The data mining technology that is integral to the Google AdWords experience is a power tool in creating an individual profile for anyone who surfs the web. The amazing capacity to target specific ads to personal search topics, geographic locations and web history is the harbinger of a total recall on your personality. If the benefits of getting relevant advertisement that maximize sales opportunities were the only purpose of the process, the relatively benign intrusion of a materialistic message might be tolerable to most internet users. However, the bull in the china shop is not merely in the business of making a commercial profit. Google is a wonder creation of the calculate surveillance society.Research at Google acknowledges:
OK, so the dominant internet technology company is in business to harvest information on the inner recesses of each unique login. Should a cyber sleuth be concerned? Well, according to the scholarly paper, The Google-NSA Alliance: Developing Cybersecurity Policy at Internet Speed by Stephanie A. DeVos:
"When data mining systems are placed at the core of interactive services in a rapidly changing and sometimes adversarial environment, statistical models need to be combined with ideas from control and game theory; for example, when using learning in auction algorithms.
Research at Google is at the forefront of innovation in machine learning and data mining - we have one of the most active groups working on virtually all aspects of data mining."
PC World in the article, The Google-NSA Alliance: Questions and Answers lists the following concerns and would have you believe there is nothing ominous behind any alleged relationship.
"On February 4, 2010, the Washington Post reported that Google and the National Security Agency had partnered to analyze the cyberattacks, with the objective of better defending Google and its users from future attack. Though neither organization commented on the partnership, sources told the Washington Post that the alliance allows for the sharing of critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect Americans’ privacy of online communications. Under the terms of the alliance, Google will not be sharing proprietary data and the NSA will not be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts. The article stated that Google approached the NSA shortly after the attacks, but due to the sensitivity of the alliance, the deal took time to be formulated. Any agreement would be the first instance where Google had entered a "formal information-sharing relationship" with the NSA."
If the nature of the relationship between Google and the National Security Agency is innocent, where is the transparency? This item from Legal Times, DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Any Partnership Between Google, NSA, has a disturbing appearance.
1) Is the Google-NSA alliance really happening?
2) What would be the point of a Google-NSA partnership?
3) Would the government gain access to my personal information?
4) Why would Google work with the NSA instead of the Department of Homeland Security?
5) Has the NSA worked with Google before?
Another concern comes from a report in Higher Thinking Primate. "The ruling comes as controversy has been growing around CISPA, a bill that passed the House last month that would allow private firms like Google to share a wide range of information with government agencies like the NSA for cybersecurity reasons."
"The Justice Department is defending the government's refusal to discuss—or even acknowledge the existence of—any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency.
The Washington based advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center sued in federal district court here to obtain documents about any such agreement between the Internet search giant and the security agency.
The NSA responded to the suit with a so-called "Glomar" response in which the agency said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any responsive records exist. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington sided with the government last July."
Even if one accepts that, the NSA agreement preserves Google's stated policies on Americans' privacy, what will be the effect of the new CISPA legislation on the supposed firewall protecting your personal data history?The technology behind the most successful search engine evolves as different objectives develop. Anyone conducting Google searches knows that changes to their algorithms have the net effect of filtering out results that once were routine. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has concerns about "the vagueness of what Google considers to be a high number of removal notices, how Google plans to make its determinations, and how "there will be no process of recourse for sites who have been demoted."
Many civil libertarians fear that the sordid political agenda of the NSA is influencing the business practices of Google to ban "undesirable" content from search queries.Wire publishes a disturbing article, NSA Mimics Google, Pisses Off Senate.
"In 2008, a team of software coders inside the National Security Agency started reverse-engineering the database that ran Google.
They closely followed the Google research paper describing BigTable — the sweeping database that underpinned many of Google’s online services, running across tens of thousands of computer servers — but they also went a little further. In rebuilding this massive database, they beefed up the security. After all, this was the NSA."
Even more sinister is the description of NSA projects on How The NSA Used Google To Spy On Americans — Until The Internet Figured It Out. The 634-page book, "Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research", which is available for download and was published by the NSA’s Center for Digital Content, has an interesting chapter entitled "Google Hacking."
Once online, the data lives eternally. Act accordingly.
James Hall – May 29, 2013