msGNU - “Terms & Conditions” [Track 7]

Accompanying Essay (PDF)
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Accompanying Essay (PDF)

Thesis Essay: Google and Wikipedia: ‘Feeling Lucky’ or ‘Citation Needed’?


i handed the reins of my life right to google
i like their free apps! i’m foolish and frugal!
G-cal on my phone, I’m so organized
hand my private emails to their prying eyes

no disguise, real name gives me NSA fame
getting sickly complacent as I’m playing the game
corporate gaslighting, fighting but they say they won’t be evil
who defines what that means, methods seem a bit medieval

and even now their arbitrary maps decide
where fiercely contested borders of nations lie
new colonizers stomping round the globe like sovereignty despisers

i still don’t know just how i feel
i can see overall this is such a raw deal
but the ethical problems seem distant
i’m lacking resistance

like sure i got nervous
when i scanned the terms of service
the violations are subtle but persistent
so blink and you’ll miss them

google books plagiarize as they cache human knowledge
they treat their workers well but only if they went to college
with white collar bus shuttles, yummy snacks
true facts, ideas are slapped with patent sneak attacks
forget hacks, the infrastructure’s too big to fail
privatize the schools, digitize trademarked braille
i’ll topple your false meritocracy
and i’d like to see you try to be stoppin me.

how is duck duck go supposed to compete
with a company that adds a new server farm each week
monopolize the market, they creep and they sneak
the prospect for fair competition looks bleak

profit-driven private sector feeding on the data header
big brother snuggles us
while he smothers us
search result hierarchy slowly muzzles us
ashes turn to dust
but metadata don’t disintegrate it rusts

as the cookies respawn
the user is a pawn
no accountability for the creator
and every web browser is a traitor.

wham, bam, thank you steve rambam
for the info, goddamn
“google’s got the whole internet in live RAM”

and i’m getting tackled by the adwords
sticking with me stubborn like hitchcock’s birds
targeted messages stampede like herds
larry page and sergey brin,
congratulations, you win,
but sellouts don’t deserve to be called nerds.

so i still don’t know just how i feel
i’m pretty sure in the end this is a gruesome deal
but everyday i’m tired and lazy
the path less taken seems complex and crazy

i fear it falls back to when you feel this frozen
you can rationalize to yourself that you’ve chosen
to consume a slow poison, malignant for real
as long as it comes in such a tasty meal.

such a tasty meal they’re serving-
but the tradeoff is unnerving.

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