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[ NNSquad ] The Government Masters of Hypocrisy -- vs. Google

             The Government Masters of Hypocrisy -- vs. Google


It would be just swell to wake up one morning, check the news, and not
feel like I was trapped in a 21st century version of the film
"Groundhog Day" or some sort of twisted parallel universe where the
Mad Hatter rules supreme.

But it appears that we're still doomed to endless replays of "I Got
You Babe" and calls of "I want a clean cup!" into the foreseeable

To wit, one need only note the new statements of feigned outrage from
the EU, complaining about Google's privacy policies, generally similar
in focus to those we've seen from the FTC here in the USA at various

These are much the same European countries, we note with bemusement,
who have either been revealed to be running (or can be assumed to
operate) major communications surveillance operations against their
own citizens and international traffic, in manners similar to those
that have brought our own NSA into an unwelcome (for the agency
itself, anyway) spotlight.

Over the last few days we've heard much about the UK's massive comm
spying ops, and just yesterday France's own vast efforts along these
same lines were revealed.  Sacrebleu!

And if anyone really believes that Germany and pretty much all other
western countries with sufficient resources -- plus our old friends
like China, Russia, and the rest -- aren't engaging in the same "Spy
vs. Spy" routines, there's an old bridge over the East River you might
wish to consider purchasing ( http://j.mp/12AalAi [Lauren's Blog] ).

The reality is that even while governments profess outrage over spying
from other countries, their own surveillance systems are hungrily
sucking up everything they can get their hands on.

This isn't new at all.

But in the past, this kind of hypocrisy wasn't generally used to try
damage major corporations like Google that serve consumers' privacy
and other interests.

I'm not at all a fan of conspiracy theories.  Yet it isn't necessary
to believe them to smell a smokescreen of government misdirection
aimed at diverting attention from enormous personal privacy abuses by
governments, through repeatedly trying to scapegoat Google policies
that not only don't do damage to consumers, but actually serve
consumers' key interests far better than government does nowadays.

So while governments are vacuuming up phone, mail, and financial
records, all personally identifiable, we see public attacks by
government on harmless, anonymous ad personalization systems, benign
browser cookies, and accidental collection of harmless data from open
Wi-Fi systems.

If one were actually of a more conspiratorial bent, one might even
ponder if Google's forceful pushback related to overly broad
government data demands and other associated actions inspired some
parties to promote the hyperbolic and discredited (though still widely
repeated in the press) false claims of the NSA "PRISM" program having
direct access to Google servers.

But again, we need not invoke conspiracies, nor even a high degree of
government coordination, to explain this kind of government hypocrisy.

For hypocrisy is indeed as old as governments themselves -- and
diversionary smokescreens are a tried and true technique to be sure.

The difference this time, is that the magnitude of public revelations
about government surveillance programs around the world -- that we
always knew existed but were rarely spoken of in public -- allows us
to more clearly see the scope of hypocrisy aimed at Google by USA and
EU regulators and politicians.

And that clarity may help make this Mad Hatter Groundhog Day universe
a bit more understandable at that.

Clean cups, anyone?

(Disclaimer: I'm an occasional consultant to Google. 
 My postings would be exactly the same if I weren't.)
 - - -
Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org/pfir-info
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com/privacy-info
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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