Monday, November 19, 2007

Before the Fire

It’s no secret Gentle Reader, I love technology and all the information and entertainment that is so nicely packaged these days to keep me grinning and numb. It’s all so shiny; so pretty. It’s like having the Library of Alexandria at ones fingertips – before the fire, of course.

…Before the fire…

Not to sound too alarmist in nature but I believe that is where we now find ourselves at this juncture in history. What’s old is new again. I am not a conspiracy buff by nature but I do think that this ( is worth a look. There you will find several interesting articles including this one ( that contains the following interesting list of things Google routinely does…

1. Google's immortal cookie:Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

2. Google records everything they can:For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."

3. Google retains all data indefinitely:Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

4. Google won't say why they need this data:Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

5. Google hires spooks:Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.

6. Google's toolbar is spyware:With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version. But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive security risk.

7. Google's cache copy is illegal:Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters, not "opt-out."

8. Google is not your friend:By now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to most websites. Webmasters cannot avoid seeking Google's approval these days, assuming they want to increase traffic to their site. If they try to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, they may find themselves penalized by Google, and their traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time Google doesn't even answer email from webmasters.

9. Google is a privacy time bomb:With 200 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already achieved.

Now this article was written about three or four years ago and Google has now become the official 900 lbs. Gorilla of the search engine world. I myself blog here and explore the world via a wonderful program called Google Earth (; two examples on how I have embraced Big Brother with open arms. Concerns over privacy and security have always been at the forefront of the criticisms of Google. In this age, however, where we gleefully surrender little things such as personal freedoms and liberties for the greater good comes the announcement of a brand new Google start up company called, 23andMe (

23andMe has just opened for business. The Reuters article by Lisa Baertlein can be found here > ( In the nutshell for the price of $999.00 you can now have your own personal genome deciphered and placed into a database for you to look up things such as your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or athletes foot. You can do research into where your own particular genetic code can be traced to. Mine, no doubt, would be full of stocky, balding, Irish men looking for a decent potato and a pint or two or three of Guinness – but that’s not important now… What is important is that Google is a hairsbreadth away from being the purveyor of a viable genetic database that would be so tempting for a monstrous corporation (or monstrous government for that matter) not to pull information from.

…Oh so tempting…

"We believe this information provides intriguing insights into an individual's genetics, with the goal of expanding the collective knowledge base by enabling active participation in research," said Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe co-founder, who is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Think of it – genetic identification for everything. The testing equipment may even have the Google logo on it. Hey you advertise where you can. You want to start your car, open your front door, vote, and buy groceries or a new computer just lick here for your identity confirmation. Advertising campaigns could be tailored to the individual identified consumer. The target market (you and I) wouldn’t stand a chance. Speaking of things that wouldn’t stand a chance how about that little document known as the Constitution of the United States? Where would ones rights begin and end in a world dictated by ones own potential genetic yield verses what one actually accomplishes by working and striving for something that is only bought and paid for with the power of ones own dreams?

Talk about fascism!

Oh the control – the power… it’s too much for a controlling entity not to want to direct... to oversee. Think of the jobs that would be created for monitoring citizens. Yes… good times, good times. Evil Chicken – you are nuts. This would never happen – it’s too much like science fiction. I humbly submit, Gentle Reader, that there is no such thing as ‘science fiction’ any more – it’s only what is and what could be.

Could Be” got a real shot in the arm today.

...I’d type more but agents are converging on my location. – Not that I’m paranoid or anything…


mommanator said...

now gentle writer I thought you were a Christian- He knows everything about you anyway so why worry about the net! Isn't this also a precursor to His coming back! Relax little buddy- And keep you sin list short! LOL Love ya buddy!

Evil Chicken said...

Evil Chicken took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“You’re right, Mom.” He said with a smile. “You’re right.” His mind then began to vaguely consider the reasons why on earth he would begin to write about himself in the third person.

There was no good reason, save for the remote possibility that Google was somehow behind it.

“You’re right.”

Pax Romano said...

So much for "First do no harm".

Pax Romano said...

Or is it, "Do no evil" ... wasn't that Google's mantra????