In Google We Trust

How major internet companies and governments follow our every online movements and can access all of our passwords, personal information and even our credit cards.

In Google We Trust Every hour of every day, our digital interactions are being recorded and logged. We live in the age of 'big data', where the seemingly mundane information of our everyday existence has enormous value. With the help of expert data trackers, this revealing doc offers a comprehensive look at how governments and large companies keep tabs on us. It follows the information trail of an ordinary Australian family on a typical day, asking where does it end? What are the consequences? And more importantly, who's looking at our data?

"We can say we value privacy, but everyday online and in the real world we're being watched." As 12-year-old Christina Pappas leaves for school, her data has already traveled to America, The Netherlands and beyond. Tracking websites are following her unseen from the Internet shadows. "What would you do if people you didn't know were following her around like that in the real world?" "I'd go crazy", her father replies.

Everyday the world's largest companies, who have millions of users, readily sweep up our data, but on the flip side are also consistently reluctant to reveal what it is they do with it. Credit card details, passwords and home addresses are harvested without our consent. The clarion call that, "Democratic norms must be updated and brought into the digital age" rings out, but our rights are the only thing not being updated.

"When we talk about free online, unfortunately you have become the product". Says Alastair MacGibbon from the Centre for Internet Safety, explaining how companies may offer services for free, but make money from selling our data. But we are not just the target of online marketers. Government agencies also secretly monitoring our digital travels. As Alexi Pappas says after he sees how the online trackers can pick up the minutest bits of information on you, "There's no escape really".


The Producers

Geoff Thompson was appointed the ABC’s Indonesia Correspondent in April 2006 and is based in Jakarta. It is his third foreign posting for the ABC. From 2002 to 2005 Geoff was the South Asia correspondent covering India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan from the ABC's regional bureau in New Delhi. In addition to his work in South Asia, he also played a key role in Middle East coverage, travelling throughout Kuwait and Iraq with US forces during the war in Iraq in early 2003. Geoff’s reporting of the American war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan won him an Australian Logie award for Australia's Most Outstanding News Reporter. The ABC's Afghanistan coverage also won the 2002 Logie for Most Outstanding News Coverage. In 2003, Geoff's embedded reporting from Iraq with cameraman Michael Cox was also recognised with another Logie award for Most Outstanding News Coverage. He is also the winner of three Walkley Awards, two for ABC Radio and the other for ABC TV. Before his posting to New Delhi, Geoff was the ABC's South-East Asia correspondent based in Bangkok. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree with studies in South-East Asian history. Geoff Thompson began reporting for Four Corners in 2011.

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