Are You Comfortable With the Amount of Data Google Keeps on You? [Poll]


We all know it by now: Google collects information on us. Whatever they do collect is probably harmless, and their privacy policy is constantly tweaked and amended to assure everyone that their privacy is as safe as safe can be, but one group of folks don’t seem to buy it.

Consumer Watchdog – a group who has been notorious for trying to completely dismantle Google over the past couple of years – has requested that their close relationship with the Obama administration be investigated as they believe policies are being violated for secret use by the National Security Agency.

Says Consumer Watchdog to Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, also a California Republican:

“We believe Google has inappropriately benefited from close ties to the administration,” the letter said. “Google is most consumers’ gateway to the Internet. Nonetheless, it should not get special treatment and access because of a special relationship with the administration.”

You had to expect Google wouldn’t take it lying down, though: they brought to light the group’s close ties with some of Google’s biggest competitors, such as Amazon and Microsoft. A spokeswoman for Google says “this is just the latest in a long list of press stunts from an organization that admits to working closely with our competitors.”

The same group reportedly bought major video-screen space in Times Square, New York to publicly and loudly criticize Google’s privacy practices in this same month two years ago. Their motivation, according to them, is to hold Google accountable for their not-really-official “Don’t Be Evil” motto that’s become infamous over recent years.

So that’s the story, but what do you guys think? Even if Consumer Watchdog claims they don’t receive money from any of Google’s competitors with whom they affiliate themselves, do you think their claims are validated? I’m sure Google isn’t the only major corporation with close ties to the governing body of America, and the fact that they collect more information about their users than most outlets alone shouldn’t strike up such a campaign. The basis on which they’re trying to summon an investigation is weak to begin with, and I’m sure their motives will be questioned when their request is officially being considered.

It also poses an interesting question for us common folk, though: are we really comfortable with the amount of information Google collects on us? They collect a lot – it’d probably frighten you how accurate your dope sheet would be – but are you concerned about their ties with the Obama administration and the possibility that your information could be in the hands of the NSA for the purpose of national security? As users of Google’s Android, would you feel your privacy is violated more than someone who just uses Google as a desktop search tool every day should these allegations turn up true at any degree? [via PC World]

[Update]: For the record, it’s a known fact that Google records which websites you visit – including the dates and times you visited – and ties them to your IP address. That’s the “harmless” data they keep and use to better their products for you. We assume Consumer Watchdog incorporates into their claim not only that, but the fact that Google could probably access your email account with them whenever they wanted. We’ll have more clarification on their allegations after we go through the 30+ page document sent to repbulican Issa.

[polldaddy poll=4456000]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Qualcomm Posts Best Quarter Ever, More Than 20 Tablets and 130 Smartphones Coming

Previous article

Buttonless HTC Slate for Verizon Appears in the Wild, too; Incredible HD?

Next article

You may also like


  1. Then they should know that i want a wifi only tablet, we’ll see if they know that about me.

  2. I think they have a whole profile about everyone i don’t like that :(

  3. If you’ve got nothing to hide..

  4. I think that some of their services are too much for some, but you can pick and chose what you use. Also, I like what I believe is their main mission, which is information, they want to spread information around the world, and to do so you enter into a contract with them for some of your habits.

    @Adam, you know Google doesn’t make a “tablet” they make an OS, and the OEMs have wifi only models coming? Yes, they do know you and millions of others want a wifi only version.

  5. Then don’t use Google?? It’s a choice. I’m going to have to deal with ads, might as well be targeted correctly.

  6. Companies (Microsoft & Amazon) should not use the government to try to weaken their competitors by having the government over regulate the competition. What happened to old fashioned competition?

  7. Gesh……now we have to make smartphone use political….ugh!

  8. I wonder what type of information Apple collects from their consumers’ activities…

  9. NSA is an agency that basically spy on every single American, (anyone in the states), and at least they have the power and the authority to do so. It was setup under W. Bush’s administration.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with that, (Nothing to hide, right?) and Google is among the companies that are just obeying orders. If NSA feels there is a thred to our “national security” they will enforce their muscle.

    This goes beyond emails, it is just about anything. (Text, Emails, Calls) They probably know more about you, than yourself.

  10. That’s the nub of the matter, you don’t have to use google, but I bet Bing and all the others save data about what you search for.
    Let’s be really honest here, the worst culprit is Facebook; they know exactly who you are and sell that data to fill their pockets with cash. They store every conversation you’ve ever had.
    google might have an IP address, but they don’t know who I actually am and I don’t think they care either.

  11. I’ve nothing to hide so doesn’t bother me at all.

  12. I’ve got nothing to hide. If you’re doing suspicious things or have an intent to act out malicious behavior, I’d like the NSA to know. Maybe some of these degenerates can be stopped before causing any real harm. Plus, you choose what information is available on your profile and what services to use. Microsoft, Yahoo, Ebay….they all share bits of info with the government….along with every mobile carrier in the US.

  13. I think the government is going to have your information rather you want it or not. If you are worried about the you information getting out there then you should get rid of you facebook, twitter and any other social networks that you have because they give it out more then google.

  14. In the words of the great scholar Jessy Ventura, “It’s a conspiracy. I know, I was a governor, a fighter, a navy seal.”

  15. Any smart person should know what real info they should disclose to google & what they shouldn’t

  16. While I realize and appreciate that Google’s entire business model, and the wonderful free-of-charge services they offer are funded by advertising, and that said advertising requires information to be profitable, I’ve always been a bit uneasy about it. I don’t believe Google in particular are working with the US govt on information sharing beyond court-ordered warrants. Still, the possibility is always there – The US Govt is always trying to get its hands on as much info about as many people as possible, and the likes of data retention laws aren’t inconceivable, especially in the days of the PAT RIOT act.

    The main reason I don’t buy apps (with the exception of LauncherPro Plus – highly recommended) is that I don’t want to give Google my payment card info. If they supported PayPal (where I already have an account), I’d be buying apps left and right.

  17. facebook knows more about us than google.

  18. It is a danger to national security to know whether the NSA is collecting information from Google.

    Therefore, I would gather that we will never know unless it is verified by the US Govt.

  19. “facebook knows more about us than google.”

    ^ This!

  20. I’m more concerned about sites like Facebook and Myspace selling personal info to ad agencies or even worse hackers then the government getting a hold of my info. The government getting info from Google is minuscule concidering they collect VERY personal data during the census and tax time, and lets not forget here that they are the ones that give you your social security numbers and watch you spending VIA taxes both local and federal. Google giving them info, yea not so worried about that.

  21. @ Explain the Fee, The National Security Agency was formed in 1952 under Harry S Truman, not during the Bush administration. The NSA does NOT spy on “Every single American”. I often hear people say things such as “They listen to every phone call”” No. “They spy on every American.” No. “They are working with aliens.” haha NO. The NSA, along with the CCS (Central Security Service- which was formed in the very early 1970s-still quite a long way from the Bush era) work largely in cryptology making and breaking and signals intelligence. The NSA does NOT listen to every phone call and could care less about that porn site you were looking at. They look for suspicious and/or terrorist activities that threaten our (surprisingly) national security. If you’re not googling schematics for nuclear weapons, recipies for biological weapons, or just outright planning attacks against the US or it’s interests, I wouldnt worry to much about it. Besides, Google doesn’t need to “share” if the NSA wants something, they WILL get it. These people are not the local police department. To be very blunt and mirroring what a poster above stated; “Worry far more about what you do in Facebook”- They share your info with EVERYONE. To paraphrase what someone above said “What the hell are you doing that would attract the NSA’s attention?!” If you’re hanging around in phandroid forums, likely nothing. They don’t care about that bootlegged peggle .apk or torrents or Limewire, or what you said to your cousin Joe when you guys were drunk last week.People do love a good consiracy theory.

  22. Google is up front and honest about the data they collect and what they do with it. There are options out there to avoid giving Google access to your data if you are concerned about it. In spite of the fact that Google is the most popular service of it’s kind, using them is always a voluntary choice. It would not be difficult to get by without ever visiting Google sites or using Google services. Some people are crazy. And more than a little stupid.

  23. ^CSS not CCS, sorry for the typo

  24. I disabled my website history with google, and you can too if you care so much. what’s the problem?

  25. If you have an issue with what they may have concerning your userID then use and adjust your privacy settings. This allows you to delete web search history, gchat history, email, voice, etc. You can control what is out there. Google will remain okay w/me as long as they keep this level of transparency.

  26. This is such an overstated issue, and I’m really tired of reading about it. I know Google keeps information on me but I really don’t care. I live in the Google Cloud and use Google Apps Premier…and couldn’t be happier. At least all my data is always available and syncs perfectly across all my devices…more than I can say for other clouds. For those of you worried about privacy…do a thorough search on yourself and your family, you’ll find that nearly everything you don’t want people to know is already on the internet and you’ll never be able to eradicate it.

  27. I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords.

  28. “Google could probably access your email account with them whenever they wanted…”

    So could whichever web-based email service provider you used, I suppose.

  29. I’m really surprised at the answers from that poll…. people are incredibly naive in thinking data that is collected is only for OUR GOOD. Scary! WTFU people!

  30. What cracks me up about this sort of thing is that you people think Google is the only one storing your information. I’d trust Google to store my information over any other entity that does. Try your states DMV, lol. They store the actual important things about you that can screw your life up if stolen…….and they are a government agency that I promise can be hacked easier than Google. Who gives a crap if google or facebook stores my social network life. It’s nothing that someone can’t pay $5 for on a public records search.

    Get over the lack of a story here and move on.

  31. Well for the update: That’s what every better system administrator, blog hoster and blogger does. Collecting IP’s with time. And having access to your PM’s you trust them.

    You know, it’s like in the real world. You can’t live without trusting someone. Ever.

  32. My friends on Facebook told me to not use Google because of this issue, so I don’t. That’s a joke folks, please don’t respond.

  33. @DJ: thanks for saving me the trouble of going to my wiki app, looking up NSA, and telling the aforementioned poster that there’s no way the NSA was founded by either George Bush ;-) Plus, as you said how could the NSA possibly monitor all of our phone calls? People don’t appreciate the sheer manpower that would be needed to do so. If the NSA ever hired enough people to do this, they would have to have almost a 7-figure employee workforce, and there would be virtually no unemployment, ever ;-)

  34. I vote for I hope Google shares the information with the NSA. Will only make my life more secure.

  35. The survey results will be invalid. You’re asking an audience who have already indicated that they’re comfortable with Google since they bought an Android phone to begin with.

  36. To all conspiracy theorists out there: if you think it’s annoying to sort through tons of spam to find a relevant message in a Hotmail inbox, that is absolutely nothing compared to all the information the NSA would have to sort through if they had all the information many people think they have on us! Just picture yourself sorting through the browsing histories, tweets, emails, phone calls, Facebook updates, and instant messages of just 2 or 3 people every day, and you’ll begin to get the picture.

  37. Ha! Well, they know that I am poor ass hell, so, they probably are not holding on to my info anyway !!! LOL

  38. Yes. Google is God. They can have all the info they want.

  39. Regarding my previous post about sorting through data: even with the help of supercomputers, you still have an overwhelming glut of data to sort through if you want to find something you can use against a particular individual, which is what many people fear… it has nothing to do with having something to hide, it has everything to do with fear of your personal information being misused. Unless you’re either an outspoken anti-government activist or a terrorist, the real worry is private companies having access to so much personal information, not the NSA!

  40. Privacy is irrelevant in the 21st century.

  41. UGGGHG!!!! I would not be surprised if further investigation turns up that this watchdog groups has some buddies of Issa in charge. Issa is just on a campaign to find and/or manufacture anything he can about Obama. Hell where was Issa when Bush had AT&T pumping the entire internet right through the government? Where was he when they let all the telecom companies off the hook for aiding in spying on us all? Hell where was ANYONE? Lets just get it over with and declare the country an oligarchy run by the ultra rich and save all this song and dance.

  42. The most insignificant people worry the most.

  43. Yes. 1) Because I trust Google as a company. 2) They dont have any financial information.

  44. From TFA: “That’s the “harmless” data they keep and use to better their products for you.”

    What’s with the Google ass-kissing? They don’t keep info to “better their product” for me; they do it to maximize revenue. I realize this is a site dedicated to a Google product, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to act as a PR vehicle for them.

    Hell, even the first choice in the “survey” sucks off Google (“and they use it to create a more personal product for users.” Really?)

  45. I’d prefer they didn’t keep so much data, but for the services they provide it’s worth the price. You have to give something to get something.

  46. I agree wholeheartedly with 45. Google offers products that don’t cost money, just like Facebook and others. There has to be some form of payment for things like Gmail, Android, Maps and their other services and having data about me that isn’t used inappropriately is a fair trade.

    Personally, I find Facebook’s advertising worse as adverts are targeted directly at you, not your search terms. Has anyone else ever looked at the interface for buying Facebook ads? If I wanted to I could target a 25-year-old female who lives in Brooklyn, is single, likes horses and walking. I could get a lot more targeted than that, too. That’s creepier to me than targeting someone for ads based on a search term.

  47. I think Ben Franklin said it best. It went something like, “When you sacrifice privacy for security you get neither.”

  48. If I was worried, I wouldn’t have bought an Android Phone, especially not the Nexus One.

    The way I see it, I give Google information about me, they give me awesome stuff for free. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

  49. Nothing to worry if u have nothing to hide ;-)

  50. To all the posters whose only comment is “I have nothing too hide”
    1)Yes you do, probably more than the ones who didn’t say that, you just feel comfortable that you have done a good job keeping your secrets secret.
    2)It’s not about dirty little secrets. It’s about all the seemingly harmless information that can be aggregated.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I am not livid or terrified, but I am also not convinced that it is not or will not become a problem.

  51. To those who have “nothing to hide” – it’s not dirty little secrets that you have to worry about. It’s your email addresses, home addresses, browsing habits, search histories, phone numbers, and even credit card numbers and passwords that criminals could hack or that companies can misuse. The most common misuse is companies like MySpace, Facebook and, possibly, Google selling this data to third parties which results in even more spam and junk mail flooding your inboxes and mail slots.

  52. I am unconcerned about what data I give to Google. In fact, I give them information openly. The data that Facebook has is of much higher concern. I believe that Mountain View cares about the Internet, as do I. Frankly, I do not want to know a would without Google or it’s products and services. That would be devastating.

  53. If all of these organizations want to see how much porn I surf…..let em! Lol

  54. I am somewhat concerned with the content google keeps on it’s users (will it expire? shouldn’t there be a limit to the ‘amount’ of data kept?) I do believe having and using an android phone allows google to invade our lives more (for better and for worse) but I do not think that there is some alliance with the current administration to allow the government to spy on google’s users….

    However this being said the fact that they have such information there should be some regulations and monitoring practices in place to ensure future administrations do not attempt to strong arm google with ‘patriot act’ style stuff… but the reality of it all is hell, we give it all away, if they get hacked or internally compromised to the highest bidder for your information if someone wants that info they’ll get it so long as they know the right people and can pay

  55. Every website collects data except maybe and compared how much data the government alread has that you give them via a social security number. Why would they even need googles piddle?

  56. It’s not half the data that Facebook has!

  57. I am unable to delete any information , right or wrong from a name entry on google.


    ^ use that if you are concern about privacy

    personally Google is fine as long as they stand with the consumer with regards to Net Neutrality issues >_>’

  59. I am much more concerned how Facebook harvests its users data and the use (pirating) of their copyrights, which users have posted.

  60. Correct facebook has more names and connections which is exactly why Google is trying to force Facebook into allowing them access to the data.

    However Google has a much richer physiological profile on everyone based on their habits and connections, including web searches and site visited, pages read, books read, email, texts, pictures w/facial recognition, phone call history, voicemail, ….

    Think of what the NSA could do with all that information with data mining tools that are available today.

    Google/Facebook/NSA are just the next step in reaching a world like the Minority Report where you will be arrested and convicted based on you having similar habits online and keywords in email that other criminals have.

  61. Not sure if anyone knows this or not but Google has been giving out information on it’s users for sometime now. Same with twitter (currently being fought and requests denied, credit due to Julian Assange:) and other huge organizations or forms of Social Media like FaceBook as well. All the government has o do is asks for the users info and unless there is a ” gag order ” with the warrant or request of you info, you’ll never ever know. SO unless your doing some really shady things or looking at kiddie porn or something you should be fine.

    And interesting fact and either way…94% of those guys (g0ogle) revenues comes from their AdWords Advertising programs so worst case scenario…calm down on your searches and use Aol…my grandpa still uses that :) They just want your $$ and your info for their own purpose. God Knows what after Google T.V….wtf guys?


  62. in my old webster’s collegiate dictionary from the late 70’s the definition of facsism started with ‘an intense nationalism’ followed immediately by ‘close co-operation between government and corporations’… that deffinition was written by people who were alive to experience it’s horrors, today’s dictionaries all seem to have toned (spun) that down to something more like ‘a well ordered economy and society’ placed further back in the definition.. I guess because all dictionaries are published by corporations… so it seems that some people want us to forget that the close connection between corporations and government is one of the primary indicators of fascism.. along with the propaganda and brutal repression of dissent bit.. sound familliar yet? sleep well and have a nice life!

  63. oh, and I remember reading somewhere during the peak of the Bush regime when the Fatherland, uh, sry, ‘homeland’ security aparatus was getting into full swing that it and the FBI had goggle write them up their own search engines to deal with all the new data they were gathering on us… it was right around the time goggle was giving info to china on who was looking at what….

  64. Sure, I look for my Furry necrophylic urolagniastic coprophagiastic porn on Bing.

    (Google the terms :-)

  65. if your not doing anything wrong then who cares if they collecting info on you? You are using a service they created for free. if you dont like it use another service.

  66. Maybe we should just stop storing information. No more need for Google. And, while we are at it, get rid of this inernet thingy.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News