Google cares about your privacy

And so is promptly demonstrated in this sharply wit satire:

Via a comment in Que Treta

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Out-fuckin-rageous

Ok, so yesterday I went to Colombo’s (a shopping mall) FNAC, seeking for the English edition of 1984 (which incidentally is mentioned a couple of posts below), which I found with a little help from one of the clerks. It costed € 11.70, which I thought was not cheap, but still acceptable. And now that I was there, I asked the clerk to see if they had another (english version) book, Zamyatin’s “We“, which in Amazon costs $ 11 something (there various editions, not just the one I linked; all go around the same prices), to which, if you add shipping ports, amount to about its price here, € 14.50!!! For a small book (little above 250 pages)… written in 1921!!.. !!!!!! The damn thing ought to be in the public domain by now!, were it not for ever-stretching copyright laws!!! And then they want the people to read more books… yeah right…

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Stallman’s predictive ability

I guess sometimes it is unfortunate when you can predict the future… This is a tale written in 1997 where the author predicts future aspects of copyright (the fact the essay is called “The right to read” should provide some insight…). Regrettably, a decade after a disturbing number of ‘predictions’ have made their way into reality. Think I’m being pessimistic? Read for yourself:

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.

Some things are just too good…

… to go unnoticed. And the following comment, posted in this Slashdot thread, is surely one of them:

The Bush administration has shit all over the Constitution and this country. They have committed treason.

That’s not what scares me (or any other onlooker from Europe or the rest of the world).

What scares us is that you shitheads let them get away with it. You almost impeached a president for lying about a blowjob, but you don’t take down an administration that is actively dismantling everything your ancestors fought and died for.

The thread deals about an article where this idiot says he wants 1984 in the good old US of A.

Personally, what scares me the most is that when I read this, I though of a lecture given by Stallman, where he says something like this: “Americans have the bad habit of instead of solving their problems, they focus more on imposing the same problems onto the rest of the world”. He said this referring to copyright laws, but it’d be naive (to put it mildly) to think they’ll stop there…

You’ve been Scroogled, have a nice day!

Cory Doctorow has written a piece on what would happen if Google… well, stopped not being evil. The short essay describes a hypothetical association between Google and Department of Homeland Security, a recent security US security agency. Although I’ve not finished reading it, the think the most amazed me was, how plausible the described scenario is. I’m not saying it is (or it is not) true. I’m saying that unlike some other dystopian scenarios, this one, despite being an extreme one, looks surprisingly plausible.

WHAT IF GOOGLE WERE EVIL? Cory Doctorow imagines the worst

“Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.” —Cardinal Richelieu

“We don’t know enough about you.” —Google CEO Eric Schmidt

I might further edit this post after I finish reading the essay…

EDIT: I am now writing a couple of days after the initial post. I’ve finished reading it, and while I did not actually enjoyed the end (seemed a little far fetched, reminded me of the ending of Brave New World…) the essay itself is a joy to read. I wonder what Google guys must have thought of this… I mean, I’ve never worked at Google (though I did apply once…), but from I’ve read, it appears that most of the guys of work there, enjoys their work very much. For instance, quoting Peter Norvig, here’s what he says about his own job (he is currently Director of Reseach at Google):

Note to recruiters: Please don’t offer me a job. I already have the best job in the world at the best company in the world. Note to engineers and researchers: see why you should apply to help.

And this “working enthusiasm”, lacking a better description, appears to be pervasive at Google. So how can an IT company with such devoted workers come so close to ending privacy worldwide? This is not an easy question, but I think that this may be similar to judging the nature of scientific developments: it depends not only on the developments per se, but also on the use that they are given.The scientific development in discussion here is a great search engine, one whose greatness is only surpassed by the enormous abuse possibilities (as so many science and technological wonders before it). I think they new this for a while back, and that may have been one of the reasons for their world famous motto: “Don’t be evil”. But they already caved to Chinese censorship laws, and with the US becoming a more police state as each day goes by, one can only become wary of possibilities… Reminds me of a quote by Reagan that I previously posted:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free

A final note to say that subcontracting intelligence gathering to the private sector, something referred to in the essay, is not fiction; it is a proposed measure by the US government (will post link to it when I find it).