It seems to me that Google’s reputation was finally tarnished to the point that they had to react. This may be one of the great reputation stories of the year. Google has long been courted by the various alphabet of government agencies as a partner in the war against terror and they have been willing participants. I think we’d all agree that we have sacrificed a part of our freedoms since 9/11 to have the feeling that we are in fact safer. Well, that all ended on Google’s part last week even though they had decided to start encrypting data as early as last year.
A Washington Post headline last week read: “Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying”. Evidently something has happened behind the scenes to propel Google to begin encrypting their data in order to prevent “governments” from spying on our behavior and searches. Now when Google says “governments”, I think we can all read between the lines that it means “our government”. I like to think the day had come that Google had to finally realize that they were duped by the NSA and other government organizations into handing over another bit of our privacy in the cause of our safety and freedom. I think it may be one of the great debates of our time and probably the time and place is here and now to have it.
We can all go on about trying to define the slender line between our safety and security and when we give up our liberties to be so. I’m of the belief that they can have anything they want of my information because I’m at an age that what the hell do I do wrong anymore? However, the time has already come when “Big Brother” will bust a common thief by means of a street corner camera. Drones are now patrolling our skies over this country and we cannot write or utter a word anymore that cannot be read or heard if the government wants to listen in. We cannot text or sext or send an email of Skype or Instant Message without the government reading it. If we want true privacy, what can we do?
My suggestion is start writing letters again. Although, we send them by U.S Mail. How ironic! I guess I really don’t know what side I am on in this debate. Hell, I can argue either position. The men and women who spy on the “bad guys” are certainly dedicated and care about keeping us all safe and I’m glad they are there. But on the other hand, it sounds like some have gone too far. The great question is what is too far. Maybe Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said it best when describing obscenity. He said that he didn’t know how to define it but he’d know it when he saw it. (I’m paraphrasing).
Google’s Reputation Will Be Tested
I am certain that they will be tested. I think of things like “anti-trust” and “impeding an investigation” and all sorts of things that an aggressive government can do, might come their way. And let’s face it; Google has had a pretty stress free run to the top when it comes to the federal government. However, I like to think that Google had a Justice Potter moment. They finally saw it and knew it. They realized that they were being coerced in sharing information and when they did, the NSA’a Prism Program had an appetite that knew no bounds. Google had finally had enough. Well, hurray for Google and their reputation and hurray for the NSA. Now go and figure that line out. I told you it was time for the debate. Let’s have it.