When I first saw references to “Google Does Evil” I have to say that I thought it was a bit sensationalist, obviously they brought it on themselves by using the line “do no evil’ as a motto, but evil? maybe that was an exaggeration…
My attitude has changed this week, however, with the default installation of Latitude on all Android phones combined with the demands for authorisation that Google is now implementing.
Miso Susanowa had an experience which many have had recently, namely, her blogs were closed down due to “suspicious activity”. Full details of her experience are documented on her blog.. here. Google wanted her phone number..There is a concerted attempt by Google to realise the idea that “anonymity should just go away”.
Latitude is a piece of software installed as part of a systems update. ‘Let your friends see where you are at any time’, and, obviously not advertised also stalkers and the FBI and all other agencies. It seems from one person’s account it isn’t that easy to turn off. Daniel Galernter posts he is in a battle to reclaim his mobile phone… here. The default setting in Google’s Bright New Future is that no-one hides anything, that privacy is an outdated concept.
The third post I read recently is the confirmation of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification agenda. Full details here. No state can opt out of this biometric data collection initiative and it is, of course, a billion dollar business for Lockheed Martin, and, I would suggest…Google.
It’s not just a case of getting arrested and then having your data taken…”NGI will also involve widespread use of “FBI Mobile,” a form of technology first used by the military that will allow for the collection of biometric samples in the field, without an arrest”…. and presumably a location, provided by Google, via Latitude is actually worth real money, it’s a nice little product that could be sold to the FBI or DHS to make Google even richer.
Now, it’s beyond this little blog to start a discussion of The Nature of Evil, but it strikes me that starting a social media site with the intention of working hand in hand with the Authorities to undermine Basic Human Rights and erode the freedoms that we hold dear is getting pretty near to doing evil. It is certainly deceptive, manipulative, lying for the sake of profit, and that basically sounds like a definition of fraud…. “In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual”… yep…near enough.
There have been ‘false positives’ with face recognition software… that means cock-ups. It is an imperfect system, like finger printing. One could have a belief in the legal system and believe that all this stuff, this new technology, will aid the law enforcers to make the world a safer place… unfortunately that would be extremely naive. Drones execute people without trial. Drone software has bugs in it. Drones are not yet deployed in the Western World…. or are they? It would be an easy way to photograph a crowd or an individual, especially if you know their exact location from their Android Mobile (Apple isn’t any better, I assume).
So…the only thing to be done, apart from complaining and supporting those protesting this insidious development is to try and rid Google from your life. It might not stop the tide but at least we can do a little to slow it down…
…. and buy an Dumb Phone.