Google: The Surveillance State of the Art?

Big Brother EarthStill using Google, gmail, and now Google+?  I’m not.  Google seems to have inverted its motto, “Don’t be evil” and has been engaging in wholesale collection of data it gathers on its users and is now polluting what was once its premier product, its search engine, with commercialized, proprietary garbage. This has been going on for some time but many people still do not seem to be aware of it. See The Guardian’s “Google ‘improperly’ accessed Kenyan rival Mocality’s database” and read The Case Against Google for a comprehensive argument against using Google by Mat Honan on Gizmodo.com, both written in 2012.

Google was taken to court in a class action suit in 2013 regarding its intrusive data-gathering practices, a case that it lost.  In a victory for online privacy, an article on Consumer Watchdog.org entitled, ““Gmail Judge Holds Internet Accountable To Wiretap Laws In Key Consumer Victory” sums up the ruling against Google thusly:

“This is a historic step for holding Internet communications subject to the same privacy laws that exist in the rest of society. The court rightly rejected Google’s tortured logic that you have to accept intrusions of privacy if you want to send email,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “The ruling means federal and state wiretap laws apply to the Internet.  It’s a tremendous victory for online privacy. Companies like Google can’t simply do whatever they want with our data and emails.” Read the decision here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/GoogleGmailOrder092613.pdf

Google may be involved in much more than anyone might have imagined, and its influence/involvement may likely far exceed data collection. For a very disturbing examination of the larger issues of what Google may be involved in politically, see Google is Not What it Seems for a 2014 Newsweek article containing an excerpt of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange’s book, “When Google Met Wikileaks” regarding Eric Schmidt, previous Google CEO.

After reading these articles, you may agree that Google has abandoned its motto and is now being evil by its own definition as well as by that of many of its erstwhile users.  This is an example of the kind of dismissal of ethics endemic in capitalism, where profit trumps all, and is the larger lesson we need to learn from this betrayal.  Some of us would argue that a system predicated on profit is inherently corrupt, self-serving, and, well, evil.  It is no small matter that the NSA spying has been piggybacking off information gathered by tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Apple and why these corporations need to be held accountable.  But even more disturbing, Google may be involved behind the scenes in larger world events.  This is why We the People need to take back control of our government and rein in these corporations who think they are “people” so that we can again have some privacy as well as some say in our lives.