While most people have a general sense that technology encroaches upon their privacy, “what is less clear to people is exactly how bad it is.” —Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The gravity of this quote can be demonstrated by delving into the dark mind of a stalker. Though the vast majority of people use information as a tool to enrich their lives, learn about the world around them, and make their day-to-day lives more convenient, some people use the Internet for more nefarious purposes.
Let’s take a closer look at how a stalker might use our information for less than noble reasons.
A stalker’s aim is to control how his (or her) victim feels and acts and desires to maintain a connection to their victim. The more information the stalker has the better they’re able to exercise control over said victim.
How does Google fit into this? From day one, Google’s mission statement has been to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
They are exceptionally good at collecting and using your personal information as demonstrated in previous posts such as “What does Google know about you?” and “What does Google do with your personal information?”
For the stalker, access to this information opens up a literal treasure trove. So, what if Google were evil? What would it be capable of?
Using the information it collects about you through Google’s Gmail, search, chats and tracking ability, it would have the necessary intelligence to become the ultimate cyber stalker. For present purposes I will refer to him as Gomez.
With its new privacy laws, it monitors you across the Internet and knows what sites you visit and when.
Gomez could let you know in real-time via phone, email or chat that he knows what you’re doing on the Internet at all times.
It now feels like Gomez is in your house and looking over your shoulder.
Using Google’s search capabilities, Gomez could leave customized messages depending on the sites you visit and the searches you make. For example, when you search “what to get mom for Mother’s Day,” a targeted message could come up stating that “you won’t make it to Mother’s Day” or “I’ve already got something killer for Helen.”
That would take the definition of disturbing to a whole new level.
Since Gomez has just as much information on your loved ones as he does about you, he can be extremely targeted in how he harasses and blackmails you.
He can stalk you by sending you highly personalized emails from within your own email account. He can update your Google Calendar to inform you of the date he will assault you on, and draft up emails that he will threaten to send to those on your contact lists as you.
Gomez could choose to ruin your reputation or the reputation of those you love, and threaten to stalk and harm those you care about.
Using the most recent launch of the more social Google Maps, Google Calendar and Google Waze, Gomez knows what activities you do, places you visit the most, where you work, shop and live. He also knows where you currently are now and where you will be going in the future.
Gomez now knows exactly where and when to send flowers, leave you notes, call you, where to follow you, wait for you and as the stalking escalates, figure out the best time and place to physically harm you.
Since he can also access your subconscious, in a similar way that advertisers will do courtesy of the new Google Glass, he controls you in a way you could have never imagined, not in your worst nightmares.
In reality, Google is not a stalker, but just like the government and advertisers alike; stalkers would also love to have direct access to its servers.
Photo Source: FlickrPosted in: Privacy Issues, Technology