jump to navigation

Google PR quotient just doubled January 20, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Civil Liberties, Federal Courts, Google vs. US, Government & Politics, Law & Politics, Pontification.
1 comment so far

Today or in the last 24 hours Google has scored two perfect PR coups by doing the right thing.

The first — telling Bellsouth to take a hike (detailed below) — was a no brainer in many ways. After all it is Bellsouth and what can they do? I mean as a company they save all their abuse for customers which I can assure you Google is not among. As a matter of fact and completely off point I don’t think anyone who isn’t forced by circumstance would willing become their customer.

PR coup number two is telling the US government to take a hike with a subpoena for search records as detailed by this New York Times story. Now this one can result in some problems even for big G.

I’m not a lawyer but I’ve noticed over the years there has been a slight increase in the power of the federal prosecutors while the state and city DAs have been losing authority. I for one think this is a very bad thing for the simple and uncomplicated reason that federal prosecutors are not accountable to the local populace.

The gument boys are saying they aren’t going after individuals and even if there is some data that would point to the identity of users they wouldn’t use it. I mean if you don’t trust a United States law enforcement group to keep their word then.. well then you are probably not an idiot. Google isn’t an idiot either.

The last few years have been a big power grab by the feds. My opinion is that a power grab is power grab and the reasons why civil liberties must be circumvented in these special cases is never more than a cover story de jour. The cover stories have been drugs, child porn and terrorist. This latest is child porn but you could do a search and replace in this subpeoena substituting the words porn with drugs or terrorist and it would be the same.

But once again Google’s backbone is good business sense. People don’t much like the idea of the guvment knowing what they search for on the net. It doesn’t matter than 99.99% of internet users are not searching for child porn or illegal drugs (notice the words ‘child’ and ‘illegal’) or how to manuals on becoming a terrorist either. I can hear it now — “well if you aren’t a child pornographer, pusher or suicide bomber what have you got to worry about?”. The answer my friend is quite allot.

Conservative bloggers have been too quick to side with this administration. I don’t think this administration is actually very conservative when it comes to increasing the scope of federal power. In fact George Bush has never seen a power grab he didn’t like. Federal law enforcement is a special interest no different than big pharma or big oil or big fill in the blank. The Ronald Regan conservatives clearly saw this in the social welfarecrats of the seventies. They — the drug, terror, porn warriors — have a massive payroll that needs to be justified plus like all special interests they have to ratchet up the threat level in order to grab more power, money, prestige.

But you say their cause is noble and they are good people. So to was the cause of the social welfare barons. But someone has to pay the bill in both cases. We got sick of paying for a welfare machine that never seemed to win the war on poverty till the money dried up.

These conservatives (I use this in the sense they label themselves as such) fail to grasp that the very principal of power in the hands of a central distant authority is anti-conservative no matter what your reason ..er cover. Moreover the great idea and intellectual basis for Ronald Regan 80’s conservatism was that there is an inextricable connection between economic freedom and liberty and political freedom and liberty. You don’t get one without the other and when one is slowly but steadily eroded the other is not far behind.

The bill for all these wars, drugs, terror and whatever is coming due. Your economic freedoms will be quickly eroded in order to aid the tax collector. So if the Google records can somehow create a profile of a child pornographer why not a profile of a tax cheat. Tax cheat is a notoriously vague term and given to constant reinterpretation by the IRS. The problem people is that their is no due process in such matters. If the IRS decides you are a target then you’re screwed and if you can become a target because of your search patterns on Google then I would say you will soon have concentric circles painted on your back.

As an aside Yahoo, MSN and another company quickly handed over your search data to the feds. If I were you I woulnd’t be using them anymore just in case.

So wake up people and see that Google’s battle is more than just about the search records of porn freaks. Its your money they are protecting.