by Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has enlisted the help of the popular internet search engine Google to track flu outbreaks. Those concerned about invasion of privacy and unwanted, in some cases mandatory, flu vaccinations deem such actions as unconstitutional.

When unsuspecting Google users access the internet to search for information on the flu, this information is then logged, tracked, cataloged and disseminated to the CDC. The CDC takes this information and uses it to compile a data base tracking the geographical locations where increased searches for information on flu are concentrated. This information can then be used to identify areas where there may be outbreaks of influenza for the purpose of vaccinating that population.

On the surface, it appears that Google’s new tool, “Flu Trends,” is harmless and will merely gather information on potential flu outbreak areas. However, if individuals are unaware that their internet activities are being tracked, doesn’t that constitute an invasion of privacy? Also, at what point does this potentially unconstitutional practice stop? Today, the tracking consists of only harmless inquires about the flu, or so we are lead to believe. Tomorrow, it may include your shopping or entrainment habits, perhaps even your personal political views. Moreover, at what point is this information boxed and sold to corporations without your knowledge or consent. This, so they can further target you with their Madison Avenue marketing campaigns? With the threat of Codex around the corner, will your searches for natural products such as liquid vitamins, whole food supplements, phytonutrients and other natural health searches be recorded as well? It seems we are dangerously close to requiring a prescription for Vitamin-C. These are only a few of the many concerns regarding this highly questionable practice.

Does personal privacy even exist anymore? Is Google going to further target individual searchers, thereby investigating people who might have or know someone with the flu? One can see how this information could easily fall into the hands of health insurance companies, who may then respond by raising health premiums. Perhaps things get out of hand to the extent that individual homes, cities, counties and even states become targets of quarantine. Just think, to visit a relative in another state, you now need the appropriate health card to do so.

In response to all of this, Google says ‘no.’ Google states, “FLU TRENDS can never be used to identify individual users because we rely on anonymous and aggregated counts of how often certain search queries occur each week."

Some suggest that this type of connection between Government and private enterprise is an unholy alliance. After all, the government didn’t mind colluding with phone companies to spy on U.S. citizens.

The ACLU website states, “According to the Times, Bush signed a presidential order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to monitor without a warrant the international (and sometimes domestic) telephone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds or thousands of citizens and legal residents inside the United States. The program eventually came to include some internal controls, but no requirement that warrants be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and the foreign intelligence surveillance laws require.” They add, “In other words, no independent review or judicial oversight.”

While the program has been allegedly dropped, the ripples of government spying on American citizens have left a bad taste in the mouths of civil liberty advocates. Of the various phone companies contacted by the government to participate in the program, most agreed, indicating the potential for the private sector to comply with a controversial government initiative to invade the privacy of United States citizens. Later on, Congress let the phone companies off the hook, granting them immunity for what many believe to be a purely unconstitutional and illegal invasion of privacy.

In this era of seemingly covert and black op actions on U.S. citizens, under the guise of national security, much of which came to fruition under the Bush administration, the question of privacy is no longer taken as seriously by private companies, or the government for that matter.

But what about the claim that individuals using the search engine cannot be targeted due to the methodology involved?

The reality is that it is not difficult for Google or the government to trace an individual’s internet activity, given the nature of the raw data they may be receiving. The ease of this occurring, of course, depends on the technology involved. However, it would be foolish to assume that such technology doesn’t already exist and, actually, has most likely already been put in place well before now. Isn’t the internet already censored in China?

A precedent may have been set when information about FBI surveillance software called Carnivore came out in a 1999 interview with Robert Corn-Revere, a lawyer representing Earthlink. Earthlink was fighting the government’s attempt to place a surveillance device in their midst. Later on, Carnivore was ‘supposedly’ shelved, but then the government started bullying internet service providers to do the dirty work for them.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey was not happy with Carnivore and wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft about its use by the FBI in June of 2001, "I respectfully ask that you consider the serious constitutional questions Carnivore has raised and respond with how you intend to address them. This is an issue of great importance to the online public."

In 2005, when the government, with the claim that they were mounting a comprehensive crackdown on pornography, attempted to subpoena Google’s massive data base to provide a million web addresses and comprehensive records of searches from an unspecified week, Google resisted the government’s requests. On the other hand, when Google developed Google China, it co-operated with the Chinese demands that a great deal of its normal content would be withheld from searches by the Chinese people.

One of the reasons that even the generic tracking of the flu by the CDC is of concern is that many people have qualms about the content, safety and efficacy of the flu vaccine itself. It is well documented that flu vaccines can contain highly toxic substances ranging from aluminum, formaldehyde, dangerous microorganisms, Thimerosal (mercury), ethylene glycol amongst other toxic adjuvants. In addition to these toxins, the flu vaccine is prepared from the fluids of chicken embryos inoculated with the specific type (s) of influenza virus that supposedly protects against the strains that federal health officials believe are most likely to be prevalent during the flu season. The effectiveness in preventing influenza often ranges in a mere 30-40%. Such data is not encouraging if you consider the potential health hazards these toxic agents in flu vaccines present to yourself and your family.

A strong reaction to Google’s involvement with tracking flu inquires and influenza cases for the CDC, is hardly surprising. Tracking it will, under the current CDC assertion, lead to only an increased awareness, flu preventative behavior and vaccines in ‘infected’ areas.

Since Eisenhower’s farewell speech, our country has been conscious of the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex. This insidious profit-oriented affiliation between the military and private sector reared its ugly head during the Vietnam era. A large majority of the public is becoming increasingly aware, and perhaps equally fearful, of the dangers of the Medical-Industrial complex. Here, a private company like Google will become the arms of a government agency that may be planning an even more invasive and powerful strike against them. The outcome could easily be more abhorrent state-mandated vaccination protocols.

Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND