Is Google Evil ? Open Forum

Artwork from cover of
'Screwtape Proposes a Toast'
by C.S. Lewis.
A few interesting observations from the previous thread, in relation to how Google harvests data and whether anything online is safe at all. I recently had an epiphany regarding my bank statement information: that the information is effectively 'owned' by whoever has access to it - this is a brave new world where most information is just a password away.

My own theory about Google is that 'being evil' is just a matter of size, i.e. that any central concentration of power and commerce will invariably be distorted by its own 'gravity', stepping on the toes of individuals in it's own insatiable quest for expansion. Additionally there would be cycles; companies previously evil find themselves becoming the underdog and must make a move to more trustworthy business practices or go out of business. Today the younger generation do not know of, nor appreciate the freedoms their parents saw, and so we hurtle towards an evolution of 'some-thing-or-other'.

Ultimately though, every information network can be expressed in terms of inputs, information usage, storage and configuration/implementation so the only unpredictable and unknown thing about our new technologies is how they all act in aggregate (e.g. there is nothing sinister about a digital camera, but there is concern about how it can be abused). Interpretations will also vary but is ultimately limited by the observers paradigm. Is it truly possible to provide a penultimate authoritative interpretation on our modern complex world? Only if you're vain.

Please feel free to use this thread to talk about Google or other technology giants - this thread is not precious metals related so venting your spleen about society's progression into orwellian decline is completely on topic, only request is to be civil to each other and to yourself. If you have a conspiracy theory, be prepared to test it yourself in terms of a framework/theory which can be falsified. This is a placeholder article while we prepare other content.


Beer Holiday said...

I made the decision years ago that if Google is evil that so many people are screwed, that it's just a risk I'll take. Google's products are just so damn useful.

Analogy: I'm not going to sell up and move to a house in the woods and be self sufficient, because in the eventuality that you need to do that to survive, so many people will be screwed that they'll come to your house in the woods with pitchforks and take your stuff anyway.

Same goes online. What are they going to do with >50% of peoples online info? steal our identities? It won't work socially, and if it does, then the rule of law has been so compromised that we are all screwed.

Posting via my google account, on a google supported blog :-)

Kid Dynamite said...

I think I agree with @BeerHoliday's philosophy...

Beer Holiday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
milamber said...

Rather than continue to pull someones chain, I will provide a somewhat useful bit of info.

If you havent read it, go get James Bamford's the puzzle palace. HE has written others since then (and also worth reading), but the puzzle palace is the one you want to start with.

This data collection process by the state has been going on ever since man learned how to form governing structures.

Google is simply being more efficient with data collection than ever thought possible.

And if you think yahoo isn't data mining, then you probably also think that gold & silver are never manipulated up either.


Allston#1 said...

Whatever can be said about Google multiply by ten for FaceBook. In recent news it looks like they are contemplating buying (which tracks and shares data from drivers so that users can avoid traffic delays)
Of course Facebook only wants it so that they can track your movements. Throw in the facebook app on your phone and next thing you know facebook will know your every move.

duggo said...

If you can trick people into believing that you can do something then you have won the battle.
It doesn't matter if what you are attempting is impossible if enough people believe you have achieved the impossible then you have got them by the "spherical objects".
We are constantly told (meme) that all communications are being stored and that everything you ever said, wrote or even thought is kept in a big store waiting to be used against you. They are also convincing us that their clever analytical tools will be able to ferret out each and every person that could be dangerous.

Anyone that has worked for a large organisation knows that there is the "human element" and this is where the whole illusion collapses. Billions of pieces of information have eventually to be evaluated by people who are basically lazy and stupid or who just want a quiet life. Especially those who work for governments.
If, of course, you stick out like a sore-thumb then you are an "easy-target". They only need to concentrate on a few high profile popular trouble makers and the whole World will believe their scam.
Just smile sweetly and blend in. Say YES but do NO.
Use their systems to your advantage never to theirs. Disrupt the system whenever possible when it's targeted against you by being stupid . I'm an expert in the last one.

milamber said...

@ Allston#1

I think you will appreciate this :)


Warren James said...

@Duggo, I agree part of the power is the illusion of pervasive reach (via 'data collection'), we sometimes credit 'them' with more than is deserved.

re: my primary article, also had a thought today - the number of fraudulent attacks they must deal with on a daily basis must be huge. The phone number collection could also be considered as one additional layer of verification needed in the system as a whole.

Would be interested in Benjamin Franklin's take on today's modern society where the loss of liberty is forced sometimes through necessity (and a requirement of scale). Or are some things timeless? Time will tell ..

Tony said...

Throwing my hat in with Beer Holiday. I have enough tangible concerns, so I see no sense in stewing over imaginary ones. It wouldn't even surprise me if Google is a sinsiter organization altogether, but if you get online at all, chances are pretty good you can't insulate yourself from sinister activity anyway.

S Roche said...

OT but fun: Jim Sinclair Watch

A post from FOFOA which may have been written by another (geddit!?) person:

Read some tweets suggesting FOFOA did not write it, Victor?

Then proceed to the Max Kaiser/Andrew Maguire interview and see two otherwise intelligent people tap dancing with the truth. Max is a showman, Andrew is a good trader...that much is true, the rest of it: not so much.

Warren James said...

In light of the recent PRISM stuff, I've been doing a lot more research on how much of our digital identities are exposed to the internet.

Google's vision of "trusted internet identity" is a scary one, and suddenly the collection of phone numbers to accompany profile makes a lot more sense.

Additionally, the appearance of the occasional 'prove you're not a robot' when I'm using Google Search - initially confused me, but makes perfect sense to me now.