Now, there is Open I.D.
Ask your self these questions:
- What positive purpose can a program that tracks everything you do for some one else and stores that information indefinitely somewhere you have no access to serve?
- how are we served by having various pieces of our information linked throughout the internet without our consent nor knowledge on the basis of computers we use?
- What safe guards are in place in invasive info gathering software to protect you against unwanted marketing?
- What safe guards are in place to protect you from sanction if someone in your household or someone whose computer you have used are engaged in activities that you are not?
- What are the consequences of having people who have proven to be untrustworthy in the employ of places that are keeping track of the electronic minutiae of your life?
- How are people prone to predatory behavior aided by programs that mandate that your name/location and or other private information be given in order for you to leave comments on their websites?
The result of Open Source and Google tracking can be amusing and frightening. Let me give you some examples from my own life over the past 8 months:
- Suddenly, everywhere you go, you are being told that you should meet up with/hook up with a gay man who likes the same movies, music, and possibly books you do. – do you really need google (and other info gathering programs) to be your own creepy version of match.com?
- childish social network sites are inexplicably linked to you because of the tracking of other people in your household’s usage making people wary of you because the server has your name not theirs.
- your google searches start prioritizing people, images, and places that have nothing to do with you but with others using your computer; image searches now take hours to find basic things because you are bombarded with images the computer has decided are more suited to your tastes based on other’s usage.
- A friend suddenly finds her work maligned from usually amenable sources, certain segments of the discipline with whom she has never worked and just met treat her rudely or with open hostility, and job offers are compromised, only to be told finally it is because her google based blogger account is listing her as the author of my blog b/c I used her computer while visiting this summer. (And this my friends is why tenure is essential to academic freedom.)
In all of these cases, inaccurate tracking information led to both minor and major inconveniences. In none of these cases has the information been helpful nor accurate.
While radical librarians around N. America stood up to the government’s request for user information, both Google and phone companies aided the government in violating our constitutional rights. While many complained about phone tapping, no one seems to notice nor protest the same behavior on the internet.
Regardless of what you use your computer for, you should be deeply concerned about the lengths Google is going to in order to track it. McCarthy may be dead and it may not be 1984, but there is definitely something terribly wrong here.