Tag Archives: Google

Business on the back of our pains: Personal health data harvested online with no respect for privacy

“For now, however, millions of people are exposing their personal health profiles to internet advertisers and data brokers, right at the moment they’re making the most confidential inquiries imaginable.”

“Health data is some of the most private data you have. That a data reveals a lot about you. There’s a reason that we have laws like HIPAA—unfortunately those don’t apply here,” Quintin said. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and it forces the government and doctors to keep patient medical records secure and confidential. It has no jurisdiction over search engine companies or data brokers who sap data “volunteered” by users.”

Read : Looking up symptoms online ? These companies are tracking you

Health-related searches privacy sell-outs

“A new study found that 91% of health-related web pages reveal potentially sensitive information to third parties like data brokers and online advertisers.(…)

To conduct the study, University of Pennsylvania PhD student Timothy Libert analyzed the top 50 search results for 1,986 common diseases, some 80,000 web pages. He found that on 91% of the pages, third parties like social networks, advertisers, and data brokers could access information about who was viewing the page, like the user’s IP address. On 70% of the pages, those third parties could see information about specific “conditions, treatments and diseases” viewed.

Altogether, 78% of the health-related web pages sent information about you to Google, 31% sent information to Facebook, and 5% sent information to Experian, a credit bureau and data broker”

>> Your embarrassing online searches about health problems aren’t private 

La santé selon la Silicon Valley

Evgeny Morozov dans Le Temps – “Quelques sociétés de la Silicon Valley peuvent nous imposer une façon de vivre”...

Exemple avec la santé :

– Du coup, craignez-vous que les autorités s’impliquent de moins en moins dans la résolution de problèmes, laissant des sociétés high-tech s’en charger?

– Oui, ce risque existe. Dans la santé, un domaine dans lequel Google s’implique de plus en plus, par exemple. Avec ses solutions individualisées, l’on peut craindre de glisser de plus en plus d’un système d’assurance générale avec un partage des risques pour toute la communauté à des solutions individuelles où chacun devra supporter totalement ses propres risques. Avec leur technologie d’apparence si séduisante, les sociétés de la Silicon Valley entrent dans des domaines tels que la prévention du crime, la détection de fraudes fiscales… Ces sociétés, avec des systèmes de contrôle en temps réel, pourraient aussi décider qui peut séjourner dans quel pays. Cela risque d’aboutir à une société où l’Etat, qui ne peut tolérer le moindre risque et dont les moyens financiers diminuent sans cesse, se base de plus en plus sur des sociétés technologiques pour le maîtriser.

– Prenons le service Google Flu Trends, qui permet de détecter les débuts d’épidémies de grippe. Ne pourrait-on pas imaginer que les autorités se servent de ces données pour améliorer leurs politiques?

– Oui mais le danger est que l’Etat devienne beaucoup trop dépendant de sociétés privées pour déceler des maladies ou des comportements criminels. Du coup, au final, la question suivante pourrait se poser: pourquoi a-t-on encore besoin de l’Etat? Ne voulons-nous pas plutôt confier toutes nos données à des firmes high-tech qui les analysent, nous connaissent par cœur, nous ciblent avec de la publicité personnalisée et prennent des décisions à notre place? Et se pose aussi la question du chiffrement de nos données. Google ne les code pas et les diffuse telles quelles pour qu’elles soient utilisables à des fins marketing, ce qui n’est pas acceptable. Il faut que nos données soient protégées et qu’elles soient aussi découplées de la publicité.

AI diagnosis…

“Like many parents of a bright mind, IBM would like Watson to pursue a medical career, so it should come as no surprise that one of the apps under development is a medical-diagnosis tool. Most of the previous attempts to make a diagnostic AI have been pathetic failures, but Watson really works. When, in plain English, I give it the symptoms of a disease I once contracted in India, it gives me a list of hunches, ranked from most to least probable. The most likely cause, it declares, is Giardia—the correct answer. This expertise isn’t yet available to patients directly; IBM provides access to Watson’s intelligence to partners, helping them develop user-friendly interfaces for subscribing doctors and hospitals. “I believe something like Watson will soon be the world’s best diagnostician—whether machine or human,” says Alan Greene, chief medical officer of Scanadu, a startup that is building a diagnostic device inspired by the Star Trek medical tricorder and powered by a cloud AI. “At the rate AI technology is improving, a kid born today will rarely need to see a doctor to get a diagnosis by the time they are an adult.”

in The Three Breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world,Kevin Kelly, WIRED

Cheap parallel computation,

Big Data,

Better algorythms



Search Inside Yourself (mind GOOGLE)


Google has mindfulness meditation courses for its employees (so do/did the military and Monsanto). The program, called Search Inside Yourself, focuses on attention training, self-discovery, self-mastery, and the creation of useful mental habits. The objectives are personal, inter and trans-personal, which include better efficiency, resiliency, innovation, vision, peace & like in the workplace and of course in business, and ultimately… World peace ?

Never-mind if meanwhile outside of Google, San Francisco residents rather suffer from the “growth”, and – while in the Silicon Valley – never-mind the mindfulness, happiness, and well being of the people mining coltan in the DRC, or the people assembling iPhones at the infamous Foxconn sweatshops (in what some call Buddha Abuses).

The head of the program, Chade Meng Tan, portrayed in this Guardian article, has these words : “Also if you treat everybody with kindness, they’ll like you even if they don’t really know why. And if they like you, they want to help you succeed. So it’s good for your soul and it’s good for your career.”

No doubt the skills can come in handy for a variety of individuals and groups with a variety of agendas and understanding of the word “kindness” (does it also sound like some PSYOP art of deception ?).

Chade Meng Tan compiled his teachings in a book, so that the outside world wouldn’t be left out. It is called Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, says about the book :

“This book and the course it’s based on represent one of the greatest aspects of Google’s culture—that one individual with a great idea can really change the world”

Oh really ?!

In 2011, Eric Schmidt met with Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ founder and editor in chief, to discuss the “New Digital Age”, which would later become a book written by Schmidt (the transcript of their meeting is here). When the book was published, Julian Assange gave his opinion about it in the New York Times in June 2013, in an article very well titled The Banality of “Don’t be Evil”.

Soon, a new book by Julian Assange will be out : When Google met Wikileaks, about the encounter, and in which Assange will expose his understanding of “Google’s culture”and his vision of the future of the Internet. The publisher OR Books says the book will include his proposal for “a radical overhaul of the naming structure of the internet, one which would revolutionise the way information is accessed”

Capture d’écran 2014-07-28 à 17.55.24


In the meantime, for an overview / reminder of what else “mindful” Google is up to, check the related timeline on the TerminatorStudies news archive. Nothing to relax about.