March 12, 2012

Channeling Spock: Obama & Gas Prices - Google & Privacy

Despite my time spent in the Star Trek production universe many years ago, by most standards today I'm not a really hard-core Trekkie, or Trekker, or whatever the word is these days for the serious Trek convention fans.

But as I've noted in the past, I do sometimes find myself feeling somewhat Spock-like irritation at utterly illogical arguments being promoted regarding important issues.

I was reminded of this again a few days ago, when I saw recent footage of a FOX News reporter (at a presidential press conference) suggesting to the President that Obama actually wanted gasoline prices to be going up now, since this would (according to the reporter) support an alternative fuel agenda.

Obama's exasperation at this "question" was nearly palpable, and he replied with a question of his own, "Just from a political perspective, do you think the President of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is that -- is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?"

Obviously the FOX reporter's assertion made no sense whatsoever, and was essentially political pandering to his audience, whom he presumably feels are mainly composed of idiots who would believe his outlandish contention.

But this sort of disingenuous accusations game isn't restricted to the traditional political realm -- it plays out in the tech world as well.

Case in point, the messages still appearing daily in my inbox, accusing Google of nefarious anti-privacy cookie subterfuge.

I blew apart those nonsensical arguments last month in Google, Safari, and a Clamor of Cookie Confusion, but in the name of logic I'm going to emphasize one aspect again here and now.

Just as it would be irrational for a president to want higher gas prices going into an election, what possible sense would it make for Google to purposely use cookies in ways to (supposedly "secretly") violate their users' privacy?

Gas prices aren't hidden from observers -- neither are cookie behaviors!

Presidents can be replaced at elections. Search engines can be replaced by users with a single mouse click over to a competitor.

And just as it's pretty clear that FOX News has political motives for making their inane suggestions about gasoline prices, it's also painfully obvious that there are forces (in furtherance of their own motives) all too willing to sow FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt -- about Google, despite the utterly illogical nature of such assertions in the light of even a minuscule bit of reasoning.

It's perfectly proper for disagreements to arise regarding political issues, Internet issues, and pretty much anything else.

But differences of opinion should not be an excuse for absurd remonstrations, regardless of their motives. They serve only to blur and confuse, and while for some adherents of this approach these are their obvious goals, it would serve you humans well to reject such fallacious arguments, and to try apply at least a semblance of logic to these issues.

Live long and prosper.


Posted by Lauren at March 12, 2012 01:15 PM | Permalink
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