Assange says ‘Google works like NSA’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange equated Google with the National Security Agency and GCHQ, saying the tech giant has become “a privatized version of the NSA,” as it collects, stores, and indexes people’s data. He made his remarks to BBC and Sky News.

“Google’s business model is the spy. It makes more than 80 percent of its money by collecting information about people, pooling it together, storing it, indexing it, building profiles of people to predict their interests and behavior, and then selling those profiles principally to advertisers, but also others,” Assange told BBC.

“So the result is that Google, in terms of how it works, its actual practice, is almost identical to the National Security Agency or GCHQ,” the whistleblower argued.

‘Google deeply involved in US foreign policy’

Google has been working with the NSA “in terms of contracts since at least 2002,” Assange told Sky News.

“They are formally listed as part of the defense industrial base since 2009. They have been engaged with the Prism system, where nearly all information collected by Google is available to the NSA,” Assange said. “At the institutional level, Google is deeply involved in US foreign policy.”

Google has tricked people into believing that it is “a playful, humane organization” and not a “big, bad US corporation,” Assange told BBC. “But in fact it has become just that…it is now arguably the most influential commercial organization.”

“Google has now spread to every country, every single person, who has access to the internet,” he reminded.

http://rt.com/news/188896-assange-google-nsa-spying/

There are alternatives such as yandex.com, but google seems to have them all beaten in terms of volume of data and its cache is often a lifesaver if a site goes offline.  But google has an under-appreciated usability problem too.   It keeps tabs on the interests of its users through the use of cookies, arguably to help you home in on what you’re looking for.   When it presents a list of “hits” to you it monitors which ones you click on and builds a profile of your interests.  This is why two people searching for the exact same item often get different results.  The problem is that this personalized “info-bubble” can become confining and limit your horizons to what you already know.  Startpage.com tries to avoid this by performing your google search while blocking your cookies, so your search comes back unfiltered.   Of course who knows who runs startpage, but it’s an option.  Dmoz.org is a different approach, it’s a web directory maintained by humans.  Wikipedia has a list of search engines here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_search_engines

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