What if I told you that I knew every website you visited, every email you ever wrote and received, every IM you ever sent and every call you ever made. I know how much your utility bills are, how much your American Express bill was, and that you have a proclivity to collect garden gnomes? Your reaction would be nothing short of utter outrage.Why isn't the ACLU, or more of the public, protesting this? Oh, wait: because we don't care, as long as it's not the goverment. Corporations taking personal information, storing, selling, sharing and displaying it, we're blase about that. But when the government does it, there must be a sordid reason.
Now what if I told you that there is already a system in place that collects this information and has been doing so for years, and better yet, is not run by any government. It exists, and it is called Google: the vast black box of the information super highway.
Walt Crawford asks, after having upgraded to Firefox 2.0, "what's in your dropdown menu?"
I haven't upgraded to FF2.0 (just downloaded it and will do so this afternoon), but what's in my dropdown now is:
Google (because I'm too lazy to get rid of it and because it does the "inside blog" search well)
Amazon (for finding rarer books/music)
Alibris (to purchase rarer books)
Barnes & Noble
Mamma (wonderful search engine, except for searching my blog)
I do use gmail, and sometimes Scholar, but for the most part, I avoid Google. I just can't believe that they "do no evil". Can you?