Today’s Flash Back Friday comes from Episode 95, from June 2012.

Google has created many incredible and intuitive products to make our lives easier. But at what cost to people’s privacy? They can take pictures of your house; they can track your searches and emails to bring you ads and information relevant to your habits and content, and much more. Jason Hartman welcomes Scott Cleland, author of Search and Destroy, on this episode to discuss the dark side of Google. Scott has been researching Google since its inception, as they bought their way to the top. “Google tends to think that doing good or being good is a license to do wrong,” says Scott. Google has created a huge degree of trust, but has the most outrageous legal, fraud, infringement, and anti-trust and privacy violations track record of all public companies. Scott shares some of the situations in which Google was participating in criminal activities. For more details, please listen at: Google has obtained an incredible amount of power over online information.

Jason asks Scott to explain Google’s relationship with the government. The U.S. government can obtain whatever private, intimate information that Google has without any warrant or subpoena. It boils down to a lack of security and an invasion of privacy. Scott says they know you better than your own family, online and offline, and the vast amount of information they collect puts people at risk. It seems so convenient that Google knows your search patterns, but is the convenience worth the loss of personal privacy? It definitely raises the security risk and proposes a conflict of interest. As Scott describes, anywhere there is a centralization of power, bad things happen. Scott Cleland is the world’s leading Google critic. Cleland has testified before Congress three times about Google. He publishes and, and authors the widely read As President of Precursor LLC, he consults for Fortune 500 clients. A former #1 ranked Institutional Investor independent analyst known for spotting early on why the Internet dotcom bubble would burst, Cleland was also the first analyst invited to testify before Congress about the missed warning signs of Enron’s fraud and bankruptcy. Fortune profiled Cleland as “ahead of the pack in raising questions about WorldCom’s debt, profitability, and survival.” Cleland is a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Information and Communication Policy. He lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife and two children.

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