Internet Privacy

Two things came to my attention together on the topic of Internet privacy:

This rather amusing Microsoft video talking about Google’s Gmail: “G-mail Man!

And a bill, put forward by Representatives Debbie (“They want to make illegal immigration a crime!”) Wasserman-Schultz and Lamar Smith (a Republican) that would require all Internet service providers to track every website that you go to and report it to the federal government, in case you might be suspected of a crime in the future. Bob Barr’s column talks about that here.

Of course, it’s for the children!

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • You’re right, Google is not a Monopoly yet in the true sense of the word. Their behavior does parallel the behavior of some monopolies expanding into other areas (subsidized prices to push out the competition). However the part that makes me cringe is just how many people don’t really seem to care that they have a phone by Google that processes and records data, a email box by Google, that is data mined, word processing, etc. Not to mention search results. Many of my friends wonder why I don’t use all the free Google features, but I don’t want one entity to know every aspect of my life.

  • I don’t think that Google has a monopoly in the usual sense of the word. In general, what they are doing is legal — but it is nevertheless a bad thing in my opinion.

    I hope that they amend their ways (and/or lose market share) as a result of market pressure, but this would require that the information about their practices actually reaches the market, including their shameful performance operating as a surveillance tool of totalitarian China.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • This is one area I’m becoming increasingly concerned about, both with Google and the Feds.

    The Feds seem to not get or want to believe that just because something is computer based the law should apply the same as if it were based in the physical. E.g. to spy on my house is the same as to spy on my computer. To break into my computer is like breaking into my house or car, etc.

    From the Google perspective it almost seems like the ease of publishing on the Internet allows for fragmentation and breaking of monopolies of information, but the need to find said information and the resources required to index it all are creating monopolies and ultimate control of the stream. So there will always be a tug of war between things that can be done by many, and things that can only be done with large numbers of resources in the current arrangement.

    Of course search could be replaced with multicasting techniques. I send out a multicast packet to registered topic addresses, and servers are programed to reply with a synopsis of what they offer… The parsing would require a much heavier client though, and raise the router cost. Similar to the idea of smart RAM that would let you parallel search for patterns in one operation…

    But I digress. I hope the bill doesn’t make it onto the floor. Thanks for the information!

  • A bit late to worry about that: I was one of those criticizing Google for their disdain of the US military and refusal to celebrate Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day in the US.

    Now they do.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Keithyou’re 100% correctamundo butBE xtraCareful, don’tever sayanything aboutBigGoo onthe web, theycopy everythingand theykeepit onfileforever;-)

  • @Pascvaks

    I agree completely. But Google, to me, is similarly troubling.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Never trust the United States Federal Government any farther than you can pick up and throw the Capital Building with all members of Congress sitting in their seats.