Google is fourteen.
Trust a fourteen-year-old to keep a watchful eye over anything — a younger sibling, or their allowance, for that matter — and the chances of it being as you left it are slim to none.
So, when it was reported last week that the world’s most ubiquitous tweenager was solicited with “7,969 requests for Gmail and other Google data in the first six months of 2012” — we didn’t stand a chance; getting our information without a subpoena was easier than getting One Direction tickets.
And just like that all too giddy groupie at a One Direction concert
“Google complied either fully or partially 90% of the time with the US government’s requests.” Oh, to be fourteen and foolish again.
Indiscriminate taste withstanding, freely giving away our emails, is not a crime. The protections guaranteed to us by Constitution protects us against unwarranted GOVERNMENTAL intrusion — and as more and more of our lives are pushed online, the bone then we have to pick isn’t with that pissant little fourteen year old after all, it’s with the government.
After all what did we think Google was? Some public trust — generously storing silos of our data for free until we need them without asking for any compensation whatsoever? Well, I yeah, I guess we kinda all thought so.
Same thing with Wikipedia, and Facebook, and Wikipedia and the sea of other platforms that this new free networked generation has mortgaged its promise on. We are in the process of pushing the lion’s share of our civilization’s out onto the tender shoots of one of its new branch.
Consider: it took the internet less than 10 years to kill the Britannica Encyclopedia (up until that point, the largest reference volume of in the English language; in existence for 244-years). Though I digress, these companies are businesses at the end of the day, so if we are surprised that they might not have our best interests at heart, maybe it’s us who are the naive ones.
So naive to think that when Uncle Sam tries to stick up little 14-year-old Google for his lunch money we needn’t cause a ruckus; Uncle Sam is 236. He should know better, anyways.
If anything we should be spoiling for this fight. We pay our bills online —hell, draft our thoughts in our inboxes and write to screens we wouldn’t tell our closest blood relative and to think Google’s giving this all away for a wink and a smile.
Come to think of it though, when does is smile toting as much legal brawn behind it as the US Justice Department does benign? Never, right? With Antitrust cases looming somewhere inevitably in Google’s future, Uncle Sam is in a pretty serendipitous place when it comes for asking for help. This seems to this undergrad unconstitutional :
That they have not obtained the proper legal recourse
1) being a warrant from a Judge and
2) in not supply probable cause for these requests…
If I thought for a second that I as an undergraduate could even begin to suggest policy to the US Council’s Office that they had not thought of — I wouldn’t be writing this blog! HA!
They’ve thought about it.
And done thought it best, for whatever reason, to do otherwise…
So, maybe there’s a reason why Google thought it was time to released these findings themselves as they took toi their Frequently Asked Questions page recently to do (though some important information is missing).
But here in lies Google’s slyness. In releasing this information to the public the begin the slow path to an “expectation of privacy”… maybe someone somewhere will read it or read this…make a claim in court and voilà my friends, the next Katz v. United States could be you!