You've already heard that the Bush administration has demanded access to Google's ever growing database, which contains an array of information about you and I, and what we search for on the internet. AOL, MSN and Yahoo have already complied, but Google is fighting it. If you haven't heard about it, click here.
Privacy advocates suddenly find themselves in an argument that has been framed thus: Either you're with us, or you're with the pornographers and pedophiles.
Ostensibly, because there are perverts and terrorists in this world, no U.S. citizen should harbor illusions of any semblance of privacy. The government should be able to rumage around in our lives for anything that looks interesting, and given Bush's executive powers, he can find any kind of excuse to lock us up without due process, torture us, shuffle us off to secret prisons, never notify our families, never let us speak to an attorney, not even have to tell us what the charges are. And by the way, he's not subject to any oversight by the judicial or congretional branches.
I hope you've never researached a term paper on "Osama Bin Laden" or searched for "Nude teens" on Google, or you might wake up some morning in a Romanian prison. Yes I am exagerating, but no, I am not making this up. Welcome to the New Evil Empire.
For information businesses like MSN, Google, Yahoo, and Double Click, being based in America with valuable databases means that you can expect to be served an array of invasive subpeonas over time.
In a business where trust and reputation are everything, what does being a stooge for the U.S. government do for your reputation? Not a lot. The 95% of the population of Planet Earth that lives outside of the good ol' USA may not like, for their own personal reasons, knowing that their Google profiles are effectively the property of the US Govt. If Google loses this fight, their global reputation will be forever tarnished.
How long will it be until some of these tremendous global businesses decide that they can easily host these services outside of the U.S.? After all, why even bother with this kind of crap when the expertise and connectivity to run your business exists outside of the U.S.
As the Bush Administration continues to bully the world and stick its finger up the butt-holes of Americans, America will lose its edge in the increasingly competitive world of internet business.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for a decently priced web or email host, check out www.pchighway.com. For a few bucks a month, they'll host your data in Switzerland.