Smart phones, computers, tablets, email and social media accounts, in short the internet has become an integral part of our everyday lives. We search for things we want to know, read any newspaper we are interested in, plan and arrange travel and keep in contact with our entire network. On the surface all these actions look innocent, we do them everyday. However, below the surface there is a complex spider web of companies which make money out off all these actions. These are also known as data brokers.
The data broker industry is everywhere and yet it is opaque and hard to see. At Re:Publica 2015 we will present Tactical Tech's research on the data brokering industry and what this means for the user and political actors. More specifically we will zoom in on a test case: Google.
'One account for everything'.
Google's tag line sounds nice. No need to worry about your passwords, Google will take care of it. However, when we move beyond seeing Google as a provider of Gmail, Google search or even Google Analytics and lift the veil of the company the tag line does not seem so innocent anymore. Google is one of the biggest data brokers in the world, it makes over 100 million dollars a day, and all this is earned out of our data. With this money Google is expanding fast onto new horizons. Here the company is finding new ways to gain more access to our data. The purchase history of Google shows how their interest have moved from online data to more specific human data: behavioral data.
Many people in Europe don't appear to be very concerned by this, as they feel protected by the notion of privacy frameworks. Next to national legislation, there is the European Union Privacy directive and European Safe Harbor framework. However, all this means very little in light of the obsessive collection disorder of the data industry.
Through our lecture, we will demonstrate what it means if people have one Google account for everything. In a visual and exploratory way we want to take the participants on a journey to discover this data industry and what this means for our privacy. We also explore some of the alternative strategies to become less dependent on Google.