The search giant has recently filled a patent for a system that writes Facebook statuses and tweets on our behalf, but there’s a catch about all this.
While apparently there shouldn’t be a need for such a robot, some of us simply have too many social network accounts and just can’t handle all of them anymore. I admit, I could use such a robot myself, as sometimes I get the feeling that I’m overwhelmed. I’m not hyperactive on Facebook, nor on Twitter (I tweet about my daily posts, though, so you should follow me), but on StumbleUpon a robot made by Google that can filter all spam would surely make a difference.
As mentioned before, there’s a catch behind Google’s benevolence. In order to be able to write Facebook statuses and tweets in your place, the robot must have full access to your accounts. As if Google doesn’t already have plenty of data about us that could be used for extremely precise market segmentation (I’m trying very hard not to think of all the bad ways our data could be used in).
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, stated in an interview with MailOnline that “Technology like this must only ever be opt-in, as it has the potential to allow companies like Google to harvest even more data from your private communications to enable automatic posting to sound authentic. If you regularly send a text message about a certain type of medication or email a lawyer with words like ‘divorce’ appearing, the computer can quite easily identify you to a human searching through the data looking for certain things.” He added that “That sort of data is valuable to both governments and companies, so I’m extremely concerned about any technology that purports to offer convenience while in reality exposing more of our private communications to prying eyes.”
Despite Google’s informal motto, “Don’t be evil,” many fear that this company’s curiosity simply means that we’re not headed in the right direction as far as our privacy is concerned. The search giant has already been accused of scanning our e-mails, so expanding this to our statuses and tweets wouldn’t really mean that much. It’s just that some people really post their entire life on social networks (and Facebook’s Life Events feature is great for that), and they disregard their privacy settings, so if sensitive data gets in the wrong hands, it’s their fault and their fault only. As far as I’m concerned, I really think that compared to other companies, Google is a saint, so I wouldn’t mind having an android made by them at home.