Opinion: Why do we trust big tech with location data, but not government?

The other day I went to a children’s community theater in Davis County to see my granddaughter perform in a play.

When I got home I noticed I had a notification on my Google Pixel phone that said: “How was Spotlight Children’s Theater? Help others know what to expect.” Google was asking me to rate the experience.

The tickets were given to me, so the only way my phone knew I was at the children’s theater was because Google was tracking where I drove and what establishments I entered.

It is common, of course, for Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc., to track what we’re doing, what we’re purchasing, how much we’re spending, what websites we’re visiting, and myriad other details of our lives, including personal information we post on social media. Whenever I do a search for a tool or some other product, advertisements about those products follow me around the Internet for several days.

And these gigantic technology companies aren’t tracking everywhere we go and every keystroke we make for the fun of it. They’re tracking us to get us to spend more, to sell us more of their goods and services, to put more information in front of us (some of it fake), and to entice us to do what they want us to do. They compile all the data, crunch it using algorithms and artificial intelligence, and deduce even more about us. Political organizations use massive big data to identify us and convince us how to vote.