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Saturday, June 21, 2014

$goog may need federal oversight

Big banks got a lot of flack over the years because the assumed "firewall" between their investment bank and trading-desks were never really trusted. But the banks had a very large regulatory incentive to ensure the separation.

Google is on this same path with respect to user-data except there is no 3rd party oversight. 

Over the years, google's data collection has shifted from desktop-search to being able to turn on the mic and location functions of about a billion phones (at their discretion). With the purchases of Nest, and now Dropcam, their servers will collect a lot of user data.

Google has known AI groups and quants disecting and qualifying / quantifying the data.

While Nest attempts to suggest their user privacy is secure, Google Ventures and AI research groups have access to all of Google data. 

Google is in the position to now collect and utilize: 

1. user data, from over a billion people, tracking their daily / weekly / monthly habits. 

2. User data to observe habits at the home (through second derivative insights like temerature and now directly from video)

3. Lets not forget the health and genetric data it has collected from their Google Venture companies as well.

This data produces statistically significant outcomes that are used to tailor advertisements, investments, corporate actions and if safe gaurds are not in place serious vulnerabilities to the user.

With all the avenues Google has to collect user data, especially with out the knowlegde of the user, a legitimate question, who will over see all this data is used and stored in an appropriate way? Is google now in the position that it needs federal regulatory oversight?

I am no fan of needless regulation, but there is a serious risk to users, all without third party controls in place.

Update: Given Facebook just published a psychological experiment via its users, is there any other creepy facts needed to drive data protection measures?

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