A Google-Twitch debate breaks out in the forums. It matters a lot to them because the forum community plays Wii U together nightly and streams it on Twitch. ASuch begins it with his typical blunt statements. Know that this guy is the star of his school’s debate team in real life. But on the forums he keeps it short and barbed. Themightyme is next to come in. He happens to be a known Google fanatic, but that doesn’t take away from the fact he’s one of the most deep people you will ever meet. Mattavelle comes in next. He’s from the country, as opposed to the big-city, and he’s got a known fear of invasive technologies. Like, nearly a full-blown phobia. The rest of the forum intellectuals, like Alex, Mike, Repo, and MANGANian, then join the discussion, attempting to show Matt why it might be a necessary evil to have a company like Google. But they don’t seem to see eye-to-eye either.

Tell us who you agree with in the comments below and make sure to check out some of the coolest people in the Nintendoverse by joining the forums. Also, check out the forums nightly Twitch streams as they play Wii U together on TNE TV: www.twitch.tv/juegosmajicos  www.twitch.tv/lightsaberblues


ASuch

F*** Google.

mightyme

What’s with all the Google hate? I think they are by FAR the most ethical of the big companies, and their resolve and push for scientific progress is impressive. Whether it is driverless cars, space elevators, worldwide free internet, or meat that can be grown– I love their business model. I love their push for science and technology. I love the way they treat their employees. No massive company is as humane and decent IMO.

I get the fear of surveillance and information gathering. But unlike Microsoft (who collects info , doesn’t tell you about it, and then releases ads like scroogled which criticize Google for collecting info and showing ads), Google is upfront about it and pretty damn transparent as well allowing the user a lot of access to the data they gather on them. They also use the data to improve the lives of the user as well through services like Google Now instead of JUST using it for marketing. So yeah, I do not get the Google hate at all. And I am WAY up on all the Google news.. I listen to like 3 podcasts about tech companies.. 2 of which are primarily focused on Google, and I read a bunch of articles too.

YES they are practically Skynet [Terminator reference]. And YES they will probably lead to the robot Apocalypse. But in the meantime we get space elevators, driverless cars, free worldwide internet for all, a $50 modular smart phone, the most accurate and feature-rich maps service– and on top of all of that they are fun (the model number of Chromecast for example is H2G2 (a common abbreviate for Hitchicker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – 42 (the answer to “what is the meaning of life” in said book).

They even activate social life hacks to help the health of their employees without taking away their options. For example all food and drinks are free at Google, but they placed the healthier items in better view and reach so that busy staff are more likely to eat healthy, but they still offer the unhealthy crap if you want it. The healthy stuff is just more in your eye line and in the most optimal position to be reached for. So if you are just lazily reaching for a drink you’ll end up with water instead of soda.

mattavelle

My biggest part of not standing Google doesn’t only come from them driving in my driveway, taking pics of my property, and not getting in trouble for trespassing or invasion of privacy.

Rather it’s when the President in his State of the Union specifically addresses your company as a partner then yeah all your info thru them is being “drag netted”. Screw space elevators and whatnot, I’m from the country if I wanted that I would climb a tree.

themightyme

Matt, I get it. BUT EVERY tech company is tapped into by the government. Google, unlike some, has actually begun to take steps to prevent it from further happening. They have been experimenting with new encryption methods for example, and encryption and security are supposedly big points of discussion in google’s upcoming I/O event. Personally I wouldn’t be offended by a google car taking pictures of the outside of my house, but to each their own. A space elevator isn’t necessarily what you think it is. It is designed to bring materials from the surface to space at a fast rate. And could drastically improve development of satellites, and space stations.

ASuch

Google is pissing me off now because they’re becoming too big for their own good, and them buying Twitch makes me sick to the stomach.

If all they do is get better servers and less lag and delay for Twitch? Fantastic. If they don’t, and they integrate Google+ and whatever, and make it unrecognizable from twitch? F*** em.

Jacesonnall

I think the biggest concern is content IDing. If that happens, I think UStream would become a viable option for some people.

Laer

Twitch has a real s****y interface and commenting system though. Real talk. Google can fix them right up.

MANGANian

Well, I doubt you’ll have much to worry about when it comes to Google+. They’ve been less pushy with it than what I’m used to, and it seems they’re trying to streamline it into as a kind of connect between their services.

Coming from me, Google+ tools are a godsend when it comes to community management. They’ve done a lot, but the problem is the service is bloated and almost forced when many have already settled with the likes of Facebook and others. Even Facebook have been taking a few cues from Google+. It’s the presentation Google has failed on when it came to Google+; even more so when they lobotomise Youtube.

Mike D.

That’s true. Google is just so big, though, and they accrue so much of our data from our internet searches and gain so much income from AdWords and AdSense that it’s hard to look at any company and assume “oh, they’re going to be perfectly moral with that massive amount of information.”

But that’s the bargain of privacy with modern technology, and really, who cares if there’s someone at google who knows I have a thing for red heads, videogames, whiskey and hot sauce?

What is more worrisome – and it’s what we were talking about in MH last night @mattavelle1 – are the various government apparatuses around the world that collect this data, and what they could do with it (maybe there’s an algorithm that links me looking at a NYT story on al Qaeda with searching for whiskey and porn in the same browser session, and voila, I start fitting an algorithm-derived profile of a desperate young terrorist about to do something stupid). But true to form, there’s not much new under the sun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cia#Abuses_of_CIA_authority.2C_1970s.E2.80.931990s

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Jewels_(Central_Intelligence_Agency)

Surveillance and data collection are old hat. It’s just easier now by virtue of a technologically interconnected society. And yet despite everything, it’s not an Orwellian nightmare.

…well…yet. :p

repomech

@Mike D. nails the real issue. This isn’t about someone knowing what kind of fish sticks you prefer and what you watch on Hulu (although I’d prefer that info be gathered without ties to identity and to improve the efficient delivery of products and services at a larger statistical level, rather than to increase the overall level of advertising in society or to build up specific consumer files). This is about the potential for this data to exacerbate authoritarian tendencies/capacities of states, and also the potential for private data collection to enable para-state or para-intelligence shenanigans from private institutions themselves.

It’s not like we didn’t all just witness Obama and a rogues gallery of mayors coordinate the repression of the Occupy mass movement not a few years ago – to say nothing of the actions of the s***-bird administration that came before him, and the ever present state within a state agencies that seem to believe that they are entitled to carry out extra-legal/illegal operations. Ever heard of COINTELPRO? Anyone who has ever read about the bloodbath that happened in Indonesia in the 1960′s, or Central America in the 1980′s (and isn’t such a twisted asshole so as to condone it), with the CIA providing kill lists to death squads and military dictatorships, would think long and hard about the ease with which certain agencies can invade our privacy.

themightyme

That is the thing though. People fear google because they are big. But if it wasn’t google it would be somebody else. Or lots of less defended sources. If google never existed we would be in the exact same situation information-wise when it comes to the government. Because they do something MUCH scarier then hack into our search results. They hack directly into our ISP connections

Remember when the Snowden stuff came out, it was revealed that Microsoft was the first to comply with the NSA. The others (including Google) fought until they were given court orders. if Google wasn’t around, Microsoft would have probably been in their place as a search giant. Do you think that would have been better?

I just don’t see the idea of fearing Google because they are large and have a lot of info.

The info they have is pretty useless as a threat. And as a user you can f*** with the picture they have of you (Matt, you could start doing Google searches for Satan. If previous Google searches peg you as a Christian, those searches will totally f*** with them.)

As I said, the more insidious issue is the data that your ISPs have, and how easily that was compromised by the NSA already.

Mike D

“…and the ever present state within a state agencies that seem to believe that they are entitled to carry out extra-legal/illegal operations.”

That’s the biggest worry, IMO. Politicians honestly have an interest in keeping security-state concerns as a cudgel to use against opponents, and legislate off of that. It takes a while for fear to unwind and for the government to ever examine the power it has accrued, but it has a way of happening (the CIA and FBI post-Watergate being prime examples).

But government agencies? No, their calculus is different. They aren’t accountable to voters. Their cloak allows them to be “accountable” behind closed doors, and when they aren’t comfortable with the questions being asked by those who are supposed to be the gatekeepers?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/11/us-usa-cia-interrogations-idUSBREA2A0XY20140311

That said, I’m not worried about a CIA coup of the US government or something. I’m worried about them f***ing up at their jobs, detaining an innocent civilian because of stupidly broad data collection policies, and then exporting them to a black site in a country halfway across the globe.

“as I said the more insidious issue is the data that your ISPs have.. and how easily that was compromised by the nsa already
Indeed.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinesharrock/what-is-that-box-when-the-nsa-shows-up-at-your-internet-comp

Alex

One thing I mentioned while playing last night, is that unfortunately that is simply how capitalism works: you need a big business to come in and shove people around with enough force to make things end up in a stable new economy. The powers to invade privacy are there, and like Mike pointed out, have been used and abused by governments (for the benefit of their buddies in businesses) for decades. It takes a big company with lots of talent and power to eventually subvert the norm and establish a new one.

Right now the internet is a frontier town, and lots of semi-legal business is done through it. Since its invention the government, at the behest of their big old buddies, have been retaliating with hyperbolic force at just about every new business trend that may harm their bottom line. Napster was crushed by record companies, streaming services were crushed by cable companies, video game emulators are crushed by video game manufacturers, and all sorts of digital content was crushed for the benefit of retailers like Wal-Mart and GameStop. But eventually, big businesses like Amazon, Google, Netflix, OnLive, Steam, and others, have found a working middle-ground that has become accepted as a working solution for both consumers and businesses. That kind of middle ground is what you can actually call progress in the long run, unfortunately for all the creative-but-untamed great products and ideas we have.

So where Google is right now, is in a position to establish a number of such middle-grounds. They do this because they know there’s better business in doing this than in simply dethroning old kings and inheriting both their riches and their problems. Eventually Google will turn into assholes, as all businesses that cling to old ways past their prime do, but in the meantime they are probably one of the few companies that can bring some sort of order to the lawlessness that is the internet.

I haven’t given it much thought, but right now I think it’s even preferable that Google does what they do. It’s good that Google goes on and sets all these standards for how to deal with data on the internet, so that the government can actually go and set down some rules and regulations that gives them agency to stop any extreme activity from happening. Maybe this can mean that selling users’ personal data for revenue will be limited, if not outlawed. Or maybe it will just establish a certain level of privacy and encryption for certain types of personal data. Either way, it’s something that needs to happen because the current law makes it too easy for governments and corporations to do crazy s*** with our data without much of our consent.

Repo

@Mike D – “That said, I’m not worried about a CIA coup of the US government or something. I’m worried about them f***ing up at their jobs, detaining an innocent civilian because of stupidly broad data collection policies, and then exporting them to a black site in a country halfway across the globe.”

I think we differ on this point (not the coup, I agree that is not likely as an agency – but ex-directors don’t seem to mind muddying their hands with electoral fraud on domestic soil so their sons can get installed – they’re a font of reaction). And here I will speak broadly about not only the CIA, but the entire repressive intelligence and military apparatus of the US. They designate as an enemy any movement, organization, party or leader seen to be against US foreign policy/corporate interests. Let’s not forget they were on Apartheid’s side, and against nearly every national liberation and national democratic struggle of the anti-colonial era. They even helped with electoral rigging in western nations like Italy. Their actions over the past half century have included involvement in much of the top unsavoury acts one could name. The coups, the sponsorship of terrorism when it suits them, the kill lists, the training and enabling of torturers. The real risk often isn’t even the “collateral damage” of “innocents”, it’s when they are successful against those they deliberately targeted.

See, that’s when student protestors disappear in the dead of night in Sao Paolo never to be heard from again. That’s when nuns are raped and burned in San Salvador and rats are sewn into the vagina’s of women tortured for their participation in leftist indigenous movements in the Yucatan. That’s when Mandela is captured and imprisoned. That’s when democratic aspirations are drowned in blood. That is when Cuban planes carrying civilians blow up in the sky and ex-Directors of the CIA turned Presidents pardon the perpetrators. That is when perhaps as many as or more than a million Indonesians are butchered. They were all “guilty” in the eyes of the CIA.

I don’t want them “doing their jobs”. I don’t even want them having jobs.

Mike D

@Repomech ‘“I don’t want them “doing their jobs”. I don’t even want them having jobs.’

I don’t want them doing the job of global manipulator, murderer (directly and be default) or torturer, either. That would eliminate many past and present “job” duties, certainly. But I wouldn’t want to live in a highly-developed industrial nation that had no espionage agency at all (such a country would be nothing but a mark). Not with the bloody historical hands of humanity. I don’t trust us and often wish we’d evolved from gentler creatures.

Written by Menashe Kestenbaum

Menashe Kestenbaum

Over the past two years, Menashe has emerged as one of the foremost thought-leaders in the gaming industry with a fresh perspective on how gaming communities can be developed and nurtured. He is the owner of the Enthusiast Media Network and all its enthusiast sites.