Google's Big Brother network raises concern
"Privacy advocates are raising concerns about Google Inc.'s plans to cover San Francisco with free wireless Internet access, calling the company's proposal to track users' locations a potential gold mine of information for law enforcement and private litigators. The Mountain View search engine intends to use the geographic data to match users with advertising so that they would see marketing messages from neighborhood businesses such as pizza parlors, cafes and book stores," reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
Google plans to use technology that would allow it to track users' whereabouts within a few hundred feet. The company said in its bid that it would retain the data for up to 180 days before deleting it, as part of an effort to "maintain the Google Wi-Fi network and deliver the best possible service."
Privacy advocates fear the information could by used by government officials to place users under surveillance and are more generally concerned that this new power raises the specter of "Big Brother" run amok.
Comment: The main problem is that to use the free Wi-Fi, you will have to log on with a Google account. So Google knows who you are and what your interests are -- because it's reading your email and logging all your Google searches -- and now it will know where you are (in San Francisco), and when. Is this the greatest invasion of privacy ever? Probably not. Your cellphone provider is already tracking you -- unless you preserve some privacy by using a pay-as-you-go phone -- and it knows where you live.
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