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Google: Brace yourselves for the data explosion

Google CEO Eric Schmidt had some scary things to say about privacy, reports PC World. In a nutshell, he said there’s an almost incomprehensible amount of data out there about all of us–much of which we’ve generated ourselves via social networks, blogs, and so on–and we are totally unprepared to deal with the implications of that fact. Schmidt was speaking at the Techonomy confab, currently underway at California’s Lake Tahoe, where large-brained people gather to talk about how technology and the economy intersect. Schmidt wasn’t really trying to draw disaster scenarios. He noted that a lot of positive benefits can come from the information explosion, and he’s right. Personally, if not for the internet, I might be in another line of work. I’d almost certainly live in another city. Being able to access vast amounts of data without lifting my butt from this ergonomic chair has transformed my life in dozens of ways, as I’m sure it has transformed others’. Of course, Google is in the business of monetizing that data, for which it seems to possess an insatiable appetite. And sometimes it screws up big time. Schmidt didn’t really talk about that. The good side of all this data: instant information about virtually anything. The dark side? Vast potential for personal profiling by your employer, your insurer, and The Man…

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