Google Buzz: Economic Surveillance – Buzz Off! The Problem of Online Surveillance and the Need for an Alternative Internet

Google Buzz is part of Google’s empire of economic surveillance. It gathers information about user behaviour and user interests in order to store, assess, and sell this data to advertising clients. Google’s online product advertising for Buzz says: “The first thing we all do when we find something interesting is share it. More and more of this kind of sharing takes place online. Google Buzz is a new way to share updates, photos, videos, and more”.

Do people really want to share vast amounts of private data and location data not only with their friends, but also with Google? Can Google be considered as a friend of all humans, or doesn’t it rather accumulate power that can also cause great harm to humans? Do people really always want to tell others where they currently are? Are people really interested in sharing their location data not only with selected friends, but also with Google?

Google Buzz and Economic Surveillance

I find interesting about the NY Times article and the reactions of some users to Google Buzz that they primarily stress the danger that China, Iran, etc could use Buzz for engaging in the (political) surveillance of political oppositionists and that they label such endeavaours totalitarian, while at the same time they do not provide a critique of the economic surveillance machine constituted by Google’s expanding services, its collection, storage, analysis, and commodification of personal data, and its market dominance.