Should We Be Afraid of Google? Weekly #5

Google and the Fear Factor?  What’s it all about?   In 1970 at the then new, award-winning St. Louis County Government Center in Clayton, Mo., you could call up any piece of property in St. Louis County – 500 square miles and one million citizens – and find out the property owners, names, number of family members, addresses, whether or not they had paid their taxes — all of this information was available in about 60 seconds all those decades ago.  I remember thinking then I wouldn’t want someone knowing whether or not I had paid my taxes, or what my property was worth. 

Forty years later, we’re worried about Google?  A day late and a dollar short, if you ask me.

After all if you are one of 3.3 million workers for the Federal Government, every bit of information about you is available in multiple places.  The privacy debate is long over.  Just walk along Constitution Avenue in Washington D. C. where many cameras film your every step.   And then there’s the identity badges every Federal employee must wear.  The new ones contain a chip with all of your information encoded.  When you swipe your badge a record could be kept of the time you enter work and when you leave. 

If you are a political appointee, you must submit every bit of financial information about you and every member of your family.  For top secret clearance your neighbors, former schoolmates, friends and relatives are interviewed during a year or two year investigation of your life.

All of your emails on government computers are a matter of record and could go to the National Archives or used by the U. S. House and Senate as part of their numerous investigations.

Government issued cell phone calls are a matter of record.  Blackberry emails and other communications are under strict Federal guidelines.

I haven’t even touched on airline security and private sector security rules.

It seems to me Google is the least of our worries.


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