The Privacy Thing

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In our May article on Google’s ‘Allo’ application, we already suggested the app looks much of a governmental spying tool on your private communications. Now, RT reports Edward Snowden is saying the same thing. Google has backed away from it’s privacy promises and given 100% availability of conversations on police requests and neglected the privacy settings of the individual users.

And recently, Facebook announced that Whatsapp data will be shared with Facebook, and since Facebook is also in the pocket of the US government, those data are no longer safe either.

Makes you wonder why people keep using Whatsapp and Messenger, although we can imagine China will be screening Wechat communication as well. Research and Snowden already pointed out that Microsoft’s Skype is also very likely to be unsafe. All togehter these three take the greater part of mobile communication in the US. As if there are no safer alternatives, it almost feels like US citizens WANT to give up their privacy.

This rises the question whether the public is simply conceding. Are we giving up privacy because the govt. can probably get our data anyway? Is this the way society is going to move forwards? With governmental efforts on enforcing the ‘cashless society’ on us, it is likely that people will end up accepting the idea that governments will be able to get to your money if they want to. Will they concede to that as well in time?

I strongly believe an alternative should be constructed where free circulation of money and communication is possible without governmental control. I believe terrorism is just an excuse for governments to getting their hands on more taxes and to control the money in case they screw up the economy. The fact that countries, states and municipalities are more and more unable to pay the high cost of the welfare state illustrates this vividly.

 

 

 

 

 

Google Enters International Politics

G_politicsIt actually has gone publicly into US politics for a while now, because the concept of self-driving cars does need a lot of lobbying to get approved, since potentially, a lot of jobs could be lost all over the world. Therefor, politicians need to be convinced of the economical benefits that would stand across the social massacre that this innovative concept could potentially cause.

Since such major market changes are a known historical fact, one can not really oppose it. The industrial revolution changed agriculture forever, the technological and communication revolutions reshaped the way business is done today, so why not a transportation revolution? Surely the number of cars and trucks currently on the roads proves the necessity. Calculations estimate that just about 10% of the current number of cars would be needed to take care of most of the traffic if public robot-cars would replace all current cars. That makes Google’s move sure worth the while ecologically.

But what if Tech giants start mingling with international politics in a way that lives would be at stake through war and terrorism? Wikileaks recently released some of the Clinton emails, which state that Google has teamed up with Al Jazeera to help the US and Israel to destabilize Lybia, Syria and Iraq. More recently, Google’s mobile voice assistant refused to help when asked about the Clinton emails, which clearly proves which side they are on in the coming elections.

We already know that Facebook actively delays and denies you selected posted messages from friends. They actually have total control over what is shown to who and when it is shown. Google can influence the search results any way they want. They actually put in place an app for those countries that would help in overthrowing the Syrian government counting the number of defectors and making them public to strengthen the government opposition and encourage others to follow. Al Jazeera even won an award for that. Given the bloodshed it lead to, a dubious choice.

Through history, there have always been companies that benefited from war. Some of the largest companies in the world thank their growth through business with Hitler’s Germany, and post WWII with anyone else to build back up the countries that were ravaged by the occupation.

But the real question is not if it is ethically correct for a company to do business with countries at war. I think only dealers of arms and hazardous chemicals are to reconcile with that. It is whether a company actively helping a nation to start a (civil) war still is ethically correct. And that is what Google, Facebook and Al Jazeera likely are guilty of. Makes me wonder if Eric Schmidt and friends ever think about the bloodbath and the misery of millions of people that resulted from their participation.

Sources :

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/google-lobbying-108167

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-21/clinton-emails-reveal-google’s-role-attempting-oust-syrias-assad

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/aei-world-forum-donald-trump_us_56ddbd38e4b0ffe6f8ea125d

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/

Encryption in the Hot-Seat

Actually, it was Apple in the hot-seat, but with a lot of support from some big companies. Some of them somewhat hypocrite since after all, some tech giants are involved in US international politics, thus crossing a line much further than handing over a key to the CIA to solve crimes, assuming they would not abuse it for other purposes. Surely it is all about losing face to the consumer and to companies who pay for services.

And although Apple did join the anti-Trump meeting, it is not clear whether they will in any way actively support whatever has been discussed. I just don’t see Apple taking any other political statements other than ‘user-friendly ones’.

So how about encryption then? The FBI eventually paid over 1,3 million USD to get the information on that particular phone. A fair amount that hopefully will make them very selective on which phones to crack. My personal opinion is that the governments are the biggest crooks of all. Just take a look at what is going on in the world. Let the Clinton mails be your guide : England and France who made deals with the US about supporting the fall of Gadaffi in return for cheap oil, or recently Turkey supporting IS oil trades and cracking down on the freedom of speech. There is much more, and it doesn’t get more beautiful.

For those who can’t get enough encryption, Russian phone maker Yota has developed a phone that is said to offer unparalleled, corporate-level security. A few months earlier, Blackphone released their high security model in Europe.

So all hail encryption. And all hail privacy. Those small time crooks are nothing compared to the real thing. Just keep your hands of our children.

Sources :

https://www.rt.com/news/233723-russian-phone-security-encryption/#.VtwNprSJS9x.facebook
https://www.silentcircle.com/products-and-solutions/devices/