Google Alarm Wakes World Up to Privacy Issues

If you’ve spent any time on the web in the last few months, you’re aware that internet privacy is a hot topic right now. Facebook, of course, is consistently in the foreground of the debate, but Google, Yahoo and others are also facing the heat. But for all the time we spend talking about it, the concept of privacy remains abstract. That’s what’s so scary about it. We can’t see it, can’t pin it down–and when it comes to the internet, we usually don’t know that it’s been violated until after the fact. 

So what if you could know when your privacy was being threatened? What if you could know right as it was happening? 

Enter Google Alarm. It’s a new browser plug-in that makes a loud buzzing sound whenever users visit a site that relays information to Google. This includes outside websites–not just Google-related ones. 

The plug-in was created by Jamie Wilkinson, a technologist and Internet researcher unaffiliated with Google. His vision for the alarm is that it will take the confusion out of browsing privacy. “The collection of data through these tracking bugs that are installed all over the Web is normally a very silent experience,” he says. “My hope is to make it something more visceral, and raise awareness about the issue.” Mission accomplished. Despite how you feel about it, nothing gets a user’s attention like his or her computer making a sound like an air raid alert. 

Read more on the story here.

–Mo Hickey