An Unlikely Prompt
I wanted to write this article because of 2 internet related things that I spotted recently. The first is that the latest Google Maps has no obvious “Print” button, it is there but buried, and the second was this www.resetthenet.org which is about what governments are trying to do with the internet. Mostly the US NSA in this case.
It’s not the first time I have mentioned this subject and the reason I do again is because what’s happening at the moment is still really quite disturbing. Big Brother is making his way to town not with a bang but with an insidious creep most of the time. The internet is a two edged sword and those that would abuse it are always a concern that we all need to keep in check. One day we may wake up and find that some of those nightmare films of the future are now the present. As it is some of the things that were science fiction only 20 or 30 years ago are real everyday things now so we can’t just ignore things.
Where’s the Print Button?
The NSA is obvious but the new Google Map thing wasn’t. Why would they miss out the “Print” button, it seems so fundamental. Whilst I was trying to find out about it I came across a Google forum discussion about it. There were a couple of thoughts, maybe Google are trying to encourage people not to waste paper and use their mobile devices more … don’t think so but maybe.
The other thought was more ominous, maybe Google want you to use your mobile navigation device so that they can track where you are going more … hmmmm. Your’ logged into Google so they know who you are, they can look up your devices unique MAC code so they can even find out what tracking device you are using. You have to have the GPS on and even if you are just looking somewhere up they can see where your interested in. In theory you can turn off the location tracking info that goes to Google but can you really? They have to receive your location requests to service them so it’s only by consent.
Alternatively, maybe they just missed off the print button and will sort it out later on down the line. Either way, it makes you think about things, at least it made me think. [A few weeks have gone by since I started this particular post and still the print button is missing].
I should point out that the print button is necessary as opposed to using CTRL^P as it formats the map ready for the printer.
There are lots of things that Google in particular do that are questionable these days. I can see the benefits but on the other hand …
Am I Suffering Conspiracy Theory Syndrome?
Yes, definitely, to a point anyway. I don’t personally trust governments and large organisations in general. Most of them have a terrible track record. The things that some of their departments do would make a hardened criminal blush, some of the things they do are insane.
Even Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg called up Obama about their internet surveillance RE: “Mark Zuckerberg tells Barack Obama he is ‘frustrated’ over US government surveillance” to try and get some clarity. I’m worried about what Google and Facebook are doing and they are worried about what the US government is doing. So, yes, I’m concerned about it, it’s potentially a bad path for Joe Public.
Lets stop using the internet then … I don’t think that’s going to happen!
There is so much data available on the internet. Anyone who can get hold of it can find out a lot about you and it can be used in good or bad way. Most people don’t seem to mind their buying data being used to market to them and I guess most of the time it’s clear what commercial companies are trying to do so it’s easy to pay attention to or ignore those marketing approaches. Having said that, companies are getting good at applying psychological pressure on you and getting those ads to follow you around on the internet.
It’s what other organisations like the government do that worries me more. Think about what information is gathered about you that is or could be available online.
- CCTV footage
- What you buy
- Where you bank
- How much money you have
- How much you spend
- Where you drive
- Where you walk
- Medical records
- Job applications
- Who your friends are
- Who you interact with online
- What you say to each other
- What your looking at
- What your listening too
- Your online habits and routine
- Your email conversations
- Your video and phone conversations including land line and and mobile
- What films and TV programs you watch
- What you eat
- What your children are doing
That’s just a list that came off the top of my head but there’s more. Coming soon or maybe now:
- When you leave the house and return
- Some of what you are doing
- What pet you have
- Your movements around your house
Oh cripes, the list just goes on. Of course if you don’t use the internet or any internet enabled GPS based devices then you are much more anonymous.
What Can We do About Internet Abuse?
The worst thing we can do is nothing. The easiest thing we can do is sign the relevant petitions that go around and share them. Governments and large organisations need to know that we are watching them and that if they try to go too far their likely to get stopped by a powerful collective public. The internet can work for us too!
Some things may genuinely be for our own good but we need to know that, we need to have those things explained to us and tracked so that they stay benefits. For example, information shared between medical establishments should be a very positive benefit as long as it’s not abused.
I often post up various petitions about internet control/abuse and other abuses on my Facebook page. If you want to join me then I’m here – www.facebook.com/normalguysc.[sc:MySig ]