Activists show our lives might soon be under the control of big tech.
As technology continues to burrow its way deeper into our lives, it’s impossible to ignore important issues such as data collection policies and online privacy. To get people thinking, a German activist organization called Peng Collective recently put up a website that parodies a future controlled by Google. It plays off the company’s recent acquisition of Nest, and features four products that were so convincing, Google were quick to have the site taken down.
The products available on Google-Nest are Google Trust, Google Hug, Google Bee and Google Bye. Trust is free insurance that covers you for the misuse of any personal data, such as NSA infiltration or other illegal spying activities. Hug is a social interaction tool that monitors your emotions and always knows where you are. It’s a product for those who have forgotten what it’s like to interact with another human, and can help you find a shoulder to cry on in the area.
Google Bee is a personal drone that “watches over your house and family when you are away,” which hints at the amount of surveillance we’re under, and the Big Brother nature of Google’s activities. The final product on the list is Google Bye, an afterlife service that can assemble a profile of your life for posting when you die.
The activist group revealed the site at the Re:public tech conference in Berlin, and even had two of their members pose as Google reps named Gloria Spindle and Paul von Ribbeck to promote the products. Everything was so convincing, including the use of trademarks, that the group decided to take the website down.
We have decided to not waste our time on a Trademark fight and on a guessing game as to whether Google will try to sue us or not. We needed to make the website as realistic looking as possible for our action to work and this means that of course we used Google’s trademarks.
Overall, the site proves that we might be so far away from a future controlled by big tech companies, especially as it’s so easy to imagine the “made-up” products being real. For those who thing the activists have given up, they make it clear on their website that “Peng! will strike again.”
Images by Google-Nest