Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Google routinely hands your smart phone data to the police

Reason 4,326,987 to never use a Google smart phone: Google handed the police the GPS data for every single smart phone that was in the vicinity of a robbery, resulting in an innocent bike rider becoming the primary suspect in a burglary.

The [man’s] lawyer, Caleb Kenyon, dug around and learned that the notice had been prompted by a “geofence warrant,” a police surveillance tool that casts a virtual dragnet over crime scenes, sweeping up Google location data — drawn from users’ GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular connections — from everyone nearby.

The warrants, which have increased dramatically in the past two years, can help police find potential suspects when they have no leads. They also scoop up data from people who have nothing to do with the crime, often without their knowing ─ which Google itself has described as “a significant incursion on privacy.”

What happens is Google gives the data to the police, with no names attached. If the police see something they think worthwhile, they then ask for the identity of the person in question. Google then warns that person, giving them seven days to defend themselves before handing the police their name.

This type of search stinks to high heaven. If Google really considered this “a significant incursion on privacy” they wouldn’t cooperate with the police. Thus, they are lying if when they say that. Google likes prying into your private affairs, and using that data for its own benefit. In fact, based on Google’s track record, I’m surprised they didn’t demand a payment from this man to prevent the release of his name to the police.

Google, like Facebook and Microsoft, is a corrupt and dishonest company. No one should be doing business with them, and if you are, you should be finding ways to switch to the competition as quickly as possible. This is why I haven’t used Google or Bing to do any web searches in about a decade, using Startpage and DuckDuckGo instead. This is why I abandoned Microsoft Windows fourteen years ago, switching to Linux.

In fact, I think this story calls for a repost of the links to the series of articles reader James Stephens wrote for Behind the Black back in 2016 for getting and installing Linux. If you want to try out Linux, all you really need is a spare laptop or desktop, one or two years old, that you aren’t using any more, and to then follow James’ step-by-step instructions below. I’ve done it now three times. The two laptops I use were bought for $20 and $35 each. I wiped Windows 7 from both and installed my favorite flavor of Linux. And they work as well if not better than any Windows machine.

Find an old laptop you aren’t using any longer and put Linux on it. And stop using Google. It is pure poison.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

3 comments

  • Jeff

    And now there is this:
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/mitch-mcconnell-moves-to-expand-bill-barrs-surveillance-powers

    Thanks for re-posting the Linux series. Saved me a little time searching.

  • Edward

    Robert,
    You wrote: “Google then warns that person, giving them seven days to defend themselves before handing the police their name. … I’m surprised they didn’t demand a payment from this man to prevent the release of his name to the police.

    Are you sure that this isn’t what Google means by “defend themselves?”

    The alternative is that Google assumes guilt unless innocence is proved. How French of them.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I think I mentioned this a few weeks back on another thread.

    Google is only half the problem. The geofence warrant is the other half.
    Note:
    Google gives it’s users 7 days to object, as a matter of policy, not law. This means that at any time, they can amend their policy in favor of Law Enforcment. And you, the user, would be none the wiser.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *