Rise of the Terminator Keybot!
Google – running parts or all of our Public Sector?!
Has our Dear Leader finally flipped out?!
If John Key is being serious, then they must be putting something in his drinking water and nanobots have slowly assimilated his fiscally-programmed brain into the great Google Collective,
All that’s missing is the laser-probe eyepiece and suitably villainous catch-phrases like,
“You will be assimilated!“
“Resistance is futile!“
and the ever-popular,
Look, I’m no Luddite – I’m all in favour of latest technology (within bounds of reason, cost, and a good dollop of common sense). But the nanobots in Key’s head have scrambled his neural hard-wiring if he thinks that handing over our public service (or great gobs of it) to multinational corporations like Google is anything remotely approaching a sane idea.
For one thing; has anyone ever actually tried to phone a living, breathing carbon-based life-form at Google?
Good luck to that – even the “humans” there are probably androids.
Now imagine trying to phone the Ministry of Education or NZQA to query Little Johnny or Janey’s NCEA results, and the system is now fully automated? I hope you have a few hours to spare…
But more important: information. Government departments, various Crown entities, and quangos deal mostly in information. Whether IRD, Police, WINZ, etc – the State has voluminous quantities of information on all of us.
Every single man, woman, and child in this country has already been filed, stamped, indexed, catalogued, vetted, surveilled, and numbered. 1984 has come and gone – and we are now part of the system.
For John Key to suggest - in broad daylight for all to hear – that this information should now be privatised and handed over to Google, et al, is mind-boggling and beyond belief.
(When I first heard snippets of this item on Radio NZ, I thought I was hearing the tail-end of a publicity-piece for a new science fiction/drama radio series. It was only when I checked online that I discovered the awful, frightening truth of what our Dear Leader was calmly suggesting.)
Quite simply; this is not a good idea.
It is a very bad idea. In fact, it ranks right up there with the Square Wheel; using leeches to cure Black Plague in the middles ages; and having ACT in government.
Google deals in information. It is Google’s core business, as finance is to banks; oil is to oil companies; and big busty blondes are to Playboy Enterprises.
“Out-sourcing” our public service to Google would be tantamount to handing over your 18 year old daughter to Hugh Hefner, so he can “look after her“.
This is the same international conglomerate that two years ago admitted to illegally collecting private data without permission, in more than thirty countries. Google admitted that cars sent to take photos for its Street View mapping service also carried Internet eavesdropping gear.
Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Commissioner of Privacy, said,
“Some of the captured information was very sensitive, such as a list that provided the names of people suffering from certain medical conditions, along with their telephone numbers and addresses. It is likely thousands of Canadians were affected.”
Google’s Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, finally admitted May 14 2010, that,
“A number of external regulators have inspected the data. It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords.”
In other words, they were ‘caught with their pants down around their ankles’, collecting data they had no right to gather. As a representative of Consumer Watchdog said,
“Once again, Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy. Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar.”
In 2005, the online magazine Cnet, stated,
“The fear, of course, is that hackers, zealous government investigators, or even a Google insider who falls short of the company’s ethics standards could abuse that information. Google, some worry, is amassing a tempting record of personal information, and the onus is on the Mountain View, Calif., company to keep that information under wraps. “
The same article outlined the considerable information that Google was collecting on those using it’s services,
What Google knows about you may be considerably more than you might feel comfortable about.
For our government to allow a corporation, such as Google, access to our personal information is opening new doors to data-sharing that few of us would have considered feasible only a decade ago. But now, our Prime Minister is openly touting the idea.
On top of handing over our private information to IT corporations is another risk; that of becoming so “wedded” to a provider, that it becomes difficult – it not near-impossible – to de-couple that connection. Our reliance on Google to run our government IT may become so pervasive, that no other option for information-processing is easily accomplishable. Or possible.
For most households, Google’s ease-of-use makes it the search-engine of choice.
Internet users exercise a deliberate measure of choice in using Google.
That “choice” becomes non-existent if John Key willingly hands over our information to this internet colossus.
My message to John Key: this is a dumb idea. Google ‘dumb’.