Heartland Institute publications and web pages usually position it as anti-government, or at least pro-less-government-than-we-have-now. But their podcasts are a bit less controlled, sometimes just providing an interesting take on something we might not have thought about (There was a great one about “how much does the Burning Man Festival have to pay for insurance?” that seems to have disappeared from Heartland’s site).
Now we have one insisting that the government needs to break the Google monopoly and vigorously enforce “privacy” laws against Google. The mp3 of this interview with Scott Cleland, author of Search and Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc is here.
Cleland seems to want government to protect us from the threat that Google is. I agree that Google can be a threat, as they really do want to organize all the information about all of us, and seem to be pretty good at it. But I think the real threat will happen when Google and Government merge. Until then, we are probably best advised to use the good cheap or free alternatives to Google’s services, and to work without signing in to Google to the extent possible.
My own experience with Google Adsense, btw, occurred when trying to buy some traffic to the Henry George School web site. People concerned about “poverty” might be interested in us, so I tried that keyword. The problem was that most of the news articles Google coded as “poverty” were about crime and criminals. So I excluded some words, I think it was “gun”, “police,” and a couple others. Adsense failed to recognize these exclusions. On one of the google discussion groups I found other people who have experienced similar problems. Eventually, Google said something to the effect of “if you want to keep advertising with us you’ll have to pay more money per hit.” I guess we would have had to pay enough to justify having a Google Human get involved, and that was too expensive, so the project was put aside. The dollar cost was modest but the benefit was more modest.