Sunday, January 29, 2006

Next killer app on the computer will be:


Google has been watching you:

Until now, Chinese net users who were blocked from accessing a site knew that the information was there and was being kept from them by their own government. From now on it is Google which will be keeping data from them, in direct contradiction of its own declared mission “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.

The reaction to Google’s move has been highly critical. The watchdog organisation Reporters Without Borders called it “a black day for freedom of expression in China”, adding that “Google’s statements about respecting online privacy are the height of hypocrisy in view of its strategy in China”. It seemed that the company’s real motto was something more along the lines of “don’t be evil unless the Chinese government asks you to and there’s serious money in it”.

What having the servers in China means for Chinese surfers is that every goddamn thing they do on-line can be observed in real time by some Party apparatchik, or stored and analyzed by some kind of program that pings if they search for the wrong thing.  Like "freedom" or some such dire concept.

But gee Phantom, can't the eeeevile Chimpybushilter gubmint do the same thing?  Technically, yes, the capability exists.  Practically, no.  Its politically impossible for them to strong arm that info out of Google, and if they tried it they'd be sorry.  Besides, that's why they have the NSA watching for specific keywords.  They don't need Google if they can sift out terrorist communiques from the flood.

However this may not always be the case.  Let some terrorist do something serious, and that could turn on a dime.  Google would be falling all ovver itself to offer up whatever they've got.  Or:
So far everyone who has invested in Google has made out like the proverbial bandit; but one day the share price will drop and people who have bought shares will find they have lost money. It is then that Google’s leaders will come under pressure to find some uses for that goldmine of personal data.
Read the whole article, its an eye opener for sure.

At any rate, if I'm any observer of human nature one thing that bugs the hell out of people is somebody looking over their shoulder all the time.  The idea that some government bastard in some cube farm in Maryland is looking at and passing judgement on one's web use, opinions and general existence is galling in the extreme.  But at least we can vote them out if they become annoying.  Free country and all.

The idea that some other, different bastard is going to SELL that data, not only to the highest bidder but to anyone and everyone with the price, that's beyond galling and getting into the danger zone.

So while it probably won't be possible to remain private from government eyeballs, I predict the next killer app for computer users is the Google Spoofer.  I mean, what's the point of using a pseudonym if you're leaving your DNA all over every server on the web, right?

I wonder if Anonymizer is on the stock market?

The Phantom

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