In an opinion piece in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle called, “Is Google Evil?”, Randall Stross discusses how Google is amassing a wealth of data on its users. This includes documents stored in Google Docs, discussions on Google Groups, personal appointments in Google Calendar, email in Gmail, photos in Picasa, etc. He summarizes his concerns as
Were the federal government to embark on collecting a cross-indexed collection of records of our lives with the same zeal as Google, how comfortable would we feel? Now, take away the accountability and transparency that we demand of our government and put the same information into an impenetrable black box held snugly by a for-profit company.
Stross isn’t saying that Google is evil (or, I don’t think he is). But it’s certainly worth paying attention to where your personal data lives and who has access to it.