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The Justice Impulse – What it means

The Justice Impulse – What it means

When I was a little boy (around 9 years old), our home was robbed twice. A few weeks prior to the first robbery, our beloved dog was hit by a car right before my eyes. He lived for a few hours before dying. In the midst of the grief of losing my dog, our house was burglarized. The thieves stole pretty much everything of value, including a gold ring in the shape of Texas my grandfather gave me. My mom was keeping it for me until I was old enough to wear it. That gold ring and a pool cue were the only things I had from my mother’s dad. I still have the pool cue.

After the robbery, I remember feeling afraid and having nightmares.

About a month later, we had replaced most of the “stuff” like the TV and VCR. We installed a security system. My parents were divorced and didn’t care too much for each other but my dad bought us a puppy. It was his way of bringing some joy back into our lives. I remember mom let me name him Ralphie and let him sleep in my room sometimes. Within a few weeks, we were robbed a second time. This time the thieves entered through the empty house next door and broke through the adjoining wall of our duplex (to avoid the new alarm system and burglar bars on the windows). They took all the new stuff that replaced the old stuff… and they stole our puppy, Ralphie.

This time anger overtook fear. It dawned on me that something is wrong with the world. This is my first memory of feeling injustice.

Fast forward to the morning of November 10, 2015. I had been selected for jury duty. Sitting in a most uncomfortable chair, we were introduced to the case. It was the worst kind of criminal case you could be assigned as a juror. It involved an older man sexually abusing a 5yr old little black girl. Nothing could take my mind from my own daughter, who was 4 at the time.

It was the one of the most heart-wrenching, sickening and traumatic situations I have ever experienced. After six days of testimony, a heroic little girl took the stand and faced her abuser. After 9 hours of deliberation, we found the man guilty on several charges. He was sentenced to what would amount to the rest of his life in prison.

I walked away knowing that justice had been served.

What do I mean by justice?
I think that defining terms is very important when we talk about ultimate issues. John Stonestreet likes to say that, “People use the same words but different dictionaries.” To put it another way, people can use the same words in a discussion but those words have different meanings. A good example is the word ‘love’. I love my wife, I love my kids, I love cheeseburgers, I love my mom and I love my best friend. However, I do not love them all the same way. Love means something different in each instance. “Justice” has multiple meanings and applications as well.

Here are a few definitions of ‘justice’ from online dictionaries:

  • the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness:
  • rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason:
  • the moral principle determining just conduct.
  • conformity to truth, fact, or reason : CORRECTNESS

The definitions above are helpful but they don’t quite point to the source of justice.

Let me put forth a deeper foundation for your consideration.

From a biblical perspective, justice is rooted in the character of a creator God. Justice, also referred to righteousness, is an attribute that flows from God’s goodness. In order to flesh this out, we must go to Genesis 1. When God created the world and everything in it, he claimed “it is good.” When God created man in His own likeness, God saw everything He created and stated, ‘it (meaning all creation) is very good.”

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

Because we are created in God’s image, we carry some of his attributes. To put it another way, we have artifacts of God’s character woven into the fiber of who we are as humans. Every human life has intrinsic value and essential worth. Either this is objectively true or it is not. If it is true, then all humans have value on an individual basis no matter what and deserve dignity, protection and justice. If it is not true, then human value is arbitrary based on what those in power deem valuable – certain human-beings become expendable based on utilitarian values (usefulness). In the last instance, there can be no objective shared characteristic of justice – it evaporates in a mist of arbitrary relativism.  We need a unmovable point of reference.

We can’t say something is wrong unless we have some innate knowledge of what is right.

C.S. Lewis said, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”

Genesis 1 tells us about the ‘straight line’ or goodness, rightness or correctness. However, we need to head to Genesis 3 to better understand ‘a crooked line’ or wrongness. When we juxtapose the two, we have a clearer picture of justice. Now we can reframe the dictionary definitions of justice with deeper dimension and meaning from an objective source.

In Genesis 3, the Bible tells the story of how humanity chose to reject truth, reject God and reject His goodness. This is called ‘The Fall’. Prior to this point, all things were ‘good’ and ‘just’ in the created order. When man rebelled, sin and brokenness entered the ‘very good’ created order. Disorder and injustice followed. Since that moment in time, we humans have had a sense that things are not as they should be in the world.

There is an “oughtness” that we innately know about how life should be. Because of this, we know all is not lost. Artifacts and reflections of God’s original intent – goodness and justice remain innately rooted in our being. We just know a moral law exists that informs us on the difference between good and evil – straight and crooked lines.

Where does the ‘Justice Impulse’ come from?
We’ve all experienced some form of injustice in life or at least witnessed it.  Something from deep within cries out, “That is wrong!” At the same time, from deep within we have this innate desire to make wrong things right. But, where does this feeling or impulse come from?

Some sociologists contend that it is learned behavior that is socially conditioned by our surrounding culture. I think that is partly true. Our culture can shape our conception of justice. But that does not explain the fact that even little children from various cultures have an innate knowledge of fairness and fundamental idea of justice and injustice, even if it is very elementary. When you hear a 3 year old yell “That’s not fair!”, you are hearing an impulse of justice. People have this innate sense of “thats wrong” coupled with a desire to see things made right.

You can go to any cultural setting on earth ask people if it is good to molest and murder a child. The overwhelming response will be ‘no’. Any exception will be seen as an outlier to what is normative across cultures. Everyone can agree that harming a child is wrong. To do so is unjust and evil.

When we were robbed twice, I felt pain, hurt, anger, frustration and fear. I knew what happened was wrong. At the same time, I wanted to see things made right. Justice was never served in those instances.

However, when I was on a jury that put a monster who did irreparable harm to a little girl behind bars, something was different. At the beginning of the case, I felt much the same way I did when we were robbed. By the conclusion of sentencing, I felt peace and a sense of rightness, even goodness about the situation. Given, none of my feelings change the trauma for that little girl. But, we did deliver justice to the best of our ability.

When I see a man pleading for his life, gasping for air under the knee of another man sworn to protect life and uphold justice, an impulse emerges from deep within. I see an image-bearer in agony under the boot of an image-bearer under oath to serve and protect. Both men are created in the image of God and worthy of dignity. Both are marred by brokenness and sin in the context of a fallen world. However, when the dignity of one man is discarded by another, we witness injustice. In other words, when image-bearers see fellow image-bearers attacked, we innately know that human dignity and value are being attacked. Those “artifacts” of God’s character that are woven into who we are emerge in the form of a justice impulse. That impulse can take many forms in its expression.

We could be silent, we could lash out in anger, we could protest, we could destroy, we could try to help, etc.

I have concluded that silence in the face of injustice may be the worst response. Silence basically seconds the motion. It allows, or dare I say, promotes evil. As misguided, wrong and evil as riots and destruction are in the face of injustice, silence carries with it a mixture of contempt and selfishness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I put forth the following regarding the justice impulse we all sense.

First, the justice impulse that we feel when we see or experience something wrong is good. We need to affirm that our sense of justice is indeed, good.

Second, justice needs space to be heard, cultivated and modeled within our homes, communities, businesses and our government. We all need to be free to rightly point out injustice when we see it. We need to allow truth to shape our concept of justice and love be the root of our response.

Third, we need to realize that in this broken world, injustice and evil exist. We will not completely rid ourselves of this reality. The human heart is deceitful. However, as image-bearers we can respond to injustice and evil with justice and goodness. We stop injustice by understanding that we all have dignity and value. You are sacred, I am sacred, your ethnicity and mine are sacred. We did not choose to whom, where or when we would be born. However, together, we can stand against evil even when we disagree on other things. And remember, evil begets evil. Disfunction begets disfunction. But, perfect love casts out evil, as light casts out darkness.

Fourth, we can restore the brokenness caused by injustice by promoting goodness and protecting the dignity of all human-beings – particularly the vulnerable and disenfranchised. We restore by bringing peace into a situation and ensure justice is served.

How do we as people who love justice respond to our justice impulse?

1. Pray. When events out of our control occur that cause emotional response, we must pray and ask for God’s wisdom to discern whether our impulses are just and good. If so, what is the right action to take?

2. Listen for understanding. Bear witness to someone else’s pain and suffering without judging. Be present in someone’s pain.

3. Learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. Sensible people faced with a complex situation do not need to be relegated to a tribe (or side). The “only two sides – pick one” dichotomy is elementary and childish. Remember, humans have dignity and a general sense of justice even when opinions differ on particulars.

4. Speak up in the face of injustice, even if it is unpopular. William Wilberforce is a perfect example.

5. Serve. I’ve learned the best way to restore a semblance of justice and goodness is to serve those in need. For instance, when we serve those experiencing homelessness, we are bringing goodness and restoration into their lives through relationships. We are acknowledging an individual’s dignity and value. We are saying, “I see you.”  People have value not because of their socio-economic status or ethnicity but because their imagery. All are made in the image of God. When I serve an image-bearer, I am serving the image-maker. When I lovingly raise my voice for the voiceless, I am doing justice, loving my neighbor and showing God’s mercy.

Finally, for the Christian, we must understand that all of these responses must be rooted in truth and love. We accomplish all things by grace through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ who suffered the most significant injustice in history to justify those who trust Him. God sees injustice and will not remain silent. God’s people see injustice and we should not remain silent either.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

“He (God) has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

PS. I keep my juror badge (pictured above) taped in the back of my Bible to help me remember that I must work to stop evil and do justice.


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A Church Without Walls – Serving Others

A Church Without Walls – Serving Others

I have been on staff as the Local Outreach Pastor at Christ Chapel Bible Church headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas for 6 years. We have campuses in Willow Park and Burleson as well. My main role is deploying our people into the community serving as the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus Christ.

For as long as I remember, Christ Chapel has had a motto that we’re ‘a church without walls’.

That has been our aim. A mature Christian is a servant in his or her community. Whether its volunteering at a shelter for those experiencing homelessness or ministering to the widow down the street, my mission is to get our people to live missional lives of service. Biblical faith in Jesus Christ will bear the fruit of serving others. We are to be ‘doers of the Word, not hearers only…”

Like any other church, you have those crusaders who need no direction or encouragement, they just go and do. Additionally, you also have those folks who need to be encouraged, coached and directed to take a first step into service. Finally, like most churches, there is a small population of fence-sitters who attend church services faithfully on Sundays but absolutely refuse to serve anyone other than themselves. They are consumers, not contributors – which is antithetical to Biblical faith in action.

That said, there are those faithful who are physically unable to serve due to age or disability or illness. But, they will pray, support and do what they can to undergird gospel ministry. I’d add that those who serve as intercessory ‘prayer warriors’ form the backbone of the church.

We have been praying that our church would become the ‘church without walls’ we’ve claim to be for years. Today, I’m glad to announce that we are now a church without walls! Thanks to the COVID19 pandemic, local congregations across the globe cannot gather within the walls of a building we call ‘a church’. Referring to the church as building is a misnomer, because the church is not a place, it is a people. The Church is the redeemed universal body of believers in Jesus Christ who is Lord over all. The Coronavirus pandemic has stripped down the walls of the church gathering place and forced Christians outside. We are now a ‘church without walls.’

There is no going back.

The church throughout the ages has run into the flames of adversity, injustice, pestilence, war and famine to provide care, compassion and assistance to those in desperate need. If you think church is a Sunday affair of dressing up, going to a building, singing some songs, seeing friends and listening to a sermon, I encourage you to read the book of Acts. Biblical faith has always been active, outward-bound and other-focused by serving others. We are called to be the church without walls. That was God’s original intent when He designed how His people would go about His business across the globe throughout history.  His command has always been ‘Go’.

The true Church is a church without walls. It never had walls. We are being reminded of that in this historical moment.

Now, go and do in Jesus’ name.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22


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Alone Together

Alone Together

“Alone Together.” Is there any better way to describe this moment in history?

As the wave of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic spreads across the globe, we are seeing whole societies and nations shut down and shut off human face-to-face interaction. In America, the jokes and funny memes have given way to a seriousness. Every hour more people are coming to the realization that everything has changed.

Three months ago, the conversations were completely different than they are today. I look back and recall having discussions about the pervasiveness of screen addiction and the challenge of too much social media and technology in our lives. I admit, I had a problem with screens, scrolling and such.

Today, my paradigm has shifted. My perspective has been stood on its head. Because of a tiny virus, we are experiencing what it means to be ‘Alone Together’.

Rather than focusing on fear and chaos, I’m looking for lessons and opportunities. I’m looking for new ways to ‘do life’ together in forced isolation.

How can we engage with this new reality without losing our minds? Or worse … How do we keep from losing our humanity?

The Negative

In 2012, MIT professor Sherry Turkle wrote a book entitled, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

“Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections and the sociable robot may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other. We’d rather text than talk.”

– Sherry Turkle

I’d add that for millions of people, the spurious glitter of our technological goddess has answered our collective prayer. She says, “You want real isolation with your screens and social media? Your wish is my command!” And here we are, alone together with the goddess of our own making.  But, we’re left wanting and empty.

The New Reality

Due to the current state of the world, the illusions and fog blocking our view of reality is quickly evaporating. More and more people are realizing that human contact is more important than we thought. The status quo has been upended in a matter of weeks. As a good friend of mine said yesterday, “The gods of western culture like sports, media, corporate greed and entertainment have all bowed to the spirit of fear.” Entire nations are being brought to their knees. People are around the world are coming to grips with a new reality.  Many are fearful of what it all means.

The Opportunity

In this very moment, we all have a choice to make. We are alone together on this island, the boats have been burned. There is no way off. What shall we make of this? We cannot build boats out of ashes or memories. We must build here and now. What you do right now will shape the culture in the age to come. We can be selfish and ‘me-centered’ or we can engage in sometimes messy relationships with others.

When you strip all of the stuff away, what do you have left? A better questions is, WHO do you have left?

The Bible says, that we are individually significant and we have intrinsic value. In spite of what modern social constructionists and social engineers tell us how different we are, we are of one race – the human race. We must see what is good, true and beautiful held in both our unity and diversity as human beings. We were not created to be isolated. We were created for community. We are hardwired for relationship … as hard and painful as relationships can be at times. A life pursuing pleasures is empty and meaningless. Think about it. The good stuff is found in knowing and being known by others. Loving people over stuff that can’t love you back.

So What?

You have a choice today. How are you living? Take an entire day to consider what your life will look like a year from now or 5 years from now. Try to see yourself from a future perspective. Who do you want to be? Who do you want to invite into your life? Who needs you to step into their life today? Are you lonely? Isolated? I’m here. There are a bunch of us here. We have been waiting for you. We could use your help, your talents and gifts.

Action Steps … you don’t have anything better to do

Take the coming days and weeks to consider who is most important in your life… I promise, its not you! Reach out to that old friend you haven’t seen or spoken to since college or high school. I guarantee they will be overjoyed to hear from you. If they don’t answer the phone, leave them a voicemail letting them know you were thinking of them. And, God forbid we tell our friends and family we love them!  Write a letter to someone you love or a ‘thank you’ note to someone who impacted your life.

We were never meant to be ‘alone together’.

“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.””(Genesis 2:18)

If you need prayer or have a comment, please reach out to me.

Remember, God loves you in spite of yourself (John 3:16).

Oh, and remember to wash your hands!


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Google: Friend or Foe (3) – The unquenchable quest for more … of you

Google: Friend or Foe (3) – The unquenchable quest for more … of you

Welcome to Part 3 of my blog series about Google. If you have not read my first post, I’d recommend reading Google: Friend or Foe Part 1 and 2 before continuing.

What type of threat do companies like Google pose?

First, I think one threat tech companies pose is rooted in their surveillance business models, data collection, in addition to outside business relationships with governments (foreign and domestic) and other third parties. How will they use data? We’ve already seen the privacy issues, subsequent lawsuits and investigations.

Case in point, ten years ago China executed a state-sponsored cyber attack against Google and other large businesses. Many believe the attack was a response to Google’s decision to stop offering their search engine in the Chinese market due to human rights concerns. In addition the totalitarian communist state wanted to censor, monitor and limit Google search results. This began an interesting relationship between Google and the NSA (National Security Agency).
[source link]

Once you investigate links with China, you will discover Google’s “Dragonfly” project. In a 2018, article from Just Security entitled, “Google’s Dragonfly: A Bellwether for Human Rights in the Digital Age”

“This “history” throws yesterday’s news about Google’s secret “Dragonfly” project, a search engine that will meet Beijing’s demands for censorship, into disturbing relief. Ever since 2010, the Chinese government has never quite gotten over the rebuke leveled against it by an uppity Western ICT company, which in retrospect clearly discredited the government on the world stage. Google took the type of action in support of human rights that few governments, let alone the private sector, would dare attempt. Of course, the Chinese government viewed the incident as a threat to regime control …. But, in the end, the Chinese government merely had to wait its challenger out, and all would be well.”

“Resisting no longer makes any business sense when the laws and policies of your country of origin and other active markets begin to resemble those of the country from which you withdrew.”
[source link]

On the home front, if you want to explore Google’s U.S. partnerships with government agencies, political groups, nonprofits and the like, check out their ‘Transparency’ page.
[source link]

Another interesting article was written by Harvard Law Review in 2018 entitled, “Cooperation or Resistance?: The Role of Tech Companies in Government Surveillance”
[source link]

Second, I think the biggest threat comes from the Social Engineering aspect of Google’s capabilities.

Remember, social engineering is used to manipulate people. When your platform is capable of shaping thought, behavior follows. Behind every artifact or innovation is a worldview – a philosophy of the person or group that created it. What is this artifact or innovation for? What is its purpose?

What is the dominant philosophy behind driving the current and future business model at Google? Does the philosophy view humans as dignified individuals or machines or something else? What are the political and economic philosophies expressed through search algorithms and social engineering.

Video: Dr. Robert Epstein answers questions from Senate Judiciary, Hearing on Google and Censorship

Everything is fine when the people at the top are of goodwill toward their fellow humans. However, when organizations and their partners become self-serving, abusive or tyrannical, a perceived threat becomes real. Individual lives and whole societies will be impacted.

I don’t think we fully understand the power and implications of these technologies.

When a company makes profits by collecting, organizing and manipulating the personal data of billions of people we must attempt to understand potential threats and risks involved. In the wrong hands, these powerful tools can cause great harm or be misused to the detriment of humanity.

At the end of the day, Google is able to curate your internet experience to the places Google wants you to go. It controls what you see and what you don’t see. In other words, Google can herd people where they want them to go through powerful algorithms. Because Google has millions of data points on billions of individuals, Google’s powerful AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology can predict your behavior with creepy accuracy. If Google can tell you where to find the information you think you are looking for but Google wants to to see and what to buy, it can tell you what to say and think. It already does.

Without anyone knowing, Google is shaping the worldview of billions of people. The question is what is the shape of the worldview Google intends for users? How will Google treat worldviews that counter it’s own? Shaping thought can be beneficial but that is what parents, teachers, mentors, artists and leaders do – not tech companies.

The First of the Ten Commandments is; “…You shall have no other gods before me”. After digging into the tech giant’s business model, activates, partnerships and philosophy, I believe Google’s first commandment is “You shall have no other gods but Google.” Think about it.

After reading this series of posts, are you seeing a general theme?

What can we do about it?

  1. Don’t just take my word for it, do your own research.
  2. Take a technology inventory. List all of the technology devices and platforms connected to you and your family.
  3. Take Steps to protect online privacy for you and your family. Seven Simple Steps Toward Online Privacy
  4. Be vigilant – Don’t allow the lure of convenience to overrule your personal convictions in regard to technology.

Read previous post: Google: Friend or Foe – Part 2
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Google: Friend or Foe (2) – human data-trafficking

Google: Friend or Foe (2) – human data-trafficking

Welcome to Part 2 of my blog series about Google. If you have not read my first post, I’d recommend reading Google: Friend or Foe Part 1 before continuing. Part 2 builds on the foundation of my previous post.

I think the best way to understand “What Google is actually doing?” is to see that  Google is in the “thought-shaping” and digital human data-trafficking business.

When an organization’s stated mission is to “organize the world’s information”, we know that based on what Google does with information tells us more about the purpose. Information shapes thought. Thought and beliefs drive behavior. Therefore, I submit that Google is shaping thoughts of billions of people and by extension, driving behavior. But, to what end?

What is Google actually doing?

YouTube, AdSense, FitBit, Nest, DoubleClick and over 200 others are not the end of Google’s reach. Google is a major stake holder and data repository for genetics-testing company 23andMe. Seems harmless enough. However, 23andMe is partnered with big pharma drug giant Gloxo-Smith-Kline for research into disease using data collected. Most 23andMe customers are unaware of this. [source link]

“In its filing, Google also noted that Anne Wojcicki is a co-founder of 23andMe and is a member of the board of directors. Wojcicki is married to Sergey Brin, Google’s president of technology and company co-founder. The search giant also outlined other intertwined relationships beyond Brin and Wojcicki: Sergey also holds approximately 35 percent of Google’s Class B common stock. Prior to Google’s investment in 23andMe, Sergey provided approximately $2.6 million in interim debt financing to 23andMe…” [source link]

In other words, Google is interested in genetic data on millions of people. That’s of interest to me.

Google surveillance in your home

On the home front, Google’s purchase of Nest is an interesting play. Nest is well known for their ‘smart’ thermostats and ‘user-friendly’ security camera systems for homes and businesses. What is not so well known is Google placing microphones on their in-home ‘smart’ thermostats. Apparently, Nest ‘forgot’ to include the one feature most people concerned about privacy care about on their product feature list for in-home thermostats – a microphone. [source link]

Of course, there is Google Home, a virtual assistant similar to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.  These devices are constantly monitoring or ‘listening’.

Additionally, Google has filed a few interesting patents. Perhaps, ‘invasive’ is a better descriptor. These new technologies use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze other technologies inside the home, clothing, chemicals and even voices in your home. [source link]

Google made inroads into the smart phone market. It’s Android mobile operating system has dominated the mobile market. Its devices are cheap and come loaded with Google apps. The Android operating system is collecting data on users who may not use Google’s other products or platforms. There are 2 Billion Android users worldwide as of 2017. [source link]

Google surveillance at your child’s school

Google also launched it’s Google ChromeBook, cloud-based personal computing hardware. It’s also very cheap but you’re locked into Google’s offerings with the device. The key to understand its growing pervasiveness in schools is knowing that the low price-point is a strategy to gain marketshare and essentially aimed at data collection. If a child is forced by his school to use a Google ChromeBook, he is being groomed to grant access to his data to a tech giant for life. How will that data be used?

Google is being sued in New Mexico for collecting and misusing data on children who are required to use ChromeBooks in schools. [source link]

The growing ‘tech in the classroom’ or “edtech” industry is worth BILLIONS of dollars. So, there is a huge push by big tech to cram as much technology as possible into classrooms and homes in the name of “better education.” There’s little to no research supporting the pervasive use of tech in the classroom is beneficial. In fact studies are proving that “the digital interface does not stimulate the brain as well as an analog interface. Off-loading the cognitive effort that makes critical brain connections stronger is like paying someone else to do your exercise for you.”

Remember, this is a profit-centered approach, not a student-centered approach.

Google surveillance on the school bus?

“In places such as Hot Springs, Va., Alphabet Inc.’s Google has wired school buses, turning them into rolling study halls for students with long commutes and sometimes patchy or nonexistent Wi-Fi at home. Google says the program, a pilot which is in 15 school districts in 13 states, will be funded at least through the end of this school year.” [source link]

Google surveilling your location, email, documents, photos and network

Google Maps was the best free mobile GPS system available… until Waze was introduced and began giving Google Maps a run for their money. Google acquired Waze for nearly a $1 Billion before Apple or another competitor could buy them. [source link]

All of this and more on top of the world’s most powerful search engine and email client used (Gmail[source link].  While most know that Google stores personal data related to search, few are aware that Google is collecting data from Gmail accounts. [source link]

Google Docs is popular for document storage and search capabilities. Google Photos platform receives 1.4 Billion uploads per day by users. Let’s not forget Google Fiber (broadband internet and IPTV).

Are you starting to see a pattern? A good detective identifies behavior patterns. Patterns lead to evidence.

Google may have begun with good intentions but as I have demonstrated they have followed a path of bad actions that are a cause for concern.

BTW. None of this has gone unnoticed by the Feds, the U.S. Department of Justice has ramped up it’s investigation into this tech behemoth. [source link]

Why do companies like Google and Facebook offer their products for free or cheap?  Because their surveillance business model turns the user into the “product” they can sell.  Google and Facebook are in the ‘Digital Human data-trafficking” business.  They manipulate people and sell the digital profiles of billions of people.  They surveil you and sell everything they know about you to the highest bidder … and you let them.

In my next post, we’ll talk about the type of threat companies like Google pose and what can we do about it.  

Stay tuned!

Reference note: Much of my interest and research in this section was initiated from a podcast of the Bill Walton Show Episode 63: Part 2- The Power to Re-engineer Humanity


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Google: Friend or Foe? (1)

Google: Friend or Foe? (1)

It all started when I learned how technology and social media were being used by pimps to manipulate and lure children into exploitation and trafficking.

As I learned more about platforms like Facebook, SnapShat, Instagram, etc., I ended up taking a deep-dive into the technologies and companies that power the massive engine we call the ‘internet’.  To borrow an idea from the film ‘The Matrix’, I took the red pill which leads to truth.  I’m interested in following the path that leads to the truth of a matter.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

– Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) – The Matrix

The joke I hear often is, “Google is listening” to you. As we nervously laugh, we have to wonder, “To what extent is Google actually listening and why?”

I decided to research Google for three reasons. First, I’m concerned about privacy and data collection.  Second, I am concerned what kind of tech-infused world my children will be living in.  Third, I believe its beneficial for sensible intelligent people to learn and share regarding this topic. I invite you to join me as we explore Google if not for anything else than raising awareness. I will share my findings in the next series of posts.

If Google and other powerful technology platforms are “listening or tracking” you or to put another way, “gathering data on users”, we have to ask “why?” What is the purpose?

The short and benign answer most people give is that Google and other tech platforms are selling targeted ads to companies that want to sell us their products. However, recent data and user privacy investigations indicate something more going on.

Here are some questions to consider:

What is Google?
What are Google’s motives?
What is Google’s strategy?
What is Google actually doing?
What type of threat do companies like Google pose, if any?
What can we do about it?

What is Google?

To the general public, Google is the most powerful search engine in the world. It is. But, it is more than that. Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. are active in multiple tech industries: internet technology and networks, cloud computing, computer software, computer hardware, artificial intelligence (AI), consumer services, security and advertising. Within these industries Google and it’s parent company Alphabet Inc. have made over 230 acquisitions since 2001.

Alphabet Inc. is the biggest company in the world. It is worth $1.2 TRILLION. It is also one of the most powerful influencers in the world.

What is Google’s philosophy?

“Don’t be Evil” is the tech giant’s motto. However, evil at its simplest meaning is the absence of good. I use the analogy, that darkness is the absence of light. In order to know what is evil, one must understand what is good. I argue that good leads to human flourishing, beauty, justice, health, unity, security and peace. Evil is everything that distorts or departs from good. In the final analysis, “Don’t be Evil” is a poor choice for a motto or way of doing business because you are framing your business philosophy around avoiding the “absence of good.” Perhaps, “Be Good” would be a better vision for Google?

The answer to “What is Google?” gets clearer as we explore their businesses and observe their behavior. This is where things get a bit more interesting and concerning.

Next, let’s explore motives. Motives reveal a lot about character traits, worldview and beliefs of individuals as well as organizations. Keep in mind, behavior (actions) can affirm or betray stated values or mission. In other words, to the extent your actions deviate from your stated mission or values give evidence of your lack of integrity, misrepresentation or ill-intent. If a company states a value of honesty and they fudge on their financials, they are not holding true to their stated value of honesty. They are being dishonest.

What are Google’s motives?

According to Harvard behavioral psychologist and tech research scientist Dr. Robert Epstein, Google has three motives.

1. Profit
2. Social Engineering
3. Government Partnerships (military, intelligence, law enforcement – both domestic and international)

The first motive is pretty straight forward, publicly traded companies exist to generate profits for shareholders. I have no problem with companies legitimately generating profits. Legitimate profit-making is a good thing. Provide a good product or service and get paid fairly for it. Great!

Its the second motive that should be explored, investigated and discussed. Social Engineering is the process used to manipulate the behavior of individual humans and groups. Basically, social engineering can be used to get you to click on an ad, buy a product, go to a political rally or watch a certain video, etc. It can also used to manipulate people.

The third motive is complex and very concerning, Government Partnerships.  Frankly, I don’t have the expertise to completely dissect it but we’ll touch on it later.

In my next post, we’ll put Google on trial and look at their claims, the evidence and their behavior.

Google: Friend or Foe (Part 2) – Human Data-Trafficking

 


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