Tag Archives: Google Is Not Your Friend

Consumer Watchdog Takes On Google Before The US Congress

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Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, may hold more than a few unsavory views when it come to your privacy – but, he hardly lacks the courage to make them known. His self serving statements are made unafraid, unambiguous, upfront, and in your face.

Despite the fact that Schmidt’s views, and Google’s stated corporate philosophy, oppress the basic human right to be “left alone”, there’s no effort made to hide the megalomaniac drive to strip consumers of any semblance of privacy. The thinking pattern seems to be – you don’t like the new reality – then tough – what are you going to do about it?

Schmidt and Google aren’t calling your bluff – to this point, it appears that you aren’t prepared to do anything about it. It’s little wonder that Schmidt has fearlessly gone on the record with the following statements, justifying Google’s attempt to re-imagine the world (including raping the publics right to privacy), for commercial gain.

 “I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”

“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

“Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

“We (Google) know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”

Nice, huh?

Given the unprecedented ability Google has to collect endless streams of data, and correlate that data (much of that ability jealously guarded), I have no doubt, that Schmidt’s bizarre views (from where I sit), are well founded.

Google has set the bar when it comes to Web tracking, and while they effectively control this market, it would be a mistake to assume that they’re the only fly in the ointment. For instance, while reading my local newspaper, I have to agree to being tracked by eleven trackers (not all of then Google) – as illustrated in the following screen capture. Otherwise, selected parts of the page will not respond – reader comments (which I enjoy), for example.

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I admit, I’m in the minority in recognizing the truth, in that occasionally seen bumper sticker – “Google Is Not Your Friend”. But, I’m far from being alone.

Consumer Watchdog’s, Inside Google, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, ….. to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives”, will appear before the US Congress this week as part of a continuing effort to convince legislators to enact “Do Not Track” legislation, regulating how Google, and others, gather, store, and retrieve information about consumers.

Attempts to rein in Google are not without precedent – in a semi-serious attempt to curtail Google’s privacy encroachments – the privacy watchdogs of 10 countries (including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy), censured the company (less than a year ago) for showing a “disappointing disregard” for safeguarding the private information of its users. Expressing “disappointment” in corrosive and creepy business practices is one thing, but getting off their fat asses to take corrective action would have been more appropriate.

Consumer Watchdog, as part of its continuing campaign to hold Google accountable, has just released the third short video in its though provoking “Don’t Be Evil” series, in which “Google Is Not Your Friend”, takes on new meaning.

To view the video just click on the graphic.

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While the fight to rein in Google might seem unwinnable, those of us who believe that the right to privacy is a “natural right”, and should be recognized as such, realize that pushing back against Google and other privacy predators, who continuously advance the “creep factor”, is an obligation that must be taken seriously.

If you believe that your online privacy is worth fighting for, then join with the “good guys” and become proactive in the campaign to manacle the Google octopus. Visit Consumer Watchdog and sign in, so that your views can have the impact they deserve to have.

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Filed under Google, Opinion, Point of View, Privacy

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt Stars In “Don’t Be Evil” Video

image According to one regular reader here, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is “a dangerous fool”. Another reader expressed a similar view (albeit, in slightly stronger words), when he wrote “Google are bast**ds. And so is anyone else who keeps information on people ….. they don’t have the right, or our permission.”

Unusual points of view do you think? Or, are these two views more broadly held than either Google, or Schmidt, are prepared to acknowledge?

Listening to Schmidt pontificate on the privacy issue in the last year or so, you would be forgiven if you believed the fight against Google’s virtually raping of the public’s privacy, for commercial gain, is all over – except perhaps for the crying.

Quotable quotes from Schmidt in the last year include:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

“We (Google) know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”

“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”

He managed to top these inflammatory bits of Google wisdom recently however, when he suggested  – children could be entitled to change their names when they got older, if they want to escape their youthful indiscretions, and disassociate themselves from their one-time online lives.

Given the unprecedented ability Google has to collect endless streams of data, and correlate that data (much of that ability jealously guarded), I have no doubt, that Schmidt’s seemingly bizarre view, is well founded.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist in any sense, but I do believe that the very structure of Google constitutes an attack on a basic human right – the right to be “left alone”.

I admit, I’m in the minority in recognizing the truth, in that occasionally seen bumper sticker – “Google Is Not Your Friend”. But, I’m far from being alone.

Consumer Watchdog’s, Inside Google, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, ….. to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives”, has crafted a short though provoking video – “Don’t Be Evil?”, in which “Google Is Not Your Friend”, takes on new meaning.

To view the video on YouTube, just click on the graphic.

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As well, the video is currently running 36 times a day in New York’s Times Square.

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While the fight to rein in Google might seem unwinnable, privacy advocates have not lost the battle yet. Earlier this year, Google was condemned by the privacy watchdogs of 10 countries (including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy), for showing a “disappointing disregard” for safeguarding the private information of its users.

If you believe that your privacy is worth fighting for, then join with the “good guys” and become proactive in the campaign to manacle the Google octopus.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Google, Interconnectivity, Personal Perspective, Point of View, Privacy, Surveillance, Video, Windows Tips and Tools