Is Google The New Big Brother?
That’s what Google’s next big project is, with its GDrive. This way, you can access all you need, on any computer, anywhere, simply by going to a particular web address. And you wouldn’t need your own PC (or Mac) with personal information stored on your own hard drive. This is called “cloud computing”, where the processing can be done thousands of miles away and all you need is a connection, not gigabytes of memory. If your computer crashes or is lost, no big deal: everything is stored for you on Google’s mainframe.
The PC would be a simpler, cheaper device acting as a portal to the web, perhaps via an adaptation of Google’s operating system for mobile phones, Android. Users would think of their computer as software rather than hardware.
It is this prospect that alarms critics of Google’s ambitions. Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, a charity defending computer users’ liberties, did not dispute the convenience offered, but said: “It’s a little bit like saying, ‘we’re in a dictatorship, the trains are running on time.’ But does it matter to you that someone can see everything on your computer? Does it matter that Google can be subpoenaed at any time to hand over all your data to the American government?”
Google won’t confirm or deny the GDrive, but does acknowledge that cloud computing is the wave of the future. But is this a step forward, given that the beauty of the Internet and computing was always the personal freedom it offered? Or is this a step that could result in more government control and potential access to personal information? The fear is that so many people will see this as a convenience rather than a move that could compromise privacy.Click here for reuse options!
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