Google has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman is a White House advisor. Introducing Spot. Shoshanna Zuboff: Dark Google. Google: the unelected superpower (no paywall) The revolving door between Google and the Department of Defense. By Yasha Levine On April 23, 2014 So, Google continues to try to distance itself from the military-industrial complex. Last month, the company made a big stink about refusing a tiny bit of DARPA funding for two robotics companies it purchased, hoping that people already forgot that the companies had been financed by the Department of Defense.
And a few weeks ago, Google’s PR team insisted the company had nothing to do with the U.S. Air Force testing out Google Glass for battlefield use: “The Glass Explorer program includes people from all walks of life, including doctors, firefighters, and parents. Anyone can apply to become a Glass Explorer, provided he or she is a U.S. resident and over the age of 18.” Right. As I continue to poke around under the hood of Google Federal — as the company’s DC operation is called — I’m surprised by the number of former spooks, high-level intelligence officials and revolving door military contractors running Google’s public sector division.
Take Michele R. Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance Complex. By Yasha Levine On March 7, 2014 OAKLAND—On February 18, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists and Black Bloc anarchists packed Oakland’s city hall. They were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight outta Mission Impossible. It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. Some people carried “State Surveillance No!” During the meeting, city officials argued that the DAC would help police deal with Oakland’s violent crime and invoked 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, saying that a streamlined intelligence system would help protect residents in the event of natural disaster or terrorist attack. Their explanation was met with hisses, boos, outbursts and constant interruption from the packed gallery, and the city council struggled to retain order, repeatedly threatening to clear the room.
Here’s an email exchange from October 2013. Consider this: Exclusive: Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA. Adam Berry / Getty Images Two weeks after the “60 Minutes” broadcast, the German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents obtained by Snowden, reported that the NSA inserted back doors into BIOS, doing exactly what Plunkett accused a nation-state of doing during her interview. Google’s Schmidt was unable to attend to the mobility security meeting in San Jose in August 2012. “General Keith.. so great to see you.. !”
Schmidt wrote. “I’m unlikely to be in California that week so I’m sorry I can’t attend (will be on the east coast). Army Gen. A week after the gathering, Dempsey said during a Pentagon press briefing, “I was in Silicon Valley recently, for about a week, to discuss vulnerabilities and opportunities in cyber with industry leaders … They agreed — we all agreed on the need to share threat information at network speed.” A few months earlier, Alexander had emailed Brin to thank him for Google’s participation in the ESF. “Hi Keith, looking forward to seeing you next week. Official Google Blog: A new approach to China. Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.
However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different. First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Update: Added a link to another referenced report in paragraph 5.Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer. Google and the World Brain. Google Now now SLURPS data from third party apps so YOU don't have to. Google has inked deals with 40 third party app makers, allowing the ad giant to rifle through data from the likes of Airbnb and Lyft to serve up "relevant information" to its Android users.
The firm said in a blog post on Friday that it would begin slurping the data from inside a number of apps for its Google Now service – a creepy, predictive search tech that Mountain View first unveiled in 2012. Google has become increasingly aware of the rich info locked away in other apps that – up until now – the data-scraping firm has been unable to deeply mine for its multi-billion dollar search and ad biz.
Terms of the financial deals struck with the likes of Airbnb, Lyft, Duolingo, Pandora and the Guardian newspaper were kept secret. Google's director of product management Aparna Chennapragada said: [A] lot of useful information lives inside apps on your phone, from your favorite music to last-minute hotel deals to home-buying tips. Are Governor Malloy’s new Google Chromebooks data mining our kids? Feb 15 jonpeltoCommon Core, Education Reform, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor Common Core, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor “Google explicitly admits for the first time that it scans the email of Google Apps for Education users for ad-serving purposes even when ad serving is turned off.” – Safegov.org 1/31/14 Late last year, Governor Dannel P.
Malloy and Commissioner Stefan Pryor, like governors and education commissioner across the country, proudly announced that they were charging an additional $24 million to the state’s credit card to buy computers and expand internet capabilities so that Connecticut’s public school students could take the inappropriate and absurd Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test. Much of the money is being used to purchase Google’s Chromebooks. The wild cheering could be heard across Connecticut. For example, from Bridgeport’s came the news; “Superintendent Paul G. From Farmington came the report;
Google stung by Canada’s privacy commissioner for ads linked to personal health history. TORONTO — Google has been caught afoul of the law by displaying web ads linked to a person’s health history, according to Canada’s interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier. An investigation by her office backed up a man’s complaints that he was seeing so-called behavioural advertisements based on his web browsing history. After searching for information about devices to treat sleep apnea, he began to see ads for those devices as he browsed the web. While behavioural advertising is not illegal, Canada’s privacy law does not allow consumers to be targeted based on “sensitive personal information,” including their health.
Google’s “real life Internet,” a business that reaches far beyond web search and online advertising, may look like a General Electric on the Internet of Things side, and an IBM on the software side — where artificial intelligence is at the core of products like Watson. Google X, the company’s skunkworks unit that’s been developing driverless cars among several other sci-fi-esque projects, now seems to be leading Google’s hefty meatspace ambitions. ‘Her’ image via IMDB, Warner Bros.
Google Nest Parody Protest Site Holds A Funhouse Mirror Up To The Search Giant. Google acquired Nest Labs last year, bringing the Nest intelligent thermostat to the search giant, and rumor has it they’re now working on a range of hardware projects. A new site popped up today called “Google Nest” claiming to be a collection of new products that focus on the user and the home, but it’s actually an activist project designed to skewer some of Google’s policies and practices.
The products listed include Google Trust, Google Hug, Google Bee and Google Bye, and each lampoons some aspect of the intersection of personal privacy and Google’s data gathering tendencies. Trust is free insurance against misuse of personal data, whereby high payouts are delivered to users for stuff like NSA accessing of records.
Google Hug is a hug-finding location-based social interaction tool. It’s designed to compensate for the fact that people don’t interact in person anymore. Google Bee is a so-called “personal drone,” which “watches over your house and family when you are away.” Can We All Just Admit Google Is An Evil Empire? Google is kicking off 2014 with some good old-fashioned privacy infringement. The search giant’s recent decision to link Gmail addresses to Google+ was met with considerable backlash among users who don't want their inboxes exposed to spam. But according to former Tumblr lead developer Marco Arment on his blog, we really shouldn’t be surprised at all: To be clear, for anyone who thinks Google is some benevolent, selfless entity handing out free services to everyone out of the goodness of its heart: Google’s leadership, threatened by the attention and advertising relevance of Facebook, is betting the company on Google+ at all costs.
To that end, writes Arment, Google will do anything up to and including angering the users of its core products and services if that meant propping up Google+ against Facebook’s overwhelming dominance. In a 2012 article for TechCrunch, writer Josh Constine argued that Google stopped caring about whether or not people used Google+ fairly early on.
What's Driving Google's Obsession With Artificial Intelligence And Robots? Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots. Boston Dynamics Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot named WildCat can gallop at high speeds. Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans. It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.
But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software. The video has been viewed more than 15 million times since it was posted on YouTube in 2008. Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android. Jim Wilson/The New York Times Andy Rubin is the engineer heading Google’s robotics effort. He is the man who built the Android software for smartphones. If Amazon can imagine delivering books by drones, is it too much to think that Google might be planning to one day have one of the robots hop off an automated Google Car and race to your doorstep to deliver a package?
Google executives acknowledge that robotic vision is a “moonshot.” Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. The company is tight-lipped about its specific plans, but the scale of the investment, which has not been previously disclosed, indicates that this is no cute science project. At least for now, Google’s robotics effort is not something aimed at consumers. “The opportunity is massive,” said Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T.
“Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor,” Mr. Mr. Google’s Robots and Creeping Militarization. Google CEO Larry Page has rapidly positioned Google to become an indispensable U.S. military contractor. Google recently purchased Boston Dynamics, a robotics pioneer that produces amazing humanoid robots for the U.S. Defense Department. This development invites attention to Google’s broader military contracting ambitions — especially since Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company that Google has bought in the last six months. Just like drones are the future of air warfare, humanoid robots and self-driving vehicles will be the future of ground warfare according to U.S. defense plans. There are many other reasons why the U.S. military is on path to become Google’s single largest customer. Likewise these reasons indicate Google has a closer working relationship with the NSA than it acknowledges publicly. First, consider the military value of Google’s research and development efforts and the military contracting pipeline revenue it could represent.
Remember Google is metadata central. Shooting for the Moon, Google Hopes to Own the Future. Boston DynamicsLast year Google purchased Boston Dynamics, maker of the Atlas robot, is a high-mobility humanoid robot designed to negotiate rough terrain. Look at the technology landscape today and what do you see? A few companies — Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Twitter and Google — competing for the same sorts of revenue: advertising, search, location and some mobile hardware. Now look into the future of the technology landscape and what do you see? I’ll answer that for you: Google, Google and Google. Over the last year alone Google has acquired more than a dozen tech hardware outfits working on projects that might seem crazy today, but could be part of our not-too-distant future. Let’s look at just a small collection of Google’s recent acquisitions. There have been several humanoid robot-makers, including Boston Dynamics, which makes two- and four-legged machines that walk and run with an uncanny sense of balance.
Yet many of its competitors seem to be stuck in the present.