It Only Costs Google $20 Million A Year To Control The U.S. Government


13-06-19 06:18:00,

Google has fired six of its largest lobbying firms in an attempt to overhaul its global government affairs and policy operations amid greater government scrutiny of its business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Over the last few months, the company has changed its roster of lobbying firms, as well as its Washington policy team, and lost two senior officials who helped build its “influence operation” into one of the largest in the nation’s capital. The company had been paying about $20 million annually for lobbying, and the firms that Google has now let go made up about half of that cost.

The shake up is part of a “continuing modernization” of Google’s influence operation and it comes at a time when government scrutiny has never been more of a factor. The Justice Department is reportedly getting ready to conduct an antitrust investigation into the company and Congress and state attorneys general are also reviewing its practices. Some politicians are even calling for the company to be broken up.

And so Google is taking the paltry $20 million per year that it has been using to control the government and trying to reallocate it. Among those who are no longer working for the company are “Charlie Black, a longtime Republican strategist, and firms that have relationships with senior Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Off Hill Strategies LLC, which has ties to fiscally conservative Republicans.”

People familiar with the restructuring say that it helps reflect the company’s global reach and will help it deal with regulators and lawmakers across regions and markets. The moves are also seen as a shake up by Google’s new head of policy and government relations, Karan Bhatia. 

Bhatia was brought in last summer to serve as Google’s VP of Policy and Government Relations and, since then, he’s been reassessing the company’s lobbying needs. Susan Molinari, a former Republican congresswoman, stepped down as Google’s head of Washington operations last year and the company has yet to name a successor.

Another executive leaving Google during the shake up is Adam Kovacevich, who ran the firm’s public-policy division. He led the company’s campaign to head off a 2012 FTC investigation into anti-competitive tactics and also helped launch several advocacy groups to help promote public policy matters that benefited the company.

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Google earned $4.7bn from news organizations in 2018, says study


10-06-19 06:56:00,

An explosive new report details how Google earned a whopping $4.7 billion in ad revenue from news organizations online in 2018, while the entire US news industry made a combined $5.1 billion from digital advertising.

The study, by the News Media Alliance, reveals the extent to which the tech giant profits from the work of web journalists and digital news organizations by monetizing Google search and Google News. According to the study, some 40 percent of clicks on Google’s trending queries are news-related, all of which are monetized.

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“They make money off this arrangement,” said President and CEO of the News Media Alliance David Chavern who argues that journalists and content creators deserve a cut of that money, “and there needs to be a better outcome for news publishers.”

Google does not pay for the content but generates web traffic clicks, and thus revenue, by sharing headlines and news summaries from various outlets verbatim.

Furthermore, the $4.7 billion figure is a conservative estimate as the analysis didn’t factor in the personal user data collected by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, which can be further monetized.

Details from the report generated a very mixed reception among journalists and media workers who particularly drew attention to the revenues built up by Google while news outlets increasingly lay off staff.

Every penny of that is the result of the labor of low-paid journalists, hanging on by their fingernails. What happens to Google’s profits when all that free high-quality content just goes away?

— DaveLaFontaine (@DaveLaFontaine) June 9, 2019

What also seemed unjust is that the snippet Google shows “is all anyone cares about,” and readers don’t bother actually clicking into the full story. “Google should license/pay for this,” one commenter suggested.

People do realize though that the relationship between the tech company and news media is more complicated, saying that when Google “makes money on news it’s by serving ads ON publishers’

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Google durchsucht alle Emails nach Bezahlvorgängen


08-06-19 02:39:00,

ARCHIV - ILLUSTRATION - 04.07.2018, Berlin: Auf dem Bildschirm eines iPhones sieht man das Logo der Gmail-Applikation. Google hat die umstrittene Praxis verteidigt, dass App-Entwickler die digitalen Postfächer beim Dienst GMail scannen können. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++ | Verwendung weltweit

ARCHIV – ILLUSTRATION – 04.07.2018, Berlin: Auf dem Bildschirm eines iPhones sieht man das Logo der Gmail-Applikation. Google hat die umstrittene Praxis verteidigt, dass App-Entwickler die digitalen Postfächer beim Dienst GMail scannen können. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++ | Verwendung weltweit

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Google Maps maakt van Palestijnse steden spooksteden – DocP


05-06-19 03:47:00,

Wie kolonisten in een illegale nederzetting wil bezoeken heeft geen probleem: Google Maps. Maar voor Palestijnen heeft Google iets spookachtigs. Op de plek waar in werkelijkheid het beruchte Qalandia Checkpoint ligt, zien wij alleen een paar onschuldige rotondes en een winkel voor auto onderdelen. De Westelijke Jordaanoever is door onze vertrouwde Amerikaanse zoekmachine namelijk etnisch gezuiverd. Maar dan grondig: vrijwel alle sporen van Palestijns leven bestaan niet in de wereld volgens Google Maps.

Geen weg naar Jericho

Als wij al een Palestijnse stad op de kaart zien – Jericho bijvoorbeeld – dan begint daar meteen het probleem zodra wij de route van, pak weg, Jeruzalem naar deze beroemde en iconische stad op het scherm willen hebben. Hoewel de afstand slechts ruim een uur met de auto is, kan de grootste zoekmachine van de wereld geen route vinden: “can’t find a way there”. De meeste Joodse Israëli’s zullen daar geen probleem mee hebben want in Jericho “woont niemand”. Zij zullen zoeken naar de vlak bij Jericho gelegen nederzetting Beit HaArava waar familie en vrienden wonen. Google vindt meteen drie routes; kiezen maar!

Is dit een incidenteel foutje van Google? Nee, als je waar dan ook op de ‘Westbank’ van de ene grote stad naar de andere wil – van Bethlehem naar Hebron of Jericho, enzovoort – dan verschijnt de mededeling, “Sorry, we could not calculate driving directions from…” Mondoweiss heeft deze hulpvaardigheid van Google bij de etnische zuivering Palestina vergeleken met de beroemde roman ‘1984’ van George Orwell. Daarin zorgt de dictator ervoor dat alle feiten uit de werkelijkheid worden aangepast aan de van bovenaf opgelegde waarheid. Zie ook verder de uitstekende reportage op Mondoweiss, ‘Palestinian cities are ghost towns between settlements, on Google Maps’.

De redactie

Afbeelding: de verdwijning van Qalandia, volgens Google Maps

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Google Has a Creepy Secret Page That Tracks Your (Online and Offline) Shopping History


30-05-19 10:11:00,

By Dagny Taggart

Google is very interested in your shopping habits – so much that the tech giant is collecting and saving your purchase history.

The company has been quietly keeping track of your online (and sometimes, offline) purchases for years, according to a recent report from CNBC.

In that report, writer Todd Haselton explains that he was looking around in his Google account and found something alarming:

A page called “Purchases” shows an accurate list of many — though not all — of the things I’ve bought dating back to at least 2012. I made these purchases using online services or apps such as Amazon, DoorDash or Seamless, or in stores such as Macy’s, but never directly through Google.

But because the digital receipts went to my Gmail account, Google has a list of info about my buying habits.

Google even knows about things I long forgot I’d purchased, like dress shoes I bought inside a Macy’s store on Sept. 14, 2015. It also knows:

  • I ordered a Philly cheesesteak on a hoagie roll with Cheez Whiz and banana peppers on Jan. 14, 2016.
  • I reloaded my Starbucks card in November 2014.
  • I bought a new Kindle on Dec. 18, 2013, from Amazon.
  • I bought “Solo: A Star Wars Story” from iTunes on Sept. 14, 2018.

And so on. (source)

I decided to check my own Purchases page to see what kind of data Google has been collecting there and found this:

My purchase history goes back to October 2014 (!) but I decided not to share it all here in the interest of saving space (and sparing myself some embarrassment). I blacked out three personal items for, well, privacy reasons – as if privacy is even a thing these days.

I don’t shop online very often, I rarely opt-in to receiving email receipts, and I usually pay with cash when I shop or go out to eat,

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Army’s ‘Google Earth On Steroids’ Can Look Inside Buildings


29-05-19 07:29:00,

New mapping technology that is expected to transform training and simulation exercises for America’s warfighters was unveiled at the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (ITEC) 2019 conference on May 15 in Stockholm, Sweden, reported National Defense Magazine

Jason Knowles, director of geospatial science and technology at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, an Army affiliated research center, spoke at ITEC about the new terrain capture and reconstruction software that recreates complex environments including cities for simulation exercises and war planning. The institute is part of a cross-functional team working on the mapping software (called One World Terrain (OWT) project).

Knowles described the new software as “Google Earth on steroid.”

At a briefing during ITEC, Knowles showed the audience a picture of an enemy base that was captured and digitally re-created in about an hour using commercial software and a small drone. “We were able to throw that UAS up, capture that in an hour, put it on the laptop, process it, and push it out,” he said.

“The ability to have an individual or a squad go out, collect their own organic 3D model for ingesting into their modeling and simulation is huge for us,” he said.

“The interior of buildings are now being fused and snapped inside of that 3D model,” Knowles said. The software can “strip the outside of a building level by level and see what’s inside the building. That’s obviously very useful for operators.”

He said the software is linked with GPS data so war planners can organize future real operations.

The rapid 3D terrain capture and reconstruction system is supported by aerial imagery from satellites and aircraft. For higher resolution, reconnaissance teams can deploy small, handheld drones to collect much higher resolution imagery, he added.

The software uses machine learning and artificial intelligence for the data merging component to “make the model smart, so it’s not just [identifying objects in] pictures,” he said. For example, it can tell troops if a perimeter wall of an enemy base needs to breached with a vehicle or munition.

The new mapping software is one of the Army’s top modernization priorities,

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Google vs. Huawei sollte vor allem für die EU ein letztes Warnsignal sein um sich von den USA zu emanzipieren


21-05-19 01:53:00,

Die Entscheidung, den chinesischen Technologie-Konzern Huawei auf eine schwarze Liste mit Unternehmen zu setzen, die von US-Unternehmen nicht mehr beliefert werden dürfen, sollte die naive Vorstellung endgültig widerlegen, dass es sich bei den weltweit dominanten Tech-Giganten Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft und Co. um internationale Konzerne mit eigenen Standards handelt. Wenn das Weiße Haus den Krieg erklärt, werden Google und Co. zu treuen Soldaten, wie es schon Edward Snowden mit seinen Enthüllungen klarstellte. Der Huawei-Boykott zeigt jedoch, wie skrupellos die US-Regierung die Marktmacht der Tech-Giganten schon heute in ihrem Wirtschaftskrieg einsetzt. Der Rest der Welt darf das nicht hinnehmen! Vor allem für die EU müsste dies nach den aufgezwungenen Sanktionen gegen Russland, Iran und Venezuela das allerletzte Warnsignal sein, sich schnellstmöglich von den USA loszusagen. Von Jens Berger.

Dieser Beitrag ist auch als Audio-Podcast verfügbar.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Was bedeutet der Boykott eigentlich konkret?

Dass Google selbst alles andere als begeistert von der Order aus dem Weißen Haus war, Huawei künftig keine Lizenzen für die Nutzung der Google-Play-Services und den Zugang zum Google-Play-Store auszustellen, ist durchaus glaubhaft. Schließlich dürfte der von Trump angeordnete Huawei-Boykott für Google langfristig zumindest den Verlust des kontinental-asiatischen und afrikanischen Marktes bedeuten. Schon heute liefern die großen chinesischen Smartphone-Hersteller ihre Android-Smartphones auf dem Heimatmarkt ohnehin ohne Software von Google und ohne Schnittstellen zu den Services und dem Store von Google aus. Auf dem chinesischen Smartphone-Markt spielen ausländische Hersteller keine nennenswerte Rolle. Global stellen Samsung und Apple hingegen immer noch etwas mehr als ein Drittel des Marktes. Global war Huawei im letzten Jahr der größte Gewinner mit einem Verkaufsplus von +34%, während Samsung und Apple global Marktanteile verloren.

Indem Google Huawei aussperrt, zwingt es die chinesischen Hersteller de facto, ihre auf dem chinesischen Markt ohnehin schon vorhandenen lokalen Variationen des Android-Systems mit eigenen Vertriebsplattformen für die Apps von Drittanbietern auch international zum Standard zu machen und damit Google auszusperren. Huawei hat dies für den so wichtigen europäischen Markt bereits angekündigt. Es ist jedoch eine offene Frage, ob eine chinesische Google-Alternative auf dem europäischen Markt überhaupt eine Chance hätte. Hier sind Zweifel angebracht. Auf den Wachstumsmärkten Asiens und Afrikas wäre der Verlierer jedoch wahrscheinlich Google,

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Facebook and Google Must Answer to the Market


07-05-19 09:23:00,

Giant technology companies like Facebook and Google get that way because their size is a crucial part of their value. Facebook’s network effects and Google’s search algorithm, finely tuned by its own big data, are a large part of what makes the companies dominant in their respective markets.

But size also gives tech giants tremendous power that, just like that of big government, not only can but will be abused. 2018 saw Facebook and Google embroiled in seemingly endless scandals and controversies about what they do with their enormous caches of data.

The standard antitrust approach would consider breaking the companies up, but that would greatly reduce the value their component parts bring to the market. Seemingly less draconian measures would likely devolve into a complex web of rules that might even serve as barriers to entry to potential competitors down the road.

Can the market provide sufficient discipline to prevent future abuses by giants like Facebook and Google? Those who favor less antitrust enforcement often point to consumers voting with their feet or dollars as both more potent and less intrusive. Consider this a test.

Voting With Their Feet

For our purposes, “market discipline” means a firm either losing market share because of perceived abuses of power, or being preempted from bad actions by the credible threat of losing market share. Consumers may take their business elsewhere because the bad actions directly impact the value they receive (such as a higher risk of one’s own data being compromised) or because they don’t like the firm’s broader impact on society (such as spreading “fake news”).

In theory, perceptions of a firm’s impact on society are a disciplining force in every market. If I found out the chef at my favorite restaurant was a prominent neo-Nazi, I would stop going. But the most successful firms always have some wiggle room because of the superiority of their product or costs of switching away from it.

Market discipline doesn’t happen overnight — consumers first have to be alerted to the firm’s negative actions. In the case of Facebook and Google, we see this messy yet effective process unfolding in different ways.

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Google Tracks Your Location And Shares It With Police, Even When Your Phone Is Off


29-04-19 06:28:00,

Authored by Derrick Broze via The Mind Unleashed blog,

Even if you disable GPS, deactivate phone location tracking, and turn off your phone, it’s still possible for Google and the NSA to monitor your every move.

Over the last two decades, cell phone use has become an everyday part of life for the vast majority of people around the planet. Nearly without question, consumers have chosen to carry these increasingly smart devices with them everywhere they go. Despite surveillance revelations from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the average smart phone user continues to carry the devices with little to no security or protection from privacy invasions.

Americans make up one of the largest smartphone markets in the world today, yet they rarely question how intelligence agencies or private corporations might be using their smartphone data. A recent report from the New York Times adds to the growing list of reasons why Americans should be asking these questions. According to the Times, law enforcement have been using a secret technique to figure out the location of Android users. The technique involves gathering detailed location data collected by Google from Android phones, iPhones, and iPads that have Google Maps and other Google apps installed.

The location data is stored inside a Google database known as Sensorvault, which contains detailed location records of hundreds of millions of devices from around the world. The records reportedly contain location data going back to 2009. The data is collected whether or not users are making calls or using apps.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says police are using a single warrant—sometimes known as a “geo-fence” warrant—to access location data from devices that are linked to individuals who have no connection to criminal activity and have not provided any reasonable suspicion of a crime. Jennifer Lynch, EFF’s Surveillance Litigation Director, says these searches are problematic for several reasons.

First, unlike other methods of investigation used by the police, the police don’t start with an actual suspect or even a target device—they work backward from a location and time to identify a suspect,” Lynch wrote.

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How Google Is Helping The US Government Violate Your Privacy


26-04-19 09:43:00,

Authored by Derrick Broze via The Mind Unleashed blog,

A new court filing argues that Google is helping the U.S. government circumvent Fourth Amendment protections in order to conduct warrantless searches.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has formally accused Google of scanning billions of personal files of users at the request of the U.S. government. EPIC recently filed a “friend of the court” brief alleging that Google is helping the U.S. government conduct warrantless searches by scanning user files in search of potentially illegal content or evidence of crimes.

The brief came in response to United States v. Wilson, a case where Google scanned images of billions of users files in an attempt to track images of missing children reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). After scanning the images contained within users files, Google contacts law enforcement to share information on individuals who may have images of missing children. However, this entire process happens without permission from users or a warrant issued by a court. EPIC’s brief argues that “because neither Google nor the government explained how the image matching technique actually works or presented evidence establishing accuracy and reliability, the government’s search was unreasonable.”

EPIC says this situation is allowing law enforcement to ignore Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure of property and conduct warrantless searches with help from Google.

If, for example, police officials would like to examine the digital files of certain suspects, they can simply turn to Google, which will do all the searching for them – and without the time, expense or hassle of getting a warrant for this search,” CPO Magazine reports. “For police departments, warrantless searches of digital material would be one way to make their criminal investigations much easier.”

The crux of this particular case revolves around a new Google algorithm that actively scans files to find a specific image using image matching. Previously, the NCMEC was supposed to provide Google with image hashes that are used to identify a unique image without showing the actual image. However, Google’s new algorithm uses image matching instead of image hashing.

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UK To Fine Facebook, Google For Hosting Terrorist Content


08-04-19 05:56:00,

The cat and mouse game between the world’s largest media company and global governments continues.

Just days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for more government regulation in an attempt to mollify the company’s growing critics, while seeking to squash smaller competitors as well as give governments a legitimate reason to enforce censorship and chip away at freedom of speech in order to comply with Facebook’s mysterious “community standards”, the company and its tech peers are facing a new UK law that will impose “substantial” fines, or even ban companies if they don’t act swiftly enough to remove content that encourages terrorism and child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Additionally, hinting that Facebook is now openly seen as a media empire instead of merely a distributor of content, the companies’ directors could also be held personally liable if illegal content is not taken down within a short and pre-determined time-frame, the UK’s Home Office said, which is also seeking to tackle the spread of fake news and interference in elections.

In short: wholesale government censorship under the guise of cracking down on the private sector.

The exact level of fines will be examined during a 12 week consultation following the legislation’s launch on Monday, Bloomberg reported.

The crackdown on UK online content takes place amid the fallout from the case of 14-year-old Molly Russell, whose father said the teenager killed herself in 2017 after viewing self-harm and suicide content online. The terrorist attack in New Zealand last month in which 50  Muslims were killed while footage was live-streamed online also prompted UK legislators to demand a new law over a voluntary code.

“Put simply, the tech companies have not done enough to protect their users and stop this shocking content from appearing in the first place,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement released by his office. “Our new proposals will protect U.K. citizens and ensure tech firms will no longer be able to ignore their responsibilities.”

The crackdown on internet content will spread far beyond just Facebook: search engines, online messaging services and file hosting sites will all fall under the remit of a new regulator. Annual reports on what companies have done to remove and block harmful content will be required and streaming sites aimed at children,

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Google flipped seats, shifted millions of votes to Dems in 2018 midterms, researcher tells RT


25-03-19 10:43:00,

Google’s biased search algorithm actually flipped seats in the 2018 US midterm elections, according to a researcher who found the search engine’s “dramatically biased” results could have shifted over 78 million votes to Democrats.

Upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world are being decided without people’s knowledge by Google’s search algorithm,” senior research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology told RT, calling the search engine the “deciding factor” in close races.

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Epstein’s study of three 2018 California House races found Google played the deciding role in flipping those Republican-held seats to the Democrats, influencing millions of undecided voters by controlling what they saw when they searched 500 election-related terms. Google’s results showed a “significant liberal bias,” unlike Bing’s or Yahoo’s – and with 90 percent of the search engine’s market share in the US, that bias is enormously influential.

Search results favoring one side of an issue can influence anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters, depending on the issue and demographic group, Epstein said. He has spent six years investigating the role of what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) in swaying public opinion, more recently focusing on the political ramifications by looking at various countries’ elections.

People trust algorithmic output. They trust Google. They think because it’s generated by a computer, they don’t see the human hand – they think it’s impartial and objective and, because of that, their opinions change,” Epstein said.

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While Google denies it manipulates search rankings to manipulate political sentiment or makes election-specific tweaks, Epstein says their response is disingenuous – he never claimed they re-ranked results, merely that the results they displayed were biased.

We found very consistently that on Google they ended up with search results favoring liberals and favoring liberal news sources,

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Google Influenced Midterm Elections, May Have Cost Republicans Seats: Study


23-03-19 11:57:00,

New research reveals that Google built biases into its search results that influenced the 2018 midterm elections – possibly costing Republicans three congressional districts. 

First things first – the study was conducted by Dr. Robert Epstein – a San Diego-based Harvard Ph.D. who founded the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He’s also a Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology (AIBRT), a UCSD visiting scholar, and served as editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. 

He also supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 (just like Google!).

Down to the findings: 

Epstein and AIBRT analyzed Google searches linked to three highly competitive southern California congressional races in which Democrats won, and found that Google’s “clear democrat bias” may have flipped the seats away from Republican candidates. According to the study, at least 35,455 undecided voters within the three California districts may have been persuaded to vote Democrat due to the biased Google search results. 

Epstein says that in the days leading up to the 2018 midterms, he was able to preserve “more than 47,000 election-related searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, along with the nearly 400,000 web pages to which the search results linked.”

Analysis of this data showed a clear pro-Democrat bias in election-related Google search results as compared to competing search engines. Users performing Google searches related to the three congressional races the study focused on were significantly more likely to see pro-Democrat stories and links at the top of their results.

As Epstein’s previous studies have shown, this can have a huge impact on the decisions of undecided voters, who often assume that their search results are unbiased. Epstein has called this the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME). –Breitbart

Google executives and Democrats have disputed Epstein’s findings, apparently unaware that we can simply google documented instances of the Silicon Valley search giant’s overt bias surrounding elections, their ability to influence them, and their other efforts to hobble conservatives

“These are new forms of manipulation people can’t see,”

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‘Be Evil’: Google Bans VPN Ads Helping Chinese Circumvent Censorship


22-03-19 09:44:00,

Google is once again helping the Chinese government and its Orwellian control over the flow of information. 

Earlier this month, evidence emerged suggesting that Google has continued to develop the “Dragonfly” censored search engine despite claiming they had abandoned it after an internal revolt. 

Now, ZDNet reports that Google has banned ads for virtual private network (VPN) products targeting Chinese users – citing “local legal restrictions.” 

VPNs are the only way Chinese users can circumvent draconian internet filters which have blocked sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Instagram, Reddit, Discord, WhatsApp, WikiLeaks, Google and Gmail. Blocked news websites include Zero Hedge, BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, WSJ, NYT and Business Insider. 

“It is currently Google Ads policy to disallow promoting VPN services in China, due to local legal restrictions,” Google said in a Wednesday email. 

The email was received and shared with ZDNet by VPNMentor, a website offering advice, tips, and reviews of VPN products.

The company said Google prevented its employees from placing Google search ads for the Chinese version of its site. –ZDNet

In January 2017, Beijing cracked down on VPN services – requiring that all providers active in China register for authorization from the CHinese government. In July, China forced Apple to remove all VPN apps from its App Store. After that, a “full-out ban on all VPNs was imposed on March 31, 2018,” according to ZD – though some apps continued to function regardless. 

Nonetheless, Chinese officials are now using the ban to go after users caught using VPNs. The first fine for using a VPN product was issued earlier this year to a Guangdong.

Despite banning consumers from using VPN apps, China remains one of the top sellers of VPN technologies. A November 2018 study found that almost 60 percent of the top free mobile VPN apps are run by companies with Chinese ownership or based in China.

We wonder if Google employees will protest yet another example of helping China to keep its citizens in the dark?

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UK to fine Facebook & Google up to 4% value for not removing ‘hate speech’ & ‘fake news’ fast enough


01-03-19 10:18:00,

The UK is rolling out a draconian new ‘harmful content’ policy that will punish social media with massive fines if they fail to remove ill-defined “hate speech,” “misinformation,” and “problematic content” quickly enough.

An “independent tech regulator” would have the power to impose fines amounting to as much as 4 percent of a company’s value if Facebook, Google, or any other social media platform is too slow to remove objectionable content, according to UK digital minister Margot James, who told Business Insider the new rules would be officially unveiled next month. The regulations are purportedly aimed at eradicating “illegal hate speech,” along with child grooming and “problematic content” related to suicide and self-harm, but also target the Western governments’ beloved punching bag, “misinformation.” 

While the new regulator is supposed to be independent of government, it will be up to ministers to decide whether to set up a brand new body or just hand the responsibility for censoring objectionable content over to Ofcom – the same regulator which was recently found to be colluding with a government-funded “think tank” to tie up RT in regulatory red tape with astroturfed “complaints.” 

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Based in part on Germany’s NetzDG laws, which fine companies tens of millions of dollars for hate speech if offending messages are not deleted within a certain period, the new UK regulations won’t stop at censoring “illegal hate speech” (which James apparently defines as anything from terrorist recruitment videos to racism, leaving plenty of wiggle room for neocon think-tanks to sink popular alternative media pages). Child grooming, “problematic content” related to self-harm, and even “misinformation” can now cost tech companies billions of dollars – up to 4 percent of their revenue – if they do not act quickly.

Tech companies listen with their wallets,” Conservative MP Damian Collins said, praising the German model. Collins recently led an 18-month parliamentary investigation into “

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Google Secretly Expands Tech Empire Across the U.S., Getting Millions in Tax Breaks


19-02-19 08:47:00,

Amazon spent much of the last three months in the media spotlight, with its search for a second headquarters outside Seattle leading both to bidding wars between cities fighting for its affections, and extensive backlash from residents and elected officials in New York City, one of the winning locations. The protests against the new development were loud enough to cause Amazon to cancel the deal last week.

While Amazon received both suitors and scrutiny, another tech behemoth was quietly expanding its footprint across the United States. At the end of 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced expansion plans leading to a presence in 24 out of 50 states. The Verge reported in December that “So far, most of Google’s facility development plans in the US have been met with little opposition outside of the Bay Area.” According to a new report in The Washington Post, however, that might be because the public wasn’t aware of them.

Post Reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin writes that Google’s “development spree has often been shrouded in secrecy, making it nearly impossible for some communities to know, let alone protest or debate, who is using their land, their resources and their tax dollars until after the fact.”

In Midlothian, Texas, Google, under the name Sharka LLC, received over $10 million in tax breaks from local government for developing a data center in the town. Larry Barnett, president of Midlothian Economic Development, one of the agencies that negotiated tax breaks, told Dwoskin that he knew Sharka LLC was really Google, but the company had asked for secrecy, and didn’t reveal itself publicly until the deal was finalized. Travis Smith, managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, a local paper, said, “I’m confident that had the community known this project was under the direction of Google, people would have spoken out,” adding, “We didn’t know that it was Google until after it passed.”

The process repeated itself in multiple cities.

In San Jose, Calif., where Google is planning its second-largest campus after its original home in Mountain View, the company has used nondisclosure agreements with local officials and developers to keep its plans under wraps. Records of this, going back to 2006,

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Google Also Violated Apple’s Trust With App That Quietly Collected Sensitive User Data


31-01-19 10:37:00,

After setting off another firestorm over Facebook’s abusive data privacy practices when it revealed that the social media giant encouraged users as young as 13 to bypass the Apple app store and side-load an app that offered them a small financial incentive to allow the company unfettered access to their personal data, TechCrunch has followed up its earlier report with another bombshell: Google built a very similar app that functioned in practically the same exact way.

The app built by Google, called Screenwise Meter, was available for iOS and Android users. Like Facebook, the app violated Apple’s policies over using its enterprise developer certificate to allow non-employees to download the app. It also encouraged teenagers to download the app, allowing Google to hoover up sensitive personal data about their phone-usage habits.


The only differences are that Google’s app was around longer (it launched in 2012, whereas Facebook’s app wasn’t introduced until 2016, after Apple banned Facebook’s Onavo “corporate spyware” app from its app store), and Google was slightly more transparent about the app’s functionality.

First launched in 2012, Screenwise lets users earn gift cards for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data. Google has rebranded the program as part of the Cross Media Panel and Google Opinion Rewards programs that reward users for installing tracking systems on their mobile phone, PC web browser, router and TV. In fact, Google actually sends participants a special router that it can monitor. Originally, Screenwise was open to users as young as 13, just like Facebook’s Research app that’s now been shut down on iOS but remains on Android.

Now, according to the site’s Panelist Eligibility rules, Google requires the primary users of its Opinion Rewards to be 18 or older, but still allows secondary panelists as young as 13 in the same household to join the program and have their devices tracked, as demonstrated in this video here (which was created in August of last year, underscoring that the program is still active):


Originally, Screenwise was open to users as young as 13, just like Facebook’s Research app that’s now been shut down on iOS but remains on Android.

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Google and Facebook broke company records for US government lobbying in 2018


23-01-19 09:27:00,

Facing increased public scrutiny, Google and Facebook spent record amounts of money lobbying the US government on privacy and antitrust policies in 2018, with both companies topping previous highs, new data filings showed.

In quarterly filings to Congress disclosed on Tuesday, Google revealed that it dished out a company-record of $21.2 million on Washington lobbying last year, besting its previous record of $18.22 million from 2012. The search giant spent $18.04 million on lobbying in 2017.

Facebook disclosed a lobbying spend of $12.62 million, which was up from its previous high of $11.51 million in 2017, according to the Washington D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics which tracks money in politics.

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Companies like Google and Facebook have faced increased scrutiny into their policies and practices in recent years. Both have been accused of using “dark patterns” to trick their users into adopting certain privacy policies and using “misleading wording” to make the policies too convoluted for users to figure out. They have also battled accusations of political bias against both right wing and left wing activists

Lawmakers and regulators around the world have been weighing new privacy and antitrust rules to limit the power of huge tech giants.

Google has consistently ranked among the top spenders when it comes to lobbying the government, alongside defense contractors and healthcare firms. The search giant said its discussions with lobbyists focused on search technology, criminal justice reform, and international tax reform.

If you wonder why some startups raise $50-100M rounds early on, consider this is what some of them are up against:

– Google spent $21.2M on US govt lobbying in 2018

– Facebook spent $12.62M, up from $11.51M


— Roi Carthy (@Roi) January 23, 2019

Filings showed that Facebook was lobbying the Federal Trade Commission, which is looking into its data security policies. After facing political scrutiny over “fake news” and the origin of ads on its platform during the 2016 presidential election in the US,

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Google wins U.S. approval for new radar-based motion sensor | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda


05-01-19 11:19:00,

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google unit won approval from U.S. regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in an order late on Monday that it would grant Google a waiver to operate the Soli sensors at higher power levels than currently allowed. The FCC said the sensors can also be operated aboard aircraft.

The FCC said the decision “will serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology.”

A Google spokeswoman did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

Google said in documents filed with the FCC that the effort emerged from the work of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group that focuses on development of mobile technologies.

The FCC said the Soli sensor captures motion in a three-dimensional space using a radar beam to enable touchless control of functions or features that can benefit users with mobility or speech impairments.

Google says the sensor can allow users to press an invisible button between the thumb and index fingers or a virtual dial that turns by rubbing a thumb against the index finger. In a video on its website, Google said a user could operate a smart watch, scroll through music or adjust the volume by simply motioning using the system.

Google added that the radar signal could penetrate fabrics, enabling controls that could work in a pocket or a backpack.

The company says that “even though these controls are virtual, the interactions feel physical and responsive” as feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching.

Google says the virtual tools can approximate the precision of natural human hand motion and the sensor can be embedded in wearables, phones, computers and vehicles.

FILE PHOTO: Google signage is seen at Google headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

In March, Google asked the FCC to allow its short-range interactive motion sensing Soli radar to operate in the 57- to 64-GHz frequency band at power levels consistent with European Telecommunications Standards Institute standards.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) raised concerns with the FCC that the Soli sensors operating in the spectrum band at higher power levels might have issues coexisting with other technologies.

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Google wins lawsuit, can continue to use facial recognition tech on users without consent


02-01-19 01:22:00,

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that alleged Google’s nonconsensual use of facial recognition technology violated users’ privacy rights, allowing the tech giant to continue to scan and store their biometric data.

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged that Google violated Illinois state law by collecting biometric data – as biologically unique to users as fingerprints – without their consent. The data was harvested from their pictures stored on Google Photos.

The plaintiffs wanted more than $5 million in damages for “hundreds of thousands” of users affected, arguing that the unauthorized scanning of their faces was a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which completely outlaws the gathering of biometric information without consent.

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Google countered that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any compensation, as they had not been harmed by the data collection. On Saturday, US District Judge Edmond E. Chang sided with the tech giant, ruling that the plaintiffs had not suffered any “concrete harm,” and dismissing the suit.

As well as allowing Google to continue the practice, the ruling could have implications for other cases pending against Facebook and Snapchat. Both companies are currently being sued for violating the Illinois act.

Amid rising alarm from privacy activists, biometric scanning has become ever more ubiquitous in recent years. The technology has been deployed at American airports, Russian railroads, and by British police – despite being unreliable and unregulated in most jurisdictions.

Facial recognition can be used to identify faces in crowds from CCTV footage, track the movements of people on public transport networks, and monitor public places for wanted criminals. In Ireland, the technology has found a quainter and less Orwellian use, where it is used to track and monitor the moo-vements of dairy cows.

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If you use Google, Facebook, Twitter, You Support Fascist Censorship –

03-12-18 05:04:00,

Copyright .© Paul Craig Roberts 2018.- Please contact us for information on syndication rights.

This site offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. IPE has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor.

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How Google Wipes Palestine Off the Map – Global Research


31-10-18 03:22:00,

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

The original source of this article is

Middle East Monitor

Copyright ©

Asa Winstanley


Middle East Monitor

, 2018

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Google Vs. Trump: “The Good Censor” On Collision Course With The Patriot President

Google Vs. Trump: “The Good Censor” On Collision Course With The Patriot President

13-10-18 07:50:00,

Authored by ‘Washington Watcher’ via,

The leaked internal Google briefing “The Good Censor” [PDF] has received suspiciously little attention from the Main Stream Media, but it represents the crassest statement yet of the Tech oligopolies’ intention to impose Silicon Valley Political Correctness on the U.S.

As American Thinker Editor Thomas Lifson puts it:

“I congratulate for the scoop, and I urge everyone -I am looking at you, President Trump and Congress – to read and ponder the fate of the Republic unless this company is defanged, most likely by antitrust action, but possibly also via civil courts.” [Stunning 85-page Google memo ‘The Good Censor’ leaked to BreitbartOctober 10, 2018]

What are Trump’s options? He’s certainly thinking about the issue.

The Washington Post reported recently that the White House was backing off a proposed executive order that would have required federal agencies to “investigate and/or prosecute” tech giants for bias. Administration officials told WaPo:

“Although the White House is concerned about the conduct of online platforms and their impact on society, this document is not the result of an official White House policymaking process.” [White House distances itself from reports that Trump could target Facebook, Google and Twitter with a new executive order, by Tony Romm and Josh Dawsey, September 22, 2018]

WaPo reported Trump has demanded an executive order on this matter for some time, but all of the drafts have been deemed “unworkable.” Sources tell the Watcher that the fallout from the leak deterred the President but he still considers the issue a top priority for his base and he wants it addressed.

Of course, first, we have to shoot down True Conservative notions that it’s not the government’s job to resolve tech censorship. Dogmatic Conservatism Incers insist the free market will magically fix the problem and government intervention would somehow be worse than suppression of right-wing views. Some—such as The Weekly Standard’sJonathan Last—have even celebrated this censorship as a necessary measure against “repugnant” voices.

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Google Maps toont alleen de Israëlische realiteit – The Rights Forum

Google Maps toont alleen de Israëlische realiteit – The Rights Forum

06-10-18 02:58:00,



C-gebied Area C Naqab Negev Bedoeïenen Kolonisering Gaza Westoever

Onderzoek / Google Maps toont alleen de Israëlische realiteit

De cartografie van Google Maps weerspiegelt niet de feitelijke situatie in Israël en Palestina, maar de politieke realiteit zoals Israël zich die wenst. Palestijnen in bezet gebied hebben er niets aan. In een kritisch rapport wordt Google opgeroepen zijn leven te beteren.

Niet op Google Maps: Israëlische checkpoints en roadblocks op de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever.+972 Magazine 

Wie weleens door de bezette Palestijnse gebieden heeft gereisd, heeft misschien gemerkt dat Google Maps daar weinig behulpzaam is. Dat is geen toeval. Volgens een rapport van de non-profit organisatie 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media ontwijkt Google zijn verantwoordelijkheden onder zowel het internationaal recht als de universele mensenrechten door in zijn online kaartenservice enkel het ‘Israëlische verhaal’ te vertellen. In het rapport, getiteld Mapping Segregation, stelt de organisatie onder andere dat de applicatie meerdere Palestijnse dorpen niet toont en in zijn routeomschrijvingen geen rekening houdt met de restricties waarmee Palestijnen dagelijks te maken hebben.

Politieke cartografie

Hoe Google Israël en Palestina in kaart brengt is van belang omdat ruimtelijke indeling een van de aspecten is die de kwestie-Palestina/Israël bepaalt. Als grootste en meest gebruikte kaartenservice kan Google Maps bepaalde standpunten over die indeling legitimeren en andere delegitimeren. Google kiest ervoor de realiteit vanuit Israëlisch politiek perspectief weer te geven.

Zo wordt Israël op Google Maps duidelijk aangegeven als staat, met Jeruzalem als hoofdstad. De bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever en de Gazastrook worden niet gemarkeerd als deel van een land of staat. Google erkent dus wel het bestaan van de staat Israël, maar niet van een Palestijnse staatkundige entiteit. Het erkent bovendien Jeruzalem als Israëls hoofdstad, terwijl er afgezien van de Verenigde Staten en Guatemala geen land is dat die erkenning deelt. Google geeft de Israëlische realiteit weer, die haaks staat op het internationaal recht.

Palestijnse dorpen bestaan niet

Opvallend is daarnaast het ontbreken van meerdere Palestijnse dorpen op de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever.

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Citizen Google: Wie ein Konzern den Journalismus dominiert

Citizen Google: Wie ein Konzern den Journalismus dominiert

26-09-18 08:12:00,

Werwolf ist ein Partyspiel. Der Spielleiter bestimmt einen der Spieler heimlich zum Bösewicht. Die anderen Teilnehmer müssen dann gemeinsam erraten, wer der Böse ist, und ihn aus dem Spiel werfen. Überlebt der Werwolf bis zum Schluss, hat er gewonnen. Werwolf, auch als Mafia bekannt, ist das Lieblingsspiel von Richard Gingras, dem Head of News bei Google. Gingras spielt gern mit Leuten, die früher Googles schärfste Kritiker waren: den Topmanagern und Chefinnen der Medienindustrie. ist unabhängig, werbefrei und fast vollständig durch unsere Leserinnen und Leser finanziert.

Richard GingrasRichard Gingras Alle Rechte vorbehalten Richard Gingras

Jedes Jahr veranstaltet Google ein Gipfeltreffen für die Branche, genannt Newsgeist. Im Vorjahr fand es in Kopenhagen statt, diesen Juni in Lissabon. Bei dem exklusiven Treffen lernt sich die Crème des europäischen Journalismus kennen. Auf der sorgfältig ausgewählten Gästeliste stehen etwa Spiegel-Online-Chefredakteurin Barbara Hans, Wikipedia-Gründer Jimmy Wales und viele große Namen der Branche.

Tagsüber debattieren die Gäste bei Newsgeist Fragen wie „What could Google do for news?“. Am Abend stehen Whiskey und Werwolf auf dem Programm. Gingras gibt dabei gern den Spielleiter. Den kann man nicht aus dem Spiel werfen und er behält die Kontrolle. Eine Rolle, in der sich Google im Journalismus gefällt.

Betriebssystem für den Journalismus

Seit einigen Jahren greift Google immer tiefer in einen Bereich, der für das Funktionieren der Demokratie unverzichtbar ist. Der Datenkonzern verändert den Journalismus. Wer Nachrichten sucht, tut das mit Googles Suche und Google News. Wer den letzten Ausrutscher des US-Präsidenten sehen will, findet ihn auf Youtube. Nachrichtenseiten verwenden Google Analytics, um Besucher zu zählen und speichern ihre Inhalte über Handy-optimierte AMP-Seiten auf Google-Servern. Wer für Medien zahlen möchte, kann das seit kurzem mit Subscribe with Google tun. Immer mehr Medien lagern zudem ihr Anzeigengeschäft an Google AdSense aus.

Kurz: Google baut mit seinen Produkten ein Ökosystem, dem sich kaum ein Medienunternehmen entziehen kann. Eine Art Betriebssystem für den Journalismus.

Google ist seit seiner Gründung 1998 zu einer der wertvollsten Firmen der Welt angewachsen. Der Marktwert der Mutterfirma Alphabet liegt über 800 Milliarden US-Dollar, bald könnte sie wie Apple und Amazon die Billion-Dollar-Grenze knacken. Haupteinnahmequelle von Google ist Online-Werbung. Doch der Konzern bietet auch Webdienste, Biotechnologie,

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Google räumt politische Überlegungen zu Such-Ergebnissen ein

Google räumt politische Überlegungen zu Such-Ergebnissen ein

22-09-18 08:23:00,

Das Logo von Google. (Foto: dpa)

Das Logo von Google. (Foto: dpa)

Google-Mitarbeiter haben im vergangenen Jahr nach Wegen gesucht, um über die Suchmaschine des Unternehmens den Widerstand gegen die von US-Präsident Donald Trump betriebenen Einreiseverbote zu unterstützen. Das Wall Street Journal berichtet, die Angestellten hätten diskutiert, wie sich die Suchergebnisse derart steuern ließen, sodass Gegner des Einreisebanns leichter die Kontakte von Aktivistengruppen und Politikern finden könnten.

Laut Wall Street Journal hatte unmittelbar nach Inkrafttreten der ersten Version von Trumps Einreiseverboten gegen fünf Staaten im Januar 2017 bei Google die interne Diskussion über mögliche Gegenmaßnahmen begonnen. Dabei sei es auch darum gegangen, wie das Anzeigen „islamfeindlicher“ Internetseiten in der Suchmaschine unterbunden werden könnte.

Konkret sei es dabei um die Suchwörter „Islam“, „Muslim“ und „Iran“ gegangen. Eine ähnliche Diskussion wurde der Zeitung zufolge darüber geführt, wie sich verhindern ließe, dass die Wörter „Mexico“, „Hispanic“ und „Latino“ zu Seiten mit gegen hispanische Zuwanderer gerichteten Botschaften führten.

Der Konzern erklärt nun in einer an das WSJ übermittelten Stellungnahme, dass keine der damals in E-Mail-Wechseln ausgetauschten Ideen realisiert worden sei. „Google hat nie seine Suchergebnisse manipuliert oder irgendeines seiner Produkte modifiziert, um eine bestimme politische Weltsicht zu befördern“, unterstrich das Unternehmen.

Google hat in den vergangenen Jahren stets beteuert, völlig apolitisch vorzugehen. Allerdings ist die Wirkungsweise des Suchalgorithmus unbekannt. Es ist auch nicht bekannt, wie Google seinerseits gegen manipulierte Seiten vorgeht. In den Anfangsjahren der Suchmaschine waren sogenannte „Link-Farmen“ bekämpft worden, bei denen sich Betreiber selbst eine bessere Sichtbarkeit durch fiktive Seiten verschafften.

Der Zeitungsbericht dürfte US-Präsident Donald Trump und andere Konservative in ihrer Kritik an Google und weiteren Internetunternehmen bestärken. Sie werfen den Firmen vor, ihre Plattformen gezielt derart zu gestalten, dass linksliberale Inhalte bevorzugt und konservative Positionen benachteiligt würden.

Trump hatte Google erst vor wenigen Wochen hart attackiert. Wenn in der Suchmaschine des Konzerns die Wörter „Trump News“ eingegeben würden, erschienen nur negative Berichte über ihn, führte er ins Feld. Die Suche sei folglich „manipuliert“.

Dies sei „sehr gefährlich“ und möglicherweise illegal, beschwerte sich der Präsident Ende August. Er warf auch Facebook und Twitter vor, Konservative unfair zu behandeln, und drohte mit Konsequenzen. Justizminister Jeff Sessions leitete wenig später eine Untersuchung zum angeblich manipulativen Umgang der Online-Unternehmen mit politischen Inhalten ein.

Google hatte zusammen mit zahlreichen anderen Unternehmen des Internet- und Technologiesektors im Februar 2017 eine Stellungnahme bei Gericht gegen Trumps Einreisedekret eingereicht.

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Google Engineers Quit After Secretive China Project Links Phone Number To Searches

Google Engineers Quit After Secretive China Project Links Phone Number To Searches

16-09-18 08:31:00,

A prototype of Google’s censored search engine for China links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, “thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries,” reports The Intercept

Photo: Alex Castro / The Verge

The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, revolves around the Android platform and is designed to remove content deemed by government officials to be sensitive or offensive – such as information about protests, free speech, political dissidents, democracy and human rights violations. 

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.

the search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing. The Chinese government has a record of manipulating details about pollution in the country’s cities. One Google source said the company had built a system, integrated as part of Dragonfly, that was “essentially hardcoded to force their [Chinese-provided] data.” –The Intercept

“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” says Human Rights Watch senior internet research Cynthia Wong. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”

Human rights groups have slammed Dragonfly, insisting that it could result in Google “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.” 

Google engineers agree – and they’ve been resigning over the ethical concerns with the project

Approximately 1,400 Google employees have signed a letter circulating within the company, asking executives to explain exactly what the hell is going on. 

“As a company and as individuals we have a responsibility to use this power to better the world,

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Google Was “Working To Get Hillary Clinton Elected” With “Silent Donation” According To Leaked Internal Email

Google Was “Working To Get Hillary Clinton Elected” With “Silent Donation” According To Leaked Internal Email

11-09-18 08:14:00,

Tucker Carlson just blew the cover off the 2016 election influence charade, after he read an internal email on Monday night’s show from a senior Google employee who admitted to using company resources to make a “silent donation” to a liberal group that was creating ads and donating funds to bus Latinos to voting stations during the 2016 election in key swing states, in an effort to help Hillary Clinton win. 

The email was sent by the former head of Google’s multicultural marketing department, Eliana Mario, on November 9, 2016. 

“That email was subsequently forwarded by two Google VP’s to more staff members throughout the company,” says Carlson, adding “In her email, Mario touts Google’s multi-faceted efforts to boost Hispanic turnout in the election. She noticed that Latino voters did record-breaking numbers, especially in states like Florida, Nevada and Arizona – the last of which she describes as “a key state for us.” She brags that the company used its power to ensure that millions of people saw certain hashtags and social media impressions, with the goal of influencing their behavior during the election.”

Elsewhere in the email Mario says “Google supported partners like Voto Latino to pay for rides to the polls in key states.” 

She describes this assistance as a “silent donation” 

Mario then says that Google helped Voto Latino create ad campaigns to promote those rides. Now officially Voto Latino is a non-partisan entity, but that is a sham. Voto Latino is vocally partisan. Recently the group declared that Hispanics – ALL Hispanics are in President Trump’s “crosshairs.” They said they plan to respond to this by registering another million additional Hispanic voters in the next Presidential cycle.

It was, in effect, an in-kind contribution to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.

In the end, Google was disappointed. As Mario herself conceded “ultimately after all was said and done, the Latino community did come out to vote, and completely surprised us. We never anticipated that 29% of Latinos would vote for Trump. No one did. –Tucker Carlson


So it looks like @Google executives have been caught red-handed trying to throw the election to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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20 Jahre Google: Happy Birthday und Zeit für Alternativen

20 Jahre Google: Happy Birthday und Zeit für Alternativen

04-09-18 10:43:00,

Heute feiert das Unternehmen Google seinen zwanzigsten Geburtstag. Google startete im Silicon Valley mit einer Suchmaschine. Wer zu der Zeit im Netz war, freute sich über eine bessere Alternative zu den Platzhirschen Yahoo und Altavista.

Wir finanzieren uns fast vollständig aus Spenden von Leserinnen und Lesern. Unterstütze unsere Arbeit mit einer Spende oder einem Dauerauftrag.

Google dominiert wichtige Teile des Netzes

20 Jahre später dominiert Google bedeutende Teile des Netzes. Bei der Suche hat der Konzern einen weltweiten Marktanteil von 80 Prozent, in Deutschland kommt die Suchmaschine sogar auf über 90 Prozent Marktanteil. Es soll noch einzelne Länder geben, die mehrheitlich lieber mit Yahoo oder Bing ihre Inhalte im Netz finden. Auch gibt es in Russland Yandex und in China Baidu. Doch global ist Google der Champion.

Google hatte zudem durch den frühen Aufkauf von Youtube zeitweise ein de-facto-Monopol auf Video im Netz. Auch wenn Konkurrenten wie Netflix oder Amazon Prime dagegen vorgehen, bleibt Youtube der Platzhirsch unter denjenigen, die direkt und ohne Umwege per Video kommunizieren oder zusehen wollen. 91 Prozent der 14-29-jährigen schauen laut ARD-ZDF-Onlinestudie Videos auf Portalen wie Youtube. Chrome ist in vielen Märkten der meistgenutzte Browser. Beim Navigieren mit Karte liegt Google-Maps weit vor allen anderen. Nur bei der Einführung von Streetview gab es zumindest in Deutschland seinerzeit Bedenken.

Google ist mittlerweile das wohl mächtigste Unternehmen in einer Reihe von nur noch einer Handvoll US-Konzernen, die weite Teile unserer neuen Öffentlichkeiten im Netz kontrollieren. Diese Unternehmen definieren einseitig durch intransparente Codes, Algorithmen und Standards, wie wir heute und vor allem zukünftig miteinander kommunizieren werden. Dafür braucht es dringend mehr demokratische Kontrolle.

Und dann ist das Monopol im Smartphone-Markt. Mit Android hat Google rund 90 Prozent des Marktes unter Kontrolle, etwas Wettbewerb gibt es nur noch durch Apple. Die teuren Geräte aus Cupertino können sich aber nicht alle leisten. Im Markt der Online-Werbung gibt es nur Facebook als ernstzunehmenden Konkurrenten. Gerade da wird derzeit das Geld verdient. Und damit kann Google massiv in neue Märkte und in die Erforschung neuer Technologien investieren, womit die eigene Marktstellung noch weiter ausgebaut werden kann.

Schon vor der Bildung der neuen Holding mit dem Namen Alphabet Inc.

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Google Tracking 70% Of Retail Purchases Thanks To Secret Deal With Mastercard

Google Tracking 70% Of Retail Purchases Thanks To Secret Deal With Mastercard

02-09-18 07:43:00,

Over the past year, certain Google advertisers have been able to use a “potent new tool” which allows them to track whether ads they run online translated to sales at physical stores throughout the United States, thanks to a secret deal between the Silicon Valley tech giant and Mastercard, reports Bloomberg

Illustration: Tam Nguyen, AdAge

Most of Mastercard’s two billion customers weren’t aware of this arrangement, since neither Google parent Alphabet Inc. nor the credit card company told the public about the deal which was brokered after four years of negotiations. The alliance, says Bloomberg, “gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending,” as part of the search giant’s “strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Inc. and others.” 

Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales.

It works like this: a person searches for “red lipstick” on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn’t buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads “Offline Revenue” — only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase. –Bloomberg

Last year Google boasted that that the service, called “Store Sales Management,” had access to “approximately 70 percent” of US credit and debit cards. 

Last year, when Google announced the service, called “Store Sales Measurement,” the company just said it had access to “approximately 70 percent” of U.S. credit and debit cards through partners, without naming them. –Bloomberg

Since Google doesn’t define what this means, Bloomberg speculates that it could mean “70 percent of the people who use credit and debit cards.

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Google speichert Standort auch bei ausgeschaltetem “Standortverlauf”

Google speichert Standort auch bei ausgeschaltetem “Standortverlauf”

13-08-18 08:21:00,

Wie die Nachrichtenagentur AP berichtet, speichert Google den Standort seiner NutzerInnen, auch wenn diese den Standortverlauf ausgestellt haben. Die Journalisten bezeichnen dies als „irreführend“ und bezweifeln, dass Google-NutzerInnen sich über die Speicherung ihres Standorts bewusst sind. Den Vorwürfen liegen zwei verschiedene Google-Funktionen zugrunde, die auf Standortdaten zurückgreifen. Der „Standortverlauf“ zeichnet alle Orte auf, die NutzerInnen mit einem eingeschalteten und bei Google eingeloggten Gerät, zum Beispiel einem Android-Handy, besuchen. Diese Funktion lässt sich in den Einstellungen des Google-Kontos ausschalten. „Wenn Sie den Standortverlauf deaktivieren, werden die von Ihnen besuchten Orte nicht mehr gespeichert“, heißt es dazu in der Erklärung von Google.

Wir finanzieren uns fast vollständig aus Spenden von Leserinnen und Lesern. Unterstütze unsere Arbeit mit einer Spende oder einem Dauerauftrag.

Wer denkt, damit Google das Speichern jeglicher Standortdaten verboten zu haben, liegt falsch. Denn der Konzern speichert standardmäßig den Standort auch bei jedem Suchvorgang, dem Aufrufen von Google-Maps und weiteren Google-Diensten. Diese werden unter „Meine Aktivitäten“ gespeichert und für zielgerichtete Werbung genutzt. Möchte ein Nutzer auch diese Standortspeicherung abschalten, muss er das Speichern von „Aktivitäten“ hier vollständig abstellen. Der Informatiker Jonathan Meyer von der Princeton Universität kritisiert die irreführenden Bezeichnungen und Funktionen gegenüber AP:

Wenn du Nutzern erlaubst, etwas zu deaktivieren, das sich „Standortverlauf“ nennt, dann sollten alle Orte deaktiviert werden, an denen du einen Standortverlauf hast. Das scheint eine ziemlich einleuchtende Position zu sein. (Eigene Übersetzung)

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Google Employees Protest China Censorship Plans | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

Google Employees Protest China Censorship Plans | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

10-08-18 09:35:00,

By Aaron Kesel

Google announced that it would provide China with a government-censored search engine, according to leaked documents reported by The Intercept, which resulted in Google employees protesting the decision by the company.

Just a few hundred of Google’s massive 88,000 employees were briefed on the project known as “Dragonfly” prior to the revelations, which triggered massive blowback against the company in a move seen as capitulating to the Chinese Communist government and censorship.

The Intercept reported that after the leak Google responded by trying to shut down and limit its employees’ access to documents that contained information about the China censorship project, according to Google company insiders.

by Ole Dammegard

What happened in Iran changed his life. His entire world, his viewpoints and values were turned upside down and the emotional turbulence he experienced tore down his inner walls leaving him naked and vulnerable – like an open wound. After a tragic murder, the situation became unbearale for one of his Iranian friends, so he ventured everything to help him get away and together the mad a dramatic escape from Iran via former Soviet and East Germany in a desperate attempt to reach Sweden. This book is a true and emotional description of real people in improbable world full of conflicts. It opens doors and spreads light on another Iran, its people and also, not least, the political and social conditions in the country. It is permeated by passion and tension as well as human ideals such as non-violence, tolerance and love.

To preview the book click on the thumbnail below: 

“Everyone’s access to documents got turned off, and is being turned on on a document-by-document basis,” said one source who spoke to The Intercept. “There’s been total radio silence from leadership, which is making a lot of people upset and scared. … Our internal meme site and Google Plus are full of talk, and people are a.n.g.r.y.”

Google’s project Dragonfly was initiated in spring of last year and was expedited following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official,

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Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal

Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal

01-08-18 09:31:00,

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.

The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named “Maotai” and “Longfei.” The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials.

The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country.

Google’s search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

The search app will “blacklist sensitive queries.”

The Chinese government blocks information on the internet about political opponents, free speech, sex, news, and academic studies. It bans websites about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, for instance, and references to “anticommunism” and “dissidents.” Mentions of books that negatively portray authoritarian governments, like George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, are prohibited on Weibo, a Chinese social media website. The country also censors popular Western social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as American news organizations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Documents seen by The Intercept, marked “Google confidential,” say that Google’s Chinese search app will automatically identify and filter websites blocked by the Great Firewall. When a person carries out a search, banned websites will be removed from the first page of results, and a disclaimer will be displayed stating that “some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements.” Examples cited in the documents of websites that will be subject to the censorship include those of British news broadcaster BBC and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

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