The Solution to Search Engine Tracking and Privacy

Problem: Search engines, apps and just about everyone else on the web wants to track everything you do.

Solution: Search engines and others can ask for volunteers to offer their data on monthly installments.


The process of search engines and apps tracking everything you do on the internet and having access to friends or the ability to post something on your Facebook profile is an obvious violation of privacy and recent research from Pew Internet (see below) states that the vast majority of internet users agree.

If you listen to tech podcasts you will hear the argument that this level of intrusion is necessary; if the internet and related companies are to prosper and create jobs and fulfill their mission of service to customers they need complete access to every key stroke.


The benefits of tracking:

Proponents of tracking “are” right as to the benefits. Google, your internet service provider and hordes of additional companies need data to provide the best possible service and technology. Knowing your preferences and where you go on the internet creates valuable information. That data allows Facebook to do the best possible job of advertising which pleases both you and the companies paying the freight. Proponents state that the web will die without full access to data.

The technological revolution creates jobs and helps our nation prosper and it’s powered by data in the same way your automobile is powered by gasoline.

But that doesn’t mean they need all access all the time. That doesn’t mean your Facebook app has access to all your friends and the ability to post on your page without your expressed permission.

So what’s the solution?

I volunteer to provide my data to Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple and possibly others in one month installments and I get to renew every month. People offering data should be offered something in return.

Having been associated with social science research for over 30 years I understand the value of samples. No one within the social science community would ever expect access to the universe (everyone) yet social science data powers just about everything we do.

A data set of millions donating their information in monthly allotments could be automated and provide all the data any tech company could possibly want without infringing on the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of people.

Do I trust Google now? Yes! Will trust Google five years from now? Who knows?

Look folks, if Google can create the driver-less car it can create algorithms that create the best possible use of 10 to 20 percent of the data it currently collects. Are tech companies just being lazy or do they just believe that data is a right? If so, that’s very scary.

A well-known guest on my favorite tech podcast used three choice profanities to describe the idiots who felt that privacy rights concerns were overblown and that the internet could be ruined by such sentimentality. Within days, Pew Internet offered data stating that the overwhelming number of those surveyed were equally concerned by the lack of privacy rights.

So to Google and all the rest, it’s not “don’t be evil; it’s “don’t be lazy.” Put your genius to work and create solutions based on volunteer data.

I’ll be the first to sign up.

Best, Len.

Pew study: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Privacy-management-on-social-media/Main-findings/Main-findings.aspx

Previous article on privacy: http://leonardsipes.com/internet-privacy-the-debate-that-wont-go-away/

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