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Big Brother 2.0: Google-NSA through foreigners' eyes
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2010-03-09 17:15
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:
Second, they see Google increasingly monopolizing the global search business, among other key market segments.
Third, they see all the private information Google is aggressively and less-than-openly collecting on employees of foreign governments and citizens of other countries:
Even with all that private information that Google collects, Google's self-described "omnivorous" search engine wants more. Google VP Marissa Mayer explains Google's information ambitions to the Telegraph:
Foreigners increasingly are aware that Google cumulatively knows more about more of them than any other entity in the world -- by far.
In sum, if Google has all this private information on so many people around the world, and Google is seeking NSA's help to protect it, it is no stretch to be concerned that either the U.S. Government, other governments, and/or bad actors/hackers could ultimately manage to get access to some of this unprecedented trove of highly-sensitive private information.