In any case, I tend not to worry too much. And I tend to not worry too much about all the digital data I hand over every minute of every day. That’s not to say I don’t care. I certainly do. And there are some companies I trust more than others. Cable company? Screw ’em. I’d unplug if I could. But I don’t think I’m quite ready to subject my wife and kids to that. Cell carrier? They’re only after one thing. (Except for when I’m on Project Fi. Those guys rock.)
But Google? Google probably knows more about me than anyone. Probably more than I know myself. That’s never been more apparent than when I scrolled through the first 100 pixels or so of the My Activity section on my Google account. Everything I’ve searched for. Apps I’ve used. Websites I opened. Destinations I’ve navigated to. All there, and pretty much in real time.
There really seem to be two groups of people: those that value the openness of Google regarding the data it collects, giving you insight and control over it, and those that value the secrecy of Apple, trying to keep everything on your device in a way that it can’t be tracked to you.
The debate passes me by, because I treat my devices as if they are public devices; I don’t put anything on there that I don’t want other to see, read, or know about. A device is not my mind, so I don’t treat it as such. I don’t trust any company – Google, Apple, my carrier, or whatever – and I have enough understanding of technology to know that nothing connected to the internet is really private or safe.
The idea of “trusting” a company with my deepest private data is wholly alien to me.
I even go so far as to split my different Google services across different accounts (ie. one for XMPP-accessed GTalk, one for IMAP-accessed GMail while I prepare to self-host, etc.) just to make them work that little bit harder to piece together a picture of my public persona.
Given that I use the Self-Destructing Cookies extension, uMatrix’s referrer forging and User Agent randomizing, and I haven’t logged into YouTube since they started requiring Google+ to comment (youtube-dl for age-gated videos), it’s actually kind of funny to watch them fall back to IP address matching and get recommendations in the house all mixed up.
(eg. If my brother starts seeing a lot of tech lectures or top 10 lists in his recommendations, he knows I must be doing a big spring cleaning again.)
Edited 2016-07-06 23:36 UTC