.org Registry Every new detail is worse than the last

.org Registry Every new detail is worse than the last

ICANN races towards regulatory capture: the great .ORG heist

Ethos Capital, a new commercial investment firm founded in the past few months in Boston, has 2 staff and only one investment: a deal to acquire the 501c3 non-profit that currently runs the .org domain (valued at a few $B), for an undisclosed sum. This was initiated immediately after ICANN decided in May, over universal opposition, to remove the price cap on .org registrations with no meaningful protections for existing or future registrants.

This seems to violate a range of ethical, ICANN, ISOC, and non-profit guidelines.  It is certainly the privatisation of a not-for-profit monopoly into a for-profit one, which will benefit a few by inconveniencing millions of others.  I have questions:

  • Do affected parties have recourse?
  • Other than polite letters, is anything being done?
  • Why does Vint in particular think this is a good idea… ?
  • Has anyone currently at ICANN + ISOC made substantive comment?

For more backstory, read on…

A brief history of  .org

The .org heist

(registrars must give domain-holders 6 months notice of a price increase for renewals, and have the option but no obligation to offer renewals for up to 10 years at current rates. So if the registry chose to quintuple its rates, each registrar would have the option to offer its customers at most 10 years of registration at the old, unquintupled rate).

In early 2019, PIR asked ICANN to drop the price cap on .org registrations and renewals. PIR touted their non-profit status as a reason to approve.

In March 2019, ICANN pushed this idea forward, inviting comments on the proposal. They received more comments (3,300) than they had on almost any other decision, uniformly opposed to the change (with 6 exceptions, 0.2% of the total.) The oppositions came from registrars and NGOs across the globe.

In summarizing the comments later to the Register, ICANN lied boldly if not creatively, saying: “there was a group that opposed lifting price caps, but it is not true that ‘the community’ was ‘strongly opposed’ to lifting them.”

A letter-writing campaign was started at #savedotorg.

ICANN has the right to withhold approval of the proposed sale, under Section 7.5 of the .Org Registry Agreement; they have 30 days after they receive the last requested information about such a sale to consent or explicitly withhold consent.

This Is How Elon Musk Can Fix The Damage His Starlink Satellites Are Causing To Astronomy

This Is How Elon Musk Can Fix The Damage His Starlink Satellites Are Causing To Astronomy (Forbes)

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it.
On November 18, 2019, approximately 19 Starlink satellites passed over Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, disrupting astronomical observations and hindering the science being undertaken in a real, measurable way.

EXCERPT:
In any field of business or industry, the prevailing rule has always been that if there isn’t a law against it, you are free to do it. If there are no rules protecting a resource, you are free to use or take as much of it as you want to further your own ends. Until regulatory measures are put into place, disruptors and innovators are free to regulate themselves, often to the extraordinary detriment of those who depended on those now-scarce resources.

In astronomy, the greatest resource of all is a dark, clear night sky: humanity’s window to the Universe. Traditionally, its enemies have been turbulent air, cloud cover, and artificial light pollution. But very recently, a new type of pollutant has begun to pose an existential threat to astronomy itself: mega-constellations of satellites. If Elon Musk’s Starlink project continues as it has begun, it will likely end ground-based astronomy as we know it.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying 60 Starlink satellites on November 11, 2019 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Starlink constellation will eventually consist of thousands of satellites designed to provide world wide high-speed internet service, but the cost to the science of astronomy is already substantial, and is poised to rise significantly over the coming years.

Launching satellites to provide services to those of us living on the ground is an essential part of modern-day living. GPS and telecommunications satellites enable our cellular signals and support our mobile internet today. With the coming upgrade to 5G services, a new set of infrastructure will be required, and that necessarily means an upgraded set of satellites equipped to provide that service must be launched.

One of the first companies to attempt to serve this market is SpaceX, under the guidance of Elon Musk, which plans to initially deploy 12,000 satellites in a mega-constellation known as Starlink. Ultimately, the constellation hopes to extend to a total of 42,000 satellites. As of November 20, 2019, only 122 of these satellites have been deployed, and they’ve already had a detrimental impact on astronomy on a global scale.

If we hope to mitigate this, either regulators or SpaceX executives themselves will need to mandate a change…
[…]
https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/11/20/this-is-how-elon-musk-can-fix-the-damage-his-starlink-satellites-are-causing-to-astronomy/

Educational CyberPlayGround: NetHappenings 11-21-19 .org

.ORG Sold to Private Equity Firm, Transparency Diminished

https://epic.org/2019/11/org-sold-to-private-equity-fir.html

The Internet Society announced that it plans to sell the Public Interest Registry, which manages the .ORG domain, and all of its assets to Ethos Capitol, a private equity firm. The announcement follows a decision to remove price caps on domain name purchases that was widely opposed by the user community. EPIC’s Marc Rotenberg, who was a founding board member and former chair of PIR, told Gizmodo he was “very disappointed” by the news. “We built the .org domain with the specific goal of promoting the noncommercial use of the Internet,” Rotenberg said. “There are many models, including ICANN itself, that could allow for effective management of the domain by a non-profit corporation. There are critical elements of transparency and accountability that will be lost when the Public Interest Registry is acquired by a private equity firm.” The PIR website currently states, “PIR‘s believes that a best practice is transparency and accountability to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. The release of our annual IRS 990 Form provides publicly-available financial information to maintain our non-profit status in good standing.”

ICANN CAN’T:
INTRODUCTION to the DOMAIN INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
https://edu-cyberpg.com/Internet/Domain-Name-icann.html

https://mashable.com/article/dot-org-domain-private-equity-acquisition/

TEACH PRIVACY

no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
FBI sought Interpol statement against end-to-end crypto
Backdoors are totally safe and companies should make them, draft resolution asserts. Sean Gallagher – 11/18/2019, 3:35 PM
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/11/think-of-the-children-fbi-sought-interpol-statement-against-end-to-end-crypto/

OOOH THE CHILDREN EXCUSE — WHILE THEY NEVER STOPPED EPSTEIN AND HIS COLLABORATORS LIKE MADAM MAXWELL procurer-in-chief. She has not been charged. And while she presently faces civil litigation, the likelihood of a court appearance is unknown. Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who exposed Catholic clergy sex abuse, said in an email attorneys would want to locate Maxwell in the US, as courts here would have legal power to get her to testify.
Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell was a guest at a Jeff Bezos-hosted retreat in 2018, report says
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/01/jeffrey-epstein-friend-ghislaine-maxwell-was-guest-at-jeff-bezos-event.html

“96% of AmLaw 100 firms have privacy practices. Most US law schools lack any privacy courses and don’t have full time faculty in the field. Time for change.

An Open Letter to Law School Deans about Privacy Law Education in Law Schools

 

A massive scandal: how Assange, his doctors, lawyers and visitors were all spied on for the U.S. https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2019/11/18/news/a_massive_scandal_how_assange_his_doctors_lawyers_and_visitors_were_all_spied_on_for_the_u_s_-241314527/

Roger Stone Found Guilty On All Counts
https://crooksandliars.com/2019/11/roger-stone-found-guilty-all-counts

The Real Reason Why Hong Kong Authorities Are Desperate To Regain Control Of University
Many CUHK students suspect that the real goal of the police is to control the internet, as Hong Kong’s internet center which handles 99 percent of the city’s internet traffic is located inside the CUHK campus.
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/heres-real-reason-why-hong-kong-authorities-are-desperate-regain-control-university

Chinese killer robots sold to Middle East will leave ‘every human dead’
Fears that ‘fully autonomous’ military drones sold by China to Middle East countries could have dire results with the machines able to decide on who lives and dies
EXCERPT:
China is selling its most advanced “fully autonomous” military drones with fears that it could lead to a bloodbath in the Middle East. The Asian superpower is reportedly selling AI-enhanced combat drones to the region, with potentially disastrous consequences. Prof Toby Walsh, of the University of NSW, in Australia, said: “They would be impossible to defend yourself against. “Once the shooting starts, every human on the battlefield will be dead.” US Defence Sec Mark Esper has said that China is selling drones programmed to decide themselves who lives or dies.
He told a conference on Artificial Intelligence: “As we speak, the Chinese government is already exporting some of its most advanced military aerial drones to the Middle East as it prepares to export its next generation stealth UAVs when those come online.
“In addition, Chinese weapons manufacturers are selling drones advertised as capable of full autonomy including the ability to conduct lethal, targeted strikes.”
An Australian outlet, news.com.au, reports that a state controlled Chinese defence company is negotiating the sale of its Blowfish A3 armed helicopter drone to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Dr Malcolm Davis, an Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst says that it is not strange there is no debate over the sales in China. He reportedly said: “This isn’t a surprise…
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/chinese-killer-robots-sold-middle-20882729

CONTROL THE MONEY – CONTROL THE LAW

Abuse of Copyright (3D version) The Nefertiti Bust Meets the 21st Century
When a German museum lost its fight over 3D-printing files of the 3,000-year-old artwork, it made a strange decision.
EXCERPT:
It seemed like the perfect digital heist. The Nefertiti bust, created in 1345 B.C., is the most famous work in the collection of Berlin’s Neues Museum. The museum has long prohibited visitors from taking any kinds of photographs of its biggest attraction. Nonetheless, in 2016 two trenchcoat-wearing artists managed to smuggle an entire 3D scanning rig into the room with the bust and produce a perfect digital replica, which they then shared with the world…
https://slate.com/technology/2019/11/nefertiti-bust-neues-museum-3d-printing.html

APPLE  — 16 page PDF
https://docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU05/20190716/109793/HHRG-116-JU05-20190716-SD036.pdf
Questions for the Record from the Honorable David N. Cicilline, Chairman, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law of the Committee on the Judiciary
Questions for Mr. Kyle Andeer, Vice President, Corporate Law, Apple, Inc.1.Does Apple permit iPhone users to uninstall Safari? If yes, please describe the steps a user would need to take in order to do so. If no, please explain why not.
30. Please describe what types of data Apple collects through Siri and how Apple uses each type of data.

Google’s November FEC filing is in, showing which politicians the company gave money to last month. Right out of the gate we have this $5,000 donation to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on October 28

 

Google reportedly manipulates search results to hide controversial subjects and favor big business

 

Google scrapped publication of 100,000 chest X-rays over privacy worries
https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/15/20966460/google-scrapped-publication-100000-chest-x-rays-nih-project-2017

Facebook, Google Fund Nonprofits Shaping Federal Privacy Debate
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/privacy-and-data-security/facebook-google-donate-heavily-to-privacy-advocacy-groups

Outcry after Facebook sponsors gala featuring Brett Kavanaugh
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/14/facebook-federalist-society-brett-kavanaugh-gala

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the single leading source of anti-vax ads on Facebook

Facebook
In 2019, the World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as one of the world’s top 10 global health threats.
The Vaccine journal study is the first to analyze anti-vaccine ads in Facebook’s advertising archive. The archive is an ad disclosure database Facebook created after the platform was criticized for spreading untraceable misinformation during the Brexit referendum and 2016 US presidential campaign.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/robert-f-kennedy-jr-is-the-single-leading-source-of-anti-vax-ads-on-facebook/

Majority of anti-vaxx ads on Facebook are funded by just two organizations
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/13/majority-antivaxx-vaccine-ads-facebook-funded-by-two-organizations-study
Study finds Robert F Kennedy Jr’s World Mercury Project and Larry Cook’s Stop Mandatory Vaccinations bought 54% of ads
Cook uses crowd-funding platforms to raise money for Facebook ads and his personal expenses. The crowd-funding platform GoFundMe banned Cook’s fundraisers in March 2019. YouTube has demonetized Cook’s videos.
Kennedy is the son of the former US attorney general Bobby Kennedy. He also has a nonprofit focused on environmental causes. Kennedy’s brother, sister and niece publicly criticized his “dangerous misinformation” about vaccines in May. They called his work against vaccination, “tragically wrong”.

The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe. Does it hide a darker core?
“I don’t want to be a flat Earther,” David Weiss says, his voice weary as he reflects on his personal awakening. “Would you wake up in the morning and want everyone to think you’re an idiot?” 2018 Netflix documentary “Behind the Curve.”
https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/16/us/flat-earth-conference-conspiracy-theories-scli-intl/index.html

Anand Giridharadas winners take all 
FACT: the non profits of the world by tech giants are only a front for controlling their power and wealth into perpetuity. They are always using the tax right off to control / solidify their power. It is well known. A Plutocrate never changes the world. They cause homelessness but get the tax right off to build housing for the poor etc. need to protect the citizenry from them.

How to hide a billion dollars – Personal finance for pilfering potentates
https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/10/10/how-to-hide-a-billion-dollars

Senetor Hawley: Bill would also stop Apple from storing data & encryption keys in China, another major security risk for Americans

Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html

Japanese Tech Giant Offers Researchers Million-Dollar Salaries
* Lab offers researchers more than CEO to lure top talent
* Focus is on big tech challenges with at least 5-year horizon
EXCERPT:
Telecom giant NTT Group is offering record pay to hire top scientists as it looks to match some of the basic research prowess of global powerhouses including Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc.

The former Japanese telephone monopoly set annual salaries of as much as $1 million for researchers at its Palo Alto, California, labs, said Kazuhiro Gomi, president of the company’s research arm. That’s more than the company pays its chief executive officer and 41-year veteran Jun Sawada, and a rare step for a traditional Japanese company like NTT.

The increased investment in basic science comes as NTT is regrouping its businesses to focus more on cloud computing services and data centers amid a dimming outlook for profit from its mainstay mobile phone carrier. Having star scientists on the lab’s payroll, backed by a 25 billion yen ($230 million) five-year budget, helps the group draw better technology workers and partners as it wages a global war for top talent it needs to expand globally, Gomi said.

“We are competing with companies like Google and Apple,” said Gomi, explaining that the company had traditionally followed the Japanese norm of modest pay. “It wouldn’t be possible several years back.”

Tatsuaki Okamoto, director of cryptography & information security for NTT Research, is an example of a star that has helped draw in other top researchers in encryption, where interest in crypto-currencies has led to surging demand for expertise. Okamoto, an NTT R&D fellow since 1999, is known globally as a key researcher on block-chain technologies for crypto-currencies…
[…]
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/japanese-tech-giant-offers-researchers-million-dollar-salaries/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-19/japan-s-ntt-is-offering-1-million-salaries-to-lure-researchers

NSF unwittingly hired a professor guilty of bullying, highlighting the ‘pass the harasser’ problem
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11/nsf-unwittingly-hired-professor-guilty-bullying-highlighting-pass-harasser-problem

Be A Flu Fighter!

Be A Flu Fighter! Protect Yourself and Others

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/partners/flu-fighters.htm

Call the CDC 800-232-4636

Every year people around the world work to study, track, and prevent flu. This page profiles some of these flu fighters and the work they are doing to contribute to flu prevention in the U.S. and around the world!

The National Influenza Prevention and Vaccination Campaign aims to increase flu vaccination rates among all people 6 months of age and older across the United States, with a special focus on health care professionals and those populations at high risk of flu complications including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, seniors, and young children.

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)! Did you know that flu season can begin as early as October, it usually peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May? As long as flu virsues are spreading, it's not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones through fall, winter and into spring. #GetAFluVax

Join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and campaign partners in promoting vaccination messages using various digital platforms and partner resources.

For more involved partnership request, email fluinbox@cdc.gov

It’s Not Too Late!

It’s that time of year again — flu season. As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Get a flu vaccine now if you have not gotten vaccinated yet this season.

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Even if you are vaccinated and still get sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of your illness. Flu vaccination also can help protect women during and after pregnancy and protect the baby born to a vaccinated mom for several months after birth. Flu vaccine also has been shown to save children’s lives, prevent serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevent flu-related hospitalization among working age adults and older adults. Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as babies, older adults, and pregnant women.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season! Find a place near you to get a flu vaccine with the

HealthMap Vaccine Finder  https://vaccinefinder.org/

Call Your Senator to Remove Trump

Call Your Senator to Remove Trump

UNITED STATES SENATE
116th CONGRESS
SUITE and TELEPHONE LIST

https://www.cop.senate.gov/ PDF

FACT  The Constitution doesn’t indicate that removal from office requires two-thirds of the Senate.

It  ONLY requires two-thirds of the Senators that are Present for the trial.

The inclusion of this single word in the Constitution’s impeachment clauses shifts the mathematical ledger of how impeachment, however unlikely, could go down.

It allows for the all-important 2/3rds threshold to exist along a sliding scale — far from the full attendance of the 100-member Senate.

“It’s a sliding scale,” says Alan Frumin, the former Parliamentarian of the Senate who now holds emeritus status. “In other words, it’s not an absolute two-thirds, it’s two-thirds of some number. And there you get to the question of the denominator.”
https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/10/10/the-impeachment-loophole-no-ones-talking-about/

SENATORS  WHO WANT TO REMOVE TRUMP CAN JUST GO TO CHURCH THAT DAY AND PRAY FOR AMERICA INSTEAD.

NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST

The Family: It’s Not About Faith, It’s About Power

In theory, a vote to convict the President (or anyone else) would count as legal with as few as 34 members.

“The Constitution contains quorum requirements [elsewhere] and clearly distinguishes between percentages of a particular chamber and percentages of ‘members present,’” said Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School and the co-author of the book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment. “That language in the provision for Senate conviction on impeachment charges is quite deliberate, creating precisely the possibility” described above.

TRUE: Trump’s impeachment doesn’t require 20 Republicans, says Laurence Tribe. It could happen with zero.

THE SENATE SECRET BALLET VOTE LOOPHOLE CAN REMOVE TRUMP

It would only take 3 Republican senators to force a secret ballot on impeachment trial. That way they don’t  have to face backlash from constituents or the media or the president himself.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/12/1898896/-It-would-only-take-3-Republican-senators-to-force-a-secret-ballot-on-impeachment-trial

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has stated that if the senate vote to remove Trump based on this week’s findings were done by secret ballot, at least 35 of the 52 republican senators would vote to remove Trump.

Trump said:

“I don’t know how you can impeach someone who’s done a great job. I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor. Because without this [points at his head, referring to his brain and his thinking], you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

DONALD TRUMP IS AMERICA’S ANTI-PRESIDENT | OPINION LAURENCE H. TRIBE

MOSCOW MITCH = TREASON

ETHICS ETHICS ETHICS
Social media, infowar, cyber and human security and ethics

NOT TRUE  — A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

STUPID JOURNALISTS  popularized by Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Hayes; presidential candidates and members of Congress; USA Today and Reuters, CNBC and Vox’s Matthew Yglesias. This is especially true among the President’s champions, who cheerfully assure the GOP faithful that Trump’s fortunes are sealed by math.

NOT TRUE A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

NOT TRUE A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

NOT TRUE A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

NOT TRUE A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

NOT TRUE A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president.

 

Don’t use Google Anymore you can’t find what you want.

Don’t use Google Anymore you can’t find what you want.

The internet giant uses blacklists, algorithm tweaks and an army of contractors to shape what you see

EXCERPT:

Google executives have said repeatedly — in private meetings with outside groups and in congressional testimony — that the algorithms are objective and essentially autonomous, unsullied by human biases or business considerations.

The company states in a Google blog, “We do not use human curation to collect or arrange the results on a page.” It says it can’t divulge details about how the algorithms work because the company is involved in a long-running and high-stakes battle with those who want to profit by gaming the system.

But that message often clashes with what happens behind the scenes. Over time, Google has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

Those actions often come in response to pressure from businesses, outside interest groups and governments around the world. They have increased sharply since the 2016 election and the rise of online misinformation, the Journal found.

Google’s evolving approach marks a shift from its founding philosophy of “organizing the world’s information,” to one that is far more active in deciding how that information should appear.

More than 100 interviews and the Journal’s own testing of Google’s search results reveal:

Google made algorithmic changes to its search results that favor big businesses over smaller ones, and in at least one case made changes on behalf of a major advertiser, eBay Inc., contrary to its public position that it never takes that type of action. The company also boosts some major websites, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Google engineers regularly make behind-the-scenes adjustments to other information the company is increasingly layering on top of its basic search results. These features include auto-complete suggestions, boxes called “knowledge panels” and “featured snippets,” and news results, which aren’t subject to the same company policies limiting what engineers can remove or change.

Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results. These moves are separate from those that block sites as required by U.S. or foreign law, such as those featuring child abuse or with copyright infringement, and from changes designed to demote spam sites, which attempt to game the system to appear higher in results.

• In auto-complete, the feature that predicts search terms as the user types a query, Google’s engineers have created algorithms and blacklists to weed out more-incendiary suggestions for controversial subjects, such as abortion or immigration, in effect filtering out inflammatory results on high-profile topics.

• Google employees and executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have disagreed on how much to intervene on search results and to what extent. Employees can push for revisions in specific search results, including on topics such as vaccinations and autism.

• To evaluate its search results, Google employs thousands of low-paid contractors whose purpose the company says is to assess the quality of the algorithms’ rankings. Even so, contractors said Google gave feedback to these workers to convey what it considered to be the correct ranking of results, and they revised their assessments accordingly, according to contractors interviewed by the Journal. The contractors’ collective evaluations are then used to adjust algorithms.

THE JOURNAL’S FINDINGS undercut one of Google’s core defenses against global regulators worried about how it wields its immense power—that the company doesn’t exert editorial control over what it shows users. Regulators’ areas of concern include anticompetitive practices, political bias and online misinformation.

Far from being autonomous computer programs oblivious to outside pressure, Google’s algorithms are subject to regular tinkering from executives and engineers who are trying to deliver relevant search results, while also pleasing a wide variety of powerful interests and driving its parent company’s more than $30 billion in annual profit. Google is now the most highly trafficked website in the world, surpassing 90% of the market share for all search engines. The market capitalization of its parent, Alphabet Inc., is more than $900 billion.

Google made more than 3,200 changes to its algorithms in 2018, up from more than 2,400 in 2017 and from about 500 in 2010, according to Google and a person familiar with the matter. Google said 15% of queries today are for words, or combinations of words, that the company has never seen before, putting more demands on engineers to make sure the algorithms deliver useful results.

A Google spokeswoman disputed the Journal’s conclusions, saying, “We do today what we have done all along, provide relevant results from the most reliable sources available.”

Lara Levin, the spokeswoman, said the company is transparent in its guidelines for evaluators and in what it designs the algorithms to do.

AS PART OF ITS EXAMINATION, the Journal tested Google’s search results over several weeks this summer and compared them with results from two competing search engines, Microsoft Corp. ’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused company that builds its results from syndicated feeds from other companies, including Verizon Communications Inc. ’s Yahoo search engine.  https://www.startpage.com

The testing showed wide discrepancies in how Google handled auto-complete queries and some of what Google calls organic search results—the list of websites that Google says are algorithmically sorted by relevance in response to a user’s query. (Read about the methodology for the Journal’s analysis.)

Ms. Levin, the Google spokeswoman, declined to comment on specific results of the Journal’s testing. In general, she said, “Our systems aim to provide relevant results from authoritative sources,” adding that organic search results alone “are not representative of the information made accessible via search.”

The Journal tested the auto-complete feature, which Google says draws from its vast database of search information to predict what a user intends to type, as well as data such as a user’s location and search history. The testing showed the extent to which Google doesn’t offer certain suggestions compared with other search engines.

Typing “Joe Biden is” or “Donald Trump is” in auto-complete, Google offered predicted language that was more innocuous than the other search engines. Similar differences were shown for other presidential candidates tested by the Journal.

The Journal also tested several search terms in auto-complete such as “immigrants are” and “abortion is.” Google’s predicted searches were less inflammatory than those of the other engines.

See the results of the Journal’s auto-complete tests…
[…]
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-google-interferes-with-its-search-algorithms-and-changes-your-results-11573823753

Educational CyberPlayGround: NetHappenings Newsletter 11-19-19

Educational CyberPlayGround: NetHappenings Newsletter
11-19-19

TECHNOLOGY

Supreme Court, Finally, Takes Up Google v. Oracle
The court’s involvement is sure to reignite a 50-year-old debate over how much, if any, software should be subject to copyright, and the contours of the fair use defense in the digital age.
https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2019/11/15/supreme-court-finally-takes-up-google-v-oracle/

New sign pops up to warn of mythical Bogus Basin Road ‘trolls’
https://www.idahopress.com/news/local/new-sign-pops-up-to-warn-of-mythical-bogus-basin/article_fff9495f-3b6f-5d0f-a6d0-cc4ff0cde895.html

Demonstrators to scan public faces in DC to show lack of facial recognition laws
https://www.cnet.com/news/demonstrators-to-scan-public-faces-in-dc-to-show-lack-of-facial-recognition-laws

Scammers deepfake CEO’s voice to talk underling into $243,000 transfer
https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/09/05/scammers-deepfake-ceos-voice-to-talk-underling-into-243000-transfer/

HEALTH

I’m the Google whistleblower. The medical data of millions of Americans is at risk
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/14/im-the-google-whistleblower-the-medical-data-of-millions-of-americans-is-at-risk

Elizabeth Warren rips into billionaires who oppose wealth tax in scathing ad
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/14/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax-campaign-ad-billionaires

While Everyone Was Watching Impeachment Hearings, DOJ Argued Roger Stone Lied to Protect Trump
https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/while-everyone-was-watching-impeachment-hearings-doj-argued-roger-stone-lied-to-protect-trump/

EDUCATION

Del Mar insurance exec gets longest sentence yet in college bribery scheme
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/story/2019-11-13/del-mar-toby-macfarlane-prison-college-bribery-sentence

Ohio House passes bill allowing student answers to be scientifically wrong due to religion 
http://local12.com/news/local/ohio-house-passes-bill-allowing-student-answers-to-be-scientifically-wrong-due-to-religion

Zuckerberg’s business is no longer sustainable.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/13/magazine/internet-future.html
Facebook now had to concede that there was no foolproof way to stop those voices from saying things that were unfactual or malevolent, or to stop their friends and followers from believing them.
The chief executive was forced to admit that his platform, far from solving social problems, had given rise to some thorny ones of its own. In his bracing rhetoric about the rise of the Chinese internet, you could even see the contours of Zuckerberg’s nightmare — of the virtuous cycle becoming a vicious one, with the gravitational pull of Facebook reversing, spinning its billions of users and their monetizable conversations out of his platform and inexorably toward China, toward despotism, toward dystopia: a TikTok of a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

The Solidarity Economy Map and Directory

The SE is about building an economy for people and planet.
Are you interested in being able to find worker coops, community land trusts, community gardens, social currencies, credit unions, community banks, and other solidarity economy businesses or practices? You can find them here.

New York state judge rejects Trump claim that he can’t be sued because he is president.

Trump Foundation lawsuit: New York state judge rejects Trump claim that he can’t be sued because he is president.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/23/new-york-state-judge-rejects-trump-claim-that-he-cant-be-sued-because-hes-president.html

State courts have not accepted the argument that litigation cannot be prosecuted against a sitting president.

Trump Must Pay $2 Million For Violation of Foundation Rules

Judge refuses to impose double damages because of agreement to avoid recurrence of wrongdoing.

President Donald J. Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million in damages for improperly using the charitable assets of his private foundation to intervene in the 2016 Presidential election and further his political interests.  A trial court judge has rejected a request by the New York Attorney General that he be ordered to pay double damages because he has stipulated to “a number of proactive conditions so that the conduct which engendered this petition should not occur in the future.” The judicial Order essentially winds up the case first brought by the Attorney General in June 2018, charging Trump and his children as the Foundation’s directors with breach of fiduciary duty in ignoring their oversight duties and charging that President Trump “repeatedly used Foundation money for his own personal, business, and political interests, including unlawful coordination with his 2016 presidential campaign.”
(See Ready Reference Page: “The Charges Against the Trump Foundation.”)

The Attorney General and the defendants have entered into a series of stipulations to resolve the case.  In December, 2018, following a court decision in favor of the Attorney General’s Office, the Foundation agreed to shut down and dissolve under court supervision.  In October, they agreed that the Foundation’s remaining assets of about $1.78 million would be distributed to a group of charities with no connection to Trump or his family.

On October 1, the parties agreed to a set of factual stipulations in which the defendants essentially agreed to the charges of the original petition.  Among the agreements were:

–  The Board of Directors, which included Trump, Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric F. Trump, did not meet from 1999 through November, 2018 and “did not provide oversight, set policy or approve the direction, operations or acts of the Foundation … and did not adopt a conflict of interest policy after July 2014, when such policy was required.”

–  They allowed an Iowa Fundraiser in January, 2016 to be used as a campaign event, developed by campaign personnel and used for campaign purposes.  The event raised approximately $5.6 million for veterans’ groups, with $2.8 million being contributed to the Foundation and granted out to various groups.  Trump announced the foundation grants at a campaign press conference.

–  Foundation funds were used to help settle litigation against Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Palm Beach, FL, owned by a company controlled by Trump, for violating a local ordinance.

–  Foundation funds were also used to help settle litigation arising out of a hole-in-one claim in a charity golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Course in Briarcliff, NY.

–  The Foundation made a $25,000 contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s political campaign fund.  The Foundation paid an excise tax to the IRS for the improper expenditure and Trump reimbursed the Foundation for the $25,000.

–  The Foundation paid for an advertisement in a charity event program book in which it advertised the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

–  The Foundation paid $10,000 for a painting of Trump bought at a charity auction and utilized in Mar-a-Lago.

–  The Foundation donated $32,000 to the North American Land Trust to satisfy a pledge by an entity owned by Trump that held title to his estate in West Chester County, NY.

–  The Foundation also purchased about $11,000 of Tim Tebow sports paraphernalia at another charity auction, for which Trump was required to reimburse the Foundation.

The stipulation sets forth the agreed upon facts but says that it cannot be used by any third party and “shall not be construed as an admission of liability” by the defendants. The Trump children agreed to complete “an in-person, interactive board training session pertaining to charitable organizations and the fiduciary responsibilities of those organizations’ directors and officers.”  Upon certification that they had completed the training, the charges were dismissed against them. Trump agreed that if he ever serves on a charity’s board of directors in New York he will not engage in any self-dealing.  Any charity he joins must have a majority of independent directors, must engage counsel with expertise in New York not-for-profit law, and must engage the services of an accounting firm to monitor and audit the organization’s grants and expenses. The Attorney General asked that Trump be ordered to repay the entire $2.8 million in grants paid to veterans’ organizations by the Foundation, but the judge was unwilling to do so.  “Taking into consideration that the Funds did ultimately reach their intended destinations, i.e. charitable organizations supporting veterans,” Judge Salliann Scarpulla ordered that Trump pay only $2 million. She approved the distribution of funds be paid to the eight charities sharing in the distribution of the remaining assets: Army Emergency Relief, The Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals-on-wheels, Give an Hour, Marta’s Table, United Negro College Fund, United Way of National Capital Area, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (People v. Trump, Supreme Ct., NY County, NY, Index No. 451130/2018, 11/7/19.)

(1) The Attorney General can prosecute violations of the Internal Revenue Code as well as state law because the private foundation rules of the U.S. Treasury require that the private foundation limitations must be included in the state law governing documents of a private foundation;

(2) The case went forward, with investigation, court orders and resolution, even though the prime defendant was President of the United States.  State courts have not accepted the argument that litigation cannot be prosecuted against a sitting president.

Trump Hired televangelical scammer Paula White

It’s Paula’s White House | Full Frontal on TBS

Trump just hired televangelical Paula White as his faith advisor, which doesn’t come as a surprise given that both of them worship the same god: Money.

The Family: It’s Not About Faith, It’s About Power | Official Trailer | Netflix