The PBS Frontline series “The United States of Secrets” provides a lesson that horror filmmakers should take to heart. No horror film produced in recent memory in Hollywood contains any scene as terrifying as what was shown on televisions tuned into to PBS when this episode of Frontline aired. Perhaps most terrifying of all was the revelation that choosing Google as your primary search engine on the internet is almost equitable to handing over your computer–indeed, your very life–to the people in charge of this Silicon Valley giant. Just a casual bit of research–conducted with searches not utilizing Google’s engine–reveals that it’s not just been the whole NSA debacle that has tied Google to some of the most extreme violations of privacy in American history.
Street View Mapping
Although Google made every effort possible during Frontline’s “The United States of Secrets” episode to implicate NSA coercion as the reason behind its weak-kneed willingness to comply with NSA letters unconstitutionally and illegally requesting information on Google users (it would take Calyx founder Nicholas Merrill to finally have the testicles lacked by those in charge at the world dominating company known as Google), the fact is that Google has hardly needed to be shoved by the Big Bad Government into violating privacy. Google Street View is that program that was 360-degree images of cities in America from street level. But for some reason still not adequately explained, Google somehow managed to confuse taking pictures of people’s houses without their permission with gathering passwords, emails and various sundry other private information from the computers via wireless networks . And by private wireless networks what is really meant is home Wi-Fi networks complete with supposedly secure passwords.
Google Adsense Violates Canadian Privacy Laws
What would be your reaction if you were sitting in a hospital room while a loved one was being treated for, say, a particularly severe case of food poisoning resulting from an ill-advised visit to a sushi bar, and as you are sitting there watching television in the hospital room you start to notice that it seems as if every commercial break features advertisements that are in some way related to food poisoning. At first, it just seems like mere coincidence: commercials for restaurants that serve food that requires high temperature preparation; steakhouses, Mexican food restaurants, KFC and not a single advertisement for Asian food. You start to get a little suspicious when there seems to be a much greater than normal abundance of public service announcements on the issue of proper food preparation. When the local news has a segment about the rising health hazards of eating at sushi restaurants, you realize something very odd is definitely taking place. That suspicion is confirmed when you peer across the hall and see that that the TV over there is tuned into the same station showing the same program, but the commercials that air during the breaks are completely different: they are all related to issues surrounding heart attacks. You might get a little upset at the intrusion into your privacy that someone somewhere in the hospital conducted in order to target TV commercials directly to your loved one’s painful illness. And yet that is essentially what Google was doing with its targeted Adsense ads according to Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Google users there started noticing that ads were being targeted to them based on medical disorders, ailments and health conditions that are certainly not Google or anyone else’s business.
Google Violating Privacy Rules in Spain…And It’s Nobody’s Business But Theirs
The Spanish government, apparently unaware of just how much money Google makes (not that they can be blamed, since nobody is allowed to know just how much money Google makes) levied a 1.23m dollar fine against Google for breaking that country’s laws protecting residents against insidious data mining. The data protection laws that Spain accused Google of violating had to do with the collection of incalculable bits of information gathered not only illegally, but without even the slightest bit deceptive reasoning or explanations as to why such information would be gathered in the first place. Another case of Google not just collecting information on you it has no right collecting, but considering your concerns about privacy so silly that no justification should even be expected.
Google Violating Privacy Laws of the Dutch…And it’s None of Their Stinking Business
Except for the amount of the fine, you could essentially replace the above paragraph here with the only change being the replacement of Spain. What is especially interesting is the way that Jacob Kohnstamm , Chairman of the College for the Protection of Personal Data and the head regulatory official there explained how Google goes about violating the privacy rights of Dutch citizens. Basically, there are three kinds of computer users whose privacy is regularly and consistently violated by Google: those with Google e-mail accounts, those who use Google’s search and, well, everybody else who uses the internet. Yeah, the Dutch regulator-in-chief perfectly encapsulated what is really at the heart of the reasons why Google may well be the most dangerous company on the planet and at least as dangerous as the NSA.
Creepy Uncle Google
Spain. The Netherlands. Zimbabwe. The United States of America. If Google does it somewhere else, you can be sure Google does it here. It’s one thing to use a company’s services that you know are violating your privacy. If you don’t want to be violated, you simply stop using that company. But when it comes to Google, even if you never use a single service that is owned by Google, you are still pretty much guaranteed to have your privacy violated by the company. Because Google is in league with all those companies that desire the massive amount of personal information Google has collected about you for the purpose of selling you crap. So even if you purposely set out to never use a Google product–which is an absolutely essential step to take if you want to start on the path toward removing creepy Uncle Google from your house–you are still very likely to find creepy Uncle Google following you when you go shopping at pretty much any big name store you can think of.