By accident I stombled across a post inside a forum about the upcoming Google Net, which will create enormous possibilities for Google to develop new services and gain control over their costs. The discussion may be old, but open my eyes to this new problem.
The development of new services by Google has been discussed several times, and especially the customization of them. In order for Google to customize the services you have to control and supervise the traffic between the client and server. This is nothing unique for Google, but they have a world leading position in this techonlogy. Especially Gmail have been discussed in terms of privacy, as Google scan both incoming and outgoing emails to be able to present the user with the right ads at the right time.
The problem is really not the scanning itself but that it can be misused. Hacking of the service is very unlike as the syetem by Google is very much robust, but the implications of a customized site for the user can/and to some extent will be filtered/censored. The users will loose their own possibility to have control of what they read and when. A fundamental right in a democratic society is thereby lost.
However, the user will benefit from the filtering as the content will be structured, filtered and explained in the "right" language, as all possible sources are used to create your story. The benefits are therefore enormous and thus the road to pick is to not obvious.
The Poynter Institute and Robin Sloan och Matt Thompson have created a Flash movie covering the problem described with filtered and user customized media content. Matt Thompson describes the background to the film.
See it! It changed my view of new technology!