Let me be clear, I've ranted for years about Google's invasions of privacy. Google has spied on our houses, mined our internet data, linked accounts we've never known we had, and eroded our privacy step by step. I've been quoted as saying Google is evil. I hate Google. Really.
Until the whole NSA data mining scandal broke and Google managed to walk above it all.
And frankly, I have a weakness in my argument.
I love Google Earth.
Really, I do.
I use it to scope out vacations before I take them. Today I took an skyview of the Wigwam Motel, a politically incorrect little collection of concrete cones on Route 66 where I hope to stay on a family vacation this summer just because we can. I used it last year to scope out Seoul. I use it to revisit Ganghwa (my most favorite spot in Korea) and Greece and other places I'd love to go back. I didn't finish with them, I want more.
I use it to snoop North Korea and parts of Africa and Russia and Europe and Israel and other places I would love to go, but for whatever reasons money or politics or religion, right now I can't.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not spending huge amounts of time on Google Earth, though the thought is tempting. I discovered recently that there's even a setting where you can look at some cities (Rome, Athens) with a historical view and see the reconstructed monuments. But its a great tool, when I'm reading about a place, to see what it looks like to walk those streets.
So I wonder, am I a hypocrite for loving Google Earth? Which value do I hold more dear, information or privacy? I'm honestly not sure. Or maybe like the peeping tom of the internet age, I value my privacy and your information... who wouldn't?
Maybe I should give up Google for Lent... or maybe I should give up hating Google for Lent... I guess I have three days to decide.