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The premise that we are not being monitored in a democratic society makes us that much easier to monitor.
   —AWGB, in a comment at Rigorous Intuition


While doing research for part 4 of my zombie series Operative Sugar alerted me to this interesting tidbit:

Mihg writes "Try searching Google Images for abu ghraib, lynndie england, or Lynndie's boyfriend charles graner and note how you don't get any pictures of US soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners of war. Now try it with some of their competitors, like AltaVista, Lycos, or Yahoo!. Google used to be able to find them, as is discussed in this AnandTech forum thread." I'm guesing that this is another case of our administration confusing "National Security" with "Politically Undesirable".

Rumors of Google censoring search results, particularly their image search, had been around for a while. When I tested the image search just now for the infamous Murkan "Abu Ghraib" love-duo "lyndie england" and "charles graner" I got the images we've all come to know so well. But in the past when I performed such searches (November & December of 2004) Lyndie came up with bupkis — not a single image; and Graner came up with a few innocuous or unrelated images.

But between at least 11/7/04 and 1/6/05, when I tried such searches, no offensive or embarrassing images came up.

Link here for a forum discussion about the reasons behind this. Here are a couple of highlights:

In short, There is no censorship here. We are embarassed that our image index is not updated as frequently as it should be. Expect a refresh in the near future.
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Please don't ascribe some dating issues on images to some political motive, we take this kind of stuff very seriously. We have to comply with the law, but there is no law yet on the books reguiring that companies in the United States take down pictures that might be embarassing ot the current administration.

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Your image index is not updated as frequently as it should be, eh? Then why do searches for events such as "halloween 2004" -- which happened much more recently than the prison abuse -- show up just fine?

We take this kind of stuff very seriously too, you know.

Even though it's now obsolete I'll keep the following links here for future reference.

Here's a Google image search for Lynndie:

Here's the one for Graner:

Here, for the sake of comparison, are the same searches at two other engines, Lycos & Yahoo.

Lynndie at
Graner at

What gives?

Gmail, Books, and Picasa — Oh My!

Then I started thinking about their incredible offer to sign people up for free email accounts (only by word-of-mouth invitation yet! stupid viral marketing...) with 1 Gig (that's one Gig) of server space. Who needs 1 Gig of server space for their email account? That's a fuckload of spam.

Then I learned that Google plans to put books online — entire libraries, that is.

And now Google has announced plans to unleash Picasa, software that "automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize."

They have acquired Blogger ("...we're a...team in Google focusing on helping people have their own voice on the web and organizing the world's information from the personal perspective"), they provide a home for online communities, "Google groups" ("Google Groups enables users to easily gather groups of friends, acquaintances, and those sharing interests together, and communicate with them directly via email, newsletters and message boards...These online communities connect people with information they care about, and that furthers our commitment to enhancing the online experience for Google users"), they have tools to help you search your desktop ("this new application makes it possible for users to find information on their computers as fast and easily as they can search the web with Google"), and many other such helpful things.

Google sure is generous, isn't it? How can they afford to be so altruistic?

Spiking the Fishy Meter

Let's see, can anyone think of someone who would wish to

  • censor our ability to see politically scandalous photos?

  • monitor what we're reading?

  • peek into our emails?

  • see what kinds of information we're looking for?

  • know what books we're reading?

  • amass a list of our friends and associates?

  • find files and photos on our computer named, say, "terrorism plans"?

Doesn't it seem awfully impressive that Google is able to cache the entire web onto 16 terrabytes of server space? (Good luck finding a reference for this. Let's just say my source is one degree of separation.)

Of course part of the monopolization of internet tools and storage is due merely to economies of scale. But excuse me if my patented Orwell-Brand Police State Paranoia Meter is spiking just a little bit here, but I just can't help being a tad suspicious given our new "non-reality based" world. There's some really pungent fish around here.

Printing Money

Has anyone satisfactorily explained to you just how Google makes any money at all?

Google began printing money with what they call "keyword-targeted advertising." Last month 60 Minutes gave Google a blumpkin had a PR fluff piece about Google which briefly discussed how they raise money.

"People always ask us how Google makes money," Mayer says, as she does a Google search for flowers. The left side of the screen displays the top 10 Web sites Google found related to flowers. Appearing on the right side are what Google calls sponsored links. This, she explains, is where the money comes from. When someone clicks on a sponsored link, say in this case it's an ad for FTD flowers, the company pays Google. It's a revolutionary idea: advertising to an audience of one, and one who's already looking for what you want to sell.

The rates are so low - typically between 5 cents and 50 cents per click - that almost anyone can afford to advertise.

Eric Schmidt, Google's 49-year-old CEO who was hired in 2001 to be the resident grown-up, says that the pool of potential advertisers is almost limitless: "There's a lot of evidence that the companies of which Google is a member are enabling a new kind of commerce, between very small communities, people who can find each other, for whom the traditional advertising mechanisms, whether it's television advertising or radio, do not serve.

"An example: a friend of mine named Peter puts his credit card in and he give us $50 [for a sponsored link]. And his wife knits a particular kind of rug. I said, 'Call me back, give me an update.' So Peter calls back and says, 'We're ecstatic. For $50, we got all these customers.' And I said, 'Well, how many did you get?' And he said 100. And I thought, 'Wow, you know, that's great. What a wonderful outcome.' And he said, 'There's a problem...my wife does one rug per year.' So that's all the revenue we're ever gonna get from Peter."

But there are millions of Peters out there, and billions in potential ad revenue. The business world is just beginning to grasp the potential.

Hunh? Whatever. Google provides a demo that "clearly" explains all this.

I hear that the show displayed a huge wall of monitors, like in a 007 or Failsafe movie, that showed lots of realtime animating words and graphs showing how the piles of dough were rolling in.

Translating click-throughs into mountains of cash is the ultimate hi-tech alchemy. Where's the paper trail? They can claim anything they want without one, much like Diebold's BushCo black-box voting machines. Since the data only exists on their own machines they can make up any number they wish for their revenue since there's no way to verify it. (Not that they would ever dream of doing such a thing! We all know that corporations are always honest, above-board and transparent — especially when it comes to accounting and programming practices.)

(Note: if people want to throw their money into some unaccountable black box and believe they're getting their money's worth then I'm going to create a 100% trusthworthy online slotmachine that will guarantee glorious payoffs.)

Ok, so maybe Google can print money with mouse clicks. Good for them!

I mean, it's easily conceivable that separating fools from their money, in this way, can generate cosmic profits — after all, if you skim just a little bit from everyone who uses the internet, so little that no one really cares, and if you do it on a global scale it adds up....FAST! But until they hit paydirt with this scheme there was an even more reliable way...

The Eye in the Pyramid

Everyone knows that Google is an awesome, vital tool for the internet. I, for one, am constantly amazed at its versatility, resourcefulness and speed.

But there was one tiny little problem when Google introduced itself — how the fuck was a magnificent search engine going to make any money providing Bob with a way to get his stroke material for free?

Here's an excerpt from a ZDNet article from 1999 that only served to compound the mystery:

When asked how the company plans to make money, Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page would only say what they won't do. They don't want to become a portal. No content. And they want to avoid competing with other search engines to be the browser of choice for existing portals. In fact, Page said Google doesn't have any real competitors at all, which may be why they don't intend to do much marketing.

But even Internet companies, which are almost expected to lose gobs of money, need at least a revenue stream, don't they?

"We have other ways of making money," said Page. "You'll see."
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Query not found: Google business plan
"We are not saying a lot about Google's business plan," said Kleiner Perkins' Russ Siegleman, who worked with Doerr on the deal. "We think it's the best search engine right now on the Internet. Obviously, we're going to build an interesting business about it."
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"We're in an unreal world now where the concept can get you $25 million — where revenues and business plans, you don't need to have those," said Hagen. "But that blip's got to end at some point."
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"I don't know exactly how they're going to do it," said Ewing. "They're not idiots over there. They must have some sort of plan. They're just not sharing it."

So contravening conventional business wisdom they built their product before figuring out how to make money from it. Since they didn't have a business plan, nor any obvious revenue stream, and since it took a while for Google to devise their awesomely profitable scam as a way to bring in money, where did the money come from to begin with?

As Chomsky informs us, new technologies are developed through a transfer of wealth from the public to the private sector:

These industries [ie, aeronautic & computer] were founded and survive thanks to enormous taxpayer subsidies. They have always been funded through the Pentagon funnel, a system devised in the late 1940s with exactly that purpose in mind as even the public record demonstrates, one of several major government programs to impose a particular kind of state capitalist social and economic order.

It seems that until a private sector finds a way to become profitable on its own it is the recipient of a never-ending flow of taxpayer largesse. So who was Google's sugar daddy?

Chomsky continues:

As for computers, their development was fully funded by the public in the 1950s, before they became marketable and therefore handed over to "private enterprise"; in electronics generally, government funding covered 85% of all R&D in 1958. The public subsidy continued, mounting again under Reagan-Bush in the guise of Star Wars and through the initiatives of DARPA (the Pentagon research funding agency) which "became a pivotal market force" in high-performance computing from the early 1980s, Science magazine reports, "boosting massively parallel computing from the laboratory into a nascent industry"...


Operative Sugar was interested in the history of Google and so went to the source, Sergey Brin's & Lawrence Page's first paper on what would eventually become Google: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. There was an interesting nugget at the end...

7 Acknowledgments
...Finally we would like to recognize the generous support of our equipment donors IBM, Intel, and Sun and our funders. The research described here was conducted as part of the Stanford Integrated Digital Library Project, supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement IRI-9411306. Funding for this cooperative agreement is also provided by DARPA and NASA, and by Interval Research, and the industrial partners of the Stanford Digital Libraries Project.

DARPA?! Does the name John Poindexter mean anything to you? How about TIA? Patriot Act?

    DARPA's mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use.

    DARPA's mission implies one imperative for the Agency: radical innovation for national security. DARPA's management philosophy reflects this in a straightforward way: bring in expert, entrepreneurial program managers; empower them; protect them from red tape; and make decisions quickly about what projects need to be started and what projects should stop.
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    One element, Information Awareness, has been greatly expanded as a direct result of the September 11th attacks. Its goal is to create information systems that America's national security and law enforcement communities can use to detect and defeat terrorist networks — perhaps preventing a terrorist attack and even eliminating the need for a major military operation.

    IAO [Information Awareness Office] is not building a "supercomputer" to snoop into the private lives or track the everyday activities of American citizens. Instead, IAO is developing and integrating information technology that largely consists of three parts — advanced collaborative and decision support tools, language translation technologies, data search and pattern recognition technologies. Together, these three parts effectively comprise the Total Information Awareness (TIA) project.
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    The research into data search and pattern recognition technologies is based on the idea that terrorist planning activities or a likely terrorist attack could be uncovered by searching for patterns indicative of terrorist activities in vast quantities of data. Terrorists must engage in certain transactions to coordinate and conduct attacks against Americans, and these transactions leave signatures (form patterns) that may be detectable. For this research, the TIA project will only use data that is legally obtainable and usable by the U.S. Government.

    If the project is successful, the national security community and the Department of Homeland Security will consult with Congress to determine whether the TIA technology should be implemented for domestic use. The DoD will consult with Congress on how best to implement TIA technology for protection of U.S. forces overseas.

    The DoD [Department of Defense — DARPA's parent] recognizes American citizens' concerns about privacy invasions. The Department has safeguards in place to ensure the TIA project will not violate the privacy of American citizens. As part of the TIA effort, IAO will research and develop privacy protection and other technologies to prevent abuses and external threats and ensure that data is protected and used only for lawful purposes.

  • TIA — Total Information Awareness
    The Total Information Awareness project is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Awareness Office. The office is headed by Admiral (retired) John Poindexter who is responsible for conceiving the project. TIA purports to capture the "information signature" of people so that the government can track potential terrorists and criminals involved in "low-intensity/low-density" forms of warfare and crime. The goal is to track individuals through collecting as much information about them as possible and using computer algorithms and human analysis to detect potential activity.

    Total Information AwarenessThe project calls for the development of "revolutionary technology for ultra-large all-source information repositories," which would contain information from multiple sources to create a "virtual, centralized, grand database." This database would be populated by transaction data contained in current databases such as financial records, medical records, communication records, and travel records as well as new sources of information. Also fed into the database would be intelligence data.

    A key component of the TIA project is to develop data-mining or knowledge discovery tools that will sort through the massive amounts of information to find patterns and associations. TIA will also develop search tools such as Project Genoa, which Admiral Poindexter's former employer Syntek Technologies, assisted in developing. TIA aims to fund the development of more such tools and data-mining technology to help analysts understand and even "preempt" future action.

    A further crucial component is the development of biometric technology to enable the identification and tracking of individuals. DARPA has already funded its "Human ID at a Distance" program, which aims to positively identify people from a distance through technologies such as face recognition or gait recognition. A nationwide identification system would be of great assistance to such a project by providing an easy means to track individuals across multiple information sources.

  • Poindexter
    A convicted felon, John Poindexter (born: 08/12/36; spouse: Linda A. Goodwin; residence: MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD 10 BARRINGTON FRK, ROCKVILLE, MD 20850; market value: $269,700 (1999 assessment)) was the guy who once had a brilliant scheme to establish an online futures market at the Pentagon for acts of terrorism. ('The announced purpose of the Policy Analysis Market, as it was known, was to harness the "anonymous forces of market capitalism" to predict the likelihood of acts of terrorism - much as commodity-trading speculates on the future price of coffee or pork bellies. The Pentagon's justification was that "markets are extremely efficient, effective and timely aggregators of dispersed and even hidden information."' Ie, yet another way to get rich from human misery, this time by creating a casino for insiders betting on terrorist attacks. (No incentive there to stack a deck, is there?) (—I'd like to buy 1000 shares of a dirty nuke attack in Houston on margin.) This is the guy entrusted with our "privacy" as he heads an agency who's mission is to find Murka's enemies at home and abroad by collecting as much data as possible on anything that breathes.

  • Patriot Act
    From an ACLU summary:

    • Expands terrorism laws to include "domestic terrorism" which could subject political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy.

    • Expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, gives them wide powers of phone and Internet surveillance, and access to highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records with minimal judicial oversight.

    • Allows FBI Agents to investigate American citizens for criminal matters without probable cause of crime if they say it is for "intelligence purposes."

    • Permits non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and to be denied re-admission to the US for engaging in free speech.

    • Suspects convicted of no crime may be detained indefinitely in six month increments without meaningful judicial review.

    • The government is allowed to monitor communications between federal detainees and their lawyers, destroying the attorneyclient privilege and threatening the right to counsel.

    • New Attorney General Guidelines allow FBI spying on religious and political organizations and individuals without having evidence of wrongdoing.

    Librarians themselves decry the surveillance powers of the Patriot Act (and are, in some cases, taking activist approaches towards it). The American Library Association has gone so far as to pass a resolution virtually condemning the Patriot Act. Here's an excerpt:

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    WHEREAS, privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association; and, in a library, the subject of users' interests should not be examined or scrutinized by others; and

    WHEREAS, certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the revised Attorney General Guidelines to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other related measures expand the authority of the federal government to investigate citizens and non-citizens, to engage in surveillance, and to threaten civil rights and liberties guaranteed under the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights; and

    WHEREAS, the USA PATRIOT Act and other recently enacted laws, regulations, and guidelines increase the likelihood that the activities of library users, including their use of computers to browse the Web or access e-mail, may be under government surveillance without their knowledge or consent; now, therefore, be it

    RESOLVED, that the American Library Association opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry; and, be it further...
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    RESOLVED, that the American Library Association considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT ACT are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users...
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Who's Your Daddy Big Brother?

I don't know about you, but I don't trust the Government of the Benighted States of Murka. (Can anyone say "COINTELPRO"? "MK-ULTRA"? "WMD"? "Gulf of Tonkin"? etc etc) Thus, when DARPA claims that the 'IAO [Information Awareness Office] is not building a "supercomputer" to snoop into the private lives or track the everyday activities of American citizens' I'm as inclined to believe this assertion as I am to believe the CIA's denials that it doesn't conduct assassinations nor trafficks in drugs — 'cause, you know, the law forbids it. (—Your honor, he ran into my knife ten times. I would never kill anyone. Really. I know it's against the law, so I'd never do it. You gotta believe me. —Oh, ok. Not guilty.)

Given that librarians themselves are so vehemently opposed to the Patriot Act and may even actively impede investigations of their clientele, why not do away with the unAmerican, uncooperative frumps in their brick-and-mortar mausoleums and put their precious libraries online? That way you can simply bypass a roadblock and easily determine for yourself what people are reading.

In fact, it's a hell of a lot easier to surveil your subjects when they stop by your home for a visit and tell you what they're looking for (Google Search), what they're thinking (Google Blogger), what they're reading (Google Books), who they're communicating with (Google Gmail), what kinds of plans they're making (Google Groups), show you their pictures (Google Picasa), and ask for your help organizing their computer files (Google Desktop).

(Here's an amusing idea for a contemporary political sport: see who can get a "surprise" visit the fastest merely by giving your photos, files, email subject lines, blog entries, etc. names like "dirty nuke plans," "mall attack," "inderfurth bank deposit," "PROMIS uzbek cache", "kill bush," "convar data retrieval", "premier executive transport services flight schedule," etc.)

Is all this just simply guilt by association? Is it using circumstantial evidence to besmirch the good reputation of a creditable corporate citizen? Is it just tinfoil hat paranoia?

Or is Google a privatized, all-purpose front-end utility for TIA?

I really don't know...I'm just thinking out loud.

The one thing I do know is that no matter how tightly-wound your tinfoil hat is, your paranoia is nothing compared to that of Poindexter, his TIA project, BushCo in general, various enforcement agencies, and now, perhaps, the citizenry of Murka itself. America has embarked on a path in which it will settle for nothing less than omnipotence and omniscience. Just as one fights feelings of vulnerability by aggressively overasserting oneself as they strive to feel omnipotent, so the way to combat malignant paranoia is to seek to know everything about everybody. And Murka certainly has reason to be paranoid, seeing as how it's spent almost its entire modern history making enemies throughout the world in its monomaniacal pursuit of profits and power (euphemistically called "the National Interest").

And isn't it comforting to know that a felon like Poindexter, and all his pals from the Iran/Contra days, are ensuring you of their lawful intentions in their pursuit of omniscience? Ok, let's assume that we're in some alternate universe where the criminals in charge actually followed the letter and spirit of the law; given such wonderful examples like the Patriot Act, which passed through congress faster than castor oil through a GI tract, how hard do you think it would be to change or reinterpret current laws to make such invasive searches lawful?

Besides, what could be more natural than using a tool that your department helped finance, one designed to amass just the sorts of information you were looking for in your never-ending search for ways to combat sedition terrorism?

Or was DARPA just helping get Google off the ground, no strings attached?

But you know, all this is rather moot — so what if Google is a front-end for TIA? After all, if you've got nothing to hide, what do you have to fear?

At the heart of the superpower syndrome then is the need to eliminate a vulnerability that, as the antithesis of omnipotence, contains the basic contradiction of the syndrome. For vulnerability can never be eliminated, either by a nation or an individual. In seeking its elimination, the superpower finds itself on a psychological treadmill. The idea of vulnerability is intolerable, the fact of it irrefutable. One solution is to maintain an illusion of invulnerability. But the superpower then runs the danger of taking increasingly draconian actions to sustain that illusion. For to do otherwise would be to surrender the cherished status of superpower.
   —Robert Jay Lifton, Superpower Syndrome


China Launches New Search Engine

With all those nasty pro-democracy websites that Google keeps turning up, what's a communist country supposed to do? Well, create their own search engine of course! According to the AP, 'Bill Clinton on Monday helped launch a new Internet search company backed by the Chinese government which says its technology uses artificial intelligence to produce better results than Google Inc.' Accoona Corp. was one of the Chinese companies that donated an 'undisclosed amount' to the recently opened Clinton Library. Using the search engine from inside the US doesn't show any noticeable amount of censorship, but it also doesn't show how it's anywhere near the level of Google ."

Bill Clinton helps launch search engine: China-backed Accoona claims better results than Google

NEW YORK - Former president Bill Clinton on Monday helped launch a new Internet search company backed by the Chinese government which says its technology uses artificial intelligence to produce better results than Google Inc.

NOTE: I just learned from Klaus that Google has proposed to host Wikipedia [added 2/11/05]

NOTE: This article makes a good companion piece. [added 2/11/05]

NOTE: From the infamous PNAC blueprint for American omnipotence:

If outer space represents an emerging medium of warfare, then "cyberspace," and in particular the Internet hold similar promise and threat. And as with space, access to and use of cyberspace and the Internet are emerging elements in global commerce, politics and power. Any nation wishing to assert itself globally must take account of this other new "global commons."

The Internet is also playing an increasingly important role in warfare and human political conflict. From the early use of the Internet by Zapatista insurgents in Mexico to the war in Kosovo, communication by computer has added a new dimension to warfare. Moreover, the use of the Internet to spread computer viruses reveals how easy it can be to disrupt the normal functioning of commercial and even military computer networks. Any nation which cannot assure the free and secure access of its citizens to these systems will sacrifice an element of its sovereignty and its power.

Although many concepts of "cyber-war" have elements of science fiction about them, and the role of the Defense Department in establishing "control," or even what "security" on the Internet means, requires a consideration of a host of legal, moral and political issues, there nonetheless will remain an imperative to be able to deny America and its allies' enemies the ability to disrupt or paralyze either the military's or the commercial sector's computer networks. Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America's military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner.

Taken together, the prospects for space war or "cyberspace war" represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today's air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance.

The PNAC is "The NeoConservative think tank that took over the White House" and the DoD (Deparment of Defense). In a way you've got to admire their chutzpah in sharing their thoughts so openly with the world; why the world refuses to take them at their word is the real mystery, in my opinion.

PNAC -> DoD -> DARPA -> IAO -> TIA -> Google ?

It's interesting to read the following excerpt keeping the above in mind:

It was also not by coincidence then that, in the same winter of 94-95, McCoy revealed to me that he was using former Green Berets to conduct physical surveillance of the Washington, D.C. offices of Microsoft in connection with the Promis case. FTW has, within the last month, received information indicating that piracy of Microsoft products at the GE Aerospace Herndon facility were likely tied to larger objectives, possibly the total compromise of any Windows based product. It is not by chance that most of the military and all of the intelligence agencies in the U.S. now operate on Macintosh systems.

[added 2/14/05 — hat tip to Operative Nobody]

NOTE: an observation from Operative Nobody:
The name says it all: GOOGLE = GOvernment OGLE.

[added 2/14/05]

NOTE: today (2/15/05) I noticed that a Google search for my blog gives you nothing — just a link to my profile (which is not the same as a link to the blog's url). All the many links (including #1) to my blog and to particular blog posts that existed for the past few months are now suddenly (and coincidentally) gone. [added 2/15/05]

NOTE: Google Knows Where You Live [added 4/15/05]

NOTE: Google just another vicious corporate bully. [added 4/15/05]

NOTE: I noticed today [4/18/05] that this post somehow became corrupted — the epilogue and all the notes were missing, a hyperlink having been cut in half and fucking up my blogger tags. I just resubmitted it.

NOTE: Google Launches Personal History Feature

Google Inc. is experimenting with a new feature that enables the users of its online search engine to see all of their past search requests and results, creating a computer peephole that could prove as embarrassing as it is helpful.
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The service allows users to decide if they want Google to automatically recognize them without having to log in each time they use the same computer. Those who prefer to log in on each visit can use a link that will appear in the right-hand corner of Google's home page.

Whenever a user is logged in, Google will provide a detailed look at all their past search activity. The service also includes a "pause" feature that prevents it from being displayed in the index.

Users will be able to pinpoint a search conducted on a particular day, using a calendar that's displayed on the history page. The service sometimes will point out a past search result related to a new search request.
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But privacy rights expert Pam Dixon is worried the service will make it easier for mischief makers, snoops and perhaps even the government to get their hands on a user's entire search history.
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The online service is designed to store years of each individual's search activity, although users can remove selected links from their personal archive at any time.

Because the history feature requires an individual login, it could help Google better understand each user so it can customize its results to reflect a person's specific interests, said industry analyst Charlene Li of Forrester Research.

But Li doubts Google's latest feature will have mass appeal. "I don't think this is going to be very important to the average person," Li said. "Most people are kind of paranoid, so they are going to be wondering, 'Why should I give all my information to Google?'"

[added 4/21/05]

NOTE: I just tried posting the above NOTE and received the following message:

The blog you were looking for was not found.

I'm going to try again.