- For all da google users!
…Or…… Use a real search engine, like #DuckDuckGo » http://www.DuckDuckGo.com/ >:]
Earlier this summer, we applauded Google for releasing detailed stats about content removal requests from copyright holders. Now that we know how they are going to use that data, we are less enthusiastic. Today, Google announced that it would use copyright takedown notices made under the DMCA1 as what it calls a “signal” on search results. Specifically, those “signals” will demote certain websites in search results.
We wish we had some more details to illustrate just what that means, but unfortunately the process is pretty opaque. What we know: sites that have a “high number of removal notices” of takedown notices that result in actual takedowns will show up lower in some search results, though they will not be removed. What we don’t know: what is a “high number”? How does Google plan to make these determinations? Oh, and one other thing we do know, one that is particularly troubling: there will be no process or recourse for sites who have been demoted.
In particular, we worry about the false positives problem. For example, we’ve seen the government wrongly target sites that actually have a right to post the allegedly infringing material in question. or otherwise legally display content. In short, without details on how Google’s process works, we have no reason to believe they won’t make similar, over-inclusive mistakes, dropping lawful, relevant speech lower in its search results without recourse for the speakers.
Takedown requests are nothing more than accusations of copyright infringement. No court or other umpire confirms that the accusations are valid (although copyright owners can be liable for bad-faith accusations). Demoting search results – effectively telling the searcher that these are not the websites you’re looking for – based on accusations alone gives copyright owners one more bit of control over what we see, hear, and read.
Of course, Google is not seizing domain names, as the government does. And it’s not removing sites from its search results altogether at copyright owners’ request, as SOPA would have required. To its credit, Google says that it will respect counter-notices, and won’t demote results based on takedowns that are rightfully disputed. But this is little comfort. Google’s opaque policies not only threaten lawful sites, but they undermine our confidence in its search results.
#AugmentedReality #Transhumanism #Google’s ‘Project Glass’ is the future of wearable computing
Google Glass isn’t a real thing, and it probably won’t be for a while. But the technology is there, the resources are there, it’s just a matter of putting them all together into a product that people would feel comfortable buying and wearing. I use my phone all the fucking time to the annoyance of many around me, but I don’t know if I would want to be this immersed. Maybe. At least I could keep eye contact at dinner while I’m reading email and RSS feeds.
Submitted by InformationDesk
In order to assist users to protect their privacy, two former Google employees have created a company with the sole intention of preventing companies like Google to track users. Disconnect.me delivers a plug-in for Google Chrome which essentially prevents websites including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo to track the browser’s users:
Advertisers and other third parties track, clutter, and slow down your web browsing. Disconnect makes the web your business not theirs.
Available for free, users can download Disconnect.me’s plug-in for Google Chrome via their website, which also states:
We think your personal info should be treated with respect, that you should be the steward of your digital self, that you should own your own data. But today, you’re getting a bum deal. Thousands of companies and organizations are taking, analyzing, and auctioning off things like the history of thewebpages you go to and searches you do, without even telling you. So we’re building a platform to put you back in charge and let you decide who does what with your online data.
Disconnect.me has received over 400,000 weekly users with the company’s plug-in and the firm itself being a few months old. However, despite its infancy Disconnect.me has raised an initial $600,000 from Highland Capital, as well as other companies. The website is hoping to expand its plug-in in order for it to apply blocking more popular websites tracking its users.
The Department of Justice will ask a federal court to uphold the secrecy that surrounds the working relationship between Google and the National Security Agency in a hearing that is scheduled for next week.
Privacy watchdog group The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is returning to court once again in an effort to disclose more information regarding the widely publicized partnership between the spy agency and the search engine giant.
EPIC is suing to obtain documents that detail the relationship, and will appeal against the NSA’s so-called “Glomar” response, claiming it “could neither confirm nor deny” the existence of any information about its relations with Google, because “such a response would reveal information about NSA’s functions and activities.”
The NSA’s response stated that the agency “works with a broad range of commercial partners and research associations” in order to oversee the security of important information systems, but did not provide any further detail.
The issue rose to prominencein January 2010 following a highly sophisticated and targeted cyber attack on the corporate infrastructure of Google and some twenty other large US companies.
The attack was blamed on the Chinese government, prompting Google to embrace a collaboration with the federal agency in charge of global electronic surveillance.
Anonymous sources informed The Washington Post at the time that “the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information”, adding that the agreement will not allow the NSA access to users’ search details or e-mails.
The DOJ is backing NSA’s Glomar response, as The Legal Times reports:
DOJ’s legal team said that acknowledging whether NSA and Google formed a partnership from a cyber attack would illuminate whether the government “considered the alleged attack to be of consequence for critical U.S. government information systems.”
DOJ said media reports about the alleged Google partnership with NSA do not constitute official acknowledgement.
“If NSA determines that certain security vulnerabilities or malicious attacks pose a threat to U.S. government information systems, NSA may take action,” DOJ Civil Division lawyers wrote in a brief.
In its own opening brief, EPIC argues that records the NSA holds on the subject are not exempt from public disclosure under FOIA request.
“Communications from Google to the NSA do not implicate the agency’s functions and activities, and are therefore not exempt from disclosure.” the brief states.
“Further, some records responsive to EPIC’s FOIA Request concern NSA activities that may fall outside the scope of the agency’s authority. These records are not exempt from disclosure.” it continues.
EPIC believes that any burgeoning partnership between Google and the government spy force responsible for warrantless monitoring of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails in the wake of 9/11 raises significant privacy concerns.
“Google provides cloud-based services to consumers, not critical infrastructure services to the government,” EPIC attorney Marc Rotenberg said, noting that the group’s records request does not seek documents about NSA’s role to secure government computer networks.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will preside over the hearing, scheduled for March 20.
Google’s partnership with the intelligence network is not new. As we reported in late 2006, An ex-CIA agent Robert David Steele has claimed sources told him that CIA seed money helped get the company off the ground
Speaking to the Alex Jones Show, Steele elaborated on previous revelations by making it known that the CIA helped bankroll Google at its very inception. Steele named Google’s CIA point man as Dr. Rick Steinheiser, of the Office of Research and Development.
“I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world,” said Steele, citing “trusted individuals” as his sources for the claim.
“They’ve been together for quite a while,” added Steele.
The NSA’s involvement with Google should be treated as highly suspect, given the agency’s track record and its blatant disregard for the Fourth Amendment.
A set of documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in June 2007 revealed that US telco AT&T allowed the NSA to set up a ‘secret room’ in its offices to monitor internet traffic.
The discovering prompted a lawyer for an AT&T engineer to allege that “within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans” That is BEFORE 9/11, before the nation was embroiled in the freedom stripping exercise commonly known as the “war on terror” had even begun.
In late 2007, reports circulated that the NSA had increasing control over SSL, now called Transport Layer Security, the cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications on the internet for web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers.
In 2008, Google denied that it had any role in the NSA’s “terrorist” surveillance program, after first refusing to say if they have provided users private data to the federal government under the warrantless wiretapping initiative.
However, it is clear where Google’s interests lie given that the company is supplying the software, hardware and tech support to US intelligence agencies in the process of creating a vast closed source database for global spy networks to share information.
The government supply arm of Google has also reportedly entered into a number of other contracts, details of which it says it cannot share.
Google’s approach to privacy also came under scrutiny more recently when it was discovered that the company was essentially vacuuming up WiFi network data as it gathered images for its Streetview program.
Google insisted that the practice was a mistake, even though information published in January 2010 revealed that the data collection program was a very deliberate effort to assemble as much information as possible about U.S. residential and business WiFi networks.
Privacy Watchdog EPIC Asks Federal Trade Commission To Investigate Google
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has urged the FTC to investigate Google’s recent integration of search results with personal data, such as photos, posts, and contact details, gathered from Google+ in Google Search results. These changes, Google Plus Your World, “raise concerns related to both competition and the implementation of the Commission’s consent order,” EPIC said in a press release.
Google faces both criticism and governmental inquires regarding “competition” issues (aka anti-trust concerns). At Search Engine Land, we’ve covered many of them, including Bing’s Travel Search & Kayak Favoritism Angers No One, While Google’s Gets Headline Attention From WSJ, Dear Congress: It’s Not OK Not To Know How Search Engines Work, Either, Koreans Accuse Google Of “Obstructing” Antitrust Investigation and many others.
The FTC “commission’s consent order” was something Google agreed to last year over concerns about Google’s ill-fated Buzz service. With that order, Google agreed to make more prominent privacy disclosures to users (and obtain their consent for any data sharing).
“Although data from a user’s Google+ contacts is not displayed publicly, Google’s changes make the personal data of users more accessible. Users can opt out of seeing personalized search results, but cannot opt out of having their information found through Google search,” said a note on EPIC’s website.
Last September, EPIC asked the FTC to investigate Google’s acquisition of YouTube, arguing that Google was favoring YouTube videos in search results. Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan examines the allegations of favoritism in his post, To Understand Google Favoritism, Think “If Google+ Were YouTube”.
“Google has been asked by a US law enforcement agency to remove several videos exposing police brutality from the video sharing service YouTube, the company has revealed in its latest update to an online transparency report.
Another request filed by a different agency required Google to remove videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. The two requests were among 92 submissions for content removal by various authorities in the US filed between January and June 2011. Both were rejected by Google along with 27 per cent of the submissions.
The IT giant says the overall number of requests for content removal it receives from governmental agencies has risen, and so has the number of requests to disclose the private data of Google users.”
Andy Carven caught up with Google Executive Chairman Eric Scmhidt at the Edinburgh International TV Festival and asked him about real names and Google+. His answer was mind-blowing:
G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information … G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+ . . . The internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.
So it seems like my crazy cooking a live frog theory was right. The underlying purpose of Google+ is basically a Trojan Horse gambit to gather more information about us and to tie it all together with a wallet name. I came up with this truth-based graphic that is probably the start of a series.
What #Google and #Facebook are Hiding (by undergod2010)
US Gov’t agencies asked @google for user info more than any other country. (@google complied 94% of the time, btw.) http://bit.ly/jUXDhd
What Gog. and Facb. are Hiding (by cdr23d1)
Eli Pariser of the progressive organization MoveOn says the Internet is hiding things from us, and we don’t even know it. In this TED Talk he calls out Facb, Gog. and other corporations who are transforming the Internet to suit their corporate interests.