View Full Version : Feds hire convicted felon to as tool against Google
Jan 25th 2012, 05:32 PM
The WSJ today relates the story Con Artist Starred in Sting That Cost Google Millions (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970204624204577176964003660658-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwNTEyNDUyWj.html)
Wearing leg irons and guarded by federal agents, David Whitaker posed as an agent for online drug dealers in dozens of recorded phone calls and email exchanges with Google sales executives, spending $200,000 in government money for ads selling narcotics, steroids and other controlled substances. Over four months in 2009, Mr. Whitaker, a federal prisoner and convicted con artist, was the lead actor in a government sting targeting Google Inc. that yielded one of the largest business forfeitures in U.S. history... The government built its criminal case against Google using money, aliases and fake companies -- tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates, according to interviews and court documents. Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture last summer in a settlement to avoid prosecution for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales.
1. Idiot breaks the law
2. Idiot gets caught
3. Idiot squeals
4. Government hires idiot
5. Government becomes idiot
6. Go to step 1 and repeat: note now that idiot = government!
I am stunned.
Jan 25th 2012, 05:52 PM
As am I.
Why didn't we hear about stings against Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, DELL, Yahoo, AOL, etc???
Also, why is it that corporations can pay to stay out of jail when its sales executives do illegal things on the side but Joe or Sally Sixpack cannot? Or, from the corporate side, when an employee uses their office equipment and work time to do personal but illegal stuff, and corporate is not aware of it, how is corporate liable?
Lot's of questions, but on the face of it the Feds seem to be targeting the BIG competitor of Apple and Microsoft, which goes right along with the obvious smear campaign in the media against Google. For example, the stink about Google's Street View vans recording wifi locations and IP addresses as it took photos. It can be shown that no wifi was within range of the van for more than 30 seconds, not even enough time to crack a WEP secured wifi, so there is no chance that Google was captureing private information. Those whose wifi was unsecured were standing at the door of their house and shouting their business to any and all who passed by. Hardly an "eaves dropping" event. Meanwhile, at the same time, Apple's iPhone app was tracking the movements of its owners via GPS and storing the results for up to a year, as was Microsoft. Yet, all the "bad" buzz was about Google, which makes it obvious who planted stories about whom. Just another "cut off their air supply" event.
Jan 25th 2012, 06:10 PM
Jan 25th 2012, 07:18 PM
J.... "Don't be evil" has now expired (http://gizmodo.com/5878987/its-official-google-is-evil-now).
That surprises you? It's a corporation whose CEO & Board members have a "fiduciary responsibility" to maximize profit. Any other concerns are inconsequential. The best that can be said is that it took them awhile and they capitalized on the illusion. The worst that can be said is that they've now joined Microsoft and Apple to form the "Legend of Evil".
Basically, if you don't want the world to know something then don't post it on the internet, period. Passwords and "security" mean nothing when anyone with money or political power can access your data from the back end, with the service provider's blessings. If it is not on the Internet but on your computer, and you don't maintain a secure box, then the bad guys own your stuff. If your private info is not on the web nor do you keep it on your computer, then the Feds can search your house or bank account at will, for just about any excuse, as the May 2001 Supreme Court decision ruled. And, the government can turn you into a snitch (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032201882.html) or send you to prison if you don't agree to be one. Or, if they can generate any old excuse on the spot to break into your house and search without (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/17/nation/la-na-court-search-20110517) a warrant.
Jan 25th 2012, 08:37 PM
Surprise? No. Disappointment? Yes.
And given the direction of government's imposition of its will over citizens, where your own house and your own computer and your own bank accounts are longer the "fortresses" they once were, it's difficult to argue that storing stuff in the cloud is any less secure than keeping it all to yourself.
Jan 25th 2012, 10:02 PM
Exactly, which is why I decided that the convenience was worth it since the privacy is the same in either location.
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