Uber…The New Big Brother

Big Brother is Watching

The internet has been abuzz for a while now with concerns that our government is violating our privacy, using information on social media sites to determine what exactly what we do with our time; what information we find interesting, or where we like to spend our money. This “Big Brother” paranoia is probably well-founded. Clandestine government agencies have been slinking around behind-the-scenes for years gathering info on “pinkos, commies, and subversives” and we Americans are finding it harder and harder to accept that – in a country built on the concept of freedom – we may not be as “free” as we once thought. We relish our privacy, and as proof there are still an amazing number of Americans (estimated at around 15%) that refuse to use the internet at all that Big Brother might uncover their deepest, darkest secrets.

Do You Know Who Big Brother IS?

So, we are protective of our personal data. That’s an easy statement to make. No one is their right mind would post their social security number on their Facebook page, or have all of their internet passwords tattooed down their arm. However, while we worry that our government might be spying on us; many Americans don’t realize that information gathering isn’t limited to the cyber-spies in Washington. If you have ever bought something online, chances are you are now part of a list. You have to know who Big Brother is, and he is everywhere. Have you ever wondered how links to some of your favorite sites show up randomly in the margins of other searches? Weird coincidence? Don’t bet on it.

Did You Call For A GOOGLE-Limo?

Last year, Google dumped more than a quarter of a billion (that’s right folks…BILLION) dollars into the on-demand limo application called Uber.

billions

Uber is not a limo service. It is an app that matches you up with some random guy driving a car near your location. We can spend time explaining the downside of Uber, but the point of this post is privacy; not safety, and an investment of this size by a company like Google begs the question…”Why would Google want to get into the limo business?” Well, don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Google doesn’t want to be in the limo business. They ARE in the information business though, which may explain why their venture marketing arm – Google Ventures – decided to go long with Uber instead of buying a small country. A client of a limo service in Chicago or New York may not realize what’s happening behind the scenes when the use Uber, but they are feeding info into the real Big Brother.

How Will This Affect ME?

It’s funny…while most people have opinions as to what horrific things the government will do with your personal info, the same people have a more whitewashed idea of what a corporation will do with it. But don’t be fooled into minimizing the power that Google is building. At some point, you will be affected. At the moment, the only people feeling pressure from Google’s intrusion are taxi companies and limousine services, but trucking, rail, just about all aspects of transportation may be impacted. Hospitality seems to be on their radar as well, with an Uber Travel blurb hitting the media earlier this week.

As this wave of Uber “market agitation” grows, so will its reach into your daily life. Maybe you’re good with it, and if you are…you no longer have a reason to worry about the government tracking your life.

Until Uber buys Washington.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.