Profile image
By Voice of Reason
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

People’s Deepest, Darkest Google Searches Are Being Used Against Them

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:26
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

A patron works on his laptop during the Tech Crunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, California, September 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Beck

For all the wonderful things the Internet has brought us, with increasing frequency we are learning of all the ways the Internet is being used as a weapon against us, and not even by foreign enemies necessarily, but by our own government or by American corporations. I wonder, if cost wasn’t a factor, how many of us would take a cabin far away in the woods, somewhere off the grid, and with no Internet connection if we were offered one? Before you answer, consider the first video below with Shep Smith at Fox News talking to Judge Napolitano about comments made by General Petraeus when he was still the head of the CIA. Before losing his job as the CIA Chief, Petraeus once famously said, “We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher,” which was covered in an article by Wired Magazine. 



Forget about the fact that the CIA isn’t supposed to be doing any domestic spying in the first place, can you imagine anything more intrusive than government agents in your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? It’s too late. We’re already there. How many times have you seen articles come out about Internet privacy that you just glossed right over? NEWS FLASH: Just last week the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate with overwhelming support. Much like a recent Canadian bill Dan Dicks talks about in the second video (from We Are, CISA is not a one hit wonder. It’s been lurking around the House and Senate for two or three years now, and every time it comes up, people have pounded the phones calling their “elected representatives,” and We the People have just barely escaped the bill passing each time. Below are two articles dating back to 2013 when Congress was trying to sneak the spying bill through. It passed now! Make NO MISTAKE, CISA is a Surveillance Bill to Spy on You, Not a Security Bill. The following document previous attempts to pass the bill:

Oct.  2013: CISPA IS BACK! It Has Already Passed The House. It CANNOT Pass The Senate!

Dec. 2013: CISPA: The Most Unconstitutional Law in American History – The Bill That WON’T Die!



In the second video below, Dan Dicks, James Corbett and Luke Rudkowski discuss the future of internet freedom and new limitations being implemented in the U.S, Canada and Japan. Notice a common theme with the bills in all three countries: In the U.S., CISA is being sold as a “security bill,” and as a means to protect children from “cyber-bullying.” In Canada, a similar bill is being sold as a way to stop “child pornography,” and in Japan legislation was just passed criminalizing certain types of government documents if they are found in the hands of journalists, even if the journalist played no role in how they were obtained. Watch the video for yourself, but you’ll notice that names may change, but the story never does. Citizens are being lied to repeatedly to the point they are willing to give up their freedom for what they THINK is security. In REALITY, we had security, and we keep relinquishing it by inviting the government into every aspect of our lives. 



The article below from the Atlantic is not quite as sinister as the above examples, but that shouldn’t make anyone feel any relief. It’s just more proof that things are spiraling out of control, and fast. The article below focuses more on spying on you for the purposes of being able to market goods and services to you better. Dress that up and call it whatever you want, but the reality is you are being preyed upon, and when your weaknesses are discovered, those are the companies that move in to try to sell you things, whether you need them or not. Ultimately, self-control and self-discipline have to prevail, but the reality is we know some people are weaker than others, and this new technique of using your searches against you, is no more than corporate entrapment, and it NEEDS to end! BE sure to check out the following posts as well:

CISA is a Surveillance Bill to Spy on You, Not a Security Bill

What Makes The Trans-Pacific Partnership So Bad? You Better Sit Down

The TPP Has a Secret Clause to Limit Free Speech Online – Shocked?

Net Neutrality: What it REALLY Means, and How it Could REALLY Impact You 

We Know Google Spies; What Secrets Do They Know About You?

Avoid Google Surveillance and Protect Your Personal Data



The Atlantic reports:

Google knows the questions that people wouldn’t dare ask aloud, and it silently offers reams of answers. But it is a mistake to think of a search engine as an oracle for anonymous queries. It isn’t. Not even close.

In some cases, the most intimate questions a person is asking—about health worries, relationship woes, financial hardship—are the ones that set off a chain reaction that can have troubling consequences both online and offline.

All this is because being online increasingly means being put into categories based on a socioeconomic portrait of you that’s built over time by advertisers and search engines collecting your data—a portrait that data brokers buy and sell, but that you cannot control or even see. (Not if you’re in the United States, anyway.)

Consider, for example, a person who googles “need rent money fast” or “can’t pay rent.” Among the search results that Google returns, there may be ads that promise to help provide payday loans—ads designed to circumvent Google’s policies against predatory financial advertising. They’re placed by companies called lead generators, and they work by collecting and distributing personal information about consumers online. So while Google says it bans ads that guarantee foreclosure prevention or promise short-term loans without conveying accurate loan terms, lead generators may direct consumers to a landing page where they’re asked to input sensitive identifiable information. Then, payday lenders buy that information from the lead generators and, in some cases, target those consumers—online, via phone, and by mail—for the very sorts of short-term loans that Google prohibits.

“Google has a decent policy—including ‘obey the law’—but it’s a very hard policy for Google to effectively enforce,” said Aaron Rieke, a projects director at Upturn, a technology policy consulting group in Washington, D.C. “As a result, payday advertisers are often violating it and skirting around it. The result is that online payday marketers are reaching out to people nationwide, even to people who live in states where payday lending—and the solicitation of payday loans—is effectively illegal.” Google declined multiple requests to describe how it developed its policies on ads for financial services.

Lead generators are increasingly under scrutiny by federal agencies and consumer advocates. Upturn recently released a damning report about lead generators, and the practice was at the center of a workshop held by the Federal Trade Commission last week.

“I find the entire online ecosystem that is designed to track consumers and then to place them in boxes … too opaque and too under-regulated,” said Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer-program director at the consumer-advocacy group U.S. PIRG, during the FTC workshop on Friday. “So I think the entire online marketing, and advertising, and lead-generation system is a consumer protection problem of both deception, and unfairness, and maybe abuse as well.”

Online lead generation is complicated in part because it involves a long chain of different companies, including but not limited to search engines, lead aggregators, and the businesses that end up buying the leads. The practice also entails several layers of privacy and consumer-protection concerns.

Not only are lenders taking advantage of people in vulnerable financial situations, not only are lead generators sometimes skirting Google’s ad policies and even violating state laws, but companies are sharing individual data in a way that puts consumers directly at risk. All this comes down to the widespread availability and longevity of personal data online.

Imagine again the person who turns to Google with a search term like “need money fast.” Let’s say that person ends up at a lead generator’s landing page, providing various information in hopes of getting a quick loan. “A very small percentage of those folks are actually qualified for a loan,” said Michael Waller, an attorney in the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s enforcement division at the FTC. “And so the vast majority—95 percent of those applications, which means 95 percent of the folks whose social-security numbers and bank-account numbers fall to the cutting room floor—are referred to in the industry as ‘remnants.’”

Those so-called remnants aren’t discarded, though. They are sold and resold and resold again. “What’s created over a period of time is the consumers just become suckers,” Waller said in the FTC workshop. “It’s a sucker list. And people will buy that information for all different kinds of reasons.”

“Data brokers, publishers, folks who have this information—and a lot of people have access to this information along the chain because it’s shared freely even if it isn’t purchased—there’s a lot of pressure on them to use, to monetize what they consider an asset,” Waller said. “Which is just a big pile of data, a big pile of data points.”

As the big piles of data online continue to grow, these issues will become more pronounced. Information filters that control what version of the Internet a person sees are calibrated based on how much money various algorithms think you have. Which means distinct digital-advertising landscapes are increasingly drawn on socioeconomic lines.

The effect may be a more pleasant online experience for someone who is perceived to have more income. In the same way that startups have put a premium on cutting out human interaction for those who can afford it, adlessness can be a luxury for those who choose to buy ad blockers so their webpages load faster. But distinct ad landscapes aren’t just about seeing more elegant corporate messages, or encountering fewer pop-up ads—or even none at all. Companies and individuals are working together to target consumers on a personal level, to use their most vulnerable Google searches against them.

“Fraudsters buy this data,” Waller said. “It’s easy to access, easy to buy, easy to find. They use it sometimes for really shocking, outright fraud and theft. Sometimes it’s a little more subtle than that.”









Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Total 1 comment
  • Here in the UK they are trying to push though new laws about making ISP keep our data for 12 months but david cameron wants a getout clause so the police has to advise him if any MP’s are being investigated.

    I have no trouble with Google recording searches that my web-tools sends off (VERY SLOWLY) that covers everything from how to farm snails to how to build a home made bomb <<<<< Yeah bait !

    if Google wants to use programs to mess with me then i will use programs to defend myself and i don't care what the bent judges on the payroll want to say about it, i will defend myself regardless

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.