Google Chromecast and Privacy issues

What has Google ChromeCast got to do with Privacy? Read on below….

There has been a great set of awareness in the media and wow response towards Google’s Chromecast - the USB sized internet media player that enables our currently cable-friendly television¬† to quickly become internet friendly (aka Smart TV). The price is great but what we have failed to observe is the fact that, until today, for most of us, our digital world was separated (rather disconnected) from television entertainment world.

For most users like me, we do digital stuff on tablet, phone, laptops and desktops (aka. connected digital world) while we watch our entertainment stuff on TV (aka. disconnected video world). So, a marketing organization or ad company could not connect together that I am a technology person and I like watching mystery/thriller TV serials.

With a gadget such as Google Chrome from search engine giant Google, you could be profiled (aka. tracked) because the device could, either today, or in future, connect our ‘connected digital world’ to ‘disconnected video world’ and make sense of who we are and what our interests are.

For example, based on my search practices and my keyword federations in my ‘connected digital world’, search engine system can already create a profile that I am a programmer/ technical person. Now, based on the ‘disconnected video world’, media companies can figure that I like mystery/ thriller stories.

However, now connecting that ‘connected digital world’ to ‘not-anymore-disconnected video world’, Search engine system can create a single profile that I am a programmer / technical person interested in mystery/thriller stories.

You might ask, what does this mean to an ad company or marketing organization? As one example suggests, this means, they (ad company or marketing org) could sell me a CGI-rich mystery /thriller movies from the time, the movie is being made to when it got into a Blu-ray format. Ok, I am not saying that by letting them figure, the world comes to an end. But it only makes my surrounding environment control me and what I am exposed to. Things around me would look tailored for me and ‘controlled’.

In other words, I am merely suggesting that using a search engine from one company is one thing, using a mediacenter (for lack of better definition) is another and I am suggesting that we should avoid mixing both of them.

Although I have simplified the explanation above, you might want to think about privacy and information security issues soon and they might seem to overlap as digital worlds cross over and your information  is threatened by privacy risk and your privacy is threatened by information exposure.

Hold on now! Does this mean, we should stay away from Google Chromecast? I am not! I bought one and I plan to diversify my behavior. Here are some of my thoughts. I will let you know my experience in the next few weeks if I am successful in achieving my goals.

a. Use different accounts to register on different devices as much as possible. For example, have 2 or more different youtube accounts. You can’t get away for Netflix accounts and see below how to avoid search engines from connecting these two.

b. Use duckduckgo search engine - this search engine claims that they do not track you

c. When it comes to buying on amazon or walmart or target or ebay, use firefox in private browsing mode

1. Enter your account name and password every time you want to log in as well as

2. key in credit card information every time you want to buy.

By doing 1. and 2. above in a private browsing mode, cookies are not set to tell the tracking system of the activities you are performing.

Is it worth all the trouble above? Maybe not and depends on how you feel about the environment around you could control you.

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