Hey Google, are you listening?


Words || Basel Hindeleh

In this day and age you’d be very hard pressed to find a single person who isn’t surrounded with technology, from smartphones, to laptops and smart home devices.

This sure does creep many of us out, we’re always feeling watched, monitored, heard, constantly under surveillance, and for the most part, that’s true, we are, but not by a 1950s Big Brother style CIA, but by a bunch of 1s and 0s. There are servers all around the world collecting information about us every second of every minute of every day. Most of it we voluntarily give up when we sign up to use whatever service without ever reading the Terms and Conditions.

It’s that exact fact, that there isn’t an old guy in a dark dingy basement scrolling through your latest google searches, or credit card transactions, that gives me peace of mind. No one’s out to get me. It’s just a bunch of letters and numbers being read by a machine that stores it for later use by, you guessed it, you.

Sure, every year we get a google search report of the top searching trends by area, age group, and sex, but none of it is specific. It’s not saying this one guy in Sydney looked up “can ducks fly,” it’s all just used for gaining a better understanding of search patterns to help us find what we want easier later on.

My entire life exists on google servers; my photos, schedule, contacts, a record of every single website I’ve visited, every question I’ve ever asked google home, every video I’ve watched. I think google knows me now better than most of my friends do and honestly, that’s okay with me, it makes my life easier. I’m not going to remember where I’ve been or what I’ve done forever. I’m not going to know the answer to every question I have.

I hear you saying: is privacy the price to pay for information and ease of life? To that I say hell no. I’m not giving up my privacy to a governmental entity that is going to knock down my door and ask me why I googled how to roll a joint. I’m not even risking my privacy to a private company that sells my information to a third-party company, *ahem ahem* Facebook. These company’s bread and butter is privacy, what they’re selling off is just metadata about my online habits to recommend that bag I really want. Yes okay, that’s consumerism gone too far, but it helps them as much as it does me.

I guess what I’m saying is we have to take the good with the bad, and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to, there’s a bunch of more secure options out there. At the very least trust that no one’s coming after you, well at least not a multinational billion-dollar corporation. Until we live in a postcolonial society where we’re being ruled by big private companies who only care about profit, *ahem* ‘Murica, we have nothing to fear.

Google isn’t going to steal your money if you use tap to pay on your phone – yes that’s a jab at my friend – Facebook isn’t going to give your message history to the police, Snapchat isn’t going to sell your nudes to TMZ.

If we’re good to each other we have nothing to fear, big tech companies are ultimately just talented people who are trying to do good in the world while making a quick buck – there’s that capitalism shit again – they’re not out to get you. Google’s unofficial motto is “don’t be evil,” we should try and be more like that, maybe life would be better.

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