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Big Brother 2.0: Google-NSA through foreigners' eyes

Today's New York Times front page story "Google's computing power betters translation tool" by Miguel Helft spotlights that Google arguably owns and operates "the world's largest computer." The article quotes a Google  engineering VP explaining that Google's unparalleled computing power enables Google to "take approaches others can't even dream of."

Combine the world's largest computer, with the best automated translation capability for most all of the world's top languages, with reports from the front page of the Washington Post that Google proactively sought help from America's top spy agency, the NSA, for its cyber-security vulnerabilities, and it is not surprising that foreigners would be growing increasingly wary of Google and the extraordinary potential power that Google holds over them. 

So what do foreigners increasingly see Google doing?

First, they increasingly see "The United States of Google," a term Jeff Jarvis coined in his book on Google. Shortly after Google publicly accused the Chinese Government of being behind or complicit in the cyber-attacks on Google:

Don't miss The Onion's latest Google Privacy Satire -- its hilarious!

Click here to read The Onion's latest satire about  Google's privacy invasion problems. Its hilarious just like the Onion's other satire video on Google's "Opt-out Villiage."  

  • Why it is so poignant and funny scary is that Google has all this private information on everyone and is increasingly integrating it for real, just as this recent article from the Register shows. 

If you enjoy these satires, please check out more at the GoogleMonitor.com humor section. Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

Did Google Over-React to China Cybersecurity Breach? -- "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Part VII

It appears Google impetuously over-reacted to the big cyber-security breach of Google and a reported ~30 other companies. Google alone publicly blamed China and only Google publicly pledged to stop censoring search results in China in retaliation.    

What is the evidence that Google impetuously over-reacted here?

First, Forbes reported: "Researchers Call Google Hackers 'Amateurs' -- A new report says the attack on the search giants network was far less sophisticated than it has claimed." Specifically:

  • "A great play is being made about how sophisticated these attacks were," says Damballa's vice president of research Gunter Ollman. "But tracing back the attacks shows that they were not sophisticated, and that the attackers behind them have a history of running multiple botnets with a variety of tools and techniques," many of which, he says, were far more rudimentary than Google or the cybersecurity industry has portrayed."

People incorrectly assume that because of Google's popularity, brand and reputation for innovation, that Google is  secure and cutting edge on cyber-security -- when in reality they are not.

Facebook & Google in Race to Privacy Bottom? Part XX in Privacy vs Publcacy series.

It appears as if privacy is the common casualty of Facebook and Google's competition to outdo each other in forcefeeding a change in society's privacy norms.

The WSJ reported: "Facebook glitch sends email to wrong recipients." 

  • If that isn't people's worst email nightmare, what is?  

    This just happens on the day that Google for the first time "has indexed content from the world's largest social network [Facebook] in its real time results" per Digital Beat.

    • Now if you/or Facebook make a mistake with Facebook settings, the world will know it.  

    Newsweek Daniel Lyons got it right in his excellent column this week: "Google's Orwell Moment: On the web, privacy has a price."

    • His conclusion is on the mark and disturbing:
      • "But what is the value of your list of friends? If it's not worth much, your membership on Facebook may be the deal of a lifetime. If it's incredibly valuable, you're getting massively ripped off. Only the techies know how much your info is worth, and they're not telling. But the fact that they'd rather get your data than your dollars tells you all you need to know."

    The takeaway here is that there is a big publicacy stampede to monetize social media web 2.0 and people's privacy is getting trampled in the process.

    ***

     

    Publicacy vs Privacy Series:

Watch Google Buzz video satires from Comedy.com & WSJ.com

It appears Google Buzz' privacy fiasco has generated a different kind of "buzz" than Google had hoped for.

  • Two different groups, Comedy.com and WSJ.com have created hilarious videos on Google Buzz.
    1. Don't miss Comedy.com's video "Google Threatens to kill users".  
      • (2 min 3 seconds and don't miss the ending) 
    2. Also don't miss the WSJ.com's video "You're a Bossy Pants, Google" by Peter Jeffrey.
      • (1 min 41 seconds)

If you enjoy these, there are other links to more short humorous videos on Google at the humor page of my watchdog site www.GoogleMonitor.com from The Onion, The Big Honkin, and The Vacationers among others.

Of the dozen or so humor entries at http://googlemonitor.com/content/sections/humor/ my personal favorites are:

  • "Google Roommates Episode I" from the Big Honkin (3 min 3 seconds); and
  • "The Google Opt-out Village" from The Onion Network (2 min 9 seconds).

    Enjoy and pass them along.

     

     

     

     

     

Techdirt blames Google Buzz victims

Unfortunately I have to respectfully challenge Mr. Masnick of Techdirt for his reflexive apologia of Google in blaming Google's victims for exerising their legal rights to protect themselves and to get their day in court -- in filing a class action privacy suit over Google Buzz.

  • See Mr. Masnick's post: "And of course, class action lawsuit filed against Google Buzz"  

    Mr. Masnick appears to be ignoring some extremely relevant Google facts, history and serial patterns of misbehavior.

    First, Google has NO customer service!

    • Everyone knows there is no way for a Google user with a problem/concern to connect with a human being by phone or email in order to be heard.
    • Google believes personal interaction and common human courtesy is inefficient and does not scale.

    Second, Google routinely represents itself to the public as highly valuing privacy, security and users. When the record clearly shows it does not.

    •  
      • (Note: Please see my Watchdog site www.GoogleMonitor.com for copious evidence/proof of how Google does not live up to its representations and how many complaints/lawsuits there are against Google on many of the same subjects: privacy, IP, security, and antitrust.)
    • What are people supposed to do when they feel wronged or injured by Google and they can't reach Google for personal resolution? Comment on Techdirt?

    Third, Techdirt is aware, much better than most, that Google is a serial offender on privacy issues.

Google's Privacy "Buzz" Saw -- Privacy vs Publicacy Series Part XIX

Kudos to Nicholas Carlson of Silicon Valley Insider for an outstanding must-read post on Google's new social media additions to gmail it calls Google Buzz: "WARNING: Google Buzz has a huge privacy flaw."

Google's "Immaculate Collaboration" with NSA? Part XIX of Privacy-Publicacy Series

Ellen Nakashima may have a career-making scoop with her front page Washington Post investigative reporting piece: "Google to enlist NSA to help ward off cyberattacks."  

  • As Publisher of the Google watchdog site, www.GoogleMonitor.com, I can't say I am surprised about a Google-NSA connection, especially given that over the last year my PrecursorBlog has posted: 
  1. An 18-part "Privacy vs. Publicacy" series;
  2. A 6-part "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" series; and 
  3. A 16-part "The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem" series

Ms. Nakeshima's revelation that Google sought out NSA's help shortly after it suffered massive cyber-attacks, apparently from China, opens a Pandorra's Box of privacy issues given that Google's aggressive "publicacy" (anti-privacy) business model, policies and practices have shown little respect for people's privacy in practice over the last decade.

Google Apps' Security Chief is a Magician/mentalist; Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel Part V

Only Google would think it was a good idea to have a Director of Security for Google Apps, Eran Feigenbaum, who is also a professional magician/mentalistA ValleyWag post first spotlighted this frightening irony/bad joke. 

Let's review what a magician and mentalist does:

  • Per Dictionary.com:
    • A "magician" is: "an entertainer who is skilled in producing illusion by sleight of hand, deceptive devices." 
    • A "mentalist" is: "a mind reader, psychic, or fortuneteller." 

Security is very serious business. Given that Google arguably has collected and stored more recent private information... on more people without their meaningful permission... than any entity in the world... one would think that Google would treat security as very serious business too.    

People want real security, not the illusion of security. Security is deadly serious; its not for show.

What is most disturbing about Google's judgment here is that this is not an isolated issue undermining confidence in Google's committment to security; see the other parts of the series on "Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel," to learn how this is part of a broader disturbing pattern of Google not taking security seriously.  

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