The Boston Globe (MA), February 17, 2009
PETER FUNT raises serious privacy concerns about Google’s use of surveillance technologies (“Google is watching,” Op-ed, Feb. 9), but unlike George Orwell’s Big Brother, the Internet giant does not function as an arm of the government.
This could soon change, however, if the Obama administration gives Google authority to run, manage, and control the federal government’s computing systems.
Instead of serving consumers and shareholders, Google could become a powerful government tool for spying on citizens and consolidating power.
Obama has appointed several key executives to top advisory roles. In December, Google opened a 15,000-square-foot office outside of Washington focused largely on serving the federal government.
These efforts appear to be paying off. Today, for instance, visitors who view the president’s weekly address at whitehouse.gov automatically receive a small file from Google that quietly tracks their online activities until 2011.
Perhaps this date will loom as the new 1984.
Daniel R. Ballon
Pacific Research Institute
for Public Policy