What if Google merged with DHS?
Author and Boing Boing blogger Cory Doctorow has picked up plenty of attention for his story, “Scroogled,” which tells a tale of the Department of Homeland Security being especially effective at using Google to police the citizenry.
Dystopian futures have been the foundation of tales like George Orwell’s novel, ‘1984’, and Alan Moore’s graphic novel turned big screen Natalie Portman vehicle, ‘V for Vendetta’. Doctorow’s peek at the future, titled Scroogled, has a great big do-no-evil ‘G’ stamped on it.
His tale of a cashed out Googler named Greg starts with the man’s return from a month-long vacation in Cabo. His arrival at SFO reveals an awful truth: Immigration – Powered by Google.
From there, Greg’s life becomes strange, as Google has become a way of life, backed by the overarching reach of DHS. The story ends in a fashion that Orwell’s fans should recognize.
The audience for Doctorow’s tale has passed beyond the buoyant readership of Boing Boing, and of Radar Magazine which will publish the story in print. The Wall Street Journal picked up on the buzz, interviewing Doctorow about his grim view of how online privacy concerns have real world implications.
For this future to come true, Google would have to do something that it fought against: sharing copious amounts of user information with the federal government.
That couldn’t happen, though. The government would have to be holding something over Google, like approval for an acquisition of another company with loads of personal information, to be able to make such a deal. Right?