Is Privacy Impossible in the Internet Age?

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POSTED: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - 9:23pm

UPDATED: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 9:45am

We all value our privacy, but in the internet age, it’s getting harder to come by. And one CEO says, just accept it…privacy is a thing of the past.
 

We all use and love Google. It has made everything from writing term papers to finding recipes easy and quick.
 

It has also kept track of your every move online.
 

The CEO of the worlds most powerful and comprehensive search engine, says that remaining anonymous in this day and age is impossible.
 

“But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time.”
 

And Eric Schmidt should know, since the company he heads admitted Congress that when they were mapping cities around the globe for the Google street view feature, they were also capturing wi-fi network signals, essentially listening in on conversations.
 

They assured Congressmen Joe Barton of Texas and Ed Markey of Massachusetts that it was inadvertant and nothing was done with the information. In essence, no harm no foul.
 

“As this information is collected, it becomes a treasure trove,” admitted Schmidt.
 

But Schmidt also says that perhaps the government ought to know where you go on the internet.
 

“And it’s important that we all obey the United States Patriot Act,” he says. ”And it is possible that that information will be made available to the authorities."
 

After all, if you have nothing to hide, who cares? Right?
 

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,” Schmidt concluded.
 

Germany is concerned about the Google Space and Google Street View tools on privacy grounds. Australia already has told Google they’ve violated their privacy laws.
 

But no one here seems overly concerned…yet.
 

Comments News Comments

I've been known to use Google street views and satellite views when shopping for houses online... It lets me know if there's a house in the neighborhood that looks like a crackhouse or if there's a yard with half a dozen cars up on blocks. I also use CrimeReports.com as well. I heard recently that in, I think it was Belgium, the gov't is taking infrared pictures to see who's houses need more insulation. I actually wish I had that as a resource in my house shopping here frankly.

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