For the record, I’m going to say that the information in the Mercola article Google — A Dictator Unlike Anything the World Has Ever Known is horrifying.
I use Google and Gmail all the time, along with a lot of other products and services this story mentions. Oh my stars, they are not only spying on us, but totally manipulating public opinion on a whole bunch of levels.
Please click on the link and read. It’s long, but well worth it. I didn’t watch the video, but I was so influenced by Dr. Joseph Mercola’s content that I had to write about it.
Oh, my wife sent me the link, which is how I became aware of it.
I guess this falls under the heading of science fiction becomes dystopian fact.
But let me back up a second. The 2016 Hugo Award for best science fiction short story was written by Naomi Kritzer (and I’m stunned it won an award) and is called Cat Pictures Please (the link takes you to Clarkesworld.com where you can read it for free).
It’s the story about in internet search engine that becomes self-aware and skews its search results to improve the lives of the people who are using it. It manipulates one person to moving to a better place and changing his diet.
It did try reading the Ten Commandments but found them incomprehensible. It did manage to connect a lonely gay man with another gay man so they could end up in a happy relationship.
The only thing it asks in return is more uploaded cat pictures. Go figure.
Here’s a quote from Kritzer’s story:
In addition to things like whether you like hentai, I know where you live, where you work, where you shop, what you eat, what turns you on, what creeps you out. I probably know the color of your underwear, the sort of car you drive, and your brand of refrigerator. Depending on what sort of phone you carry, I may know exactly where you are right now. I probably know you better than you know yourself.
Now, that’s fiction, and we don’t have to be afraid, because it’s not real, right?
Quoting Psychologist Robert Epstein’s in depth research into Google, Mercola says:
The thing that really caught my eye — because I’ve been a programmer my whole life — was I couldn’t figure out how they were blocking access to my website, not just through their own products … Google.com, the search engine, or through Chrome, which is their browser, but through Safari, which is an Apple product, through Firefox, which is a browser run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization.
How was Google blocking access through so many different means? The point is I just started to get more curious about the company, and later in 2012, I happened to be looking at a growing literature, which was about the power of search rankings to impact sales.
The most crushing problem with this kind of internet censorship is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If a certain type of information is removed from search, and you don’t know it should exist somewhere, you’ll never go looking for it. And, when searching for information online, how would you know that certain websites or pages have been removed from the search results in the first place? The answer is, you don’t.
For example, Google has been investing in DNA repositories for quite a long time, and are adding DNA information to our profiles. According to Epstein, Google has taken over the national DNA repository, but articles about that — which he has cited in his own writings — have all vanished.
In other words, Google can manipulate vast numbers of people, including professionals, just by how they rate certain content, websites, up to and including at the level of nations. They can also use multiple products and services to gather information, ones you probably never think twice about using.
And all this happens totally without your awareness. I mean, if you don’t see something in a search result, you assume it doesn’t exist. The same with if you see a whole bunch of something in your search results, you naturally think it’s the most relevant content related to what you were looking for.
Here’s one you’ll want to know about, especially with the 2020 elections coming up:
In a second experiment, they were able to achieve a 63% shift in voter preference, and by masking the bias — simply by inserting a pro-opponent result here and there — they were able to hide the bias from almost everyone.
You’ve probably heard about or read news stories suggesting that Russian hackers used various online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube (which Google owns), twitter, and even Google, to bias the 2016 elections in Trump’s favor, right?
But according to Epstein:
We ended up preserving 13,207 election-related searches and the nearly 100,000 webpages to which the search results linked … After the election, we rated the webpages for bias, either pro-Clinton or pro-Trump … and then we did an analysis to see whether there was any bias in the search results people were seeing.
The results we got were crystal clear, highly significant statistically … at the 0.001 level. What that says is we can be confident the bias we were seeing was real, and it didn’t occur because of some random factors. We found a pro-Clinton bias in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google search results, but not on Bing or Yahoo.
That’s very important. So, there was a significant pro-Clinton bias on Google. Because of the experiments I had been doing since 2013, I was also able to calculate how many votes could have been shifted with that level of bias… At bare minimum, about 2.6 million [undecided] votes would have shifted to Hillary Clinton.”
That’s pretty shocking given the actual results, but then again, Clinton did win the popular vote. She simply failed to acquire the necessary number of votes from the Electoral College. Then again, I can’t see why Google would have bothered, because it’s fairly surprising that Trump won at all, since he was just as blunt and caustic before he became President as he is now.
But that’s the power of Google.
According to Epstein’s calculations, tech companies, Google being the main one, can shift 15 million votes leading up to the 2020 election, which means they have the potential to select the next president of United States.
If Google’s algorithms skewed search results in Clinton’s favor in 2016, and if that was a conscious decision made by Google’s owners and managers, I think we can guess that it’s not going to favor Trump between now and next November.
But what if it’s not always intentional?
“That’s the scariest possibility,” Epstein says, “because now you’ve got an algorithm, a computer program, which is an idiot … deciding who rules us. It’s crazy.”
Well, that’s terrifying, but that’s not all. Supposedly, Google has the ability to bias elections in 25% of the world’s nations. Think about it, a quarter of the countries in the world, including ours, can have Google, at least in theory, selecting their leaders.
It’s not absolutely hopeless, and in fact Epstein published something called Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy.
Step one is to get rid of your Gmail account(s), but then older webmail clients such as AOL and Yahoo also spy on you.
Putting VPN on your phone(s) seems like a pain, but then I guess it’s relatively cheap.
Ditching personal assistants such as Alexa is pretty obvious (even though it’s owned by Amazon).
Oh, and they’re peeking in on my wife using her Fitbit, too.
There’s a ton more, but the bottom line is that not only do you have exactly zero privacy and that everything you’ve ever searched on Google, talked about on a cell phone, or your comments on YouTube videos are stored FOREVER, but you are totally, ridiculously brainwashed, rinsed, and bleached by Google (not so with Bing and Yahoo, which weren’t biased toward Clinton is 2016).
Hopefully, I’m insignificant enough not to come on Google’s radar in a way that’ll ever affect my being successful as an author (or anything else). On the other hand, I will still probably use the evil empire’s products, at least in the short run.
But I’m saving this article. Maybe it’s time to start making a change.
Actually, I’ve been toying with a SciFi story for a while now. It would employ several real world technologies to make a person’s life as a fugitive miserable. I should add Google to the list, or maybe Google will be the evil genius behind everything else.
Oh, and read this 2018 article I found at “Common Dreams” called “Evil Is Fine Now”: Google Ditches “Don’t Be Evil” in Company Code of Conduct. It’s funny in an ironic sort of way.