Read In New Wide Format (or Internet Explorer Users)
Google's Activities and Origins
Most do not realize that when they search Google, Google is searching them. In a new era of digital literacy that is dawning, most people rely on Google to locate information quickly. This trend will only accelerate. Google's methods of search are now expanding into local repositories of data that are not strictly on the Internet. We are increasingly being defined by what we search. Vast commercial resources are invested by Google and others to collect data on all factors of our lives. In this age, the old adage scientia est potentia (knowledge is power) has been amplified almost to infinity. Google is a data company.
The Evil Side of Google? Exploring Google's User Data Collection, Danny Dover covers what information Google collects on every individual using its services. At first according to Dover, Google was playing on a competitive field manipulating public internet data better than its competition. This changed however with the advent of what has been titled by some as Web 2.0,
As Google’s competition has started to catch up (MSN Image Search) and new competitors are arising, (Cuill) the search engine is looking for some kind of advantage. Since everyone has reasonably equal access to the internet’s content, leaders have been striving to gain access to private data. The most cost effective way of doing this for the engines is by collecting data from the users that already use their services. Google has been increasingly serving its users by using their personal data to manipulate public data in individualized ways. These methods are impossible to copy without the necessary personal data.Thus the name of this new game for Google is to try to provide as many services as possible for free, so as to be able to mine the data of its own customers. They give you all for free in exchange for information about you for advertisers. This is not new news. Up until recently, all the different services had individual privacy policies, now Google has unified their privacy policies. To Google, you are now one person, as opposed to before when you were a Gmail user, or a YouTube user etc. For Google like for all other corporations, the motivation is profit. The Wall Street article in the last link explains,
The change to its privacy policies come as Google is facing stiff competition for the fickle attention of Web surfers. It recently disappointed investors for the first time in several quarters, failing last week to meet earnings predictions. Apple, in contrast, reported record earnings Tuesday that blew past even the most optimistic expectations.
Some analysts said Google’s move is aimed squarely at Apple and Facebook — which have been successful in building unified ecosystems of products that capture people’s attention. Google, in contrast, has adopted a more scattered approach, but an executive said in an interview that the company wants to create a much more seamless environment across its various offerings.We include a short video from Google, which gives us a very sanitized version of what information they collect. If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: http://youtu.be/kLgJYBRzUXY.
Now for a more complete view of what Google collects and what it decides you see we post this series. If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link: http://bit.ly/x92pdg.
In light of these facts, it is no wonder that the security agencies and law enforcement should become interested in this huge repository of information. To many who hold views which might be characterized by some as "conspiracist,"these facts point to these companies being government run and government owned extensions of their power. But we respectfully disagree. If one comes to the realization that money is what runs things on this planet, then these individuals have pur the cart before the horse. If any entity controls any other, it will be the corporate world that control government and gets its way eventually, with or without the consent of the people. This view better explains why Google is far more advanced at collecting data then the United States government or any other government in the world for that matter.
Our view does not however preclude the idea that the government might have been a key player in providing seed money for Google to startup. Some possibly credible sources have alluded to this event.
View 1: The CIA Controls Facebook and Google
This is the most extreme position of all. Generally the people who make it, are not being critically accurate. If Facebook and Google are fronts for the CIA and other national security agencies, where is the evidence? Just the statements made by individuals? There has to be some hard evidence, some documentation to support such a dramatic claim. We have been unable to find any. Some will counter that this is classified information and that therefore there will be no documentary evidence. But this kind of logic is self-defeating. If there is no documentation to prove these claims, they should not be made until such evidence appears. Those who make this claim should be pressed, and critiqued until they present compelling facts.
View 2: The CIA and Other Intelligence Agencies Were Involved In the Origins of Facebook and Google
One of the sources previously cited is Robert David Steele. He is a retired CIA agent, who advocates the use of open sources for intelligence gathering. He has a website where he explains the billions that would be saved if intelligence agencies were not to use their own sources which he considers inefficient and overly expensive. He was interviews by Alex Jones, a rising radio host who describes himself as a paleoconservative and an agressive constitutionalist. He sponsors a radio show and website called infowars. The most concise summary of Steels'e interview on Jones' show was by ELyssaD. Describing his interview EYssaD states,
I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world,” said Steele, citing “trusted individuals” as his sources for the claim.But this again presents the problem of what Steele "thinks." These "trusted individuals" cannot be used to build an entire foundation for a view. And even Steele does not espouse the view that Google is a mere tool and instrument for intelligence agencies.
Asked to impart to what level Google is “in bed” with the CIA, Steele described the bond as a “small but significant relationship,” adding, “it is by no means dominating Google in fact Google has been embarrassed because everything the CIA asked it to do they couldn’t do.”But yet Steele did go on to say that in his opinion, the moneyed relationship between Google and the CIA is ongoing.
I am quite positive that Google is taking money and direction from my old colleague Dr. Rick Steinheiser in the Office of Research and Development at CIA, and that Google has done at least one major prototype effort focused on foreign terrorists which produced largely worthless data....This is no more than saying that Google has government contracts. This is not denied by Google or other. In 2006, an article quoting Kevin Bankston a privacy expert and attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated,
In all of human history,” he says, “few if any single entities, other than the National Security Agency, have ever possessed such a hoard of sensitive data about so many people.” This is the sort of thing that should make the intelligence agencies, says Bankston, “drool with anticipation.The report goes on to say that,
According to an audio recording in our possession, he reported Google was increasingly sought out by the U.S. intelligence services because click-stream data — and everything else Google archives — “is a tremendous opportunity for the intelligence community.” Google, he said, “has figured out everything there is to know about data-collection.” The relationship with the government had become intimate enough, Arnold said, that at least three officers from “an unnamed intelligence agency” had been posted at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. What they are doing there, Arnold did not reveal.
Steele does mention Dr. Rick Steinheiser as the CIA contact with Google. We were unable to get much information on this Dr. Steinheiser through Google, although we know that he has done research into data mining for at least 10 years.
As another analogy, we can view the “customer” as an enemy; in this case “targeted marketing” is liter- ally choosing the targets most likely to end a war with minimal effort/loss of life.Steele mentions Steinheiser as being in the Office of Research and Development. This more moderate view has been backed up by other sources. It is interesting to note that this part of the CIA was officially abolished in 1996. But a new office was established called the Office of Advanced Technologies and Programs. This is probably just a technical point since it seems likely that the CIA is still doing the same kinds of things with technology it has always done - intelligence.
There is more hints that Google has had some older ties to the CIA through a company called In-Q-Tel. It is clear to most that this company formed in 1999 by Gilman Louie. If George Tenet can be believed, this is the relationship between In-Q-Tel and the CIA:
We [the CIA] decided to use our limited dollars to leverage technology developed elsewhere. In 1999 we chartered ... In-Q-Tel. ... While we pay the bills, In-Q-Tel is independent of CIA. CIA identifies pressing problems, and In-Q-Tel provides the technology to address them. The In-Q-Tel alliance has put the Agency back at the leading edge of technology ... This ... collaboration ... enabled CIA to take advantage of the technology that Las Vegas uses to identify corrupt card players and apply it to link analysis for terrorists [cf. the parallel data-mining effort by the SOCOM-DIA operation Able Danger ], and to adapt the technology that online booksellers use and convert it to scour millions of pages of documents looking for unexpected results.In 2006, sold In-Q-Tel 5,800 shares of Google over Google's acquisition of a software Keyhole. Keyhole, founded by John Hanke, went on to become Google Earth. We can see the obvious reasons why Google Earth would be of great interest to the CIA and other intelligence agencies. There seems little doubt that Google Earth is being used by these agencies. If is also no surprise that Google's search powers are being used for intelligence purposes.
Spy agencies are using Google equipment as the backbone of Intellipedia, a network aimed at helping agents share intelligence. Rather than hoarding information, spies and analysts are being encouraged to post what they learn on a secure online forum where colleagues can read it and add comments.A 2008 article titled, Google As Lots To Do With Intelligence explains that the 16.6 billion dollar revenue has only a very small fraction dedicated to intelligence contracts. At least, this is the amount that is acknowledged.
There seems to some controversy over the death of Rajeev Motwani, an early supporter and mentor of Google who also specialized like Steinheiser on data mining. Motwani was found drowned in his pool with a rather high amount of alcohol in bloodstream even though he did not know how to swim.
There are interesting traces of contacts between Facebook and the intelligence community. Facebook was given startup money by Accel in 2005 to the tune of $11 million. At that time James Breyer was the manager of Accel led the push to invest in Facebook. He was also elected chairman of the board at NVCA. There he served with Gilman Louie who is CEO of In-Q-Tel who was funded or founded by the CIA in 1999. In-Q-Tel works in data mining technologies for the CIA. Breyer has also served on the board of BBN Technologies. BBN Technologies is doing work for DARPA and their personnel Heather Biehl from the CIA has become vice president for BBN. Breyer, Louie and Jones have all served on the board of BBN. Dr. Jones additionally served as director of DARPA.
Facebook has received pressure to allow for back doors to their system. We know that the FBI is building an app for the purpose of tracing public posts in Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. This is within their perfect right it the information is public. Facebook is quickly becoming the tool of choice by individuals, businesses and law enforcement to find out information about people. This is to be expected. It is the largest repository of personal information in world history. Promis a piece of software developed by Israeli spy agency Mossaud which was capable of monitoring individuals and working out from their circle of friends. To us this sounds like an early version of Facebook. An article at Invetigative Daily, dated 9/30/2011, titled Is Facebook The New 'Big Brother'? explained that the CIA gave further efforts to modernize this software in 1999,
In 1998, the CIA ostensibly gave up the fight to lead the world in IT intelligence software. “The leadership of the CIA made a critical and strategic decision in early 1998. The Agency’s leadership recognized that the CIA did not, and could not, compete for IT innovation and talent with the same speed and agility that those in the commercial marketplace, whose businesses are driven by “Internet time” and profit, could. The CIA’s mission was intelligence collection and analysis, not IT innovation,” reports the CIA’s own website. Instead of developing software, the CIA set up a company called In-Q-Tel in 1999 to go into venture partnerships with private capital firms to develop and fund promising new technologies that could help the CIA “data mine” for useful intelligence.Within 5 years, Facebook was released rendering Promis obsolete. But the government has continued spending money to customize its own search algorithms.
The IAO (Information Awareness Office) has the stated mission to gather as much information as possible about everyone, in a centralised location, for easy perusal by the United States government, including (though not limited to) internet activity, credit card purchase histories, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s licenses, utility bills, tax returns, and any other available data.” If you’ve been paying attention, you will note the mission statement is remarkably similar to the former covert PROMIS project. Only this time, US intelligence agencies have been able to do it largely in the open. But it’s not just US intelligence that might have an interest in knowing the whereabouts and friends-lists of Facebook users. In 2008 Chinese industrialist and People’s Liberation Army frontman Li Ka-shing purchased a US$120 million stake in Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.Apparently, in June of 2001, before the 9/11 attacks Bin Laden obtained the Promis software to use against the U.S. A report says,
The software delivered to the Russian handlers and later sent to bin Laden, according to sources, is believed to be an upgraded version of a program known as Promis - developed in the 1980s by a Washington firm, Inslaw, Inc., to give attorneys the ability to keep tabs on their caseloads. It would give bin Laden the ability to monitor U.S. efforts to track him down, federal law-enforcement officials say. It also gives him access to databases on specific targets of his choosing and the ability to monitor electronic-banking transactions, easing money-laundering operations for himself or others, according to sources.The story of this software gets more interesting with a possible murder of an investigative reporter, Danny Casolaro, who was investigating the so-called Inslaw Case. This case involved the alleged theft of the Promis software which was developed by William Anthony Hamilton by the Justice Department. One can only guess as to how deep this rabbit hole goes.
What are we to do in light of all our information being public? We will continue with the conclusion of this series in part 4.