Author Topic: NSA’s Preferred Vendor Why Conservatives Should Worry More about Google  (Read 503 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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http://www.redstate.com/2013/11/14/nsas-preferred-vendor/

NSA’s Preferred Vendor
Why Conservatives Should Worry More about Google

By: Ben Howe (Diary)  |  November 14th, 2013 at 11:49 AM 


If the experience of email provider Lavabit, and its implications for Gmail users, hasn’t been enough to convince those who use Google’s tools regularly that the search giant maybe doesn’t have our best interests at heart when it cozies up to Uncle Sam, then maybe this will.

In a pleasantly surprising recent piece at Politico, Richard Viguerie wrote that Google is the NSA’s leading information vendor, and conservatives should be very worried.

   
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Conservatives must begin to scrutinize the nexus between tech companies, such as Google, and the federal government. There is no longer a wall between the private sector and government surveillance.… The NSA tapping into Google’s data centers is reminiscent of the age-old “Willie Sutton” rule: The agency captured personal data profiles from Google because that’s where the data is. Indeed, the search giant has emerged as the purveyor of all of our personal information — in one sense the NSA’s leading vendor.

Obama cheerleader Eric Schmidt, of course, isn’t going to do anything to hurt the Google brand. After all, they spell out in their quarterly and annual financial filings how afraid they are that someone will stop thinking they’re cool(Nerds.) And so Eric Schmidt has made headlines recently saying he’s outraged that the NSA has been spying on Google servers – if the allegations are true, that is.

But those of us who have been watchdogging Google for awhile know better than to trust Schmidt. The Heartland Institute blog went a step further than Viguerie, pointing out that Schmidt’s faux outrage is curious given that the company has been closely working with spy agencies for over a decade:

 
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  Google’s faux outrage at the Washington Post’s Snowden story that the NSA directly tapped into Google’s internal network of data centers to surveil whatever it wanted, is akin to the classic line in Casablanca, where Captain Renault feigned public outrage in telling his casino partner: “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!”

    …Google is not an unsophisticated, unwitting victim of hacking by the NSA, or that it is opposed to spying. Google Inc. clearly does not have the coercive sovereign power that the NSA has. However, the evidence shows that it has similar spying habits, legal positions, and attitudes; and that it also has had a decade-long record of cooperation with U.S. intelligence services.


In fact, just in September, Google’s executive chairman had this to say about the NSA:

   
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​There’s been spying for years, there’s been surveillance for years, and so forth.  I’m not going to pass judgment on that.  It’s the nature of society.


In other words, when the NSA spies on the rubes, it’s all copasetic…but mess with Google, and Schmidt hits the roof. Talk about Googling your favorite cake recipe and eating it, too.

I think we should broadly be more engaged on Internet privacy than we already are. We may not feel the effects of government encroachment online like we do when we write a check to the IRS, but the threat is very real, and Google is Big Government’s biggest enabler.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline mountaineer

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Re: NSA’s Preferred Vendor Why Conservatives Should Worry More about Google
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2013, 08:40:47 AM »
Mr. M oversees campus police at his university. The campus police chief recently received this email, which originated with someone (I won't use his name) in the DOJ.
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Subject: FACEBOOK'S "GRAPH SEARCH" MAY BE TROUBLE FOR LEOS

Facebook has rolled out a new feature called "Graph Search" which has some disturbing ramifications for Public Safety, especially those who are currently undercover, or may go undercover in the future.  We first learned about it from the San Francisco ABC News affiliate.

CUT AND PASTE BELOW LINKS:

Video explaining graph search - http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=9319459

LINK: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=9319459
You can't opt out. Any stranger can see stuff from your profile, no matter your privacy settings.

The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
--- Oscar Levant

Offline mountaineer

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Re: NSA’s Preferred Vendor Why Conservatives Should Worry More about Google
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2013, 08:47:39 AM »
More from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
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January 29, 2013 | By Adi Kamdar
Facebook Graph Search: Privacy Control You Still Don't Have

Facebook's Graph Search has certainly caused quite a stir since it was first announced two weeks ago. We wrote earlier about how Graph Search, still in beta, presents new privacy problems by making shared information discoverable when previously it was hard—if not impossible—to find at a large scale. We also put out a call to action—and even created a handy how-to guide—urging people to reassess their privacy settings. 

By locking down your privacy settings, you can help prevent your information from appearing in searches run by strangers and protect your friends from showing up in results. (We've updated the how-to accordingly.) But even when you've set all your settings to "Friends" only, it turns out you can still appear in strangers' search results.

Some unwanted search results are through your associations with—and are therefore solely controlled by—your friends and family. This violates the principle of control of the Bill of Privacy Rights for social network users, and we urge Facebook to fix the problem by letting people opt out.

Actual Facebook Graph Searches

One notable blog that has been making rounds on the Internet is Tom Scott's Actual Facebook Graph Searches. Scott has compiled a number of unnerving—and in some cases, humorous—examples of Graph Searches.

A few stood out to us:
•Family members of people who live in China and like Falun Gong
•Mothers of Catholics from Italy who like Durex
•Spouses of married people who like Ashley Madison
•Mothers of Jews who like Bacon

These Graph Search results provide, as security expert Bruce Schneier has labeled, "incidental data"—data about or associated with you that other people post. The issue lies in the fact that the people who show up in such search results have no setting to control when they appear. As Facebook explained in a recent blog post, "You control who can see your friend lists, [but] your friends control who can see their friend lists."  ...
Read the rest of the article, "Facebook Graph Search: Privacy Control You Still Don't Have," here.
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
--- Oscar Levant

Offline katzenjammer

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Re: NSA’s Preferred Vendor Why Conservatives Should Worry More about Google
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 11:23:33 AM »
I have a lot of mixed feelings about all of this.  First let me say the Google problem is far more troublesome and difficult to avoid.  What I mean is that Facebook is totally "optional" in my way of thinking.  I never had a Facebook account, and never will; at to this point in my life it has provided absolutely zero problems for me.  (Or, stated differently, I can't imagine a thing that I "miss" out on by not having a Facebook account.)

Google is a bit tougher to totally avoid.  I haven't used Google to search regularly in more than a few years, I chose to use StartPage (and its variants like IXQuick) as an alternative.  But, I will sometimes do a Google search if I want to get the result in the form of the most current "News" display that I haven't found a real alternative for, yet.  I do limit those types of searches to information about people (e.g., a sports figure) that I have no real concern in having collected into my "record."  And I will occasionally use the Google image search if I am looking for a certain type of picture that I can't really find easily via the other image searches.

But, I recently had to bite the bullet and actually establish a Gmail account to make use of all of the features of my Android-based tablet, e.g., being able to register for and use the app store.  Of course I set it up with the minimal amount of non-identifying personal data, and always opt out of every "sharing" or location-based setting in that whole environment.  But, we all know that "where there is a will, there's a way" and I am under no false assumptions that absolutely everything that I do online (or via a telephone) is completely traceable to any agency that has a desire to know (including posting in threads here!!).

In reality I am actually a very dull and uninteresting person from the point of view of any agency really looking to find out things about people.  I figure that my "privacy," such as it exists in this world, is sort of provided through a twist on the old "security through obscurity" theme.  That is, my "privacy" is a function of my obscurity.  (There are ~350+ million subjects in this realm at present, I am certain that at least 349 million of them are more "interesting" than I am!!  lol)

I used to be a lot more concerned about all of this, in fact, prior to the wave of NSA revelations over the past year, I probably would not have even setup the GMail account, and would not have been willing to venture into the Android world at all.  But, all of those revelations sort of hammered home a point that was in the back of my mind all along.  And that is that none of us really have any "privacy" any more, and there isn't a whole heck of a lot that most common ordinary folks like myself can, or even need to, do about it.  I mean it like this, if you've ever posted on a place like FR or even here, use Twitter to express your opinions on political and/or news topics, joined a Tea Party group and attend functions and send/receive email with the group, and probably even forwarded an email message containing almost anything "controversial," you are already on some list somewhere (maybe several lists! lol).  As long as I am not actively involved in planning or participating in any criminal or "seditious" activity (which I don't plan to be!!), I really have no sound reason to take to the mattress over this.  As far as I am concerned they can "know" all they want about me at this point in time.  Unless I am willing to take very extreme measures and re-establish a completely new identity (and location) and go completely off the grid, there isn't really all that much I can do about it at the present time.

Sure, I still think that is makes sense to be "cautious" and not needlessly draw undue attention to oneself, and to not be sloppy and make it all too easy for not only agencies, but also identity thieves and other criminals, to know too much, too easily.  Good common sense still pays dividends in this realm.  This is my take on the personal front on all of it.  It may sound to some like I've "given up" the fight, so be it.  But, on the larger front, I am very supportive of the small handful of groups and individuals that are indeed still fighting the good fight for Liberty, Privacy, and Natural Rights.  Is it still possible to beat back this tide of tyranny that is overwhelming us on this front?  I don't know.....


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