Privacy advocates around the world have always been strongly critical of Google for its ability to obtain , store and study information obtained from users over the course of a regular Google search or another service. When a visitor uses a Google service, Google installs a tracking cookie on the user’s browser, to remember user preferences and to improve speed in the event of a return visit. Why is this a problem though? The problem lies in the loose way privacy laws are able to be interpreted. Take a lawsuit that Google encountered about four years ago that got all privacy advocates very concerned.  In that case, the US government summarily subpoenaed Google for all the search information it had received over the preceding couple of months. That particular subpoena did not ask for identification of who had searched for what; but it legally well could have.  Gmail also studies by automated computers, all the information on your private email, to be able to target advertising to you.

To give the protesters’ cause a boost perhaps, and also some bite to their bark, Google has released an easy-to-access , Google Dashboard service that allows account holders to see exactly how much information Google has gathered about them over the years. The Google Dashboard application is available on the Google account holder’s home page for the eyes of the authenticated account holder only. You might wonder if the information you share with Google today was really significant enough to get worked up over. A quick look at a Google account holder page shows how little usable personal information there is to be found there. They have information about how many e-mails you store on your account, what YouTube videos you have watched ever, and what kinds of searches you perform. Things only get on there however when you do them while signed in.

Perhaps it is the principle of the thing that gets the  privacy advocates concerned. It is completely conceivable that the main concern here is that to let go of a little privacy now could start society down on a slippery slope of ever-receding individual rights.