Tag Archives: Google

The Redneck Channel

RobertsonMost of the editorials we read were admirably evenhanded about Phil Robertson’s remarks in GQ.  His detractors acknowledge Mr. Robertson’s right to express an opinion, and supporters acknowledge the network’s right to cut his TV show.  An example is Charles Blow’s piece in the New York Times.

The Times editorial uses facts to rebut Robertson’s ideas about racial discrimination.  It is an excellent example of why freedom of speech is so important.  Robertson also made insensitive remarks about gays.  Regular readers know Jeremiah’s position on both issues – and the salutary effect of dialogue.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Rather than writing, “Phil Robertson is a racist maniac that must be stopped,” Mr. Blow gently corrects the misconceptions.  This is an editorial that might actually change someone’s opinion.

We also read plenty of culture war stuff, about boycotting this or that, web content being taken down, and censorship on Facebook.  Many people prefer to stifle views they don’t like, and punish those who express them.

Is it better for a Phil Robertson to freely spew his views so that we can freely address the real feelings of hatred and fear that afflict some fraction of our population?

Taking offense is one thing.  Intimidation is another.  There is evidence that organs of the central state – like Facebook, Google, and the IRS – engage in censorship and intimidation.  A repressive government is not interested in dialogue.

The quote above is from the Times comments section.  No, not Voltaire – the other one.  It is vitally important to have people express these views, so that we can challenge them.  The impulse to stifle has no place in a free society.

See also:  End the IRS


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Don’t Get Scroogled

en-INTL_L_Scroogled_Keep_Calm_Mug_DHF-01113_mncoYou may recall Jeremiah warning you to stop using Google, because they collaborate with the secret police, and then following up on the machinations of Dr. Evil, Eric Schmidt.  Thanks to public pressure, the big internet companies are now pleading to disclose their secret court orders.

We also reported how collaborating is bad for business, and here we see investors pressuring AT&T and Verizon.  This is how you lobby for change in a capitalist society.  Keep up the good work!

I want to reiterate what we have said in the past – Yahoo has never given access to the NSA or to any other government agency. Ever.

Now, Yahoo plans to encrypt all personal data, and … here we have the highly amusing Scroogled campaign from Microsoft.  In case you’re new to this,

  • Stop using the Google browser.  Switch to IE or Firefox.
  • Set the browser’s search box to DuckDuckGo.
  • Switch your email to Yahoo mail.

If you’re technically inclined, you may want to add your own encryption, anonymous browsing, and VPN.  This is serious stuff, folks.  The internet has become a hostile environment for anyone with opinions that might some day be used against you.  Here is the tragic farewell of Groklaw.

Your data is probably not safe with any of these companies, but at least we can make privacy a competitive issue.

By the way, now it has been established that the NSA shares its stolen data with the DHS, IRS, DEA, and FBI – and maybe OFA – we will just call the whole apparatus “secret police” for short.  Readers are invited to submit glib abbreviations for the police-harassment-security-advertising complex.

See also:  Petition to Stop Reading Email

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Don’t Be Evil

eric_schmidt_reuters-300x300Here is a fascinating article by Julian Assange, in which he links Google to the State Department and NSA surveillance.  It reads like the trailer for a Tom Clancy novel.  Google has an employee doing covert activities, and the CEO’s girlfriend is an informal liaison.

You can decide for yourself how strong the evidence is.  One persuasive item is this, from a leaked email message:

Google is getting White House and State Dept support and air cover.  In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do… US gov’t can then disavow knowledge …

A revolving door between Google and the State Department is creepy but not, by itself, illegal.  The alleged covert activities, if proved, would be illegal, but – who’s going to investigate?

Google chief Eric Schmidt has not exactly been a friend of privacy rights.  Here he is, saying that Gmail users don’t have an expectation of privacy, and here again, that spying is “the nature of our society.”

… unifying vast commercial and political databases to understand the proclivities of individual voters likely to support Obama or be open to his message

Schmidt also organized the data mining operation which gets much of the credit for President Obama’s reelection – and he has kept them on, as a paid research agency.  These young techies revolutionized the science of campaigning.  One wonders, though, if they didn’t have access to a wee bit of “nonpublic personal information.”

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Bad for Business

Imagine being a Cisco rep right now, trying to sell telecoms gear in, say, Brazil.  It’s not so pretty when they ask about that NSA backdoor.  Not only is this rogue agency not checked by Congress, they compel American tech companies to get into bed with them – and then lie about it.


If you were an investor, wouldn’t you like to know that Cisco is burned now in foreign markets?  Wouldn’t you expect them to disclose this materially adverse information?  That’s the argument made by Patrick Watson, in this clever article.  American tech companies face a choice between violating an NSA gag order, or violating SEC disclosure rules.

“The National Security Agency will kill the U.S. technology industry singlehandedly,” said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst in San Jose.

Maybe that’s why 5% of Intel stock is sold short.  Intel makes most of its money overseas.  One analyst, cited by Bloomberg, says the NSA has the potential to damage our entire tech industry.  Just to be sure, the agency has also pissed off important allies, like Germany.  Chancellor Merkel is pushing for tough privacy measures in EU trade laws.

Berlin’s unexpected move highlights the anger generated in Germany by claims that American intelligence eavesdropped on a wide range of targets, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

We bugged her phone and now she doesn’t want to buy technology from us.  Did we mention that Merkel grew up in East Germany?   By contrast, here is Europe signing a fat free trade agreement with Canada.

Now that it’s hitting their finances, collaborators like Eric Schmidt are crying crocodile tears.  The NSA answers to no one – apparently, not even the president – but companies can feel pain.

See also:  Stop Using Google

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Filed under Business, Civil Rights

Stop Using Google

Remember Google, the $300 billion multinational whose charter famously includes “don’t be evil?”  The one whose corporate image is that of fun loving computer geeks?  LOL

Germany’s top security official says Internet users worried about their data being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using American websites such as Google and Facebook.

Google, as everyone knows, has grown up and become part of America’s security apparatus.  This is one attack on your civil rights that you can fight without leaving your desk.  Stop using Google.  Right now.

DuckThere are several good search engines you can use instead.  DuckDuckGo, pictured here, does not track its users.  Even if you choose another establishment search engine, you will still make the point.  If we all desert Google en masse, maybe they’ll get the message.

See also:  DuckDuckGo sees user base jump

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