Not long ago I encountered an article, well more a paean of praise for Google really, in which the author made the somewhat jaw dropping claim that from Google we have learned a new way of thinking. All I can say is he must mean not thinking is the new way of thinking. It cannot be denied that Google and the internet in general has influenced the perceptions of web users, but to what end. The Alphabet Corporation’s cosy relationship with the Obama Administration and US security agencies was not healthy for democracy and we all know Google search results are filtered to favour the parent company’s business interests and political ambitions.
Every year, nearly half the world’s population uses Google. Internet Live Stats informs us that every second Google processes over 40,000 search queries, internet users view over 76,000 videos on the Alphabet owned You Tube video sharing site. Across the globe there are now over two billion a mobile devices (smart phones and tablet computers,) running Android, the Linux based operating system designed by Google. Google uses these services to track users and collect information about them. And it does not stop at gathering information about what we do while online. Google has no qualms about planting trackers on your devices and gadgets and mining information about your offline activities.
People really ought to be far more concerned that Google has been handed a near monopoly over the flow of information round the internet, yet too few people are aware of the extent of it. Google has control over the dissemination and manipulation of information around the world. Google algorithms can either suppress information or promote it. Because of this, and because of the well known political sympathies of its founders and senior managers Google Inc. is susceptible proposals for political and ideological censorship of information, ‘for the greater good‘. This censorship is affecting billions who use Google services annually. We have heard since November 2016 how the government of Russia collaborated with Donald Trump’s campaign to steal the US presidency. Not a single shred of evidence has been produced to support this allegation, yet any story that challenges it is dismissed and discredited as ‘fake news’.
In fact the Russian election meddling narrative is the real ‘fake news’, Google interferes with elections, business, and people’s livelihoods as part of its routine removal from results of stories that discredit the narrative Google promotes. The social and political agendas that influence Google have track records that suggest they will do anything possible to suppress truthful and diversity of opinion in order to manipulate public opinion. After all our thoughts are limited by the information we have access to.
Google is not a neutral platform as a search engine ought to be, so Google competitors must also skew results in order to attract users. Because Google has over 70% of the search market it can engineer results to highlight the viewpoints that matter most to Google executives, their political allies and their cult culture. Rich and influential people can lobby Google to push their agendas while suppressing any dissent from a political position on the web,. While some ideologies (e.g. climate change,) are popularized by Google, others, notably those that question allegations that President Assad of Syria used chemical weapons on his own people in Syria’s civil war, are pushed to the shadows, de-monetized and mocked as conspiracy theories. Yet in the case of the latter, independent inspectors from the United nations Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW,) have reported finding no evidence of the use of illegal chemicals at any of the attack sites, the idea that Assad is a monster who use poison gas on innocent civilians is still embedded in the consciousness of people who reply on Google for their information.
Google is currently under fire for censoring conservative website PragerU and having already been heavily fined by the European Union (EU) for criminal abuses of its monopoly position to favour its own business interests over rivals in search results while still being involved in litigation on other charges involving privacy violations. Very few organizations have the legal firepower to fight back against Google, but the EU is certainly one, while PragerU, probably with the support of many organisations horrified at the way Google is being allowed to turn the internet into a political monoculture, has taken Google to court. Google’s true intentions are being exposed. In a statement filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Google argues that government regulation to protect free speech would have “disastrous practical consequences.”
Another example of how Google’s filtering of information can skew a debate was the was a debate on ‘net neutrality’ was turned away from the real issue, that certain political and business interests were being favoured with high positions in search results while others were being made virtually invisible. Instead, priority was given to sites and authors who did not, or pretended not to, understand the concept of all content being treated as equal, and were screeching about how unfair it was that some people were getting 12 Mbps data transfer rates on downloads and others were only getting 2Mbps (which is nothing to do with neutrality and is a simple case of getting what you pay for).
PragerU has taken Google to court. Google’s true intentions are being exposed. In a statement filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Google argues that government regulation would have “disastrous practical consequences.”
In their statement to the court hearing the PragerU case, Google exposes its real intentions when the company submits that it cannot be held to the First Amendment of the United States constitution (free speech). Google refuses to change for its users; Google refuses to guarantee users an equal platform for freedom of speech. The anti-American behemoth refuses to enforce the First Amendment across their services because this “would undermine important content regulation.” Google stated, “If they are bound by the same First Amendment rules that apply to the government, television and newspapers, Google, YouTube and other service providers would lose much of their ability to protect their users against offensive or objectionable content — including pornography, hate speech, personal attacks, and terrorist propaganda.”
In other words Google aims to set itself up as the authority which governs what citizens of free nations can or cannot say, read or hear. They plan to become a capitalist version of the secret police in Soviet Russia and Communist China. A real life equivalent of The Thought Police in George Orwell’s novel, ‘1984’.
What constitutes ‘objectionable content’ is of course a highly subjective matter. I am not offended by seeing images of people having sex althoughI do not seek out such content. On the other hand when I see a British Labour Party politician saying something like, “All white males need to be exterminated, I consider that should be removed from the net as inciting violence against any group is objectionable. But being a libertarian, (and a grown up,) I would not try to have her prosecuted, instead I would mutter to myself something like, “Stupid, hypocritical, fat – arsed black bitch,” which would also be objectionable were anybody there to hear it. The problem I have with ‘hate speech‘ and ‘hate crime‘ which Google are determined to remove from the web is that such ‘crimes‘ have no legal definition, instead if you or I do or say something which a member of one of the anointed minorities deems to be an expression of hatred, we could become the latest target of a left wing witch hunt.
So there you have it, an admission that Google’s business model is not about ‘putting all the world’s information at everybody’s fingertips (always a ridiculous claim as only about 5% of the information stored in online devices is avaiable via the world wide web while much more, in the form of non indexed pages, online databases and non searchable resources (collectively known as the deep web, which should not be confused with the dark web where you will find the hot goat-on-goat action, bomb making instructions and information about where to buy John Wayne movies.) The deep web, however, is not available to the majority of people and Google has far too much control of the world wide web, and is being helped to extend that control when even former employees are warning the corporate monster must be stopped before it becomes unstoppable.
The most simple way of avoiding Google tracking of your WWW activity and censorship of what you can see is to use an alternative search engine to Google. DuckDuckGo does not track users, find others HERETION
IF YOU WANT TO EXPLORE THAT HIDDEN INFORMATION ON THE DEEP WEB (or just avoid Google censorship) HERE’S A LIST OF USEFUL RESOURCES