For Google, privacy just doesn’t compute
This article was published in Spiked Online 11 May 2010
Google’s blasé attitude towards people’s private lives reflects a broader cultural indifference to privacy.
These are strange times for Google, a company which was once synonymous with hippyish and creative cool and which was seen by many as having an ‘accidental business sense’ rather than being ruthlessly capitalistic.
Today, Google can’t do right for doing wrong – or at least for doing something dodgy. The most recent criticism of Google has centred on its antics in Germany, where it has been revealed that Google is not just taking pictures of every street for its Streetview product, but that its camera-carrying vehicles are also equipped with ‘omnidirectional radio antennae’. That is, Google is also mapping wifi access points, and, in doing so, is gathering information on the number and identity of the computers on a multitude of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN).