Last week, Google was awarded a patent that would allow them to tailor ads to individuals based on varying environmental conditions. The ramifications are far-reaching, invasive, downright creepy.
Theoretically, this advertising would “be served on the basis of a sensor that detects temperature, humidity, sound, light, or air composition near a device,” says Loek Essers at PC World. That technology could be applied to laptops, digital billboards, kiosks, vending machines, and even smartphones. For example, if it’s 80 degrees and sunny out, a billboard might automatically flash an ad for an icy-cold beverage. Or if you’re placing a call during a concert, Google could automatically feed the background noise into an algorithm, spurring your phone to deliver an offer for album downloads or concert tickets based on your music tastes.
Whether or not Google ever uses the patent is still up for debate, but it is worrisome given Google’s history of targeted advertising in searches, search results based on location, and obtaining wifi data while gathering data for Google maps.
While Google says that if they ever use the patent they will allow users to opt out, how much information will be gathered by that point? Also, even if a user opts out, Google will, most likely, require that a user be logged in to an account owned by Google in order to do so. Thus, even though the individual has opted out, other tracking methods utilized by Google will still ensnare them.
No one can predict what Google will or will not do with this new patent. Understanding Google as a marketing company, however, should lead everyone to worry about the potential privacy implications in the use of such technology.
What it comes down to is that google is a giant marketing company based on ads. They feed you ads so their product remains free for you. This time, there is no opt-out. Basically, if you don’t like their new policies, you will have to move your information elsewhere. The new policies will take effect March 1, 2012.
Meet Lamar Smith, representative from Texas, and Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
As Chairman he can kill any bill he doesn’t like by denying it a hearing while giving priority to the bills he wants to pass, Like SOPA.
While addressing the massive outcry over SOPA he stated that:
“It’s a vocal minority. Because they’re strident doesn’t mean they’re either legitimate or large in number. One, they need to read the language. Show me the language. There’s nothing they can point to that does what they say it does do. I think their fears are unfounded.”
Above is a list of people that have pointed at the language, including law professors and computer experts.
You have a civil war among video game companies, and the successful boycott of a company. How do you ignore that?
It’s an election year. This November. Whatever happens, Texas, please kick this guy out of office.
Picture by ChadRocco.