Tuesday, 14 February 2012

What If Someone Could See Everything You've Ever Googled?

What if there was a little box that could be placed in your home that could.....

.... track every Google search that you ran?

.... see who you email?

.... see from whom you receive emails?

.... watch your keystrokes to learn all your passwords?

.... turn on a camera and watch you at any given time?

.... gather information about your likes, dislikes, political affiliations and religious beliefs?

.... dispense all of the above personal data to fusion centers, whose only purpose is to put together profiles of you and your family?

As it turns out, there is such a box, and if you are reading this, you're on it right now.  You not only voluntarily brought this device into your home, you paid good money for it.  Your computer is spying on you.

The home computer is bar none the greatest information sharing device ever created.  We can study anything our little hearts desire.  We can meet other people anywhere on the globe who have similar interests to us.  We can be kept constantly up to date with news, communication with friends and family and updates to our inboxes about myriad topics.

Unfortunately there is a dark side to having a home computer.  A home computer means that someone else could have constant access to US.



Here are just a few little tricks that your computer may be up to, unbeknownst to you.

GOOGLE:

Google has the best reputation in the world as a search engine extraordinaire.  But the times are changing and Google is becoming less and less trustworthy. 

First there is the Gmail scandal.  If you are a user of the free email service, you may have noticed that the ads running down the side of the homepage seem uniquely targeted to your current interests.  That is precisely because they ARE - Gmail scans every single email sent, gleaning information for "advertisers".  That's right, every single email you send through Gmail is read.  Apparently it is read by a computer, but the point is, your emails are not private.  Password, smassword.

Next there is the issue of censored searches.  Unless you specifically use keywords that will hook you up with alternative news sources, Google searches are now directing you towards the most politically correct answers.  Gone are the days when you can simply type in, for example, 9/11, and find information that is provided based on ratings - now you actually need to already have the source that you want the information from to get a clear picture...for example, "Infowars 9/11.  Some websites, like Infowars, are no longer coming up in Google searches unless you include them in your search terms.    At the end of 2010, Google blacklisted Infowars and Prison Planet from it's search aggregates, despite the fact that those sites get more hits than many mainstream media sites that show up front and center.

Finally, let's talk about Google's new "privacy policy."   As it turns out, that policy isn't keeping very much private at all.  As of March 1, in an effort to its ads to the tastes of individual consumers, Google will integrate information from all of it's services, including the search engine itself, Youtube and the aforementioned Gmail.  Google refers to this as a "more intuitive Google experience."  Unfortunately for users who prefer more privacy, there is no option to "opt out" of this information gathering and sharing.  Check out THIS ARTICLE that recently appeared in The Washington Post for more information on the new lack-of-privacy policy.

YAHOO

Not to be outdone, Yahoo also "analyzes" the content of your emails. And according to their guide for compliance with law enforcement officers, Yahoo hangs on to your information for far longer than the privacy policy states they will.  Here are some alarming statistics, directly from Yahoo, wrapped up in a menu-priced
17 PAGE GUIDE

~  All IP addresses that you use to log into your Yahoo mail account are retained for one year, giving an excellent way to track your movements, find your workplace, or see who you visit.
~  Instant messages and chats are logged for a minimum of 60 days.
~  The information provided to law enforcement agencies is not a matter of civic duty - the major communications companies all have "price lists". The US Marshall Service admitted to having PRICE LISTS FOR DATA INTERCEPTION SERVICES from Yahoo, Verizon, Cox Communications,  and ComCast.

FACEBOOK

Over half a billion people worldwide voluntarily provide information about their personal lives, their friends, their families, their religious beliefs and their political agendas on Facebook.

Nowhere can be found a bigger fountain of personal information.  As a way to increase the information Facebook learns about it's users, when a person is logged into Facebook on a computer, a cookie tracks all other sites visited on that same computer.  If you are logged into Facebook, the door to your home computer usage is wide open.

Facebook uses facial recognition technology to "tag" people in photographs.  Facebook is also like the evil town gossips, making assumptions about you based on who your friends are.  Ads that are targeted to your "friends" can also make it onto your own page. Facebook figures you'll have the same interests.

Facebook uses GPS technology to post the location where photographs have been taken and/or uploaded, making even your physical location public information.

Skype

Purchased in May of 2011 by MICROSOFT, Skype is the world's #1 provider of VoIP services.  Two years before making the purchase Microsoft began efforts to patent technology to intercept VoIP calls. 

The information can be used in many ways.  Criminally speaking, credit card numbers, social security numbers or other personally identifying information can be easily procured.  Information and keywords gathered from phone calls can be used in legal proceedings.  Data-mining techniques can be used to gear advertisments and marketing based on conversations that you think are private.

Even more alarming is the fact that once Skype is downloaded on your computer, it is possible to turn on your webcam from a remote location.  That's right.  You might be sitting there reading the latest blog from your favorite afghan-knitting granny and somebody, somewhere, might be looking back at you.

You owe it to yourself and your personal security to learn as much as you can about how your computer, your home and even your thoughts, if you are careless enough to type them in somewhere, can be accessed.

FUSION CENTERS

Finally, know that fusion centers really do exist and they are the final clearinghouse for all of this information.  Sometimes loosely cloaked as "marketing research" facilities, they have systems for corralling the information gleaned from your computer usage that will provide a very complete profile of you.  That profile may contain information about your relationships, your sexual orientation and fantasies, your political ideologies, your religious beliefs, your family, your friends, your bank accounts, where your money comes from, photo recognition profiles....absolutely everything there is to know about you. 

The fusion centers are the real threat - if personal freedoms continue to erode at the current rate, you may one day be deemed an enemy of the state based on your Facebook status updates.  Information compiled there could, potentially, make you a target of the government.


Personally, I have no intention of ceasing my usage of the internet.  The internet and the continuous access to knowledge make this a great time to be alive.  I will continue to do my research, I'll continue to share my opinions and information.  But I will do these things knowing that nothing is private anymore.

Big Brother is not just watching - he's making a scrapbook.

7 comments:

  1. Good post Daisy: did quite a bit of research there huh. Hope things are going well for you.

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    1. This seem to negate ; That there"s a " MaMi " ( all seeing " I " that"s above all this sevailance ; Big Brother is " NOT " the breath giver ; We"re being asked to cheer for the " Downpresser"s " ; Psycologly shooting our self in the foot ; The " Internet " it"s self is a protective/preventitive ; it promotes big bros. worse " nightmare " ' Communication/Unity ; Half empty/full ; " Perspectives " ; Sheeple/Shepard ? always your call ; free will ;

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  2. I stopped using google several years ago when I learned about Startpage.com and startingpage.com--which are the World's most private search engine that protects your privacy and will do a google search without revealing your IP address. I heard about this on Katherine Albrecht's show when she was promoting this search engine. Katherine Albrecht is a privacy activist with lots of good privacy information!

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  3. Daisy, I see you have both a yahoo mail address and, of course, a (Google) Blogger blog. Do you think these "big brother" antics are just a fact of life that we may as well be resigned to, or do you think it is worth actively looking for alternatives to these services?

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  4. Hi Rory! Yes, I do use these services for certain things. I use the Blogger format because it's simple and it is an easy way to get the message out. I also have a Daisy Luther Facebook page because Social Media, while complete spyware, is something that we can use to mobilize people.

    My yahoo address is only used as a contact pooint for the blog. It serves no other purpose. For things that I want to be private I use overseas proxies and private encrypted email services.

    I think we can use the system that is trying to use us - we just need to know the facts and what we are up against, and then use those services judiciously.

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    1. Thanks, Daisy. Have you blogged about overseas proxies and encrypted e-mail services?

      Good advice all round. I am liking subscribing to your blog.

      (Sorry I didn't get back earlier. I thought I would get a notification that there was a reply...but I didn't.)

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  5. This is fascinating I didn't know about all this until the moment I discovered this blog entry of yours. And I got a question for you. Do you have any helpful data on how to protect your posts from being used without your awareness about it?

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