For more than three years now i've avoided using direct Google searches. Google, much like Walmart or Microsoft, is one of those despicable monopolies born of government approval that leaves me with feelings of nausea and a lack of self respect to patronize. It's not out of paranoia that i refuse to make it easy for Big Brother to collect my online data and spy on what is not, in any way, their business...it's just that it's Wrong and i hate making the job of a wrong-doer easier.
Instead of direct Google searches, i've enjoyed the use of a little operation called Scroogle.org. This nice little invention of genius gave me google results without collecting my information or dumping spyware on me. One sad day...Scroogle announced that they no longer had access to the Google interface and so they could not provide search results anymore. Fortunately..that was a false alarm, and Scroogle did find the interface again and the site continued to work. A couple days ago...it went down again..the same reason..Google apparently is not all that fond of providing their services without getting the benefit of spying on us. It looks less promising that Scroogle will be up and running again in the future..but we can hope.
The reason this is such a concern is that the loss of Scroogle is not, by far, the only evidence i've begun to notice of a shift in the online world. A shift that is taking place slowly (these things always happen slowly so you can get used to them rather than get angry at them) but surely from the freedom of expression and the option to keep yourself anonymous..to an environment of track, trace and don't say the wrong thing.
We who write on blogs and forums concerned with civil liberties and concerned with the overreach of government ought to have a healthy level of concern for this trend. What i mean by "healthy level of concern" is that we have no business getting comfortable by increments with a tighter and tighter noose pulled around the neck of free speech online..knowing good and well that we basically represent the last stand on that issue. When we are silenced...free speech is over..period. When that occurs, even those who presently call us crazy are going to be sorry.
Another July 4th has come and gone, and while people are content to prattle on about the celebration of civil rights and free speech...they are far less inclined to defend it. The defense thereof rests in adamant refusal...I Won't shut up..and I Won't roll over and accept the loss of anonymity or freedom of expression.
I still haven't done a Google search...and i won't. If Google succeeds in wiping out every vestige of a working, relatively private search engine on the net..i won't use Google. I've resigned myself for now to Startpage.com...which is private enough (at least we hope)..but who's search results leave a lot to be desired. In fact, the search results reek of serious filtering and censorship to be sure...i wouldn't expect anything else out of a search engine that offers privacy...i imagine anyone with the idea of providing a legitimate, private search engine with uncensored, unfiltered results are up against a mountain of tyrannical hindrance. This is precisely what we need though...and anyone with the time, recourses, ability and guts to attempt such a thing, has my utmost respect and gratitude as a real defender of freedom.
As for other concerning details of the online war against freedom of speech...don't be shocked as you begin to happen across more and more sites which are simply gone..links which are broken and search results which are "intercepted" (for your own protection they say). Anyone attempting to research the anything which the government might remotely classify as "conspiracy theory" will find that task getting more and more difficult...the search results becoming more and more repetitive and unhelpful. In just attempting to update myself on what legislation has been proposed or passed recently in connection to internet censorship..i encountered all this...
a search result reading: ""A one-two punch handed down this week by U.S. courts to free-speech advocates may signal that the freewheeling days of unfettered speech on the Internet are numbered, First Amendment experts said."...ended here:
A link which said this "Lieberman Sends Letter To Google, Demands Youtube Censorship"...ended here:
and a link which said this: "Free Speech Rights Not Guaranteed in 'Public' Online Spaces " resulted in a page which said this: " The page you have requested is no longer available"
Sad...even if you don't agree with the idea of "conspiracy theories" in general as they are defined in society, even if you don't care if you never read another article on such subjects, you should be aware that the end of your free speech follows ours very closely.
You would never have an opportunity to be informed that there was ever any such project as "Informations Operations Roadmap" by the pentagon if not for people who had access to that information and the freedom to report it. According to the Pentagon, the internet is a weapon and needs to be treated as if it were a weapon in the hands of an enemy. The enemies of Tyrannical overreach of government have used this "weapon" to great advantage of all people who value liberty...but of course the enemy now realizes their mistake in making this double-edged sword called the internet so accessible and useable to us, their opposition. As the Pentagon, themselves have said...
"We Must Fight the Net. DOD [Department of Defense] is building an information-centric force. Networks are increasingly the operational center of gravity, and the Department must be prepared to fight the net...DOD's "Defense in Depth" strategy should operate on the premise that the Department will "fight the net" as it would a weapons system."
No doubt, "fighting the net" will be made much easier by the advent of Internet2. By means of a secondary, controlled internet which requires identity verification and excludes all information which could be adverse to the objectives of the government, the idea is that internet users will gradually be herded onto this new system and away from the old free access internet which will be left in increasing states of disrepair until it's obsolete.This will, in the end, be sold to the public as an "upgraded" version of the internet...loaded with bells and whistles and pretty graphics, i'm sure..but devoid of any meaning or usefulness to serious researchers. Herein lies another challenge for any ambitious computer nerd who has the time, recourses and guts to fight the beast...start building "Internet Underground".
There's no question in my mind that Google will be welcomed with open arms on Internet2...they've never made it a very well kept secret that their interests lie much more in bowing and scraping before their government deities than providing any legitimate service to their users. Just one example of their loyalties on display was the case of Google street finder being ordered by the military to immediately remove shots of military bases from the web. Military officials insisted that this was a security risk, never mind that the shots were taken from a public street..a place any citizen has the right to walk and to view the base from. Google complied of course...but the same agreeable attitude couldn't be observed when it came to street finder taking shots of a woman sunbathing...they felt less inclined to honor her request to remove the images.
Finally, let's not forget to give a big "thanks, guy" to Senator (who else) Rockefeller for pushing "Cybersecurity" legislation. I'm sure we're all going to feel much safer knowing that the cyber-feds are keeping the cyber-Al-Qaeda from setting off their cyber bombs and demolishing our chat rooms. Goodness Big Brother..what would we do without you?