Monday, March 31, 2014

Google’s CEO Larry Page on Improving the World, NSA, Security, and Tesla: TED Talks Interview That Can Make You Smile If You’re Oblivious or Make You Want to Vomit If You’re in the Know

The following TED Talks interview with Google CEO Larry Page will either give you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, or turn your stomach making you feel nauseous to the point where you want to projectile vomit all over your screen.

Larry Page: Where's Google going next?

I. Larry Page on Improving the World

Now don’t get me wrong, Google has done some good, but why are we expected to dismiss the bad? For example, when Larry Page so valiantly smiles and states that:
Larry Page: “It kind of takes a while to get these projects going, but, you know, I’m super excited about the possibilities of that, improving the world… making life better.” - at approximately 15:45
So are we to forget about the fact that Google, Apple & the biggest tech companies colluded to fix workers' wages:
“Some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, like Apple's Steve Jobs and Google's Eric Schmidt, were directly involved in a wage-fixing agreement between their companies. That's according to analysis of confidential internal Google and Apple memos reviewed and published by the news site PandoDaily. They found that it wasn't just Google and Apple who were guilty, but dozens of other tech companies were also involved, affecting the salaries of more than a million employees….

“So Steve Jobs goes to Google, which is the big high-flying company at the time in 2005, goes to Google's Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin and basically says, you guys are recruiting my guys. If you don't stop it, we're going to go to war. And generally war in Apple's Steve Jobs' mind means patent infringement lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise.

“So the Google guys backed down. They agreed to a non-recruitment, non-solicitation secret agreement. In the emails that have been revealed later in court documents, you can see that Eric Schmidt, CEO at the time, was worried. He understood, clearly, that it was illegal. You're not allowed to have these cross agreements like this.

“But, nevertheless, it started expanding and expanding from there because it worked in their interest.”
Now ain’t that a kick in the head for the million plus people whose wages were stolen by one of the largest companies in the world colluding with some of the other largest companies in the world to scam their employees from what they should have been paid?
"U.S. companies outside of the finance industry are holding more cash on their balance sheets than ever, with $1.64 trillion at the end of 2013. That’s up 12 percent from the prior record in 2012, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report today. Technology led the charge, with Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. (GOOG), and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) topping the list of cash-rich companies."

How Google, Apple & the Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages

II. Larry Page on the NSA

If that’s not enough, then how about when the conversation about privacy, Edward Snowden (2), and the NSA (2, 3, 4) begins and Larry Page with his puppy eyes tries to imply that Google was taken advantage of by the NSA:
Larry Page: “For me, I guess privacy and security are very important things. We think about it in terms of both things, and I think that you can’t have privacy without security. So let me talk about security first because you asked about Snowden and all of that, and then I’ll say a little about privacy.

“I think, for me, it’s tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all this stuff and didn’t tell us. I don’t think we can have a democracy if, you know, we’re having to protect you and our users from the government for stuff we have never had a conversation about.… and I think we haven’t had that conversation, so I think the government has actually done itself a tremendous disservice by doing all that in secret.” - approximately 11:00
This is when Charlie Rose asks the following question/makes the following statement:
Charlie Rose: [The government] “never coming to Google to ask for anything?”
A reasonable comment by Charlie Rose considering how Larry Page was spinning the conversation, but this ended up pushing Page between a rock and a hard place, so he was forced to clarify:
Larry Page: “Not Google, but the public.”
This statement appears to be an admission that Google knew what was going on, but that’s me reading between the lines, so if you’re the trusting sort that would be inclined to believe Mr. Page when he states that the government did this in secret, then the following little fact, that Google gave NSA direct access to its servers, might convince you otherwise:
“The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

“The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says….

“Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan ‘Your privacy is our priority’ – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

“It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online….

“Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users' communications under US law, but the Prism program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies' servers. The NSA document notes the operations have ‘assistance of communications providers in the US’.”

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the creepy line of privacy

"A Massive Surveillance State": Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on privacy

III. Larry Page on Security

As for when Larry implies that he is concerned about protecting the integrity and security of the Internet, it is common knowledge that NSA has weakened both, in turn seriously hurting American technology companies. As Bruce Schneier has pointed out:
“I think about this all the time with respect to our IT systems and the NSA. Even though we don't know which companies the NSA has compromised -- or by what means -- knowing that they could have compromised any of them is enough to make us mistrustful of all of them. This is going to make it hard for large companies like Google and Microsoft to get back the trust they lost. Even if they succeed in limiting government surveillance. Even if they succeed in improving their own internal security. The best they'll be able to say is: ‘We have secured ourselves from the NSA, except for the parts that we either don't know about or can't talk about.’”
In a recent interview, Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, confirmed Bruce Schneier’s concerns, that NSA’s program is not about creating a “secure cyberspace” but about compromising security; creating backdoors so to eliminate privacy:
“Wizner says that the documents handed over by Snowden to journalists have sparked two different debates: one about law and policy and what Congress should do, and another among the tech community about the way their security has been compromised by intelligence agencies, with the weakening of encryption standards and finding weaknesses in tech giants’ data centers to suck up information.

“‘The tech community, particularly people worried about security, has been radicalized by these disclosures. They now see that their threat model needs to include the NSA as an adversary if they are going to protect their systems,’ says Wizner.”
Edward Snowden and ACLU at SXSW

IV. Larry Page on Nikola Tesla

And for the straw that broke the camel’s back, Larry Page’s comment that compelled me to create this post was the one he made about Nikola Tesla:
“I think invention is not enough. I mean, if you invent something – Tesla invented electric power that we use – he [had trouble getting] it out to people. It had to be done by other people. It took a long time. And I think, you know, if we can actually combine both things, where we have innovation-invention focus plus the ability to really – company that can really commercialize things and get them to people in a way that’s positive for the world, and to give people hope.” - approximately 19:00
This is the comment that made me want to vomit. Anyone who is remotely familiar with what the oligarchs of that period and the banking institutions did to Tesla; how they destroyed his life, stole his inventions, ridiculed him, tried to wipe his name from history, relegating him to a distant whisper on the mouths of scientists and enthusiasts - for anyone who knows what the government, Wall Street and their minions did to one of the greatest minds to ever walk this earth, the man that brought us electricity and much more, the man that had a dream of providing the world with free energy for the betterment of society not for increasing shareholder value to enrich oligarchs, Larry Page’s comments about Tesla would also make you want to vomit.

If you would like to know about Tesla, then the following documentary is a great introduction: “Tesla: Master of Lightning”

Nikola Tesla - Master Of Lightning