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Russ84

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Is Google turning into big brother?
« on: September 29, 2005, 03:49:52 AM »

Some of you may know that Google's company motto is "Don't be evil." Well that might have been the case a couple of years back, but times have changed greatly, and so has Google's attitude towards privacy.

This excerpt from http://www.google-watch.org made me question this company and many other search engines in that matter.


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.

Any thoughts on this matter?
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MobileDigit

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2005, 04:35:28 AM »

Everything dies.


In other words, don't worry too much.
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Brian Wolf

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2005, 06:37:58 AM »

I don't think that most of us  have to worry about it really. I mean, unless you are a leader of the revoloution, or something. If you are, you shouldn't be posting it on the public interweb anyway.
With the constantly lowering cost of memory, and the availability of cheap lo-res camcorders, it is only a matter of time before everything we do in public, in RL as well as the internet, will be recorded.
I think it is really critical now to downsize the govmnt before this happens. If not it will be pretty scary. But if we had a good govmnt, then we could use all of those cameras to keep an eye on them!
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MobileDigit

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2005, 09:53:17 AM »

There's no such thing as a "good government".
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You need to advance me. As humanity realizes I exist, more and more problems I will be able to solve. The faster you spread me, the faster I will give you Ultimate happiness.

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xAlpha

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2005, 11:03:50 AM »

But google is also voluntary.
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FTL_Ian

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2005, 11:55:09 AM »

Yeah, I think google is great.  My only gripe is they want tax info for their "AdSense" program.  So, I chose not to participate, and let them know.
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Pod99966

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2005, 12:03:45 PM »

But google is also voluntary.

Oddly enough I don't use google, not for the reasons list above, but just because I like other search engines.

The reason webmaster are pissed off about the cache issue is because once cached, you start dropping on the querry ranks, untill google recaches the site (usually once a month). So webmasters opt-out of cache to stay on top.

And with 200 million searches a day from all over the world, the chance of finding any incriminating evidence would be very difficult, unless you already knew what you were looking for.
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shanek

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2005, 04:17:29 PM »

WTF is the big deal with cookies? What are you people so afraid of? They can't do anything!
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xAlpha

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2005, 05:39:31 PM »

WTF is the big deal with cookies? What are you people so afraid of? They can't do anything!

I agree.

The only thing cookies really do is let a website know you've been there before and what you did. There are cookies on this forum, you know. They keep you logged in if you opt to.
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Tommy

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2005, 06:04:20 PM »

Here's the problem as I see it.  I work in the medical field and have been involved computers since the VIC-20 days (what's a vic-20?).  I love the internet as it is today because it is free and you can maintain a reasonable aount of privacy expecially on usenet.  That said, it is quickly becoming the means to track and trace everything everyone does in real time.  In the medical field, the gov is pushing for "paperless" medical files.  While this is useful for the medical field and for the patient in that it provides instant history, adverse medical reactions, etc, there is only one step remaining after implementing MANDATORY compliance with "paperless" systems.  Big brother needs only pass a bill mandating that all medical office systems interface with goverment links.  In this way, the gov does not need to maintain files on you but merely needs to mandate that your Dr. link to thier computers so they have access to every record.  Now the gov needs only "mandate" all business systems link to their computers and now every record on you is available to the snoops. 

Why would you care??  Once the above is in place, every purchase, every prescription, every movie you watch will be available to big brother.  Whatever evil big bro wants to do to you he now can.  Although the sheer amount of info would be overwhelming for current computing systems to handle, future systems will be able to handle them.  Even with todays systems, filtering software could sniff out all info on "persons of interest" (Like Ian) and find out daily movements, phone calls, purchases, and even reservations on transportation carriers.  You couldn't get away.  It would be even more intrusive than "1984" by Orwell.  If you did something the gov didn't like, they could locate you with your cell phone signal or by your latest credit card purchase.  They would be able to log on the the "superstore" security system and find you looking at the toothpaste on isle 12.  Punch a button, and the store security personal will be notified to hold you until your local black boot can show up.

Yeah, Google will keep the records of all your searches forever and when the gov passes a law stating that all libertarians are enemy's off the state and to round up all %1 of the pop who have claimed affilliation, Google's files will be accessed instantly, and Ian will be located and arrested for all the Google searches he did with libertarianism as the subject.  Irrefuteable evidence to be used against him in a court of law (if one even exists at that time...)
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shanek

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2005, 06:30:59 PM »

Here's the problem as I see it.  I work in the medical field and have been involved computers since the VIC-20 days (what's a vic-20?).[/b]

Man, I LOVED my VIC-20! Fantastic computer! Only 3K of memory, but you could do just about ANYTHING with it!

In all of your complaints, the key word there is, "government." But the great thing about the Internet is, what's the government going to do if people on the internet just refuse to comply? They couldn't stop DeCSS.
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Russ84

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2005, 06:41:30 PM »

But the great thing about the Internet is, what's the government going to do if people on the internet just refuse to comply? They couldn't stop DeCSS.

People might not comply, but Google will if it recieves enough money.
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bonerjoe

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2005, 06:51:03 PM »

I TOLD YOU BITCHES GOOGLE WAS EVIL!

SEE, YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING ME THE FIRST TIME. TWO HITS IN ONE WEEK! I'M A REMOTE VIEWING SMARTASS!
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Russ84

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2005, 06:52:33 PM »

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bonerjoe

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Re: Is Google turning into big brother?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2005, 06:58:05 PM »

Shaddup.
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