Google’s creation was funded by intelligence agencies that wanted to track people online.
Intelligence agencies wanted computer scientists to take public information and user data, combine it with the internet, and build a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state.
The deliberate creation of the modern mass-surveillance state is a starkly different story than the tale the public has been told about the creation of Google.
By the 90s, the CIA and the NSA were well aware their future was going to be shaped outside of government. Emerging technologies were changing the landscape, but with it the agencies’ ability to conduct mass surveillance would be on a level unimaginable before. It would just require taking over the emerging technology. To do it, they bought up companies, with a particular interest in those that were developing technology for gathering and analyzing data.
The research arms of the CIA and NSA wanted researchers to find what they called “birds of a feather.” The “Birds of a Feather Session on the Intelligence Community Initiative in Massive Digital Data Systems” took place in 1995. Their goal was to track people inside the rapidly growing global information network. They wanted to know if an entire world of digital information could be organized.
Civil liberty groups expressed concerns for years, while an entire world of information has already been organized and is now being put to use with predictive algorithms, predicting unrest and potential threats to those in power.