Google as Big Brother or KGB


This is a bit out of our usual subject matter, around here, but it’s nearly a civic duty to pass the word around:

Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”. …

Early last decade, privacy activists practically yelled and screamed that the NSA’s taps of various points of the Internet and telecom networks had the technical potential for enormous abuse against privacy. Everybody else dismissed those points as basically tinfoilhattery – until the Snowden files came out, and it was revealed that precisely everybody involved had abused their technical capability for invasion of privacy as far as was possible.

Perhaps it would be wise to not repeat that exact mistake. Nobody, and I really mean nobody, is to be trusted with a technical capability to listen to every room in the world, with listening profiles customizable at the identified-individual level, on the mere basis of “trust us”.

I keep a piece of paper over the camera on my laptop, but sound waves are a bit more cumbersome to block than light waves.  All computers, cell phones, tablets, and other such devices should have a mechanical switch that breaks the electrical connection allowing the collection of video and audio.  Short of that, we’re essentially ensuring that we will soon live in a world that’s totally bugged, if we don’t already.

Despite his imaginative powers, George Orwell didn’t come up with this turn of events, and the U.S.S.R. didn’t have the technology.

(Via Instapundit.)

  • Tin-foil Hat Gal

    I always knew they were watching us. They are always watching us.

  • Warrington Faust

    And what is it that we expect? If it can be done,it will be done.

    I even use a fake identity on Facebook. I once found a site where I could make a dump of info known about me on the web. Came out to 10 pages. Little to fear. I am a 86 year old grandmother, living in North Attleboro, MA with two children at home and driving a Porsche 911.

    There is always the “deep web”

    • ShannonEntropy


      Did you know you snore ??

      You really should quit dozing off in front of your computer