Google is not your friend...

Aug 30 2011 Published by under Evil

Sure they are a great search engine and free email service, but they are not the Mother Teresa of technology that they portray themselves to be. "Don't be evil" my ass. Google is a corporation that looks out for the bottom line and their latest product Google+ is doing that. The product was designed to compete with the social media giant Facebook, in their hopes surpass it. Sadly I don't think that is the case since FB has a huge membership and thus it gives people traction to stay there. But back to the Google+ brouhaha, many of the science bloggers that initially signed up for this service found our accounts being suspended for Google's real name policy. Why not allow people to protect their identity? What is so sinister as to protecting activists and those who may become targets of harassment?

Easy, Google is in the "identity service" business. Andy Carvin of NPR interviewed Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and came away with this...

"He replied by saying that G+ was build (sic) primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information," Carvin explained in a posting to Google+."

Carvin found Schmidt's take on the protection of identity to be...

"Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It's obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn't use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government's own policies, which implies (to me, at least) that Schmidt thinks there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms."

The end game is that Google is trying to win an identity war against FB, you my friend are not a valued user, you are just a mere tick mark on the body count that Google is racking up.  Note I find value in some of Google's products, having and will continue to use them but I'm ready for the shoe to drop at any moment with their stuff.  Know thy enemy, but why not use their stuff since its free.

16 responses so far

  • Ed says:

    I know. They demand your cell phone number now when you try to get a gmail account too, with some weak excuses when the real reason is that they want more info about you to correlate, mine and sell. I'm sure they do this sort of thing in plenty of other places too...

    But the good news is that you are not the first person to notice this, and data privacy advocates have it pretty well figured out: what we need is legislation that gives ownership of data to the individual that the information is *about* not whoever collects it. Yes there would be a lot of complicated fallout but it shakes out, it will not prevent any legitimate data related business activities really. Basically it will make data sharing opt-in, and secondly it will prevent our info from being sold, aggregated, mined, correlated with data from a million other sources, and resold.

    If you think the info that Google has about people is a problem, you should realize that they sell information to data brokers. Then it gets sold to others who correlate it with even more data from Yahoo, FB, you name it, and make even more complete and personally identifying databases on you. Ad nauseum.

    Secondly it will always be out there, even if say google or facebook had (and followed) a decent privacy policy they don't have to in the future. That's basically a contract between you and them. When it expires/is broken they still own the data and can do whatever they want with it a couple years later, not really legally constrained by the policy (much). Right now, when your data is out, it's out of your hands, period.

    • Genomic Repairman says:

      You are right about the data agreements Ed. I posted this because many people I know think Google is this righteous company that will only do good. Meanwhile they don't even seem to recognize that their foot has already been ensnared in the bear trap and good luck if they ever try to get out of it.

  • marc says:

    Right now, when your data is out, it's out of your hands, period.

    Seems like the best strategy isn't what about you use or don't use, but how much info you willing put out there. Regardless of privacy settings I never put information like my phone number on FB or G+. I've been trying to keep my google services separate, but Google seems to have turned a corner and is now trying to not only get real names only, but force people to link everything up.

  • Grant Mann says:

    Fight the Power! Fight the Powers that Be!!

  • EQ says:

    Been seeing this story around, but have yet to see the actual recording and/transcript. Yes Google is a corporation out to make money, but there seems to be a recent trend of people swearing up and down that they're selling people's privacy away left and right with little to back it up but statements about the amount of data they have on their users.

    They sell website ads. The only data I see them practically caring about are broad generalizable concepts that help them target broad website ads.

    • Genomic Repairman says:

      EQ, agree that much rumor and conjecture has been thrown around on the selling of information. But Google espouses that they sell ads in a way that is friendly to the privacy of the user. Yet you can see from Schmidt's stance (purported by Andy Carvin), they really don't care about user privacy.

      I'm just saying watch what you let Google have access to and don't always expect them to do the right thing.

  • Matt McClure says:

    So what's Google's answer to what happens when someone legally changes their name (marriage, divorce, just because). Or someone is better known in the real world by their nickname than their given name , like oh lets say Bill Clinton vs William Clinton.

    • Genomic Repairman says:

      Matt, Google+ allows you to modify your name but what has been happening is the moderators have been spotting the accounts of pseudonyms and clamping down. As far as name change or running with your nickname, I think Google could care less.

      Until of course when babies are born and we give them a birth certificate, SSN, and Google+/Facebook ID 🙂

  • Zuska says:

    I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone wants to sign up for G+, that is, if they care about the right of people to be pseudonymous. Why don't we just all boycott that mess? Because, at the end of the day, do you really need another social network site? Seriously?

  • Vicki says:

    I was hoping it would be someplace where I could keep up with friends who find actual multiparagraph blogging to be more than they want to deal with. A lot of people seem to find brevity to be, if not the soul of wit, what they can cope with. Also, the thing about social networking is that it depends on who's there, and a bunch of people I would like to hang out with seemed to be heading over there. Of course, what they're mostly doing, other than talking about the site itself, is posting pictures of their kids, which isn't quite what I'm looking for. Talk to the kid, yes, I like her; a random photo of her at the zoo doesn't do it for me.

  • Mike says:

    Thank you Ed!

    I hope everyone will be patient with me just for a minute. I would just need to get this off my chest, as it were.

    You said:
    "what we need is legislation that gives ownership of data to the individual that the information is *about* not whoever collects it. Yes there would be a lot of complicated fallout but it shakes out, it will not prevent any legitimate data related business activities really. "

    I couldn't possibly agree more! Please, kindly indulge me just for a moment as I get this off my chest.

    People like those at Google and elsewhere, who place the opportunity to make money, or anything else, ahead of respect for the dignity and natural rights of human individuals (not corporations), are not our friends.

    I have become very angry and exasperated of what I see as the relentless, often extremely aggressive, typically grossly disrespectful efforts routinely made by the likes of certain of those at Google and elsewhere to track and "harvest" us all for information, data, money or whatever, whether or not we all know it, or like it! And THEY are being treated as the owners of that information, sharing it with whomever they please?!

    That information (about me) DOES indeed BELONG to ME, not withstanding whether governments or others are yet decent enough to acknowledge the simple fact. I maintain, and I hope you will agree, that it has always been a fact, which when ignored or trampled upon represents a gross violation! The question, "what is your need to know", should ALWAYS belong to *ME* (the individual human/non-corporation person), and if I didn't give the information or permission to posses it, no one should have it! Nor should that information be allowed to persist or be shared except as each of us individually shall have explicitly agreed. That right of permission IS and should always REMAIN the individual human/non-corporation individual's to revoke at will! This should be seen as perfectly reasonable when we consider that the violators themselves typically wish to retain the "right" to unilaterally change/abrogate any agreement they make with us at will! Let us have such a right as well, with an equal lack of encumbrance.

    No less importantly, however, I don't think any BUSINESS entity whatsoever should ever have any say of any kind regarding the recognition or extent of individual, non-corporation, human rights, directly or indirectly, by contract or otherwise. Nor should a business entity ever be allowed to compete with the rights of the human person in any way therein. I find it outrageous and unacceptable to be offered some ridiculous "opt-out" web site in lieu of the proper recognition of my natural right. In practice, these people, using the same technology they were abusing when we showed up, under the pretense of gracing us with the opportunity to "opt-out", can then still backhandedly continue the odious behavior we just "opted-out" of!

    Fake respect is no respect at all.

    I guess it has become a real hot button issue to me, and I know I'm not alone. Not by a long shot!

    P.S. - A corporation is NOT a person in ANY sense under ANY circumstances! This is a disgusting, threatening affront to the human person! Those who say corporations are people, are owned by them one way or another, and are most certainly not our friends!

    Thanks for listening.

  • Vanessa says:

    What is scarier than Google? People who continue after all these years of watching Google and other companies in action, express their love and faithfulness to them as if they're God. Even God gave us a book telling us exactly what's going on and he didn't have to, after all --He's God. Yet Google believes they are above the law, above the people they pretend to serve and pretty much even gives God the finger.

    Years ago when I first read Google's succinct little mission statement, I couldn't get it out of my head that they were publicly stating they intended to control the world's information and make it universally accessible and few seemed to have a problem with that, then or now.

    Is it really a new thing, that if you want to control people, you just make them completely dependent on you? That is exactly where Google is headed. They are like a science fiction movie with no ending to the script. The good news is, they are not God and though Google has attained the status of a little god among men, they ignore that evil is eventually sorted and justice for such acts against people who do not have the power to defend themselves against such powerful forces, will come, though it appear slow.

    Google and these other companies are lined up to store away and control personal information, using facial recognition and location devices for reasons that are becoming more clear everyday as we watch more and more news reports about things once believed to be just conspiracy theory and laughable.

    Considering all this it would be a very good question to ask: Who does Google work for? Because truly their operations are just not your average, run of the mill business

    Thanks for bringing the subject up and allowing me to get this off my chest.

  • chatterb0t says:

    so you know what to do stop using their services.

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