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Musterlösung 2014: Textproduktion: Comment "Is Google making us stupid? (GK)


“The faster we surf across the Web – the more links we click and pages we view – the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind […]” (N. Carr, in the same article)

Comment on this statement and its implications.


In this age of information our data has become a commodity. Online shops, dating sites, social networks and others desperately hunt for all the information they can get about us in order to place their customer-tailored advertisements so as to show us what we want and thus to raise their profits. Many of us know about this but do not really seem to be too much concerned about what power we hand to these companies. What N. Carr wants to make us aware of is that our online habits have as much to do with what Google & Co. know about us as the companies themselves. However, we do have to distinguish between clicking habits that we can influence and such that we cannot.

Most of us are familiar with the cookie warnings that we see when we first enter a new website. It notifies us that information about our visit to this site is stored and our stay on this site is considered a sign of interest and an agreement to our computer data being collected. Now, as we are looking for information or even fun on the Net, there is little we can do about this. We may tell our internet provider that we do not want to be traced and that we do not want to be show advertisements based on our browsing history; what we cannot prevent, however, is that our visits to the various sites are recorded by the proprietors thus allowing them to gain a detailed customer profile.

Of course, we too, actively aid much to our pursuits, habits and relationship statuses being spread throughout the Web. For the commercial Internet social networks like Facebook, WhatsAp, or Twitter are like richly filled fish ponds of information. These communication platforms allow us to report about any important or unimportant event in our lives attached with photos and comments by friends and followers. We can rate other people’s posts and tweets by our “likes” and “dislikes” thereby revealing much about ourselves that is useful in terms of product placement and personalised advertising. The more we choose to put online, the more material we provide to those that financially exploit such information either by selling it or by developing customer-oriented marketing.

In consequence we should be careful about the things we put online if we do not want our personal data to become a commercial good that is traded, often without our knowledge. In view of NSA spying operations and other scandals in which sensitive customer data is handled with insufficient care, every Internet user has to become more aware of how to make their data more secure.   

(441 words)

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