"When Google first started, it said it would only use that information internally, to get a sense of the things you like and talk about," he said. "All that information used to be gathered in a way where you explicitly gave permission, through things like surveys. But Google can easily poke around without seeking permission, and they don't explain to you how they know what they know."
2. Social networking
It's getting increasingly harder NOT to find someone on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or all of the above. Then there's Myspace and a lot of lesser-known social networking sites. If you use these programs -- and you probably do -- chances are pretty good that you give up a lot of your privacy every day, willingly and even happily. Security experts have spent a lot of time ringing the alarm bell over this lately, because bad people can easily take the personal tidbits you post and use it against you, for everything from marketing to blackmail.
"Privacy is evaporating because Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and blogs are raising a generation of kids and adults who have no concept of privacy or the ability to truly understand that nothing digital is ever forgotten or destroyed," said Raj Goel, owner of security compliance consultancy Brainlink International Inc. "Ten years from now, kids will be Googling their mommy's spring break pictures and their daddy's Facebook profile, if they don't do so already."
3. RFID tags and loyalty cards
In this fast-paced world, people use special transponders to blow through highway toll stations without stopping and pay for gas without having to swipe a credit card. Then there are those cards you present at the grocery store for discounts. All have technology that can be used to track your movements and habits, right down to the time of day you typically go through a toll plaza each morning on the drive to work.
"Let's add RFID chips, the Real ID Act and the PASS Act to the list as well. How about chips in passports? We're lulled into a false sense of security and people aren't realizing that they are simply giving those rights to privacy away," said Julie Davis Friend, president of Gemstone Partners, a firm that advises organizations on issues surrounding identity theft and new legal requirements."
4. The Patriot Act