Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:50:58 GMT —
If you use the internet, chances are good you've used Google.
KHQA spoke with a local I.T. professional to see what the changes mean for you.
"One perspective, they are looking at everything you search the internet for, and you might be searching for things you might not want other people to know about," Chris Stegner says. "They aren't saying this person is searching for this and that person is searching for that. They are more putting you in a vertical column saying this person is searching for these types of things."
Google then takes that information and sells it to companies that you might use or companies that offer services you may be interested in.
"The credit card companies are definitely doing this type of stuff and have for years. They watch your records and see what you're likely to buy. That helps you because if they see some strange activity, they can block it, call you up, and tell you this may be fraud," Stegner says.
Similarly, the credit card companies sell your information to marketing companies who try to get you as a customer. So, should you be concerned about this? Right now Google, and other search engines because they aren't interested in your personal information, they are more interested in your profile ... what you're buying, what you're interested in. Then they can market to you more specifically.
"Right now, I don't think this is something Google is using nefariously, but it's something people want to watch because it is a slippery slope to the next step to the next step to the next step to where it does become a problem," Stegner says.
If you don't like this at all, there is an option. If you have a Google account, just make sure you're not logged in when you search the internet. If you don't have a Google account, it's not really a concern because the company doesn't know who you are.
The government is getting in this as well.
The Obama administration has gotten behind a so-called Consumer Bill of Rights.
That's a set of guidelines that you can you can use to protect your online privacy. You can learn more about the Consumer Bill of Rights by clicking here.