One of the founding principles of Google is "Don’t Be Evil." But is putting people in a high likelihood of becoming victims of evil very much different?
I like Google. I use a lot of Google stuff. But Google does worry me. They are about to release the next version of Google Desktop (Google Desktop essentially indexes your whole hard drive to make it easy to search for stuff). Well, In previous versions of Google Desktop all of the information was kept on your hard drive. It certainly posed some security risks, but those risks were similar to other hacking risks. But the new version of Google Desktop has an option to allow searching your hard drive from multiple locations. Sounds neat, huh?
Here’s the thing: It will store the index of your hard drive on Google’s servers. I could wax on and on about why this is terrifically dangerous, but this eWeek article does a much better job than I can. To be sure, you will make it easier for hackers, lawyers and the government to know everything about you.
From the EFF statement:
"It is shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the
contents of their personal computers," said EFF staff attorney Kevin
Bankston. "Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few
people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters,
business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other
text-based documents the Desktop software can index," he added.
It is particularly nerve wracking on the heels of the Feds requesting Google’s search records under the auspices of crime fighting. I think it’s safe to say that the government will eventually get their way (if a hacker doesn’t beat them to it), and it’s a pretty slippery slope from there.
Perhaps it is inevitable, I don’t know. Certainly our lives are much less private than they once were. But there’s really no need to accelerate the process, is there?