Why Bother?

Radiation Treatment Mask

The Above Person is a United States Veteran,
a real computer pioneer, and cancer patient.

by ~@~

One may have noticed some drastic changes located on these pages and here is why.

Google, without any real proof, alleged some flyingsnail.com pages "may be compromised," which is an outright lie.

There was/is nothing wrong with flyingsnail.com pages and there was NO compromise!

By doing this, Google has destroyed most everything being worked on here and has driven over fifty percent (50%) of flyingsnail.com visitors away!

I am not the first to complain about this because Google has attempted to destroy other web sites.

For years I have served my community and friends, but, due to cancer side effects & Google's massive wealth, am no longer able to fight back, and have not received the necessary support to continue, which has given me a "Why Bother" (with Internet) attitude.

As far as everything else, REDPILLED on April 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm, in a comment to this article, said it best:

"We are NOT living in a real democracy, and have not been for more than 100 years, as expanding its Empire has become the way of every U.S. government since at least the genocide against indigenous people on this continent.

The members of the Bush administration are war criminals who should be tried, convicted, and imprisoned for life.

Obomber, for refusing to prosecute the Bush administration torturers, as required by the U.N. Convention Against Torture, and, therefore, part of his oath of office, should be impeached.

The fact that none of these legal actions will ever take place says all we need to know about the false "democracy" we pretend we live in."

Thank You For Your Support!

The Beast File: Google (Hungry Beast) ~ Elmo Keep ~ http://vimeo.com/9897083

Is Google Destroying Cancer Patient's Source of Comfort?

Did a Cyberbully Destroy Another Web Site With False Allegations?
Reaping what we sow _or_ Have the Sturmabteilung returned?

by Dahbud Mensch

FlyingSnail.com belongs to a Vietnam veteran and computer communications pioneer, who is currently in a struggle with oral cancer.

Unfortunately this cancer patient's web pages and his flying of remote control aircraft are his only source of fun and Google is trying to destroy both. [Note: Below key words "may be", in below graphic, only allege something is wrong. There is or was no proof the site was "compromised" ... and it turns out that it was NOT compromised. (fwiw) If I saw that message, during a search, I would not click on the page. Below is also proof there is nothing wrong with the page; a test Google constantly fails.]

It Appears Google Wants to Shut Down flyingsnail.com and says THIS SITE = flyingsnail.com = MAY BE COMPROMISED

The above graphic says:

July 2012 flyingsnail.com Archive
This site may be compromised. <<-----------------------------
Jul 1, 2012 - Flying Snail - News & Views for Remnants of Paradise .... a strong feminist (and in Russia, utterly alien) message is at the heart of their work.

Who's Alien?  U.S. Out of North America, Nobody for President
(btw) Who's Alien?

The page Google says was compromised passes W3C Validation; but then again, corporations, thanks to politicians, are allowed to get away with murder:

flyingsnail.com July 2012 W3C Validation, August 13, 2012
flyingsnail.com/201207.html = PASSED, VALID

flyingsnail.com W3C CSS July 2012 Validation, August 13, 2012
flyingsnail.com/201207.html = PASSED, VALID

Criticism of Google includes alleged misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of others' intellectual property, concerns that its compilation of data may violate people's privacy, censorship of search results and content, and the energy consumption of its servers as well as concerns over traditional business issues such as antitrust, monopoly, and restraint of trade. (fwiw) It is alleged Steve Jobs hated Eric Schmidt and Google.

Google Is Evil

By Rory O'Connor, Wired.com, 06.12.12, 8:02 PM, Article Source

It's bad enough when you run a search company in an increasingly social world. It's worse when anti-trust regulators say you have unfairly and illegally used your dominance in search to promote your own products over those of competitors. Now Google executives, who like to boast of their company's informal motto, "Don't Be Evil," also stand accused of being just that -- and rightly so. What other interpretation is possible in light of persistent allegations that the internet titan deliberately engaged in "the single greatest breach in the history of privacy" and "one of the biggest violations of data protection laws that we had ever seen?"

Google's history of anti-social social networks and anti-trust trust relations that deceptively breach online consumer privacy and trust has already begun to threaten its longstanding web hegemony and its vaunted brand. Now the company's repeatedly defensive and dishonest responses to charges that its specially equipped Street View cars surreptitiously collected private internet communications -- including emails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, and postings on websites and social networks -- could signal a tipping point.

With the phenomenally successful and profitable internet giant being newly scrutinized by consumers, competitors, regulators and elected officials alike, all concerned about basic issues of privacy, trust and anti-trust, the question must be raised: Is Google facing an existential threat? With government regulators nipping at its heels on both sides of the Atlantic, Facebook leading in the race for attention and prestige, and "social" beginning to replace "search" as a focus of online activity, the company that revolutionized our means of finding information just a decade ago now finds itself increasingly under siege and in danger of fading from prominence to become, in essence, the "next Microsoft."

Who gave these new media companies the right to invade our privacy without our permission or knowledge and then secretly store the data until they can figure out how to profit from it in the future?

That possibility came into sharper focus recently when fed-up European regulators gave the company an ultimatum -- change your lying ways about your anticompetitive practices in search, online advertising and smartphone software or face the consequences. Regulators in the United States are poised to follow suit.

Meanwhile, the secret Street View data collection has already led to inquiries in at least a dozen countries. Yet Google still refuses to ‘fess up and supply an adequate explanation of what it was up to, why the data was collected and who knew about it. To date, no domestic regulator has even seen the information that Google gathered from American citizens. Instead, Google chose first to deny everything, then blamed a programming mistake involving experimental software, claimed that no use of the illicit data in Google products was foreseen, and said that a single "rogue" programmer was responsible for the whole imbroglio. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined instead that the data collection was no accident, that supervisors knew all about it and that Google in fact "intended to collect, store and review" the data "for possible use in other Google products," and fined Google for obstructing the investigation.

Google's response to the FCC was not unusual. At every step of the way, the company has delayed, denied and obstructed investigations into its data collection. It has consistently resisted providing information to both European and American regulators and made them wait months for it -- as well as for answers as to why it was collected. Company executives even had the temerity to tell regulators they could not show them the collected data, because to do so might be breaking privacy and wiretapping laws! As Bradford L. Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, told The New York Times while citing Google's stated mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," it seems "Google's practice is to prevent others from doing the same thing."

Given its record, and with so little accountability, how can any of us trust Google -- or other Internet giants like Facebook, which now faces its own privacy and anti-trust concerns? Who gave these new media companies the right to invade our privacy without our permission or knowledge and then secretly store the data until they can figure out how to profit from it in the future?

No one, obviously ... and as a direct result of their arrogant behavior, both Google and Facebook now face the possibility of eventual showdowns with regulators, the biggest to hit Silicon Valley since the US government went after Microsoft more than a decade ago. Their constant privacy controversies have also caused politicians to begin taking notice. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, for example, who is in charge of a subcommittee on privacy, noted in a recent speech that companies such as Google and Facebook accumulated data on users because "it's their whole business model. And you are not their client; you are their product."

Small wonder that Google co-founder Larry Page is feeling "paranoid", as the Associated Press recently reported. Why? As I detail in my new book Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands and Killing Traditional Media, as the new "contextual web" takes the place of the data-driven web of the early 21st century, it will mean further bad news for Google -- even though the company still sold $36.5 billion in advertising last year. Couple Google's paranoia about Facebook and the evident failure of its latest social network, Google Plus, with its problems about privacy, trust and anti-trust, and it's no surprise that executives are feeling paranoid. After all, they are facing the very real prospect of waging a defensive war on many fronts -- social, privacy, and trust -- simultaneously. Despite its incredible reach, power and profit, it's a war that Google -- the 21st century equivalent of the still-powerful but increasingly irrelevant Microsoft -- may well be destined to lose, along with the trust its users have long extended to one of the world's most powerful brands.

Google ... Don't be evil ... Be Mean

Google Don't be evil Be Mean ~ Steve Bell cartoon
Google Don't be evil Be Mean ~ Many of our employees pay tax ~ Our firm is key to UK growth
Steve Bell, The Guardian, on Eric Schmidt and Google ~ cartoon, Cartoon Source
Search engine chairman defended company's tax avoidance policies after paying just £6m in UK corporation tax

Criticism of Google

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Criticism of Google includes possible misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of others' intellectual property, concerns that its compilation of data may violate people's privacy, censorship of search results and content, and the energy consumption of its servers as well as concerns over traditional business issues such as antitrust, monopoly, and restraint of trade.

Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. Google's stated mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"; this mission, and the means used to accomplish it, have raised concerns among the company's critics. Much of the criticism pertains to issues that have not yet been addressed by cyber law.

Possible misuse of search results

In 2007, a group of Austrian researchers observed a tendency to misuse the Google engine as a "reality interface". Ordinary users as well as journalists tend to rely on the first pages of Google search, assuming that everything not listed there is either not important or merely does not exist. The researchers say that "Google has become the main interface for our whole reality. To be precise: with the Google interface the user gets the impression that the search results imply a kind of totality. In fact, one only sees a small part of what one could see if one also integrates other research tools".

Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, said in a 2007 interview with the Financial Times: "The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?' and ‘What job shall I take?'". Schmidt reaffirmed this during a 2010 interview with the Wall Street Journal: "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions, they want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Danger of page rank manipulation

The page ranking algorithm of Google can and has been manipulated for political and humorous reasons. To illustrate the view that Google's search engine could be subjected to manipulation, Google Watch implemented a Google bomb by linking the phrase "out-of-touch executives" to Google's own page on its corporate management. The attempt was mistakenly attributed to disgruntled Google employees by The New York Times, which later printed a correction.

Daniel Brandt started the Google Watch website and has criticized Google's PageRank algorithms, saying that they discriminate against new websites and favor established sites. Chris Beasley started Google Watch Watch and disagrees, saying that Mr. Brandt overstates the amount of discrimination that new websites face and that new websites will naturally rank lower when the ranking is based on a site's "reputation". In Google's world a site's reputation is in part determined by how many and which other sites link to it (links from sites with a "better" reputation of their own carry more weight). Since new sites will seldom be as heavily linked as older more established sites, they aren't as well known, won't have as much of a reputation, and will receive a lower page ranking.

In testimony before a U.S. Senate antitrust panel in September 2011, Jeffrey Katz, the chief executive of NexTag, said that Google's business interests conflict with its engineering commitment to an open-for-all Internet and that: "Google doesn't play fair. Google rigs its results, biasing in favor of Google Shopping and against competitors like us." Jeremy Stoppelman, the chief of Yelp, said sites like his have to cooperate with Google because it is the gateway to so many users and "Google then gives its own product preferential treatment." In earlier testimony at the same hearing Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, said that Google does not "cook the books" to favor its own products and services.

Page ranking related lawsuits

In 2006, the parental advice Internet site Kinderstart.com sued Google for setting its Page rank to zero, claiming that the reset caused the site to lose 70 percent of its audience. In this lawsuit, it was stated, that "Google does not generally inform Web sites that they have been penalized nor does it explain in detail why the Web site was penalized". Kinderstart claimed that they were penalized for being a Google competitor (setting up the search engine). Kinderstart has formally lost the process (while their rank seems to be no longer zero). Google Incorporated claims that allowing one to win such process would set a dangerous precedent, encouraging other penalized sites to protest as well.

Numerous companies and individuals, for example, MyTriggers.com and transport tycoon Sir Brian Souter have voiced concerns regarding the fairness of Google's PageRank and search results after their web sites disappeared from Google's first-page results. In the case of MyTriggers.com, the Ohio-based shopping comparison search site accused Google of favoring its own services in search results (although the judge eventually ruled that the site failed to show harm to other similar businesses).

Complete Contents of Original Wikipedia article:

1.0 Page rank

1.1 Possible misuse of search results

1.2 Danger of page rank manipulation

1.3 Page ranking related lawsuits

1.4 Abandonment of Neutral Rankings

2.0 Copyright issues

2.1 Google Print, Books, and Library

2.2 Cached data

2.3 Google Map Maker

3.0 Privacy

3.1 Potential for data disclosure

3.1.1 Data leaks

3.1.2 Cookies

3.1.3 Tracking

3.1.4 Gmail

3.1.5 Possible ties to the CIA and NSA

3.1.6 Government requests

3.1.7 Google Chrome

3.2 Street View

3.2.1 Information collection from WiFi networks

3.3 Google Buzz

3.4 Google+ and Nymwars

3.5 YouTube and Viacom

3.6 Privacy and data protection cases and issues by state

3.6.1 European Union

3.6.2 Czech Republic

3.6.3 Germany

3.6.4 Italy

3.6.5 Norway

3.6.6 United States

3.7 Do Not Track

4.0 Censorship

4.1 Web search

4.2 China

4.3 AdSense/AdWords

4.4 YouTube

4.5 Ungoogleable

5.0 Monopoly, restraint of trade, and antitrust

5.1 The Aliyun OS affair

5.2 Alternatives to Google and monopoly power

6.0 Other

6.1 Energy consumption

6.2 Doodles

6.3 Google Video

6.4 Search within search

6.5 Naming of Go programming language

6.6 Potential security threats

6.7 Tax avoidance

6.8 Real names

6.9 Politics

6.10 COPPA Compliance

7.0 See also

8.0 References

9.0 External links

Google's Broken Promise: The End of "Don't Be Evil"

By Mat Honan, gizmodo.com, Jan 24, 2012 5:41 PM, Article Source

In a privacy policy shift, Google announced today that it will begin tracking users universally across all its services--Gmail, Search, YouTube and more--and sharing data on user activity across all of them. So much for the Google we signed up for.

The change was announced in a blog post today, and will go into effect March 1. After that, if you are signed into your Google Account to use any service at all, the company can use that information on other services as well. As Google puts it:

Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we'll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

This has been long coming. Google's privacy policies have been shifting towards sharing data across services, and away from data compartmentalization for some time. It's been consistently de-anonymizing you, initially requiring real names with Plus, for example, and then tying your Plus account to your Gmail account. But this is an entirely new level of sharing. And given all of the negative feedback that it had with Google+ privacy issues, it's especially troubling that it would take actions that further erode users' privacy.

What this means for you is that data from the things you search for, the emails you send, the places you look up on Google Maps, the videos you watch in YouTube, the discussions you have on Google+ will all be collected in one place. It seems like it will particularly affect Android users, whose real-time location (if they are Latitude users), Google Wallet data and much more will be up for grabs. And if you have signed up for Google+, odds are the company even knows your real name, as it still places hurdles in front of using a pseudonym (although it no longer explicitly requires users to go by their real names).

All of that data history will now be explicitly cross-referenced. Although it refers to providing users a better experience (read: more highly tailored results), presumably it is so that Google can deliver more highly targeted ads. (There has, incidentally, never been a better time to familiarize yourself with Google's Ad Preferences.)

So why are we calling this evil? Because Google changed the rules that it defined itself. Google built its reputation, and its multi-billion dollar business, on the promise of its "don't be evil" philosophy. That's been largely interpreted as meaning that Google will always put its users first, an interpretation that Google has cultivated and encouraged. Google has built a very lucrative company on the reputation of user respect. It has made billions of dollars in that effort to get us all under its feel-good tent. And now it's pulling the stakes out, collapsing it. It gives you a few weeks to pull your data out, using its data-liberation service, but if you want to use Google services, you have to agree to these rules.

Google's philosophy speaks directly to making money without doing evil. And it is very explicit in calling out advertising in the section on "evil." But while it emphasizes that ads should be relevant, obvious, and "not flashy," what seems to have been forgotten is a respect for its users privacy, and established practices.

Among its privacy principles, number four notes:

People have different privacy concerns and needs. To best serve the full range of our users, Google strives to offer them meaningful and fine-grained choices over the use of their personal information. We believe personal information should not be held hostage and we are committed to building products that let users export their personal information to other services. We don‘t sell users' personal information.

This crosses that line. It eliminates that fine-grained control, and means that things you could do in relative anonymity today, will be explicitly associated with your name, your face, your phone number come March 1st. If you use Google's services, you have to agree to this new privacy policy. Yet a real concern for various privacy concerns would recognize that I might not want Google associating two pieces of personal information.

And much worse, it is an explicit reversal of its previous policies. As Google noted in 2009:

Previously, we only offered Personalized Search for signed-in users, and only when they had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. What we're doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser. It's completely separate from your Google Account and Web History (which are only available to signed-in users). You'll know when we customize results because a "View customizations" link will appear on the top right of the search results page. Clicking the link will let you see how we've customized your results and also let you turn off this type of customization.

The changes come shortly after Google revamped its search results to include social results it called Search plus Your World. Although that move has drawn heavy criticism from all over the Web, at least it gives users the option to not participate.

[GoogleBlog via Washington Post]

How evil is Google? Your Senators want to know.

Summary: Is Google evil? That's essentially what the United States Senate is going to be trying to figure out over the next few days. Here's a resource guide and some points to ponder.

By David Gewirtz for ZDNet Government ~ September 21, 2011 -- 04:00 GMT (21:00 PDT), Article Source

Is Google evil? That's essentially what the United States Senate -- not exactly the best arbiters of good and evil, you gotta admit! -- is going to be trying to figure out over the next few days.

Later today, Google's former CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt is going to be planting himself in a chair in front of the antitrust sub-committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Watch hearing webcast

This august body consists of Democratic Senators Herb Kohl of Wisconsin (Chairman), Chuck Schumer of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Al Franken of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Republicans Michael S. Lee of Utah (Ranking Member), Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and John Cornyn of Texas.

The hearing, called "The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?", is quite obviously specifically targeting Google.

The power of Google

The power of Google is without dispute, as any of us who operate or write for a Web site will tell you. Almost anyone with a Web site on the Internet is, one way or another, subject to the whims and mercies of the Google search engine (and, to some extent as well, Google News and the other Google services).

If Google loves us and shares its juice, we make more money. If the Google algorithm dislikes us, looks down upon us, or believes we're "gaming it," it does its best to "disappear" us off the consumer Internet. Even a blog like ZDNet Government, which get a large chunk of traffic from regular readers, feels the effect of Google's affection. On days when my articles are picked up on Google News, for example, I get a tremendous surge in new readership.

Oh, the irony!

It's into this modern reality our Senators are preparing to tread, with some encouragement from Microsoft. The irony is hard to miss, given Microsoft's own brush with anti-trust a decade ago.

One of the interesting things to look for will be just what Eric Schmidt has to say. Mr. Schmidt has been known to make some pretty incendiary statements, including "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it" and "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Keep an eye out for some good, quotable quotes. But don't just listen for the fun of it. Pay attention, because what Schmidt says will have a direct impact on your relationship with the Web and the Internet for the foreseeable future.

How much control?

I believe the question shouldn't whether or not Google is padding its search results with too many AdWords ads at the top of pages. I believe the question should be, "How much control should one company have over what we can find on the Internet?"

This, of course, is an interesting paradox. We all want good information when we do a Web search. While content farms often populate our results with crap, who should be the arbiter of what information we find and what we don't? Should it be Google? Should it be Microsoft? Should it be the United States Senate? Should it be the FTC?

Or should we just leave it to market forces, which could reduce the Web into pockets of automatically-generated pablum suited for an algorithm's eyes, but of no use to society as a whole?

Make no mistake about it. This is big, although I have my doubts Senators Franken, Schumer, and their buddies really see how big. More and more of us get our information about the world, interact with the world, choose what we buy, manage our finances, and make decisions based on what we find online.

Determining who has the power to present that information to us is, essentially, determining who has the power to present to us a certain view of the world.

I am not a fan of breaking apart companies under the guise of anti-trust. I think we need to let corporations grow to their own, natural, top-heavy level and see what they do to manage themselves. Netflix is certainly a good example of the corporate form of natural selection.

But there is great power in Google's hands and that should make us all stop and think. After all, if Senators Kohl, Schumer, Klobuchar, Franken, Blumenthal, Lee, Grassley, and Cornyn ask too many hard questions of Mr. Schmidt, he could just decide to "disappear" them from what most people think of as the real Internet: Google search results.

Or worse.

Don't think it can't happen. Just ask former Senator (and current GOP Presidential candidate) Rick Santorum what he thinks about Google's power.


On one hand, it's very funny and humor points go to the Internet bloggers who Google-bombed Mr. Santorum. On the other hand, the influence of Google is not to be underestimated. Even though I don't think former Senator Santorum has a chance in heck of getting elected, he is a recognized candidate for President of the United States and still, Google's algorithm has the last laugh.

Please link to this article. I can use all the Google juice I can get.

Resource Guide

Google: A Guide to the Senate Judiciary Hearing

U.S. Senate: Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights

U.S. Senate: "The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?"

ZDNet: Is Google stuffing search pages with paid links? Senate hearing coming up on Wednesday...

Wall Street Journal: Top 10: The Quotable Eric Schmidt

Politico: Mr. Schmidt Goes to Washington

BusinessWeek: Google Ad Rate for Microsoft Said to Be Under U.S. Investigation

Google Goes "Evil"

By Adam Green, huffingtonpost.com, Posted: August 9, 2010 03:22 PM, Article Source

I just got off a media conference call with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

They announced a new policy recommendation that would kill the Internet as we know it, if implemented by FCC Chair Julius Genachowski and other policy makers.

The Google/Verizon deal (also posted online) basically says:

The old "wireline" Internet that will be irrelevant in a few years? We propose a "new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices" on that.

New "wireless services" (aka the entire future of the Internet)? No equivalent nondiscrimination rules for that, but we'll "create enforceable transparency rules." That way, as Americans lose access to the free and open Internet, they can visibly watch it go away.

Just in case "wireless services" doesn't encompass the entire future of the Internet, a new class of "new services" is envisioned, which Schmidt and Seidenberg actively differentiated from "the public Internet." Basically, through private contracting, big corporations could deal directly with the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world to create the next YouTube, maybe dangle it without discrimination to the public just long enough for us to be hooked, and then discriminate like hell over it. But don't worry, the FCC will "monitor the development of these services."

Google, a company that I've long admired and currently hold thousands of dollars of stock in, just "went evil." 

That's why over 300,000 Americans have signed an open letter telling Google "don't be evil" -- protect Net Neutrality and the Internet's level playing field. You can sign here.

This letter was launched last week by 5 groups that use the Internet to organize millions of Americans around issues, and are now using the Internet to save the Internet itself -- Free Press, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn, Credo Action, and ColorOfChange.

Why did Google cut this absurd deal, one that dramatically hurts its credibility in the online space?

We know why Verizon did it. Verizon is a decrepit old company that made massive investments in old landline technology and is coming face-to-face with market irrelevance. In a properly functioning marketplace, Verizon would soon crumble and die and be replaced by modern-day innovators. The only way for them to stay in business is to block innovation and to put tollbooths on the Internet that are in nobody's interest but Verizon's and other decrepit companies like AT&T.

There is no reason in the world for Google, which has made smart investments in the future, to find common ground with Verizon on the issue of Internet openness. None. Zero. Zilch. Today's deal was unneeded, uncalled for, and incompatible with Google's "don't be evil" mantra.

Google's decision to cut a deal with Verizon wreaks of either impatience or fear. Either Google wasn't willing to wait for the Verizons of the world to crumble and die -- and therefore moved it's own business development timeline up 5 or 10 years at the expense of the entire American public. Or, Google feared doing the dirty work that comes with being a leader -- despite launching a "Google Fiber for Communities" program that competes head-to-head with the decrepit incumbents, Google feared actually having to fulfill their potential to defeat the bad guys.

So, they cut a deal with the bad guys. And they're now asking the public to accept two Internet experiences -- a great experience for the old Internet that will soon cease to exist, and an experience filled with discrimination and lack of a level playing field for the entire future of the Internet.

This is a moment for good people to stand up and be counted.

Is Google Evil?

Internet privacy? Google already knows more about you than the National Security Agency ever will. And don?t assume for a minute it can keep a secret. YouTube fans -- and everybody else -- beware.

By Adam L. Penenberg, Mother Jones, Tue Oct. 10, 2006 12:00 AM PDT, Article Source

Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two former Stanford geeks who founded the company that has become synonymous with Internet searching, and you'll find more than a million entries each. But amid the inevitable dump of press clippings, corporate bios, and conference appearances, there's very little about Page's and Brin's personal lives; it's as if the pair had known all along that Google would change the way we acquire information, and had carefully insulated their lives--putting their homes under other people's names, choosing unlisted numbers, abstaining from posting anything personal on web pages.

That obsession with privacy may explain Google's puzzling reaction last year, when Elinor Mills, a reporter with the tech news service cnet, ran a search on Google CEO Eric Schmidt and published the results: Schmidt lived with his wife in Atherton, California, was worth about $1.5 billion, had dumped about $140 million in Google shares that year, was an amateur pilot, and had been to the Burning Man festival. Google threw a fit, claimed that the information was a security threat, and announced it was blacklisting cnet's reporters for a year. (The company eventually backed down.) It was a peculiar response, especially given that the information Mills published was far less intimate than the details easily found online on every one of us. But then, this is something of a pattern with Google: When it comes to information, it knows what's best.

From the start, Google's informal motto has been "Don't Be Evil," and the company earned cred early on by going toe-to-toe with Microsoft over desktop software and other issues. But make no mistake. Faced with doing the right thing or doing what is in its best interests, Google has almost always chosen expediency. In 2002, it removed links to an anti-Scientology site after the Church of Scientology claimed copyright infringement. Scores of website operators have complained that Google pulls ads if it discovers words on a page that it apparently has flagged, although it will not say what those words are. In September, Google handed over the records of some users of its social-networking service, Orkut, to the Brazilian government, which was investigating alleged racist, homophobic, and pornographic content.

Google's stated mission may be to provide "unbiased, accurate, and free access to information," but that didn't stop it from censoring its Chinese search engine to gain access to a lucrative market (prompting Bill Gates to crack that perhaps the motto should be "Do Less Evil"). Now that the company is publicly traded, it has a legal responsibility to its shareholders and bottom line that overrides any higher calling.

So the question is not whether Google will always do the right thing--it hasn't, and it won't. It's whether Google, with its insatiable thirst for your personal data, has become the greatest threat to privacy ever known, a vast informational honey pot that attracts hackers, crackers, online thieves, and--perhaps most worrisome of all--a government intent on finding convenient ways to spy on its own citizenry.

It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to worry about such a threat. "I always thought it was fertile ground for the government to snoop," CEO Schmidt told a search engine conference in San Jose, California, in August. While Google earned praise from civil libertarians earlier this year when it resisted a Justice Department subpoena for millions of search queries in connection with a child pornography case, don't expect it will stand up to the government every time: On its website, Google asserts that it "does comply with valid legal process, such as search warrants, court orders, or subpoenas seeking personal information."

What's at stake? Over the years, Google has collected a staggering amount of data, and the company cheerfully admits that in nine years of operation, it has never knowingly erased a single search query. It's the biggest data pack rat west of the NSA, and for good reason: 99 percent of its revenue comes from selling ads that are specifically targeted to a user's interests. "Google's entire value proposition is to figure out what people want," says Eric Goldman, a professor at Silicon Valley's Santa Clara School of Law and director of the High Tech Law Institute. "But to read our minds, they need to know a lot about us."

Every search engine gathers information about its users--primarily by sending us "cookies," or text files that track our online movements. Most cookies expire within a few months or years. Google's, though, don't expire until 2038. Until then, when you use the company's search engine or visit any of myriad affiliated sites, it will record what you search for and when, which links you click on, which ads you access. Google's cookies can't identify you by name, but they log your computer's IP address; by way of metaphor, Google doesn't have your driver's license number, but it knows the license plate number of the car you are driving. And search queries are windows into our souls, as 658,000 AOL users learned when their search profiles were mistakenly posted on the Internet: Would user 1997374 have searched for information on better erections or cunnilingus if he'd known that AOL was recording every keystroke? Would user 22155378 have keyed in "marijuana detox" over and over knowing someone could play it all back for the world to see? If you've ever been seized by a morbid curiosity after a night of hard drinking, a search engine knows--and chances are it's Google, which owns roughly half of the entire search market and processes more than 3 billion queries a month.

And Google knows far more than that. If you are a Gmail user, Google stashes copies of every email you send and receive. If you use any of its other products--Google Maps, Froogle, Google Book Search, Google Earth, Google Scholar, Talk, Images, Video, and News--it will keep track of which directions you seek, which products you shop for, which phrases you research in a book, which satellite photos and news stories you view, and on and on. Served up à la carte, this is probably no big deal. Many websites stow snippets of your data. The problem is that there's nothing to prevent Google from combining all of this information to create detailed dossiers on its customers, something the company admits is possible in principle. Soon Google may even be able to keep track of users in the real world: Its latest move is into free wifi, which will require it to know your whereabouts (i.e., which router you are closest to).

Google insists that it uses individual data only to provide targeted advertising. But history shows that information seldom remains limited to the purpose for which it was collected. Accordingly, some privacy advocates suggest that Google and other search companies should stop hoarding user queries altogether: Internet searches, argues Lillie Coney of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, are part of your protected personal space just like your physical home. In February, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to this effect, but Republicans have kept it stalled in committee. Google, which only recently retained a lobbying firm in Washington, is among the tech companies fighting the measure.

When I first contacted Google for this story, a company publicist insisted I provide a list of detailed questions, in writing; when I said that I had a problem with a source dictating the terms for an interview, he claimed that everyone who covers Google--including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal--submits advance questions. (A Times spokeswoman told me the paper sees no ethical problems with such a procedure, though individual reporters' decisions may vary; an editor in charge of editorial standards at the Journal said the same thing.) The Google flack assured me that this was so he could find the best person for me to talk to--more information for Google, so that Google could better serve me.

Eventually he agreed to put me in touch, sans scripted questions, with Nicole Wong, Google's associate corporate counsel. I asked her if the company had ever been subpoenaed for user records, and whether it had complied. She said yes, but wouldn't comment on how many times. Google's website says that as a matter of policy the company does "not publicly discuss the nature, number or specifics of law enforcement requests."

So can you trust Google only as far as you can trust the Bush administration? "I don't know," Wong replied. "I've never been asked that question before."

Google's Real Names Policy Is Evil

By Mat Honan, gizmodo.com, Jan 24, 2012 5:41 PM, Article Source

Google's horrible new policy on using real names in Google+ effectively means that the service is now a danger to real people. You have to ask yourself why a company that pledged to not be evil would do this.

Google has said that if you don't "use your full first and last name in a single language" you're in violation of it's terms of service. If it flags you, you'll have four days to change it or it'll boot your ass. You can't use initials (even that's what you go by). You can't use a pseudonym (even if that's what you go by). And you can't use numbers or symbols (even if they are part of your name).

Æ, e.e. cummings, Malcolm X, and T.S. Eliot would all be in violation of Google's policy. So, too (by my reading) would be Mark Twain, George Eliot and doubly so, R.U. Sirius. I'm pretty sure nobody whose name you actually know in the band U2 can use Google+ or, by extension, Gmail.

It's hard to understand why Google would embark on such a wrong-headed policy. The most likely answer is that this is a pure identity play. Forget social networking, the big goldmine of the future is online identity verification. This could be Google prioritizing getting ahead in that race over its users' preferences and safety.

In other words, it's Google putting money and greed over humanity. It's Google being evil.

Last week, Danah Boyd very eloquently laid out the case against a real names requirement. In short, if you don't let people use pseudonyms online, you're putting people in danger. Real, physical, danger.

Let's say you are a gay teen considering suicide who wants to reach out online without fear of your family finding out. Or maybe you are a whistleblower who fears retribution. Or a person of faith who could be subject to religious persecution. Or a dissident who fears imprisonment. A battered wife seeking shelter.

Or maybe you're somebody whose actual real name violates Google's policy. For example, it doesn't allow any numbers or symbols. So, sorry, Jennifer 8. Lee. I know you're a highly-respected and well-known journalist, but your name has a number in it so you've got four days to change that or you can fuck off back to Facebook.

And I don't know what the heck Prince is going to do about this.

The easy answer, of course, is simply to not use Google+. And I'm quite sure some people will posit that as a solution. But there are two reasons that's not the answer.

First, Google is too big and too important. As goes Google so goes the Web. It is one of a handful of companies that has real power and influence, capable of changing the status quo all on its own. If this becomes Google's universal policy, soon it will be that of the Internet itself.

Second, and this is related to the first, is that Google+ is a community. And we as a society we have a duty to work to make our communities free and open. We have a duty to change what is wrong, rather than to simply say "move along." Imagine, for example, if instead of working to change civil rights laws in the American South, the freedom riders had just offered one-way bus tickets to Massachusetts. If you don't like it in Birmingham, you should just move to Boston.

Google is one of the largest companies in the world, it touches billions of people. Governments regularly subpoena data from it. The things it knows about you matter. A lot.

Of course, Google does make it easy to quit Plus. It does offer a data liberation service that lets you take everything you've done on Google+ and put it on your hard drive.

Yet while it's admirable that Google is offering ways to liberate data, it also ought to be offering to liberate its users from fear of persecution. Sadly, right now, it's doing just the opposite.

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Google waited six months
to tell WikiLeaks it passed
employee data to FBI

Tech giant facing renewed questions about user data as WikiLeaks lawyer says 'The question I have is: what caused this six-month delay?'

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Google is facing renewed questions about its handling of subscribers' private information following the revelation that it waited six months after the lifting of a gagging order to alert WikiLeaks that emails and other data belonging to its employees had been passed to the FBI.

It was disclosed last month that Google had cooperated with federal agents after the search giant was served with secret warrants demanding that it hand over all emails and IP addresses relating to three WikiLeaks staffers. The warrants named the British citizen Sarah Harrison; senior WikiLeaks editor Joseph Farrell and the spokesperson for the organisation, Kristinn Hrafnsson.

The three were informed by Google on 23 December that their personal data had been disclosed to the US government. Google said that it had handed over "responsive documents" to detectives, though it did not specify the nature of the data it had divulged or how much.

The initial warrants were issued in March 2012, and Google said the three-year pause before WikiLeaks was notified was explained by a gagging order imposed by a federal judge that prohibited the tech company from discussing the matter with anybody, including the targeted individuals. But new information obtained by the investigative reporter Alexa O'Brien shows that the warrants were in fact unsealed by the US district court in Alexandria, Virginia, on 15 May last year – six months before WikiLeaks was approached.

WikiLeaks has long suspected that Google disclosed the existence of the warrants in the week of Christmas in order to bury uncomfortable material in a slow news cycle.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said the company's policy was to "tell people about government requests for their data, except in limited cases, like when we are gagged by a court order, which sadly happens quite frequently". The spokesperson said that they had challenged many orders relating to WikiLeaks that in turn had led to disclosures to the individuals concerned.

"We've also pushed to unseal all the documents related to the investigation. We continue to argue for surveillance reform which would enable us to be more transparent."

Michael Ratner, WikiLeaks' US-based lawyer, said that Harrison, Hrafnsson and Farrell should have been given notice of the warrants soon after they were unsealed last May. "The question I have as their attorney is: what caused this six-month delay in notifying our clients of these search warrants?"

A clue to why the warrants were issued in the first place is given by the fact that they came from a court in the eastern district of Virginia – the same jurisdiction in which a grand jury was convened as part of a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks. The investigation, which is believed to be ongoing, related to the leaking of a vast quantity of secret US government documents by the Army soldier Chelsea Manning.

This week it was announced that Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for the leak in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, will write an opinion column for the Guardian.

Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find money cannot be eaten. - Cree Prophecy

Artist, John Flores

The man whispered, "God, speak to me" and a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear. So the man yelled "God, speak to me" and the thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen. The man looked around and said, "God let me see you" and a star shined brightly. But the man did not notice. And the man shouted, "God show me a miracle" and a life was born. But the man did not know. So the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are there" Whereupon God reached down and touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Somebody is looking at whatever you do, so always present your most charming you
Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way you expect.