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Pearlseattle 11-15-2013 05:01 PM

Is Google becoming one of the "bad" guys?

I recently read this article.

Then today I read this article stating:

Google's phone number lookup works in the other direction, too. All incoming calls are run through Google's data centers, and any relevant information, like a name or picture, is displayed while the phone is ringing. If you don't like the idea of some piece of your incoming call data being passed to Google's servers, this feature can be turned off in the phone app settings.
Not sure how many persons will notice this and will deactivate the option, nor if that option will still be made available in the future.

I'm getting scared of Google.
It is assimilating all kind of knowledge. Too much for my taste:
  • emails I write, even if I'm not using Gmail, end up into my friend's Gmail email-boxes and all their history gets scanned (when you write emails back-and-forth) and related to my "other" private email address.
  • my physical location/movement/habits through Google Maps or Google Now, which is even worse.
  • knowing most of the sites I surf by 1) owning the ads which are published on those sites and 2) providing useful access stats through their Google Analytics service.
  • the information I'm searching for, through their search engine.
  • the persons I'm in contact with using calls/videochat through Google Hangout and the informations obtained by backing up my phone address book and the incoming calls filter mentioned above (by the way let's not forget as well e.g. the password of my wifi-access-points, which are backed up as well).
  • the ip-addresses accessing my server translated by dns-lookups done through their public dns-servers ( and
  • as of today they're as well free to scan any book and integrate their results at least in any kind of search.
  • Google Code allows the company to keep an eye on new technologies and monitor the interest users have towards them.
  • (what did I miss?)
It's a bit too much for my taste... .
I have to admit that I was one of the first ones that was happy seeing Google raise and being able to compete (and win) against the classical giants like Apple and Microsoft (especially as it's using a Linux-kernel, yeaahhh), but maybe Google is now starting to look like one of those giants that you cannot hold back anymore?

And I haven't heard, as they're using Linux as their OS, about big backfeeds into the Linux community (I might be wrong - many contributions end up not being noticed...). Ok, SPDY really seems to be useful, but otherwise what did Google give to the "normal/non-specialized" Linux community?

To me it looks like that Google strategy was something like:
  1. publish good products/services and create depencency.
  2. use those products/services to gather informations.
  3. increase dependency by using gathered informations to implement changes to products and/or improving services.
  4. protect own products/services
  5. reiterate from #1 or #2.

I don't want to say that what Google offers is not working fine - actually it's working too well and everything is becoming very well integrated, not just between products (which are now slowly merging) but as well in our life.

Without doubt Google is becoming (has become?) the next Big Brother.
NSA's life would probably be much easier if they would just buy Google.
What do you think?

commandline-rules 11-15-2013 06:03 PM

Google does this mainly for marketing purposes to sell our info to advertisers. I don't like google but I need it to use the google play store.

NSA does this because they're a bunch of paranoid !@*#! who think we are terrorists!

frankbell 11-15-2013 07:37 PM

I don't know what's worse: corporate spies who want to sell us junk or government spies who think they are patriots and no one else is.

What irritates me is that folks are willing to strip themselves naked for the corporate spies without a second thought.

syg00 11-15-2013 08:16 PM

What do you mean becoming ?

jefro 11-15-2013 09:13 PM

Google stopped being my kind of company long ago. Seem every thing we get out of them is closed and locked in and prevents us from being in control.

You do know that crooks have been stealing your data for decades. Corporate spies, and national sponsored hackers have been doing this to businesses for decades. Team hackers have taken large banks and credit cards for maybe trillions of dollars. Each day some hundred thousand false purchases are shipped or walked out of stores. The people who end up paying for this is the common hard working person.
At least NSA is trying to prevent terror attacks.

k3lt01 11-15-2013 09:22 PM


Originally Posted by syg00 (Post 5065348)
What do you mean becoming ?

Exactly what I was thinking.

Zyblin 11-15-2013 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by k3lt01 (Post 5065388)

Originally Posted by syg00 (Post 5065348)
What do you mean becoming ?

Exactly what I was thinking.

Same. This is old news to me.

Randicus Draco Albus 11-16-2013 12:09 AM


Is Google becoming one of the "bad" guys?
Obviously, you have not been paying attention for the last ten or dozen years.:eek:

sundialsvcs 11-16-2013 08:48 AM

"Data collection," of course, "is one thing." NSA and lots of other three-letter acronyms have been doing that much since time began. But it wasn't a military-industrialist product. There was oversight. It wasn't being done wholesale by businesses.

Today, there is no oversight, not even in the US Congress, where most members do not have high security-clearances. (So, "you can vote for it, but you don't know what you're voting for," etc.) The teeter-totter of power has swung much too far in the wrong direction.

We all preach here that "security is a process," and that's true on the national level as well. But there are literally millions of government contractors who have (obviously, too-much ...) access to this stuff, and even the work of approving security clearances has now been "contracted out." So, it's just not possible to presume that these activities, which of course are done "in the name of national security," actually support that purpose instead of gravely weakening it.

"But ... there's ... so ... damn ... much ... money ... to ... be ... made ... ... and ... all ... of ... it ... in ... secret!" (Slobber, slobber, drool, gimme gimme gimme ...)

Pearlseattle 11-16-2013 12:32 PM


Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus (Post 5065439)
Obviously, you have not been paying attention for the last ten or dozen years.:eek:

Yeah, I kind of missed the big picture :(

Myk267 11-16-2013 01:34 PM

Anyone who has access to as much data Google is bound to be coerced into compliance by the US government (or any other). That applies to all of the social networks: FB, Twitter, etc. They've all clearly said "Yes" to the money and thrown all of their users under the bus to get there. It's too bad that everyone can't be as principled as LavaBit.

The best thing is, if you feel threatened about those sites, it's generally pretty easy to not use them. The hardest thing is finding some decent Firefox plugins to block weird ad tracking things that seem to be hooked into every webpage.

The NSA is going down. They ever so narrowly missed being defunded, and as more and more dirt comes out, nobody is going to want to touch them with a 10 foot pole. And that's a good first step, because without the coercion and threat of government prosecution from posting cat pictures or discussing the non-aggression principle, those social networks go back to just being annoying instead of dangerous.


Originally Posted by jefro (Post 5065381)
At least NSA is trying to prevent terror attacks.

[citation needed]

Randicus Draco Albus 11-16-2013 11:28 PM


Originally Posted by Myk267 (Post 5065749)
The NSA is going down. They ever so narrowly missed being defunded, and as more and more dirt comes out, nobody is going to want to touch them with a 10 foot pole.

If the NSA was dispanded it would be replaced by either another visible government organ or a secret new NSA. The former would result in no difference. The latter would make the situation worse, since everything, including the agency's existence, would be secret.

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