Google and Viacom are Run by Satan

Oh blog readers you make much fun of me for ranting about google products and all their evil little cookies tracking everything that you do. Many of you have ignored my pleas not to switch over to the blog comment software that uses login data, to avoid google search engines, and to check pages for javascript spyware (colleges love those), all b/c they are watching and logging your every key stoke. They have even provided “misinformation” about their privacy protections to hide their evil snooping databanks. Even more of you missed that important warning about what the alliance between google and myspace means for feminist voices who do not want sexist ads attached to their pages over at Sudy’s. What Sudy only implies, as it is secondary to the link between abusive links between race and gender these ads represent, is that those ads are generated by spyware that picks up on often used words in the page and it also plants spyware on the desktops of page visitors. But now you will have to listen: Viacom has just forced Google to hand over its user log for youtube. User log? Blink?!? Yep, evil google has been keeping track of everything you do on youtube without your consent and now Viacom is going to use it first to go after copyright infringement and then no doubt to bombard you with targeted products. Oh, and while I am complaining about google, did you know that they provide none of those “google is the best place to work” perks to their janitorial staff and when called on it they said “oh, but, ummm, they are independently contracted” mmmhmmmm tell it to the people who cannot feed their kids on the sub-contract wages. (google has since supplemented the wages of janitorial staff hired by them but not those sub-contracted workers.)

This paranoid rant has been brought to you by the usually sane Professor Black Woman. Don’t let the tone fool you.

read more about the court decision here.

Open I.D. or Snoops R Us

Google related programing as well as javascript are storing everything that you do on your computer on cookies written into the programs and then dumping the info into their databases every time you log on. The cookies have no expiration date. Many don’t show up in basic cookie sweeps nor are they erased by them. Some code is so good that even sophisticated sweeping can’t find it; most is so integral to how the program works that blocking it means you cannot use the programs. Recently, records have been subpoenaed by the Federal Government. More recently, employees of various companies that keep/have access to similar databases have been snooping. Offenses ranged from looking at ex-partners documents to those of presidential candidates.

Now, there is Open I.D.

Ask your self these questions:

  • What positive purpose can a program that tracks everything you do for some one else and stores that information indefinitely somewhere you have no access to serve?
  • how are we served by having various pieces of our information linked throughout the internet without our consent nor knowledge on the basis of computers we use?
  • What safe guards are in place in invasive info gathering software to protect you against unwanted marketing?
  • What safe guards are in place to protect you from sanction if someone in your household or someone whose computer you have used are engaged in activities that you are not?
  • What are the consequences of having people who have proven to be untrustworthy in the employ of places that are keeping track of the electronic minutiae of your life?
  • How are people prone to predatory behavior aided by programs that mandate that your name/location and or other private information be given in order for you to leave comments on their websites?

The result of Open Source and Google tracking can be amusing and frightening. Let me give you some examples from my own life over the past 8 months:

  • Suddenly, everywhere you go, you are being told that you should meet up with/hook up with a gay man who likes the same movies, music, and possibly books you do. – do you really need google (and other info gathering programs) to be your own creepy version of match.com?
  • childish social network sites are inexplicably linked to you because of the tracking of other people in your household’s usage making people wary of you because the server has your name not theirs.
  • your google searches start prioritizing people, images, and places that have nothing to do with you but with others using your computer; image searches now take hours to find basic things because you are bombarded with images the computer has decided are more suited to your tastes based on other’s usage.
  • A friend suddenly finds her work maligned from usually amenable sources, certain segments of the discipline with whom she has never worked and just met treat her rudely or with open hostility, and job offers are compromised, only to be told finally it is because her google based blogger account is listing her as the author of my blog b/c I used her computer while visiting this summer. (And this my friends is why tenure is essential to academic freedom.)

In all of these cases, inaccurate tracking information led to both minor and major inconveniences. In none of these cases has the information been helpful nor accurate.

While radical librarians around N. America stood up to the government’s request for user information, both Google and phone companies aided the government in violating our constitutional rights. While many complained about phone tapping, no one seems to notice nor protest the same behavior on the internet.

Regardless of what you use your computer for, you should be deeply concerned about the lengths Google is going to in order to track it. McCarthy may be dead and it may not be 1984, but there is definitely something terribly wrong here.