Monday, September 15, 2008

World Domination

I've always liked Google, but a recent article in The Independent suddenly put me into a paranoid mood. To the untrained eye, Google is just a bunch of nerds trying to make the world a better place. Google gives us everything. Freely. Because the Internet is great, and they want us to be able to take advantage of it.

But what if one day, the benevolence of Google turns into a HAL like nightmare. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Google is on its way to achieving absolute power.

Here are some examples:
1) Google Earth/Street/Maps - Google has as much intelligence as the US military. Plus the ability to perhaps doctor or manipulate this data can have drastic effects on society.

2) Gmail/Google Docs - All your information is stored in Google's data centers. Where it can be searched or manipulated without your knowledge.

3) Google news - we saw how an old story about United Airlines that showed up on the newswires by mistake almost destroyed that company's stock. News manipulation in today's world can wreak Orwellian devastation.

The latest article on Google moving it's data centers off shore into international waters is a bit scary. Ostensibly they are doing it to use the waves' energy to cool the data centers and make them run more green, but it also puts them out of jurisdiction of any country...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha. I sort of agree. I try to use Yahoo.


September 15, 2008 9:02 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Problem is, I think that Google technology beats the pants off their rivals most of the time...

September 15, 2008 9:11 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

1. The US military has no need of knowing what is going on in Anytown, USA at street level unless the federal government is going to war with Boston or something. Besides, the military intelligence birds are capable of seeing far better than the civilian ones we get Google Earth images with. Like the proverbial license plate from space thing.

Everything they give you can be found through other outlets as well.

Google themselves have no way or reason to make use of the sat data. What exactly could they use it for? Sat mapping is already used for real estate, city planning, etc. Which is stupid, but it's already been in use since before Google's rise. (Making city planning based on prettiness from LEO is stupid if the street level looks like garbage.)

2. True, they could do stuff with my mail. So could my ISP. Or any other for that matter. But since they won't let you run your own mail server, you're at their mercy.

A. Put nothing important over those services.
B. Use Microsoft Outlook Express to access GMail and use PGP to encrypt ALL mail.
C. Learn about anonymous remailers and how to use them.

3. Yahoo News is just as fallible as are MS's service. One well-placed and to the emotional nature of the audience believable lie and the blogging world can cause tremendous damage.

Just look at the so-called rabbinical child molesting crisis that some are positing is happening. We're not being told names of abusers or victims, no concrete cases or allegations, just people using wording and phrasing suggesting that it is rampant and the victims and perpetrators numerous.

State something as fact over and over, others do it too, people get caught up or make assumptions and they do it, it becomes fact in the minds of everyone. Goes for paranoia over Google too.

As far as offshore goes, it's like trying to secede from the union. The only thing that saves Google's bacon is that they are bound by the same laws as the government. If they step outside to avoid American LEA oversight, then they too are also outside that oversight's protection. In international waters, a quick action could sever their communications, kill everyone on board, and scuttle the boats to the bottom of the abyssal ocean plain in nothing flat.

Dangerous and self-defeating and utterly arrogantly fantastic nonsensical thinking, but the kind of thing people want to believe and so the story gets trumpeted one end of the Internet to the other. It's just a patent on an idea, which itself highlights the absurdity since offshore data centers have been bandied about in the tech world for years now and every time Sealand is mentioned especially.

But, it sounds exciting in a stick-it-to-the-man sort of rebellious way and they want to believe it could be.

Once, they believed NYC would have moving sidewalks, jetpacks, and flying cars.

September 15, 2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


What you say is true. I did say that it was my inner paranoid speaking.

However, you are still thinking in the mode where Google is a corporation. I am speaking of an apocalyptic scenario where Google becomes essentially a power trying to take over the world.

September 15, 2008 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say Yahoo, not out Paranoia. I just don't like monopolies.


September 15, 2008 11:17 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

You should write that up as a story maybe, but then, it's been done in Johnny Mnemonic and other movies where megacorps are pervasive.

I wouldn't worry about the possibility. It's movieland type stuff. Google has shown a constant series of flawed thought patterns and overarching egos.

September 16, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger Holy Hyrax said...

Google is the Cyberdyne of our time.

Que Terminator theme song right now.

September 16, 2008 11:17 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Google? Hooha!

Zaba search is more disturbing. Along with AnyWho.
By using both of those I have found out more about customers than they would like me to know.

"Hi Chuck, your employees didn't know where you were, but I thought in this weather you would really want to enjoy the pool in your back yard - am I right?"
Followed by a discussion of streetside parking in his neighborhood, and some past-due invoices I would like him to take care of.

September 16, 2008 2:44 PM  

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