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I’m Happy To Give Google Access To My Personal Data. What About You?

Google recently played a role in the arrest of a sex offender, but their intervention makes me wonder about the extent to which Google (and other tech companies for that matter) are using the data they have about us.

So in case you haven’t heard already, a man in Houston, Texas (U.S.), was recently arrested for sending child pornography through his Gmail account. To make matters worse, the 41 year old man is already a convicted sex offender, so once Google took notice of the ‘type’ of image he was sending, they alerted the local authorities who then issued a warrant for his arrest.

While I’m really glad about the outcome, this piece of news makes me wonder about the extent to which Google (and other tech companies for that matter) are using the data they have about us.

The Good Side Of Google’s Access To Data

Google openly admits to scanning through our email, and I for one don’t mind. After all, it’s that access to our ‘private’ data which enables them to provide a personalised user experience through the Google services we use daily.

By accessing flight information through your inbox, Google Now can send you a ‘push notification’ with your boarding pass when you’re at the airport. They’re able to tailor your search results based on search history, and knowing the apps you’ve previously bought help them to make appropriate recommendations in the future.

Just yesterday we heard about the new ‘location history’ tool for Google Maps too, which, as the name suggests, tells you where you’ve previously been.

Without having access to our personal data, none of that convenience (as I like to see it) would be possible.

Where Do You Draw The Line?

Google’s intervention turned out to be a deciding factor in getting a sex offender arrested in the U.S., but at what point does Google’s use of our data become intrusive and immoral? Who’s to judge what’s right or wrong?

It’ll be interesting to read what you guys think, so leave your thoughts & opinions in the comments section below!


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By Fabio Virgi

I'm the guy behind Let's Talk Tech and a travel blog called Fab Meets World. Some people call me a geek, I think they're probably right. I'm fascinated by technology and innovation, love good design and own way too many gadgets for my own good. Want to connect? Get in touch on Twitter and Instagram.