History Fragments: Google Knows

Dear Mr XXXXXX,

We are writing to inform you that your electronic CV has been rejected for the position of Senior Developer. An automated scan of your details using Google revealed several things about your personality that indicate you are not a suitable candidate for this company. Regardless, your qualifications appear to not meet the level we require, and your medical history also indicates that you have various health problems that could adversely impact your performance.

Regards,
XXXXXXX

Secretary for XXXXXXX

XXXXXXX Inc.

Why not, asks Mayer, “take the things you care about – your watch, your phone – stick little tags on them and watch for their receiving signals”? This is not a joke. “It would have been really useful to me yesterday when I lost my cellphone while it was out of power. It took me half an hour to find it had fallen behind a dresser.” And why not go one step further and tag your partner or your children, so that you can find out where they are whenever you want? Googleytes point out that we already do this with newborn babies and pets.

Google’s overall goal is to have a record of every e-mail we have ever written, every contact whose details we have recorded, every file we have created, every picture we have taken and saved, every appointment we have made, every website we have visited, every search query we have typed into its home page, every ad we have clicked on, and everything we have bought online. It wants to know and record where we have been and, thanks to our search history of airlines, car-hire firms and MapQuest, where we are going in the future and when.

This would not just make Google the largest, most powerful super-computer ever; it would make it the most powerful institution in history. Small wonder that the London-based human-rights group Privacy International has condemned its plans as “hostile to privacy”, and EU ministers called Google’s vision “Orwellian”. Even John Battelle, one of the net’s leading evangelists, who co-founded the technology bible Wired magazine, and wrote The Search, the definitive study of Google’s rise, now says: “I’ve found myself more and more wary of Google, out of some primal, lizard-brain fear of giving too much control of my data to one source.”

Google. Who’s looking at you? by John Arlidge, TimesOnline, 21st October 2007

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October 21, 2007

Urban Warfare

Written by on October 18, 2007 | News Fragments

UAN Command Press Release, 2022: “After the targeted and precision attack, and the area had been secured, the UAN’s automated ground force assessed that 15 drug gangsters, six women and nine children were killed. Two suspected criminals, one woman and three children were wounded, and one suspected criminal was detained.”

“We think urban is the future,” says James Lasswell, a retired colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. “Everything worth fighting for is in the urban environment.” And Wayne Michael Hall, a retired Army brigadier general and the senior intelligence advisor in Schattle’s operation, has a similar assessment, “We will be fighting in urban terrain for the next hundred years.”

During James Lasswell’s presentation, he was quite specific about the non-Fallujah-like need to be “very discriminate” in applying firepower in an urban environment. As an example of the ability of technology to aid in such efforts, he displayed a photo of the aftermath of an Israeli strike on a three-story Lebanese building. The third floor of the structure had been obliterated, while the roof above and the floors below appeared relatively unscathed. In an aside, Lasswell mentioned that, while the effort had been a discriminating one, the floor taken out “turned out to be the wrong floor.” A rumble of knowing chuckles swept the room.

Slum Fights: The Pentagon Plans for a New Hundred Years’ War, by Nick Turse, 11th October, 2007