The New Google
Big Brother Breathing Down Your Neck
And it goes into effect on March 1
Why should you care?
Because, depending on how you use the web, it could impact you in significant ways that you may not even realize. And Google isn't bothering to explain those implications to you.
Google has been quietly following you around the web, logging your every move, through all of its "free" services. Don't be confused - they're not really "free." You pay for them by agreeing to allow Google to monitor and record everything you say and do.
Now, beginning March 1, 2012, Google intends to combine ALL the data it collects about you from each of its individual services into one giant data file, instead of having bits and pieces scattered over all its services.
And the only way you can opt out is by never using any Google services, ever again. If you log into ANY Google service after March 1, you agree to this new policy. AND you give them permission to use not only your future actions, but all the past data they have collected about you up till now as well.
Did you know Google provides more than 70 services? That's a lot of info to collect and assemble!
What are Google services?
- Well, of course, there's Google's core business, its best-of-breed world-favorite search engine, which is the #1 web site in the world in terms of traffic. (It passed Yahoo a couple of years ago to gain this distinction.) Every search term you type in that search box is saved, along with which results you click on. That also includes searches you do on your iPhone or Android smart phone.
- Then there's Gmail, which has millions of users. Google already analyzes the content of your Gmail - have you ever noticed that the ads displayed down the right-hand side of the page are related to the subject of whichever e-mail you happen to be reading?
- And, there's Google Maps, which records every address you search for.
- How about YouTube? Yep, it tracks every search you make, every video you click on.
- Do you use Google's Chrome browser instead of Firefox or Internet Explorer? Your every action is tracked.
- Google News? Tracks which stories you click on.
- Google Docs? All the content, tracked.
- Google Groups? All the members, all your discussions, tracked.
What sort of picture would all that data, combined, paint of you?
Would it be an accurate picture of you? What if, like me, you use the internet to search for answers to questions your readers ask? Just because I search on a term doesn't necessarily mean I'm interested in the topic, but I may be answering a customer who is.
What if you're just curious and type in a search like "how to make methamphetamine," because you want to know why you have to sign that silly statement every time you need to buy Sudafed for your nasal decongestion, why you can only buy a 10-day supply at a time, and you wonder how in the world people can use it to make illegal drugs? Are the police now going to come banging on your door to see if you're making meth?
OK, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but it could happen.
And the worst part? You cannot "opt out." The only way to opt out is to close ALL your Google accounts and never use another Google service.
Well, the official party line is that it provides for a better user experience. For example, if you search using the term "Jaguar," they'll know, based on all the data they've accumulated about you, whether you're looking for the car or the animal (or maybe the watch), so it will save you time by not including the search results about the one you're not interested in.
Wait just a doggone minute here!
Isn't that a form of censorship? What if I'm searching on the term "jaguar" to find out all the different ways that term can be used (in case there's one I don't know about, so I don't embarrass myself)? If Google is only returning what its computer has guessed that I'm looking for, I'm not really getting true search results, am I? Isn't that what we depend on Google for in the first place?
I don't know about you, but when I do a search using Google, I want to know everything that's out there, not some filtered results where their computer has tried to guess what I want!
The REAL answer? The REAL reason for Google's aggressive decision to collect such a huge online dossier about you?
Greed. Plain and simple. Yep, just like everything else, follow the money. That data is worth BIG bucks, to a number of interested bidders. And clearly, your privacy is worthless to Google.
Who would be interested in all that private data about you, you wonder?
Google + Government = Big Brother!
According to Simon Black of Sovereign Man, a former military intelligence officer, "In the first half of 2011, the US government requested information on over 11,000 Google accounts. Google complied with a full 93% of those requests. Your account might have been one of them, and you would never know.
"It’s not just Google either. Between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, the four companies power the email accounts of over 1 billion people. And all of them are in bed with the US government.
"In a way, they have to be. They’re all US companies – headquartered in the US and subject to US law. When the government comes looking for information, or some judge decrees that a user’s emails be confiscated as evidence, they have to comply.
"Big Brother compliance also goes far beyond email. Skype, the popular instant message and VOIP software that was once thought to be private and secure, is now owned by Microsoft… meaning that Skype chats are now also subject to courts and police agencies.
"So what to do? First, and most importantly, be mindful about what you put in an email or online chat platform. The best rule of thumb is that sending an unsecure email is like shouting the contents across the street."
In addition to government, other entities would pay big bucks to have access to all that data about you - insurance companies, employers, marketers, opposing lawyers, law enforcement, to name a few.
Protect Your Privacy and Personal Security
As military members, veterans and family members, you are already aware of the need for operational security, but are you as aware of your need for personal security?
Are you as careful with your own secrets as you are with the government's? Or have you fallen into the habit of "living social," putting everything you do and think on Facebook and Twitter, checking into everywhere you go on FourSquare? If so, STOP! You've become your own worst enemy! By doing those things, you're handing an opponent or someone with evil intentions all the information and evidence they need with which to attack you, and the consequences could be severe and life-altering.
So, What Can You Do?
- Forward a link to this page to everyone in your address book, then go to the bottom of the page and click on the buttons to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Spread the word. We need this to go viral and generate many more signatures on the petition before March 1.
- Go into every Google account you have, BEFORE MARCH 1, and delete your history. You do that by clicking on "Account Settings," then scroll down to the bottom of the page, where it says, "Services." Click on "Go to Web History." If you had web history enabled, you can disable it here, and delete all your previous history. Of course, this won't delete the information from Google's servers, so the effectiveness of this step is in question.
- Before March 1, close every Gmail account you have and find another e-mail provider. And tell your friends who e-mail you from their Gmail account that you will no longer be answering them to a Gmail address, and give them a link to this page to explain why.
- If you're using Google Chrome as your browser, switch to another browser. If you don't like Internet Explorer (I don't know anyone who does like it!), then use Firefox or Safari.
- Change your default search engine from Google to something else. Since Yahoo and Bing are also US-based, your data is probably no more secure with them. We recommend the offshore ixquick.com, which does not log your IP address and does not track every move you make. They also give you the option to connect to the results pages through their proxy server, so the web site you connect to cannot collect your IP address either.
One caveat about using the proxy server -- Google Maps will not work with a proxy, so if you want to use Google Maps, you'll have to connect directly.
As members of the finest military in the world, you already make a tremendous difference. This is your opportunity to make a difference in another way, and to help preserve and protect our privacy as well as our freedom.
Please, sign the petition today, and ask all your friends to do the same. Someone needs to remind Google of its original motto: "Do no evil." This move by Google could easily have evil consequences.
Thanks for all you do for us! Please feel free to leave your comments below.