It's frightening enough that Google knows our age, interests, and just about everything we look at online...but it's downright Orwellian that it may know where we are all the time.
I love Google Maps. Great for finding the nearest ATM, tube stop, or directions to the grocery store. Also great for tracking your every move, step by step, and recording it. Possibly without you realising it. Creeped out?
The linked article explains more. Basically, it's pretty easy (in principle) to turn off location tracking via Google Maps. The instructions are provided straight from Google. But I was alarmed to find that despite my policy of always opting out of any usage/location tracking facility when given the option, Google Maps did have a pretty comprehensive history of my movements over the past several weeks. Yikes!
Some people are quick to say that those who have nothing to hide have no reason to fear such data being stored somewhere on the internet. But what about criminals who might gain access to our detailed movements? What about paranoid spouses? What about the fact that we live in an age where the US government has carried out extrajudicial killings of its own citizens merely because of apparent links to suspected terrorists?
As Heller wrote in Catch 22 (and quoted by Cobain in a Nirvana song): "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you!"
We all know that no matter what ‘privacy’ settings you may try and implement, our information is all being collected and stored somewhere. That knowledge sits in the back of our minds, and is easy to drown out by shoving in some headphones and watching Adventure Time on repeat until everything stops being 1984. But it’s a sharp jolt back to reality when you see a two dimensional image marking your daily commute with occasional detours to the cinema or a friend’s house.