil, over 40 major technology companies were hacked about a year ago, including Microsoft, Adobe, and others.  Accounts of Chinese dissidents were specifically targeted.  Google made the hacking public first.  Others have still not admitted to the hacking.  When China said to Google, Microsoft, and others that they had to censor their search results inside the Great Firewall of China or “get out,” Google was the only one to get out.  Yet people are using Bing instead of Google in order to protect their privacy.  This makes no sense to me.

    The targeted ads that are upsetting people so much are what pay for gmail and YouTube.  The company I work for pays for Google Apps so that we all have Gmail without any ads.  If that’s what you want, you can pay $50 per user per month.  For free, you get targeted ads.  Live with it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/glen.k.peterson Glen Peterson

    I cannot imagine any meaningful way to make the web truly anonymous that does not also give hackers and spammers a huge edge over legitimate web sites and e-commerce.  The profiling and tracking that every major web presence uses today is necessary to prevent spam from dominating our inboxes and forums like this one, and also to catch hackers when they break in and steal or destroy things.

    • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

      Along these lines, instead of fearing the Internet, there are ways to embrace it, creating content and flooding the web with ourselves in ways that we want to be seen rather than giving others control. The Internet is a powerful tool; for people in business, and who want to be found, indispensable, but must be used smartly.

      I don’t fear Google half as much as the creep who answered a for-sale ad I posted on Craig’s List yesterday.

  • http://twitter.com/QuiVivity Barb Finer

    I don’t mind my info being shared anonymously,especially aggregated however FB and Google must convince me to trust their employees and security infrastructure re: more sensitive data.

  • Be_esh

    My question is  this  doesn’t this new  policy  perhaps limit our  choices?   If  Goggle only presents me info that it thinks I’m interested in than  I am  limited in what I can  access .  IN  effect  I’m boxed in by my  “profile”.

  • Anonymous

    There are several technical issues that should be raised.

    * Google isn’t collecting any additional information about users. They’re just sharing information between services. Arguably, it’s better for users to have a single privacy policy for all of Google’s services than 70+ different policies (one for each service).

    * You don’t have to login to use many of Google’s services (search, news, maps, youtube, etc).

    * You can manage what information Google stores about you at https://www.google.com/dashboard/

    * Google provides tools to opt-out of tracking cookies. You can block Google Analytics: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout and Google Ad cookies: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/

    * Google provides many of its services over an encrypted connection, to prevent others from eavesdropping on your data (this is important if you use open wifi in a coffee shop, for example). GMail, Google Search, Docs, and Google+ run over encrypted links, for example.

    * If, after all that, you decide that you’re not comfortable with Google’s policies, you can take your data somewhere else. Google makes it easy to extract your data and take it with you. See http://www.dataliberation.org/ for instructions.

  • Noor

    I am including pieces of Privacy Policy on google’s web here http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/

    “Information you provide – When you sign up for a Google Account, we ask you for personal information.
    We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services. For certain services, we may give you the opportunity to opt out ”

    • Zora

      more from the site ..I suggest everyone read carefully

      If you are using Google services in conjunction with your Google Apps Account, Google provides such services in conjunction with or on behalf of your domain administrator. Your administrator will have access to your account information including your email. Consult your domain administrator’s privacy policy for more information. “”Cookies – When you visit Google, we send one or more cookies to your computer or other device. We use cookies to improve the quality of our service, including for storing user preferences, improving search results and ad selection, and tracking user trends, such as how people search. Google also uses cookies in its advertising services to help advertisers and publishers serve and manage ads across the web and on Google services. ”

  • Bob

    There are also search alternatives like http://duckduckgo.com/ where in links at the bottom of the page they try to help explain a few of these vulnerabilities.

  • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

    Rather than seeing Google as the enemy, I prefer to see Google as
    something that is trying to help me connect the various aspects of my
    life – from G+ to YouTube, to Google Music, and more – on both my
    computer and my smartphone. I love it.

  • Questioner

    The problem with facebook is there’s no way you can not be on facebook.  Even if you inactive your profile or never sign up, you are still on facebook because your friends, acquaintances, and family members who are on facebook will post pictures and other information about you (like where you work, what you’re studying, what you’re goals are where you travelled to, what you ate etc.).  I’ve observed this.  This is one reason why I prefer to keep my facebook profile activated and monitor what others post about me and my loved ones.  

    My eldest sister posted information about our younger brother (who deactivated his facebook profile).  I told her that he does not what to be on facebook, and she insists that what she posted is nothing for him to be ashamed.  I had to write a long email explaining why she shouldn’t post anything about him before she relented.  I hate when people post stuff about me and my family.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mslich Mike Slicheñmyer

    This really does seem to be about generational differences. I’ve lived over half my life in the pre-internet era and have come to understand and even halfway embraced the usefulness of Google and Facebook information sharing. 

    There’s the elder generation who fear intrusion into our private lives by any entity- be it Facebook or the government; and there’s the younger generation who have grown up with the internet as a daily part of our lives and are less concerned about the difference between public and private.Given all that, those who are fearful of the inevitable progress of technology also need to be aware that steps can be taken with BOTH Facebook and Google to limit what you reveal publicly. It’s quite easy to limit what people see on your Facebook page, be it friends or people who you haven’t “friended”. You can even prevent your name from popping up on a public search. It’s all a matter of investigating and taking action to how public or private you want to be.

    Tom sounded like a grumpy old man towards the end, and more emphasis should have been placed on these privacy (i.e. limiting what you show to the public) features.

    • http://www.edgartownnews.blogspot.com Sara Piazza

      I’m sixty-one and I couldn’t care less about privacy, and have embraced the Internet, full-bore. The stuff I don’t want out there, I keep off-line.

      I think, in general, there’s a lot of hyped-up paranoia out there. Look at the fences people are building around their properties. Once upon a time, everything was wide open and neighbors could see each other and talk to each other in their backyards. Look at all the ads for ID protection – look at all the paranoia people have about being photographed. It’s crazy, and I don’t buy it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FDAMZDSYFW2WZ3SWC2WZKUKL5M Andrew Page

    In a way, this discussion is patently ridiculous.  Privacy ‘policies’ are worthless.   They’re only as effective as the most evil employee on staff that has access to people’s email data and the company’s vaunted search engines.  They search for accounts of famous individuals or signs that they have money, then for ‘naughty words’ in those accounts and have some fun snickering over it, or start turning some money selling said info or using it for blackmail.

       Unless a privacy policy contains language to promise that all data is encrypted from employees(expensive) and that all workstations that can come into contact with customer data has NO CD-R/RW burners, all the USB ports are filled in with glue and that the case is welded shut(inconvenient and expensive) there is nothing to prevent someone from walking out the door with gigabytes of private customer data every day.

  • Paul S.

    I am a FB user and a VERY heavy Google user. None of this ‘privacy policy’ stuff matters to me in the least, because none of  it has a material impact on my real life. I still call the shots. I still talk to my friends, because word of mouth will ALWAYS be the most powerful check and balance in any system. And I will always vote with my feet. If it helps me, I use it. If it doesn’t I’m gone. Just because I leave a wide electronic wake doesn’t phase me in the least.

  • The Emporer is NAKED

    Not a facebook user! Used to have google as my home page – now it is scroogle.com.  If i distrusted Zuckerberg before, how much more with the stock going public. Privacy is thrown under the bus for a stock increase. Greed always wins. But what about the 49% of us non users? I am afraid to lift a single photo to the internet, for fear that it can be linked, then tagged, then Identified by facial recognition. Who will champion the non user? It seems the focus is on facebook users. I work on the internet daily. My IT job forces me to “footprint” there. I must use the internet for everything. My company only direct deposits, My pay stubs must be pulled from a 3rd party website contractor.  I get 30-60 emails a day. All this data out there so how to i keep Zuckerberg’s nazis out of my junk? or Family, friends adding my photo to their website? It make you pretty camera shy to think this could happen. I have seen FB query my photo being added on a relative’s page,- who is this person? Most people are unware just how much of you lives in databases.
    People will know when this goes to far- when someone uncorks and does an oklahoma city style destruction of Google or Facebook. Think Columbine, this is not hard to see coming.

  • Dan Cooper

    Never mind the web.  The idea this Jarvis fellow is a professor makes me much more concerned about higher education than it does about any internet issue. 

  • Kevin

    Hi, I wanted to chime in here.  I’m a loyal podcast listener and I catch about 80% of everything you do via the web here in Bangkok, so I’ve heard a number of shows related to Google & Facebook while listening to On Point.  I also work in online marketing and have since circa 1997, so I’m familiar to some degree with what Google is doing and how their business works – at least on the marketing end, which is what is driving this.

    The thing I wanted to pop in and request is that you stop having noted bloggers like Jeff Jarvis on your show and, instead, bring on an actual search marketing expert or the like.  There are plenty of professionals in our field who (unlike me) specialize in following Google’s every move and reverse-engineering its business.  The same is true for Facebook.  Granted, you don’t want the entire show to be hyper-technical chat about the inner-workings of Google’s search (and non-search) marketing, but I believe that consumers would be much better off hearing from actual experts *in this field* concerning what these changes translate to and how this data is actually handled and so on than they are from hearing an evangelist bloviate about the brave new world.

    Many of us out here work in this field and we have a very pragmatic view of companies like Google, having seen how they *really* work from a decade of working with them in one capacity or another.  While analogies about the printing press and the evolution of public photography are interesting trivially, they have very little to do with the nuts and bolts of online marketing, data collection, contextual search and so on.  He always drags the discussion back into the abstract and favors analogies when such a discussion can easily be, and should be had in the specific and not in the abstract.  One of your guests meekly attempted to make this point, but got blown right past.

    In closing, though, I wanted to note that your show is a very valuable weekly asset in helping me keep in touch with what’s going on in America.  I think you do a great job and I truly enjoy listening regularly, this is just a minor nitpick I felt compelled to post after having a similar reaction to Jarvis’s appearances on your shows before.  I always bottled it previously, but his elbow-throwing, bombastic know-it-all routine really grates – and all the more so because he’s presented as an expert in a field I’ve worked in for 14-15 years, but seems to have little to say about the specifics of how it works.

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  • Bexhill Dun

    I tried to tell everyone last week that we were looking the wrong way. The whole privacy issue was a red herring!! As of this week, if you go to any website owned by you are automatically logged in!! even if you never signed up for that site. For instance: if and when I go to youtube, its been anonymously, but now I get forcefully logged on automatically.

    I told you so.

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  • Aleksandar Savin

     Koliko danas sam video  vas “geometrijski ‘ natpis  gooogle i  pomislio da to ima neke veze za decijom igrackom , koju sam autorizovao pre vise od deset godina- i bezuspesno pokusavao da prodam.nedavno sam je dao na uvid, ponudio, ambasadi Spanije, Italije, Kine i Rusije. Nisu mi ni odgovorili. Malo me je taj natpis strecnu jer sam, isto danas, prvi put vide jedan model zastitnih objekata , koji sam isto autorski zastitio pre vise od deset godina. Bilo je to previse za jedan dan. Jedno moje “autorstvo’ se proizvodi i koristi a da ja to neznam, a drugo se -preko googla najvaljuje. I jedno i drugo bez ikakvog dogovora samnom kao autorom.                                                                                                      Ja nemam nameru da se sa vama raspravljam, nek vam je prosto. Ja sam vec navikao na razne “manifestacije  uzvisenosti i poslovnosti” od veike gospode. Neko hocet nesto da uzmete-sta vam mogu. Ali bih vam dao jedan koristan savet-sacekajte da neka svoja autorstva dovrsim-pa ih tada otmite. Tek tada ce ona biti onakva kakva trebaju da budu-lepa i korisna.Mnogo vise koristi bi imali,a i meni bih bilo bolje-nebih morao da nosim etiketu nekog mangupa koji podmece , baca, parcade givanice, to jest lose varijante svojih autorstava. a bih bio mirniji a vi bi imali vise koristi.                                                      Zeleo bih da ovo  moje pismo shvatite kao obavestenje-koje se najmanje odnosi na vas- i ima karakter javnog saopstenja. 

  • cwy

    Monitoring of google searches will definitely be inhibiting on what can be research on the web.  Some examples of information that you might want to protect:
    1. you own a company and are working on a project that you may want to keep private from your competitor.
    2. research on trying to concieve a child but do not want anyone to know yet.

  • Beverlywhite56

    Why am I allowed to share from utube a vedio but when I shared one from google my vedio was imeditaley took off why did it even allow me to share it from 2yrs back to my personal gallery

  • http://buysteroidsuk.co/ Buy Steroids

    profit vs privacy guess who wins.

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Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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