When I was asked the questions ‘What would happen if someone got ahold of your entire Google search history and published it? And who has access to this information now?’ it threw me quite a bit. Firstly we’ve all Googled some pretty weird things (for friends) and have so much private information surrounding what we do online. Releasing that metadata would be harmful for large amount of the population.
But using a service such as Google for free, there surely must be a price to pay? That is where the information that Google gathers on its users, same as with Facebook, that they then sell to companies for advertising to be personalised and directed towards us.
Depending on what is marketed towards us and at what times of the day we are using the internet all combine to what will be targets at us.
Targeted advertising is simply a small part of the price we pay to be nodes of the internet.
But is it really fair? The majority of internet users do not even realise what is happening to their personal information, and it’s been shared and spread across companies so they can target people down to their favourite ice cream flavour.
Is this ethical for companies to do? They would argue yes, they are giving us a free service from their point of view, so why shouldn’t they get something from us too?
Personally I am very careful with what I do online and across my social media platforms, what I believe needs to happen is consumers need to be made aware of what is happening to their information and to make the fine print bolder.