Mon, 25 Mar, 2019

Google and Facebook Are Like Creepy Stalkers

By Shreya Sapkota

Art: Nikita Gatuam '17
Know that feeling of dread you get at dark when you are all alone and you sense someone’s presence? The goosebumps you get after watching a horror movie and feel creeped out for days because of it? Well, that’s exactly how I feel when I think of the tracking, filtering and monitoring tech companies such as Google and Facebook are doing in the name of better experience and reach. Have you ever wonder how you get all the advertisement, suggestion and recommendation while using Facebook, Google, Apple or any other platform? Those features are very helpful and are only possible through the monitoring of our data and activities. I am pretty sure when seen from this perspective it’s not such a big deal that our data are being monitored. But, there are certain limits to what should be accessible and what shouldn’t. Now think of it this way, a room full of people watching and monitoring your activities and deciding what you are most interested in and maybe even passing comment. Well, that’s exactly the image I get when I think of Google and Facebook monitoring us. Google and other such tech companies have access to everything, our emails, our personal files and anything and everything that can be accessed or stored electronically. In the lieu of better interface and promotion what they are actually doing is invading our privacy. Google, not so long ago, had introduced a new Awareness API that would allow for smarter applications that could understand where you were, what you were doing, what’s nearby, and even the weather, in order to more intelligently react to your current situation.  And now, Google and H&M in collaboration have introduced a new application that’s taking advantage of this sort of data to design you a dress. Yes, an actually customized dress with routes and routines in it, without street signs. Really what can be better than a customized dress that is designed keeping a person in mind? But, would any person at the cost of their day-to-day activities being observed opt for a dress. From my perspective, no one would and no one should compromise their privacy and that too just for a customized dress with maps on it. One other case of scary privacy invasion by National Security of Agency(NSA) of USA made in the name of security unmasked by Edward Snowden in 2013 has already shaken people. The NSA had access to all the private information from all around the world; they could even access the laptops and computers that were turned off. So, the new developments of tech companies can be very haunting when perceived from this context. Even though, application of Google and tech companies abide by the consent of the user it can really be eerie with the growing influence and reach of Google and other various tech companies. As known, the growing power and influence can be misleading. So, it would suffice to say that the monitoring and tracking of our data and activities are actually a case of creepy stalking.