Not to name names here, but Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple and others have been unceremoniously modifying user terms of service so you tacitly agree to them using your data (search habits, email content scanning, FB postings, etc.) in any manner they desire. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few weeks, it has become mainstream knowledge that the government is accessing this same data for horizon scanning of potential terrorist threats/plots. The National Security Agency (NSA) is at the heart of this debate in light of Edward Snowden’s leak of classified information, a federal crime. Some people are re-thinking the concept of privacy. We believe there is value in providing choices and privacy has been an area of interest at Visual Purple for some time and has influenced GisterPRO’s feature set.
In wake of the recent Google snooping scandal a few weeks back other search engines that are not tracking user information have seen a big bump in folks visiting their site to conduct searches in a non-tracked environment. As an example this past Monday, June 17th, Duck Duck Go saw a record 3 million searches in just one day as people conducting searches on the internet looked for an alternative search engine free of user tracking. In fact Duck Duck Go traffic has increased over 33% in the past two weeks in wake of the Google scandal.
Europe has already seen a lot of debate over data privacy and has therefore begun enacting new data protection laws to protect its citizens. It may not be long before the U.S. starts to think (and act) more about this hot topic as well… how much is enough when letting the big guns track you?
When you stop to think about it we are constantly under surveillance – everything from simply browsing the internet to smart phones and even driving around in our fancy, black box equipped cars. The concept of privacy is being recast before us… apathy might prevail, or some of us may decide to use a different search engine or private email service. Options are a good thing!