Why I’m hopeful….

There has been more than enough reason to get a bit down recently about the internet and the way Governments have been taken over by corporations. Whether or not this is actually any different to years gone by would be open to discussion as, at least in the UK, deals were done behind closed doors for centuries that benefited the elite at the expense of the poor.
I have traveled quite a lot in my life and people, poor people, the world over know that the businessmen and politicians have their hands in each others pockets… there is generally a sort of resignation that this is how the world is.

Google+ has brought it’s blessings over the last few weeks and months in the form of a sort of awareness, almost a growth period, as people have woken up to the fact that putting all your eggs in the one ‘free’ basket is probably building a future problem, or at least an insecurity as people who ‘give’ us stuff will also take …and can just stop giving from one day to the next. Today’s ‘free’ service is tomorrows despot with dictatorial ambitions.

The great difference between, say, 100 years ago and now is Information. Information is power, and the more we are deprived of it, the less able we are to make informed decisions. Today, after weeks of plugging away at the whole Google+ Nymwars, the truth, or part of it has been made public. I refer to this quote from Botgirl’s post by Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman …

“G+ was build 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 . . . 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+ . . . The internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward. ”

That is, if you miss the point, Google+ is simply a way of getting your info so they can leverage it, i.e. make money…. and Botgirl, as usual, managed to convey that so clearly, more than 3 weeks ago….

New Google Interview: All Seeing. All Powerful. But Not Evil. from Botgirl Questi on Vimeo.

But, as bad as this is, especially if you are one of the frogs, there is hope.

I was musing about how all the smaller internet players were getting a boost by Google evil behaviour. Ixquick and DuckDuckGo are both on my homepage as search engines, GMX mail, a green electricity, encrypted and free mail service, Icelandic server 1984Hosting, NewsBlur (a reader) and a non-Google Translating service ImTranslator are all viable alternatives to the huge mega corps of Google, Yahoo and Facebook. All are worthy of our support.

..and, the worse the big boys behave, the more they will be sending people to these smaller sites.

The internet was developed and given away, free, to us by a few brilliant and idealistic people. The greedy may try and steal it away but there will always be service providers and coders who do care about privacy and altruism. I thought that maybe this point of view was a little idealistic and optimistic, maybe not worthy of a post until today when by complete ‘coincidence’ Botgirl retweeted this…

Somewhere, there are two kids in a garage building a company whose motto will be “Don’t be Google“. (/via Digwuren the Gray) #nymwars”

I realised I am not the only optimist …. those large dinosaurs didn’t survive, mice and men did.




Filed under Botgirl Questi, Digwuren the Gray, Facebook, Google+, identity, Internet, internet freedom, nyms

10 responses to “Why I’m hopeful….

  1. celestial elf

    great post and video message :D

  2. Juanita Deharo

    Aint it ironic that the most colourful and eyecatching little logo on yr new blog is ‘powered by Google’.
    I understand the angst and that there’s a need to protest, but using Google is not compulsory. Google provides something. They want something back. You decide to use it on their terms or you decide not to use it. There’s alternatives.
    As customers of Google (even you… still) we have the right and maybe the reponsibility to seek changes in the products, or to decide not to use the product at all, or to use only those bits that suit us. But calling Google ‘evil’ and suggesting it’s somehow infiltrating our world against our wills and without our knowledge seems a bit over the top to me. We LIKE what it gives us. It comes at a cost.
    Google is not a benevolent, sharing, charity, it’s a corporation that has to make money for its shareholders, and so it can continue to provide the services we want. If we don’t like what they’re giving us it’s up to us to tell em (Botgirl- you’re doing a GREAT job at this) and hope they will change.
    If you start to think about privacy, there’s more and more we could protest about every day – e.g.every time we put an image up on the web we also put embedded information about our camera, when the pic was taken etc. Our latest governement Census (Australia) asked for all sorts of identifying info. (names!) while protesting its purpose had nothing to do with collecting personal information and it would never be used or passed on. Why collect it then? Noone protested.
    So yay, keep up the good work letting Google know how they should change their product if they want to keep you as a customer, but if they decide you’re not worth as much as the millions who will gladly give them whatever they want in return for using the service, then yep, you’ll have to rely on those two guys in the garage somewhere.

  3. @juanita…:)) will do the RSS.

    Yes, it’s true what you say. Our census data is sold to anyone who pays for it. Google just wants real names… thats fine if you want to link all your info up. Just that it should be written ‘on the box’ like ingredients on packaged food. Then deciding to be a frog or not is down to the individual….. I personally feel it’s just the thin end of the wedge. That water could get pretty hot.

  4. … and the little dinosaurs became birds :)

  5. @ ahh, yes, Lalo, and free to fly….

  6. This is all Memory Lane to me – I remember when you’d be trying out 3-5 new apps a week, mostly shareware, which was an excellent concept. You’d sort through a dozen possibilities for browsers, news readers, instant messengers, calendering apps to find the ones that fit your individual style and taste. And know what? Most people paid for the ones they liked, really; even though many shareware versions were not time- or feature-locked.

    Yeah, it was like that. Maybe it can be like that again; we have to tackle the obscenity that is current copyright/patent law (and which I see working in parallel to the identity question for the goal of controlling the nets)

  7. @miso Yes, I did at first when I got a computer, the thing is … we maybe all got a bit complacent …. Google+ has changed that.

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