Friday, March 2, 2012

It's still Big Brother if it's Big Business

Before I begin, I just want everyone to know that I am taking a bit of a risk here. I am criticizing the company that runs this very service. I am potentially risking losing my blog, my Youtube, and one of my part time jobs, but I'm going to go ahead and criticize Google on its own blog site. One of the things I will praise about Google is that it seems to allow this type of criticism in a very pro-marketplace-of-ideas way. You can see thousands of Youtube videos criticizing the company and they're not taken away, so I'm hoping I'll remain as lucky.

On to the charges....

A few friends of mine, sad to admit, many of them libertarian, are asking why I think Google's new privacy measures are a big deal. The defense seems to be, "Google is a private company." Yes, Google is a private business and not a government agency, so I suppose it's only a certain kind of semi-voluntary privacy loss.

In my mind a search engine is not a normal business like Coca-Cola or Walmart. It's more like a privately funded library. If you went to the library looking for a book by Dr. Seuss, but they wouldn't give it to you because in the past you've only checked out books by Richard Dawkins, and Richard Dawkins is paying to have his books given out the most, so they came back with 10 books by Dawkins and didn't tell you anything about Dr. Seuss books....wouldn't you be kinda pissed?

The a search engine is like a normal, private business is that you have a right to stop using it if you don't like it, which is why I recommend switching to another service, such as SwagBucks that DOES give you advertised search results, but pays you for the privilege of volunteering as its marketing guinea pig. If your'e going to be used as a pawn in a marketing scheme, you might as well get something for it. If that's not your thing, try DuckDuckGo.

The problem with Google is that it's the front runner, the one that sets the standards, and once a standard is set, all businesses start following the same business model, leaving you fewer and fewer places to turn when they piss you off. It's like saying you're going change banks because you don't like the customer service at your bank. You're not going to like the customer service at ANY bank because you're always going to get shuffled around like cattle by a bunch of less-than-minimum wage earning foreigners that are barely intelligible and don't help you anyway because they'll get in trouble if their average call time is more than 10 seconds. So, I suppose you could just NOT use any bank, but who are we kidding?

Just because you voluntarily use a service doesn't mean it's right for that to be up your bum 24/7, watching your every move. If you're concerned at all about Big Brother, this stuff should bother you. Big Brother is scary because it's big Brother, not because of who runs it. Somehow people think it's okay if it's Apple or Google doing the 24 hour monitoring instead of the government, but I am not one to take comfort in the idea. It's why I don't have an iPhone/Droid, will never have a car with OnStar, and from now on, will only be logged into Google when absolutely necessary for work. Pin It

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