Does Google know when you go to the bathroom? If you walk to the grocery store? Where you go all day? In a word, Yes.
Under tense questioning, Google's CEO was interrogated by Congress last week about its political affiliations and surveillance integrity. One member asked Sundar Pichai, "If I move over here to the left, does Google know?" Pichai was notably nervous, giving an "It's complicated" answer.
But in point of fact, it's not complicated. Fox News did their own investigative experiment, taking two phones around the nation's capita by one news correspondent. One was connected to the internet (as most of our phones always are); the other was in airplane mode, not connected to the internet.
The results? Both phones transferred nearly the same amount of data to Google. Google knew where the news correspondent went, whether he was getting out of the car (called "on foot"), walking, or entering a specific building.
It's called "surveillance capitalism," where Google makes money by knowing as much information as possible about you so it can sell that information to advertisers. Most people don't know that when they opted in to using Google and affiliate apps, they are opting in to a user agreement that includes enormous amounts of surveillance.
Here, in a Facebook post, Franklin Graham outs the tech giant and asks people how they feel about being watched all of the time.
"Yes, your cell phone knows where you are!" announced Graham. "And tracking where you go and what you do is big business for some companies because they use and sell that information. Google’s CEO was recently grilled by Congress about how they treat this information and our privacy. This Fox News report is about the amazing amount of metadata your phone is constantly capturing about your activities. Do you mind being tracked by Google?"
Graham took the opportunity to remind us that we are being watched all of the time by a power much higher and greater than Google: "But remember, Google isn’t the only one watching you," wrote Graham. "God is. And He doesn’t need an app to keep up with exactly where you are. He’s God—He knows where you are 24/7. And He knows what you’re doing. He even knows your thoughts and the intentions of your heart. The Bible tells us, 'O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up, You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways' (Psalm 139:1-3)."
Pichai assured Congress that Google is very concerned about users' privacy and is not politically biased in any way (they have been recently accused of slanting search results about President Trump). But many are not so assured.
What do you think about being tracked all of the time? Share your thoughts in the comments! Thank you!