Google: Just Another Name For Big Brother

Were you suspicious at all when Google decided to film every street in your city? Did you even notice when it seems they captured more than just an image of the street, that there were some car license plates, discernible faces, and even pictures into people’s living rooms, not to mention a few burglaries? Or were you blasé and accepting of another way in which we’re being watched constantly and in Google slowly taking over the world in a myriad of digital ways? I sometimes wonder what would happen should Google turn out to be a political force.

There are people who called us paranoid when we worried about all these captured images. I wondered how well would it work for people planning espionage. I haven’t searched using Google Earth much but it’s been minimally helpful. The only time I looked outside of North America was to research for a story that takes place in Ireland, and it turns out there is only a satellite image of parts of Ireland, no street views. Well there is sort of a street view of Dublin, in parts, but with digital approximations of buildings for other areas. Who knows what other countries have but I hear the Germans are pretty suspicious of Google snooping and are limiting what they’ll be able to digitize.

And no wonder. With the heightened paranoia of terrorism and bombs many countries don’t want full images of their streets and sewer systems, communications areas, etc. outlined in such explicit detail. But that’s not all. The new millennium’s Big Brother is Google and it is everywhere. Yes, most of us use it as a medium for one thing or another, such as the search engine. Google tried to copy all books including those in copyright, infringing on all sorts of copyright laws and then hoping no one would notice. They claimed they were just moving all books into a way that people could access them easier and this makes sense for out of print books in the public domain. But those that still have estates or authors alive, and therefore existing copyrights, should be protected. Google then arrogantly set up a statement saying you could opt out but then you would have no recourse to complain if they copy one of your books, but if you opt in, you’re buying into the system. As opposed to them having to prove the copyright is now public domain, the onus fell on every author and publisher to prove they owned the copyright. This one is still being disputed and it was nice to see that at least some of the apathetic writers’ groups in Canada did band together to try to stop them.

But that’s not all, is it? Now it turns out that not only was Google capturing images of our streets and homes, it was also capturing passwords and documents if people were working on their computers and did not have their WIFI locked. Hmm, If I stole someone’s information, it would be just that. Theft, spying, invasion of privacy. Canada’s privacy commissioner has ordered Google to apologize and delete the information. That’s it? Does Google even have governments cowed that a slap on the wrist is all they get? How about a charge and massive fines? How about a watchdog checking what they have? How many years ago did the snoop the streets of our cities and we’re just finding this out now?

I said I’d be worried if Google was a political force but I’m already worried that it could be behind a political force, supplying stolen information to governments with less that honorable tendencies. I’d be naive to think they didn’t know they were doing this and stupid not to question why. And if any of you are smart, you’ll be asking these questions too and making sure Google is investigated and regulated before they do take over the world.

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6 Comments

Filed under crime, internet, news, politics, security, technology

6 responses to “Google: Just Another Name For Big Brother

  1. troy

    An unregulated entity taking over the world or a regulated one? Gee, do I have a choice ;)

    • colleenanderson

      Yes, like the devil or the dep blue sea. There’s a choice but maybe not much of one. :(

      • troy

        While ordering at a local bookstore the other week, I stumbled upon Evolve! I recognized the cover, bought it, read your piece (nice! …in a warped, dark way of course -lol)) and sent it away to a cousin who’s way more into the vampire/gothish stuff than myself. She’s one of those who considers Halloween THE most exciting time of the year.

        She likes it :)

      • colleenanderson

        Well your cousin is right. Halloween IS the most exciting time of the year with none of the familial obligation, present buying stress. :D

  2. rautakyy

    Google could be a political force at the moment, and we could not know about it. I am not worried about them filming the streets of cities, but I am worried about what kind of results do people get from their searches. It is the same question as with the “free press”. Free press means media not controlled by governments, but who controls it when it is not controlled by governments and who controlls the governments? Now, if the media and google are not controlled by the governments, they serve the richest stockowners. The editors, reporters and coders (in case of Google) are aware about what kind of light they are expected to show the world in to make their owners happy. This effects how people vote and in the end who rules the government. Take Silvio Berlusconi. The geezer has been caught doing everything a politicians reputation can take and more, but since he owns most media channels in Italy he is still wery popular.

    Google could be controlled to give a certain kinds of answers to the questions on critical topics. I do not think this is yet the case, but one does not expect morals from an international company. Capitalism is not only about making money, it is about making loads more money a person would ever need. It is an ideology. An ideology of forgivenes. Forgiving to one self how greedy he/she is.

    • colleenanderson

      Very good points about the corporate greed. It’s sad that our world is built on ever increasing sales when we don’t have the sustainability for population or resources. And yeah, I still don’t trust Google especially when it was discovered in their capturing pictures of streets in Canada that they were capturing anything people were doing on their computers via the internet. Like they didn’t know about that. And if they did it in Canada you can bet they’re doing it elsewhere. The more time that goes by the more they look like Big Brother.

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