Google now pays you to give up your privacy when surfing?

Ok, we all know I am critic of Google’s data collection practices, but now they are starting a new program called Screenwise where they actually bribe you to give up your privacy.  I am not kidding.

Under the guise of “making Google better”, they will now send you gift cards for installing a browser extension (only on Chrome, of course) and using it to surf the web. How much?  Up to $25 in amazon gift cards.  $5 when you sign up and $5 for every three months you participate.file-332815716

Or, if you really like having no privacy you can opt for – get this – a “Screenwise data collector” that you install on your home network that monitors all of your internet usage.  Yes, a little black box that phones home with reports on your internet activity.  If you are accepted into this program they send you the device, pay you $100 to get started and $20 per month.

If this doesn’t make you cringe already, keep in mind that this new program is launching the same day as their new privacy policy.  If you weren’t paying attention, this new policy lets Google look into a lot more than what you are searching for.

For instance, they can now share data between all of their services.  These include Youtube, Chrome, calendars, docs, gmail and blogger, not to mention everything you do on your android phone.  All of that data can be associated into a single profile of you, kept by Google, to provide them even more information to target you with ads.

If you opt in to Screenwise, they can now get their hands on everything else you do on the Internet.  Things they couldn’t track before, like your use of services like Facebook or Bing.  Not to mention how much you use the services and the Internet in general.  This will give them insights that they can use later to enter new markets or provide to “partners” that are authorized by the aforementioned privacy policy.

What do you think?   Am I just a privacy nut or do you think this program goes too far?

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.