Documentary: Google and Power

dauer

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Hi all.

I just saw this online documentary on google, power, and privacy. It seems a little scary to me how much data they hold. The video's really short:

http://masterplanthemovie.com/

What do you think of it? I'm not sure if it's really google's intention to acquire a lot of power, but I do think collecting that much data will inevitably lead those looking for it to them.

Dauer
 
Interesting. I had no idea. I thought Google was a kind of champion of freedom of information, a benign operation created by independent minds and still run in that spirit. Ah, my naivity may strike again! Huh.

Apparently they have been raising eyebrows and questions since at least 2003. Here's some more info I found from Google Watch:


It's not that we believe Google is evil. What we believe is that Google, Inc. is at a fork in the road, and they have some big decisions to make. This Google Watch site is trying to articulate and publicize the situation at Google, and encourage more scrutiny of their operations. By doing this, we hope to play a small part in maintaining the web as an information tool that is more useful for the masses, than it is for the elites.
That's why we and over 500 others nominated Google for a Big Brother award in 2003. The nine points we raised in connection with this nomination necessarily focused on privacy issues:

1. Google's immortal cookie:
Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."

3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

4. Google won't say why they need this data:
Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

5. Google hires spooks:
Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.

6. Google's toolbar is spyware:
With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version. But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive security risk.

7. Google's cache copy is illegal:
Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters, not "opt-out."

8. Google is not your friend:
By now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to most websites. Webmasters cannot avoid seeking Google's approval these days, assuming they want to increase traffic to their site. If they try to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, they may find themselves penalized by Google, and their traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time Google doesn't even answer email from webmasters.

9. Google is a privacy time bomb:
With 200 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already achieved.
 
My day job involves having to work with search engines everyday, and I can assure you Google is trying to collect as much data as possible about people, their habits, interests, and preferences.

Google didn't offer free email as a cute gesture - they did so because it offered a huge amount of free data for processing.

To be fair, Microsoft and Yahoo have also been trying to do the same, but because Google is such a dominant power in the internet field - and also the most capable of the big ISPs, I think it's definitely something to worry about, and that the whole privacy issue is really going to blow up in their faces.

Actually, Google already noted something similar in either their last or before last report to shareholders, with a comment about Google's privacy policies probably as not compatible with many national laws.

Bottom line is that Google made it their mission statement to "organise the world's information", and they are making very sure they collect and process as much as possible.
 
1. Google's immortal cookie:
Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."

3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

4. Google won't say why they need this data:
Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

5. Google hires spooks:
Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.

6. Google's toolbar is spyware:
With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version. But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive security risk.

7. Google's cache copy is illegal:
Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters, not "opt-out."

8. Google is not your friend:
By now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to most websites. Webmasters cannot avoid seeking Google's approval these days, assuming they want to increase traffic to their site. If they try to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, they may find themselves penalized by Google, and their traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time Google doesn't even answer email from webmasters.

9. Google is a privacy time bomb:
With 200 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already achieved.


1. Cookies are not permenant... Delete it ;)

2. Use a Shell/Proxy.... Bounce off some other persons IP

3. Again, Use a shell/Proxy.... Or again IP bounce... Or simply use fake information... There is no truth in the information my computer holds aboot me....

4. Ok...

5. That's their business ;/ Trunky want a bun? :p

6. Toolbars are for dweebs...

7. It is very easy not to come up on Google... But then again, why wouldn't you want to be on Google? It is free advertisment if you can get on it, surley you want people to visit your site...

8. *kisses his stocks* Gotta love it... Oh it be my friend, it be my friend long time.

9. Who cares ;/

I think you people are looking waaaay too much into this google thing... Besides everyone knows it is Tesco *bows his head humbly* that shall control the world.
 
1. Cookies are not permenant... Delete it ;)

2. Use a Shell/Proxy.... Bounce off some other persons IP

3. Again, Use a shell/Proxy.... Or again IP bounce... Or simply use fake information... There is no truth in the information my computer holds aboot me....

4. Ok...

5. That's their business ;/ Trunky want a bun? :p

6. Toolbars are for dweebs...

7. It is very easy not to come up on Google... But then again, why wouldn't you want to be on Google? It is free advertisment if you can get on it, surley you want people to visit your site...

8. *kisses his stocks* Gotta love it... Oh it be my friend, it be my friend long time.

9. Who cares ;/

I think you people are looking waaaay too much into this google thing... Besides everyone knows it is Tesco *bows his head humbly* that shall control the world.

I think it extremely worrying. Look here for links to the 'usual suspects' in corporate/governmental machine that are tied in with Google:
Google as Big Brother
 
I must be acting dumb, because I don't see the problem..... ?

You want a search engine that is accurate, fast and can get you what you want.... The only way for that to happen is by what Google is doing.... I don't understand.

If you are worried about your personal information then just edit it, or mask yourself.... It isn't that hard to get under the radar.

And if they do get your information what then? Are they going to fry your brain? Or take your body over and control you and raise an army! Fear the google force! ;/

There are many people out there... Right this second in time that are capable of gathering any information that you have allowed your computer to know about you..... It isn't anything new...
 
I must be acting dumb, because I don't see the problem..... ?

You want a search engine that is accurate, fast and can get you what you want.... The only way for that to happen is by what Google is doing.... I don't understand.

If you are worried about your personal information then just edit it, or mask yourself.... It isn't that hard to get under the radar.

And if they do get your information what then? Are they going to fry your brain? Or take your body over and control you and raise an army! Fear the google force! ;/

There are many people out there... Right this second in time that are capable of gathering any information that you have allowed your computer to know about you..... It isn't anything new...


I concur. (Wait. Did I just agree with Angel on something? The end is nigh!)

I think most of the personal information that people put on the Internet is going to be common information that anyone with access to a mailing list is going to get anyway. It's not like they are getting your deepest dark secrets that could set you up for blackmail, unless you are foolish enough to plaster it out there. You just have to be discerning about the places you surf.
 
Well you may think that the gathering and storing of everything an individual does online to be benign but I cant agree. Not all of what people do online is or should be public domain and they most certainly should not have all their personal emails copied into the data vaults of some untouchable corporate machine.

Perhaps you are clever enough to use proxy IP's and know how to remove these tracking cookies. But not all of us do. Privacy should be a basic standard and require a court order to break. It may not worry you now but I see it as yet another aspect of this pervasive need of the corporations to control every aspects of our lives. Why would Google through aquisition of other companies be seeking to get the DNA profiles of everyone? Why do they foster the idea the company was founded and owned by a couple of Stanford geeks, (oh arn't they shining examples of free-market entrepreneurs), when really Stanford is a part of the US corporate machine and google was funded from the outset by the same? Sorry but it stinks and I dont want these faceless people, who would have us as sheep or androids in their insatiable thirst for power and wealth, knowing or storing any of my personal information.
 
personally, I have nothing to hide... if they want to collect information on me then I am happy for them to do it as long as they do not give that information to other ppl without my express permission... this info gathering buisness happens everywhere:

tesco online, for instance, remembers every product you buy, and they use the info for direct marketing purposes... direct marketing has been around for a long time, and will be around for as long as there are things to buy...

you might get home shopping survey forms through your door, offering you entry into a prize draw if you let ppl know about your consumer preferences... they collect this information and then sell it to others so that companies can increase their profits by contacting ppl who they feel will want their buisness...

the google motto: "don't be evil"... if you are trying to purchase guns, bomb making equipment, participate in kiddie sex rings, swapping pictures of rape and incest, and google finds you, and alerts the authorities... well done google...

does Google really worry about our privacy?

-is it Googles responsibility to do so?

as 17th points out, if you have something to hide online then it's better for you to first find out how to cover your tracks... if you are not that clever, all the better, as then you may be caught if you're up to something really naughty...

and well, if you're not up to anything naughty, what do you have to worry about? a few fart jokes and "House Of Gord" saved to your favourites...

it's hardly a capital offence, is it?
 
Well Francis the reason I object to it is that I see its potential as the thin end of a very long wedge. Part of a totalatarian control where all dissent will be neutralised and the masses reduced to compliance in order to live within society. I believe it is the masses who should decide the governence of society and not a few faceless corporate heads. Right now we still have the semblence of some degree of personal freedom of thought, action, employment etc. Tho much of it is illusionary. But how long will it be before all this collected information will be used to freeze out the free thinking, those that question, those that have certain genetic traits ?

Investigative police departments of course should have the remit to use whatever they can to identify and aprehend criminals. But this should require a court order when it comes down to a suspected 'individual'. The recognition software used by the search engines is of enormous value to investigative policing and I hope they do use it whenever they can. But personal information should not become the property of unnacountable companies for whatever reason. I dont want to be targeted for direct marketing, I dont want my family history of illness to bear upon my insurance quotes, or my political thought deny me a job in the local council department. This is what its about. Should the people decide who has control over society... or corporations.?

TE
 
yay! at last, a revolution to be part of ! count me in, 17th!

oh, hang on though... what will I do then when I need to google..?

erm... sorry 17th... have to change me mind... I'll have to put my revolution jumpsuit bk in the wardrobe...

yes, I can see where ur coming from, tau, but I am not part of the "all large scale organisations shall become our enemies" brigade ... why do we always assume the worst? loyalty cards and bonus points... it's a nod to socialism, innit? these big companies are beginning to care... they have to, due to the Social Corporate Responsibility Index..lol... of course, I'm being facietious...

online, in forums such as this, I can find out so much about ppl... I can even find out where most ppl live, and stalk them, should I want to... I am far more worried about lone cyberstalkers invading my real life space or ppl taking rude pictures of my pussycats than I am of Google knowing what I speak to my friends in email about and Tesco holding records which show I buy budget toilet paper...
 
I am far more worried about lone cyberstalkers invading my real life space or ppl taking rude pictures of my pussycats than I am of Google knowing what I speak to my friends in email about and Tesco holding records which show I buy budget toilet paper...

You buy budget toilet paper??!! Ahhhh-hahahahahahaha!!! :p :p :D :D :p :D Sucker!!!

Erm.
So do I.
:(
 
Without being too graphic ...

oooooooohhhhhh smelly fingers.... yuk:eek:
 
Francis my stress is not on now but what can happen,(and I think ineveitably now will happen), when you give someone some organisation such power. It will come to pass... mark my words!! (Yay at last I made a prophet... watch out world here I come!!!!) :p
 
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