Thursday, August 28, 2014

Google Does Evil. And Then Some.

Every day, I go about my business using my computer tools, all the whilst thinking about what I am doing.  Specifically, I am most concerned about Privacy on the Internet.

We all know what that means at this point and given past events that punctuate the need for Privacy Protection, I see little being done about it, in particular, by Google.

You see, Google stands to profit on every little piece of meta data connected to you.  Use their products, as they want you to and you will become a slave.

Yet, the reality is Google's Terms of Service let them get away with doing with your data as they see fit.  Some of the readers may be non-plused by that fact, but it grinds my gears.

Do No Evil

Remember that slogan?  I bought into it.  They gaffed me, pulled me up on the boat.  It was real easy.

You might be thinking:  "But they have free Gmail and I've become so dependent on it and also Drive is coOL".

That is a pervasive mindset which hasn't diminished and despite my writing this post, isn't going to change anytime soon.  But my purpose here is to help the reader gain a new perspective on the services Google provides.

And, the services to which I refer are NOT the ones which you, the consumer, use.

No, this is about what Google does to profit from parsing your clear-text gmails and Drive documents.  Clear Text means they are not encrypted in any way.  That is by design.

Among all of the hideous revelations that came last year from one Edward Snowden, was the disclosure of the PRISM program run by the NSA.  When the story hit the press, the ISPs reflexively, like sleeping hound dogs, woke up and began to howl in unison, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, expressing outrage at the extent to which the NSA has intruded electronically in Americans' private lives.  The story turned quickly to it becoming apparent that the NSA was pitching camp as revealed by Edward Snowden on the inside of Google's firewall, knowledge of which was immediately disclaimed by Google, Inc., naturally.

Time passes, people revert to their normal habits.  Not a lot has changed to force the end-user to alter their computer habits insofar as using the Internet is concerned, really.

Initiatives have been started by the ISPs to make their repositories more secure and encrypted, with exceptions, Google being one of them.

Google won't encrypt your Gmail.  Nor will they encrypt your Drive.  That would defeat their ability to parse meta data and key words they claim are used in a 'benign' way for generating Advertising revenue.  Really Google?  I've checked my Drivers License and can confirm, I wasn't born yesterday.  So please.  Don't insult my intelligence and the intelligence of my readers.

This may come to you as a surprise, but, Google is not just in the Advertising business.

And here is the kicker.  According to a story on Veterans Today by Gordon Duff dated April 10, 2013, entitled Google, Beyond the CIA: Insurgence and Espionage Factory, Mr. Duff sheds light on some of the undisclosed 'profit centers' in which Google has a vested ongoing and active interest:

"Intercepted emails expose Google as an intelligence contractor openly involved in aiding terror organizations throughout Africa, Asia and the world, working well outside any official oversight and authority, far beyond even the CIA’s wildest abuses."
Wikileaks obtained copies of some interesting email exchanges with STRATFOR, an American global intelligence company headquartered in Austin, Texas.

From one such STRATFOR email comes this:

“GOOGLE is getting White House and State Department support & air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do. But, I agree with you. He’s going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov. can then disavow knowledge and GOOGLE is left holding the (expletive deleted) bag.”
Gordon Duff goes into further detail to explain Google's Google Ideas Groups special interests with:

"Among the STRATFOR emails Wikileaks received were some exposing Google as, not just an intelligence contractor for the CIA and Department of Defense but foreign governments as well.
Text within the highly sensitive cables outlines criminal and even terrorist activities on the part of Google including the planning of insurgency operations.  Sources have confirmed Google has helped plan military operations against Syria and has been directly involved, working with Arab states, Turkey and Azerbaijan to plan destabilization of Iran.
Emails expose meetings between Google executives and insurgency groups in Azerbaijan operating against Iran.
Under the front name of “Google Ideas Groups,” with support including “air cover,” authorized by the White House and State Department, Google Corporation is directly involved in planning terror attacks.
Wikileaks intercepted STRATFOR emails outlining Google operations in planning insurgencies and illegally conduction both foreign policy and espionage."

It is apparent that Google holds a special place in the hearts of certain Domestic and Foreign Intelligence agencies with whom they conduct business and exchange information presumably for profit.

You, the consumer are their target.  And if your profile is parsed searching for key word triggers, then you become, oh, let's see, A Person of Interest?  Yes, that's it.  Mr. Duff writes further:

"Google had long been criticized for selling “keyword intercepts” from Gmail accounts to advertisers.
However, it has long been known that, not only does Google go much further, scanning emails for intelligence, both security related and corporate, but there is no clear accounting of who Google’s clients are.
Sources indicate that Google sells email and search related intercepts to governments like China, Vietnam, North Korea and others.
Additionally, Google has been proven to accept payment for suppressing searches of news stories clients find embarrassing, to push conspiracies, to support hate groups, to work in smear campaigns and now, of course, is exposed as having armed personnel working directly with insurgents in direct violation of international law."

So, I will tell you this.  Google is doing you no favors, in fact, if you happen to be a shareholder, what they are allegedly doing constitutes Investor fraud, being involved in covert activities of the kind described above.

The Google Investor site goes so far as to say:

“We believe in the importance of building stockholder trust. We adhere to the highest levels of ethical business practices, as embodied by the Google Code of Conduct, which provides guidelines for ethical conduct by our directors, officers and employees.”

Mr. Duff astutely writes:

Nothing in any Google publication indicates that employees are involved in illegal covert operations that fall within the ICC’s definition of “war crimes.”
That pretty much makes it clear, yes?

You can appreciate that during the past few months I have begun distancing myself from Google product usage where possible and as regards especially Internet Privacy.  I felt obligated to share this information since I am now taking a much more guarded position with usage of any software.  The starting criterion for me is, it must be Open Source.  That means Google Chrome is out.  I don't store anything on Drive or Gmail unless it has been encrypted with GnuPG encryption (Ultimate) before uploading -- this is easily accomplished from the command line with google-drive-ocaml and Evolution Email Client with GnuPG.

This is a strong caution to everyone reading this.  Google is not your Friend.

Google Does Evil.  And then some. -- Dietrich


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