November 12, 2008

"But do we want Google establishing such a cozy relationship with the federal government?"

Orin Kerr doesn't.

But the government is attempting to perceive the pattern of flu outbreaks.

Do you know how many people could die in a new flu pandemic? Maybe 7 million. Maybe 100 million. If Google can see it before it happens, don't you want that information to be used?

52 comments:

Palladian said...

Of course now everyone will be searching Google for "flu" just to check out their flu tracker, thereby skewing the results.

Did everyone get their flu shot?

Triangle Man said...

Orin Kerr seems to be more concerned about the abstract idea of Google establishing a "cozy relationship" with the government than any specific issue related to the use of search results for something useful. The plan would apparently use aggregate data that are anonymous. What's the big deal?

MadisonMan said...

I got my flu shot. I don't know if it's related, but the night after the shot -- so 6 hours later -- I was absolutely dead tired and went to bed at 8. If that's my reaction, I'll take it.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
campy said...

And in a few years when Google's informing The One's new Civilian National Security Force about who's searching for Republican candidates' sites, that won't be a problem either.

former law student said...

I agree with one of triangle man's points: Bulk data can be freely shared with the government, or anyone; traceable, identifiable data should not.

For example, I should be able to see how many copies of The Anarchist's Cookbook are being sold by Amazon, but not who's buying them.

Issob Morocco said...

Methinks if you check the previous Influenza Pandemics, each has been exponentially smaller, than the previous. Mostly due to better overall health and sanitation, but some of that being tied to prevention methods like shots. Why do you think that trend would reverse Ann?

Expat(ish) said...

I am passing familiar with how SEO/SEM types game google to make a good living so I am pretty hopeful that something a LOT more sophisticated than this is gonna be used for the next pandemic.

Else the CDC is going to show up at a video store in Spokane wondering WTF is going on.

-XC

mcg said...

Contrary to popular belief a flu shot doesn't protect you against all strains of the flu. Health officials basically have to guess which strains are likely to spread that year and manufacture the vaccine specifically for those.

Furthermore, manufacturing a flu vaccine takes time. It's not sufficient to see what strains are causing the initial outbreak of the flu and manufacture vaccine for everyone else.

And they don't always guess right. And thanks to mutation it may not be a matter of guessing anyway---the virus might not have even existed when the vaccines are manufactured.

So if a particularly dangerous strain of the flu sneaks in under the radar, a pandemic is possible.

Trooper York said...

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend, The Next Generation.

Yankee's Locker Room Spring Training February 9, 2009

Derek Jeter: Man this freakin' Jesscia Biel keeps calling me man. Why can't she just let it go? (A-Rod struts into the locker room)
Jorge Posada: Hey A-Rod how they hanging. I see that you made the front and the back page today.
A-Rod: Yeah well what can you do. I can't brag but I have been hanging around with Madonna.
Joba Chamberlin: Wow that's amazing Mr. Rodriquez. I think she went to school with my grandma in Michigan.
Jorge Posada: Yeah that sounds groovy. Don't you think that's tight and out-a-site Derek.
Derek Jeter: Oh yeah man, Right on baby. Hey Alex if that doesn't work out I think I can get you Pat Benatars number if you play your cards right.
Jorge Posada: Hey I think my agent knows Betty Whites agent. I bet I can get you her digits man.
Joba Chamberlin: I bet if you use google you can get Miss Whites number, Mr. Rodriquez.
A-Rod: Yeah right, well I have to go work out. (Goes into the weight room with his personal trainer)
Trainer: Well that went well.
A-Rod: Shut up you moron. I can replace you with a needle and vial of monkey semen.

Arturius said...

Orin Kerr seems to be more concerned about the abstract idea of Google establishing a "cozy relationship" with the government than any specific issue related to the use of search results for something useful. The plan would apparently use aggregate data that are anonymous. What's the big deal?

I think many Americans are inherently suspicious with companies that appear to be in bed with the government not to mention being watched over, even anonymously.

Look at it from the point of view of those who oppose street cameras utilized for crime prevention on the grounds that it violates privacy. The fact that one has zero privacy on a public street seems to be an alien concept nonetheless.

Original George said...

Here's a US government website about the pandemic that offers a state-by-state description of what happened. It was more like plague than the flu we know....three waves...killed 675,000 people in the US...mail piled up...garbage uncollected...non-family members barred from attending funerals...all public gathering places closed...the joke was that it killed so swiftly that a person could get on a trolley car and be dead by the time it reached his stop.

paul a'barge said...

I'm with the Feds and Google on this.

Frankly, I'm just fed (no pun intended) with the Libertards like Orin Kerr and others who just can't get their sorry, pathetic hysterical asses out of the future-road long enough to make a counter suggestion to our problems.

What kind of ninny wants 7 million people to die so that his google searches don't get correlated?

Geez, Orin. What make you, anyway?

Doyle said...

What about defense contractors? Could their relationship with the government get any cozier? It's like a revolving door between the private sector and the DoD.

Oh that's a Republican-leaning industry so you don't care, plus the unnecessary wars are gravy from your perch in Madison, WI.

Paul Snively said...

arturius: ...not to mention being watched over, even anonymously.

What does this mean?

Personally, I think we need more real-money idea futures markets, and we need record-keeping systems based on selective disclosure credential sets. The best technology for this that I'm aware of came from http://www.credentica.com, but unfortunately they got bought out by Microsoft. Fortunately, the underlying mathematics is documented in Rethinking PKI, available either on dead trees or online.

Doyle said...

What kind of ninny wants 7 million people to die so that his google searches don't get correlated?

I agree! As long as they're not keeping track of who is getting sick, I don't mind them keeping track of where.

Trooper York said...

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend, The Next Generation.

Yankee's Locker Room Spring Training February 9, 2009

Jorge Posada: Hey Jeter, I see your old girlfriend just married. That Mariah is some puta eh?
Derek Jeter: Does that mean smelly twat in Spanish?
Jorge Posada: Nah man that means whore. I see where she said that she didn’t have sex with her husband before they got married.
A-Rod: Yeah well he was the only one.
Joba Chamberlin: Wow that's amazing Mr. Rodriquez. Did you date Mariah Carey too?
Jorge Posada: Oh yeah, he’s working his way through his Time Life collection of the whoriest singers of the ‘80’s, ‘70’s and ‘60’s.
Derek Jeter: No kidding that’s great Alex. Now that you scratched Madonna off the list, you can give Judy Collins a call. I hear she likes it from both sides now.
A-Rod: Hey fair is fair. Madonna and I have something special. We work out together. We study Kabala together. We are soul mates.
Jorge Posada: Man how can you bang that stringy chick dude? Does she wear that Cone bra when you are slipping her the enchilada?
Joba Chamberlin: David Cone invented a bra? Gee, I have to get some more endorsements. Maybe I will Budweiser a call.
A-Rod: Yeah right, well I have to go work out. (Goes into the weight room with his personal trainer)
Trainer: Well that went well.
A-Rod: Shut up you moron. I can replace you with a needle and vial of monkey semen.

Triangle Man said...

Issob Morocco said...

Methinks if you check the previous Influenza Pandemics, each has been exponentially smaller, than the previous.


I do not think you can draw a conclusion about the likely fatality of a future flu pandemic based on a handful of past pandemics. Three of the last four pandemics were associated with about 1 million deaths. Estimates for the fourth, the 1918 pandemic, were from 50 - 100 million deaths.

Pandemics aside, there are around 40,000 - 50,000 flu deaths each year in the U.S. Maybe Google's efforts can help reduce this figure.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Likewise, G could let the feds know about a spike in searches for gun shops; a new militia might be forming.

Hey, let's all provide the slippery slope argument that Althouse didn't provide!

tim maguire said...

It seems to me a spike in flu googles will correlate fairly closely with a spike in media stories about the flu. I don't see any reason why it would correlate reliably with incidence of flu.

And if the government wants to track media stories about the flu, they will get better results by tracking it directly.

John Lynch said...

It's the New Deal Part Deux. Get used to it.

froggyprager said...

I don't think the privacy issues are a big deal but it seems that this type of analysis would be worthless. People search all sorts of terms for all sorts of reasons. Many flu symptoms are similar to that of a cold and many other medical problems. What about getting data from doctors and hospitals?

The Expatriate said...

Folks,

If a truly lethal flu virus, or other disease, breaks out, I don't think some lousy Google tracking system will be able to stop it. Indeed, we'll probably learn about it more quickly from the pile of corpses accumulating at the hospitals than from collating various search terms used on a search engine.

Never mind the invasion of privacy, this just sounds like a waste of money meant to keep some bureaucrat in his job.

Yachira said...

"If Google can see it before it happens, don't you want that information to be used?"

Certainly not, no matter how remote and theoretical the threat to our blessed "privacy."

Just like with the threat of a terrorist nuclear attack: if discovering the planning for such an attack means the use of techniques that might, theoretically, infringe on our blessed "privacy," then no, the attack must be allowed to proceed!

Sofa King said...

It seems to me that there simply has to be some middle ground between "forbidding any information exchange between Google and the government" and "just trust them to Do The Right Thing."

Arturius said...

arturius: ...not to mention being watched over, even anonymously.

What does this mean?


It means most Americans don't like the concept that someone is watching them whether its done by their given name or 'anonymous' IP address.

Paul Snively said...

arturius: It means most Americans don't like the concept that someone is watching them whether its done by their given name or 'anonymous' IP address.

Ah, so the concern is that "anonymous" isn't. That's why I posted the information about selective disclosure credential sets. Basically, we have the cryptographic technology that, e.g. would allow me to get into a bar by proving that my age >= 21, without actually revealing my age or, for that matter, anything else (name, address, sex, social security #...). I think it's time to start insisting that the available technology begin to be used.

In the immediate term, if you're concerned about the lack of privacy around your IP address, consider installing and using Tor.

Lem said...

If we are going pay more in taxes, we might as well find out were people are getting this let’s pay more decease and were does it come from.

http://tinyurl.com/5jtyys

John Burgess said...

I'd like to ask Arturius to provide a cite for his assertion that 'most Americans' get their knickers in a twist over anonymous aggregation of their Internet searches.

Sounds more like the rabid assholes, right and left, who quail at the thought that somebody might be paying attention to the world around them. Talk about egoists!

Most Americans don't care what you're searching, as long as it isn't kiddy porn.

Arturius said...

In the immediate term, if you're concerned about the lack of privacy around your IP address, consider installing and using Tor.

I personally, am not concered. I was simply pointing out the general thoughts of the population.

Privacy is a cherished 'right' in this country respected by all unless you're a politician, rock star, Hollywood celeb or some average guy who has the audacity to ask a presidential candidate a tough question.

Arturius said...

I'd like to ask Arturius to provide a cite for his assertion that 'most Americans' get their knickers in a twist over anonymous aggregation of their Internet searches.

I was referring to the concept that it was being tracked at all.

Most Americans don't care what you're searching,

You are correct most Americans don't but I think most Americans get nervous when a company is doing so at the government's behest.

LarsPorsena said...

Sergey Brin and Larry Page (founders of Google) are both Obama supporters (big time $$$). They already have a relationship with the government.
It's already very cozy.
There also play nice with the Chicoms too.

Alex said...

What difference does it make? Powerful corporations like Google and the feds will do whatever they want to us. They laugh at our little "debates" on blogs.

Lem said...

Cruel Neutrality makes a comeback via the Government Google gunk

PatCA said...

Little green men from Mars COULD attack us, too.

That's no reason to give up our privacy (so hotly defended by the left), is it?

mcg said...

My mother-in-law said that her Tennessee county voted for Obama. But she cannot find one person (and she's the social chatty type) who will admit voting for him.

Private information (who individuals voted for) is collected and aggregated, with county-level (and, likely, precinct-level) geographic content preserved. And yet individual privacy has not been invaded.

Public release of aggregated information is not necessarily a privacy risk.

Cedarford said...

Issob Morocco said...
Methinks if you check the previous Influenza Pandemics, each has been exponentially smaller, than the previous. Mostly due to better overall health and sanitation, but some of that being tied to prevention methods like shots. Why do you think that trend would reverse Ann?


Issob does not understand how disease strains emerge from random mutation and trans-animal combination of strains. Nor does he understand sanitation is only a barrier to some disease propagation. Nor does he understand how vaccines work - usually effective only on one strain, not a family of bacteria or virus.

**************
Having open source, real-time intelligence might be highly effective in creating "firewalls" limiting spread of a deadly virulent strain like a new "superflu" until the strain weakens, or it burns itself out because it kills too many, too fast, to survive into the future.

Many regions of the world escaped the 1918 Super Flu, others had far lower death rates because the flu had transmuted and weakened before hitting (S Africa, Australia). The Chinese got off easier because they had exposure to the swine and avian flu precursor virus that combined to form the (A,S)H5N1 superflu variety.

Also, open intelligence is necessary because we have seen the Chinese - the initial vector of global diseases in a majority of pandemics - be highly untrustworthy in reporting other disease outbreaks (SARS, Avian Flu) promptly enough to make a difference to world health organisations in taking effective public health measures should a new super disease, doesn't even have to be flu - from becoming pandemic.

paul a'barge said...

Expatriate: I don't think some lousy Google tracking system will be able to stop it

Not stop it. Track it, you mutt. Measure it. Direct their reactions to it.

Geez. Come on. At least make an effort.

Issob Morocco said...

Triangle Man said,

"I do not think you can draw a conclusion about the likely fatality of a future flu pandemic based on a handful of past pandemics. Three of the last four pandemics were associated with about 1 million deaths. Estimates for the fourth, the 1918 pandemic, were from 50 - 100 million deaths.

Pandemics aside, there are around 40,000 - 50,000 flu deaths each year in the U.S. Maybe Google's efforts can help reduce this figure."

Delta Dude, clearly you did not do your research. The death rates for influenza have dropped exponentially since the turn of the 20th Century, if I assume all of those deaths were directly attributed to the influenza and no other factors, which is a generous assumption on my behalf.

In the 1940's death rates for influenza were at 10.2 per 100K. By the 90's that number was 0.56 per 100K. Based on a US population of 290million average in the 90's that amount of deaths was 1624 individuals per year average not 50K to 100K people per year in the US as you so liberally inflated.

50mm in 1918-19, 1.5mm in 1957-58, and 700K in 1968-69 were the death estimates worldwide.

As for drawing conclusions, I didn't, I just asked why someone thinks it will reverse trends.

Cheers!

Issob Morocco said...

Cedarford, my dear friend, you have made quite a haughty and contentious assumption when you said,

"Issob does not understand how disease strains emerge from random mutation and trans-animal combination of strains. Nor does he understand sanitation is only a barrier to some disease propagation. Nor does he understand how vaccines work - usually effective only on one strain, not a family of bacteria or virus."

While you try to portray my comment as not understanding how viral diseases are transmitted and mutated, you unwittingly agree with what I said. Better health and sanitation have helped alleviate the propagation of such influenza. And while I do understand shots only take care of a strain, that is why I said 'some' of that is due to flu shots.

Now getting into your graduate assistant screed on why Google monitoring web site hits on flu is good, I notice a key word, one which a lawyer would catch onto like silk on a nail, it the following sentence with the key word being "might".

Cedarford said, "Having open source, real-time intelligence might be highly effective in creating "firewalls" limiting spread of a deadly virulent strain like a new "superflu" until the strain weakens, or it burns itself out because it kills too many, too fast, to survive into the future."

Kind of like the sun "might" rise in the west tomorrow, eh?

Possibility versus probability at play here. The next viral pandemic "might" snort Ina Gadda Da Vida as it whizzes past Google, Yahoo, Ask.com and any other such info mining operations on its way to pruning the population. My point was not where you took it, but perhaps you can humor me as to why you would think the trend will reverse? That is all I seek.

Cheers!

RWD said...

Not to be a downer, but flu symptoms are consistent with some forms of bioterrorism, so this may be the true aim of the government. Flu symptoms appearing in a great number of people as though from nowhere would be alarming, no?

Palladian said...

"That's no reason to give up our privacy (so hotly defended by the left), is it?"

That was only important when the Bu$hitler was in his prime. Now that the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is about to ascend, well, who cares about privacy anymore?

I mean, why do you want to hide things from Obama? And do you really think you'll be able to? That's like trying to masturbate without Jesus seeing what you're doing.

Palladian said...

The idea of a crippling pandemic really gets Cedarford's little glock to stand and say Sieg Heil! because it will be the only way that Cedarford's kind will ever be able to get their hands on the levers of power. A total breakdown of societal order is the Cedarford's Mad Max fantasy come true!

Mortimer Brezny said...

The idea of a crippling pandemic really gets Cedarford's little glock to stand and say Sieg Heil! because it will be the only way that Cedarford's kind will ever be able to get their hands on the levers of power. A total breakdown of societal order is the Cedarford's Mad Max fantasy come true!

I thought gay dudes were supposed to adore Tina Turner. Isn't she simply the best?

MadisonMan said...

I have a 96-year-old cousin in town, and her Dad was a doctor, and she tells absolutely fascinating stories of the flu pandemic of 1918. Her Dad prescribed whiskey for the victims. She didn't know if it helped, but as she says, it didn't hurt.

PatCA said...

"Now that the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is about to ascend, well, who cares about privacy anymore?"

That's true, Palladian. I'm sure He means well. He probably just wants to send one of his paramilitary youth around to see how I'm feeling...or something.

Cedarford said...

Palladian - If a superflu hit, a Glock might serve you better than a willingness to suck dick. 1918 was pretty bad. Unarmed dick-suckers did not have a leg up.

Issob the morrocan - NO, you still are ignorant. Sanitation had nothing to do with blocking superflu. It was a function or human proximity and mobility of human "herds" as epidemiologists call it. Some of the worst places to be were WWI military barracks where population health and sanitation were the highest.
One thing that scared the crap out of societies is that unlike other diseases, it hit and killed vigorous young people with active immune systems the worst, and ravaged "spotless sanitary " dense-packed areas - over global "dirty peasant, dirty water" country areas in close proximity to all the flu virus precursors found in animals.

And while I do understand shots only take care of a strain, that is why I said 'some' of that is due to flu shots.

No, many doctors consider flu shots less immunizing than exposing the population to the 12-20 flu viruses floating around in human and animal vectors at any given time. A good idea for the elderly and very sick only since unvaccinated have broader immunity. The exception would be a specific vaccine the general population could take against a specific lethal virus that kills the young and healthy..if it was available fast enough and firewalls gave that respite time.

Isoob - notice a key word, one which a lawyer would catch onto like silk on a nail, it the following sentence with the key word being "might".

Again, you are misinformed. No defense is typically 100% effective. You are being quite unrealistic in pretending otherwise. Medicine, criminal security, etc. - the all work in layers of defense concept since nothing is "perfect". MDs are careful to never give 100% guarantees that a single action or drug guarantees a cure.

Isoob My point was not where you took it, but perhaps you can humor me as to why you would think the trend will reverse? That is all I seek.

Your point was that major diseases always weaken.
My point was that this is not true. Diseases do not follow a natural path to self-originating eradication, but an evolutionary path where they might die out various strains, or by self selection create an ideal bug that spreads but doesn't kill, or screw up and make a bug that spreads fast, kills it's hosts, and burns out to extinction.
Your idea that all afflictions weaken over time is your misinformed conjecture.

m00se said...

*chuckle*

This is all an amusing compare/contrast to all the GWOT arguements:

How much are you willing to give up in order to ensure your "safetY"?

Surely allowing Google to take your simple web searches and collate/massage them and then pass them on to the gov't is harmless?

If you can't see the obvious parallels to the whole "warrantless wiretapping" issue, you're actively denying the comparison.

"Good times, good times..."

Methadras said...

Mortimer Brezny said...

I thought gay dudes were supposed to adore Tina Turner. Isn't she simply the best?


Two man enter, DTL feels left out.

hdhouse said...

I, though my business, deal with Google data and technology on a regular basis. First, they always to my knowledge and experience deal well within all laws and are professional and ethical.

Some other data miners have equally extensive data, not to mention our government that dwarfs their capacities and extent.

Frankly, be happy it is Google.



and PatCa, all that snip about "greatest man who ever lived"...assuming you were for Senator Oldage and Gov. Ya'betcha, what is your issue after 8 years on unrelenting snooping and mining by your President WooWoo et all? Do you dislike brains for a change? or ethics?..backbone? Your comment was silly.

Issob Morocco said...

Cedarford, you still feel the need to condescend, name call and not back up your hypothesis with more than what you accuse me of, conjecture. Quite a chuckle that you see my point as something different than what I state, which is what makes you think that the next go around of influenza will increase in size? You still have not answered that. My point is not that major diseases always weaken. I didn't propagate that one, you did. So you will have to argue with yourself on that matter.

While it was true the 1918-19 influenza did strike seemingly great pictures of human health, we don't really know that they were, since medicine back in those days was very primitive compared to our field today and certainly without baseline knowledge of individual's medical histories. Perhaps those folks had venereal diseases which weakened their immune systems, but the average uninformed viewer, someone like you, Cedarford, would think was just a hunk of perfect humanity.

As for sanitation, it does affect the transmission. Quite a laugher to say that barracks were of the highest form of sanitation. Your point about the herd is exactly why they weren't. Close quarters, shared facilities are the vehicles for the quick transmissions.

I didn't claim 100% of anything, so that was a weak attempt at obfuscation. 'Might' is the word which deflates your argument. Again, the Sun 'might' rise in the west on Friday, but the probability is the next door neighbor of zero. 'Might' signifies the glories of possibility. Like Cedarford 'might' answer my query.

I am glad you know 'many' doctors and what they view as the best methods. Seems a bit pretentious and full of conjecture to make such claims. If that was the case why do we still shoot the moon on one strain a season. Is that a case for medical malpractice? Should I consult my nearby trial attorney?

What evidence do you have to make your claim that Google tracking will assist in diminshing, blunting or counterattacking the next breakout? I appreciate your alternative viewpoint as a possibility, but give it a rest when deriding others for having similar possible viewpoints. If you have evidence, offer it up and answer my question.

Cheers!

Issob Morocco

yuvutu said...

Why not? google can do no evil!






(Anonymous IP)