Google, Yahoo taking steps to combat government spying

Online security became an issue about five minutes after the internet was initially unleashed on the public. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But ever since surfing the web became a part of our everyday lives, protecting personal information has been a pretty sizable concern.

The biggest online malfeasance is typically identity theft. Last year, however, another problem reared its ugly head when former National Security Agency contractor Eric Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents to the media. Included in that top-secret information was the fact the NSA was able to tap into communications links to Google and Yahoo data centers across the globe. Not good. The last thing people want is for the government to go George Orwell on them and start monitoring their every move.

Since then, Google has increased its encryption technology to make it harder for the NSA to intercept email messages. Yahoo is also taking steps to beef up security this spring. Officials of those two companies are worried the threat of government spying could potentially drive down internet use.

These entities are clearly worried about losing profit in the form of ad sales as a result of taking these measures, but it’s still nice to know something is being done to keep the government from chipping away at our privacy.

I think to say that people will no longer go online to shop, email, pay bills or use social media seems a bit far-fetched, but the NSA security issue could easily have a lasting effect on internet advertising. And that perks up our ears here at Imaginuity.

Most people – willingly or passively – share lots of information with advertisers on the internet, allowing advertisers to target them more effectively. Think about all of the emails you get from companies that you actually patronize; my inbox is always full of them. Not to mention all of the personal information search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, acquire from what you search for on them. But if consumers become more reticent to share their info as a result of fear, we could have a problem on our hands. Say goodbye to truly effective SEO and analytics.

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