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
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.
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 rankingof 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.
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Credibility, not information, is the real currency!
Newspapers are still considered by most as credible. American Newspapers still decide what is a real story by covering it, which is makes it important and real.
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” is an adage and meme about Internet anonymity which began as a cartoon caption written by Peter Steiner and published by The New Yorker on July 5, 1993.
The Internet democratized access to the production and dissemination of information and simultaneously destroyed the economics of high-quality journalism while leaving in place the culture and custom of credibility and truth.
Boeing’s poor information security posture threatens passenger safety, national security, researcher says
Boeing test development networks are publicly exposed to the internet, Kubecka said, and at least one of Boeing’s email servers is infected with multiple strains of malware. Kubecka believes that the infected email servers are being used to exfiltrate sensitive intellectual property including code used in both civilian passenger aircraft as well as aircraft Boeing sells to the US military.
Kubecka, a well-respected security researcher, critical infrastructure expert, and Air Force veteran, tells CSO she has struggled to report what she calls blatant, easily fixable security issues for more than six months. She also alleges that Boeing, through back channels at DEF CON, threatened her with legal action and a public relations smear campaign to prevent her from going public. Kubecka declined to identify who made the threats, when and where they were made, or how they might be associated with Boeing.
“If I saw a broken door on an aircraft, I would not get in trouble for reporting to the FAA that the plane flew,” Kubecka tells CSO. “But as a security researcher, it’s legally fraught to report security vulnerabilities.” https://www.csoonline.com/article/3451585/boeings-poor-information-security-posture-threatens-passenger-safety-national-security-researcher-s.html
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging into the accounts of kingdom critics. The arrest of one of the former Twitter employees, Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen who is alleged to have spied on the accounts of three users — including one whose posts discussed the inner workings of the Saudi leadership — on behalf of the government in Riyadh.
The Justice Department has charged two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia by accessing the company’s information on dissidents who use the platform, marking the first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States. One of those implicated in the scheme, according to court papers, is an associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who the CIA has concluded likely ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year.
In Trump’s Twitter Feed: Conspiracy-Mongers, Racists and Spies
“…The New York Times examined Mr. Trump’s interactions with Twitter since he took office, reviewing each of his more than 11,000 tweets and the hundreds of accounts he has retweeted, tracking the ways he is exposed to information and replicating what he is likely to see on the platform. The result, including new data analysis and previously unreported details, offers the most comprehensive view yet of a virtual world in which the president spends significant time mingling with extremists, impostors and spies. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/02/us/politics/trump-twitter-disinformation.html
Dark Web: 8chan returns with new name 8kun
8kun warning says ‘Any content that violates the laws of the United States of America will be deleted and the poster will be banned.’” Launched in 2013 by Fredrick Brennan as an alternative to 4chan, 8chan had been linked to harassment campaigns, racism, misogyny, neo-Nazism, pedophilia and mass shootings. It was also a hub for believers of far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, which claims that a secret cabal of “Satan-worshiping pedophiles” rules the world and that only Donald Trump can stop them. https://mashable.com/article/8chan-8kun-rebrand-return
The Pentagon is under assault every hour of the day
Microsoft’s $10 billion contract win over cloud rival Amazon for the ultra-lucrative military contact means that an intelligence-gathering apparatus among the most important in the world is based in the woods outside Seattle. These kinds of national security responsibilities once sat almost exclusively in Washington, DC. Now in this corner of Washington state, dozens of engineers and intelligence analysts are dedicated to watching and stopping the government-sponsored hackers proliferating around the world. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614646/inside-the-microsoft-team-tracking-the-worlds-most-dangerous-hackers/
Following a recent conference of foreign security and law enforcement agencies, the head of Russia’s State Security Service, the FSB, made the surprising announcement that Russia and the United States have resumed cooperation on cybersecurity.
“We are maintaining working contacts by our experts and special unit heads with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency,” said Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, noting that such contacts should always occur, regardless of the foreign policy situation.
Behind-the-scenes cooperation with the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to cybercrime and terrorism, is a theme the Kremlin likes to push onto center stage every so often. And according to our sources there is indeed some consultation at a practical level, but for Washington’s intelligence professionals it’s a very delicate, very dangerous game, complicated enormously by the inclinations and prejudices of President Donald J. Trump.
In response to queries about Bortnikov’s statement, spokespersons for both the CIA and the DEA told The Daily Beast that they had no comment, and the FBI has not responded at all. […]
An internal memo on cybersecurity, obtained by Axios, warns that “the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again.”
The state of play: That’s after at least a dozen top- or high-level officials have resigned or been pushed out of a cybersecurity mission that was established under Barack Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats, according to conversations with several current and former officials.
Why Facebook Should Sit Out The 2020 Election.
American democracy is in deep trouble, social media companies have violated our trust too many times to count and, at least in the US, there’s no way to regulate digital election ads — or to even ask the Federal Elections Commission, which has been effectively shut down under Republican control, to offer guidance. Without oversight, there’s no civically responsible way to allow digital ad buys. From my experience as a political strategist for Democratic candidates and advocacy groups, I believe Facebook should adopt the same policy. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/melissaryan1/facebook-political-ads-2020-election-dorsey-zuckerberg
Why worry about the KGB when ISPs do a fantastic job lying to Congress
ISPs lied to Congress to spread confusion about encrypted DNS, Mozilla says. “Mozilla is urging Congress to reject the broadband industry’s lobbying campaign against encrypted DNS in Firefox and Chrome. The Internet providers’ fight against this privacy feature raises questions about how they use broadband customers’ Web-browsing data, Mozilla wrote in a letter sent [yesterday] to the chairs and ranking members of three House of Representatives committees.” https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/11/isps-lied-to-congress-to-spread-confusion-about-encrypted-dns-mozilla-says/
0-Day Alert! #Google is warning Windows, Mac, #Linux users to update their #Chrome browser (to 78.0.3904.87) immediately due to a security vulnerability.
Chrome, Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and Opera’s “private” browsing mode is not truly private. Brave was created with a built-in ad-blocker to give you the fastest internet browsing experience, while providing the deepest level of privacy and security protection. Brave also lets you control who profits from your data with blockchain-based tokens. Faster, Safer, Ad-Free Browsing.
This Is How the U.S. Military’s Massive Facial Recognition System Works The presentation also sheds light on how military, state, and local law enforcement biometrics systems are linked. According to Krizay’s presentation, ABIS is connected to the FBI’s biometric database, which is in turn connected to databases used by state and local law enforcement. Ultimately, that means that the U.S. military can readily search against biometric data of U.S. citizens and cataloged non-citizens. The DFBA is also currently working to connect its data to the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database. The network will ultimately amount to a global surveillance system. In his notes, Krizay outlines a potential scenario in which data from a suspect in Detroit would be run against data collected from “some mountaintop in Asia.”
The documents, which are embedded in full below, were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. These documents were presented earlier this year at a closed-door defense biometrics conference known as the Identity Management Symposium… https://onezero.medium.com/exclusive-this-is-how-the-u-s-militarys-massive-facial-recognition-system-works-bb764291b96d
Kremlin connections to investments in Facebook and Twitter are the results of a capitalist “free market” fetish.
Paradise Papers reveal Companies controlled by the Russian government quietly invested in several major Silicon Valley startups, including Facebook.
11/5/17 Paradise Papers reveals a vast financial network—beyond the reach of most governments—maintained by the world’s wealthiest people. They include commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth of the UK, and a close advisor to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Here’s a guide to the major revelations in the Paradise Papers https://qz.com/1120731/paradise-papers-a-guide-to-the-major-revelations/
Wilbur Ross’s business ties to Putin’s inner circle US commerce secretary Wilbur Rossmaintains a stake in a shipping company that is closely linked to the family of Russian president Vladimir Putin. According to the Paradise Papers, Ross owns between $2 million and $10 million in shipping company Navigator. The second-biggest client of Navigator is Russian gas company Sibur. Kirill Shamalov, who is Putin’s son-in-law, has been deputy chairman of Sibur’s board and until April owned more than a fifth of the company. (He has since reduced his ownership share.) @SecretaryRoss conceals business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law.
also …. Former Co-Chair of (Russian Laundromat) Bank of Cyprus
REMINDER- Paul Manafort & Rick Gates allegedly laundered money through bank accounts in Cyprus. @SecretaryRoss & @DeutscheBank former chairman Josef Ackermann served on the board of Bank of Cyprus.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia.
Wall Street’s Liquidity Crisis: It’s Not Getting Better https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/wall-streets-liquidity-crisis-its-not-getting-better/
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 7, 2019 ~
Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany
This morning, Wall Street’s money spigot arm of the Federal Reserve, the New York Fed, paid out $35 billion in 14-day term loans to Wall Street’s trading houses. The problem was, this morning the banks wanted $41.15 billion or $6.15 billion or $6.15 billion more than the Fed was offering. That’s a very clear sign that liquidity remains tight on Wall Street and we have yet to enter the pivotal year-end period when banks try to dress up their books by dumping or parking their most toxic positions. Between the term loan and the overnight loan, the New York Fed paid out $115 billion this morning to unnamed securities firms on Wall Street. (The Fed won’t say who is doing all of this borrowing and Congress can’t summon the willpower to hold a hearing.) https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/wall-streets-liquidity-crisis-its-not-getting-better/
Dangerous Liaisons: New York Fed and JPMorgan’s Incestuous Relationship By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) is just one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks around the country. But it has amassed enormous powers for itself since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. Three of those powers dwarf all others: the ability to create money electronically at the push of a button; the accepted right to meddle in the markets; and the supervision of some of the largest bank holding companies in America.
After Wall Street blew itself up under the indulging and incompetent supervision of the New York Fed in 2008 and it was exposed that the Fed had secretly created $29 trillion in electronic money to bail out zombie banks – most of that funneled out by the New York Fed – most rational folks would have assumed that Congress would have stripped it of supervisory and money-printing powers for bailouts. Insanely, that did not happen and here we are today with the same deeply-conflicted New York Fed creating its own money to dole out $690 billion a week in super-cheap loans to unnamed securities firms while buying up $60 billion a month in the debt of the United States. (The Fed doesn’t want you to call the $60 billion a month QE4 because that would strongly suggest that this is just Stage II of the continuing 2008 bailout of Wall Street and that QE-Infinity is coming.) https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/dangerous-liaisons-new-york-fed-and-jpmorgans-incestuous-relationship/
They’re urging lawmakers to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act.
A few Google employees joined a group of workers in Washington, DC, on Thursday, urging members of Congress to outlaw mandatory arbitration, a common business practice in employment and consumer contracts that requires workers and customers to take legal disputes to private arbitration — a quasi-legal forum with no judge, no jury, and nearly zero government oversight.
Tanuja Gupta, an engineering program manager who works for Google in New York, is part of a group of tech workers calling for a federal ban on forced arbitration. Last week, Google said the company would stop mandating the practice for employees, largely a response to persistent worker pressure.
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got there through paying off the politicians who allowed antitrust law to atrophy. Antitrust Law has not kept up with technology in 2020.
The politicians who equate Freedom with capitalism that supports monopolies are not taking care of the needs of America and democracy. They are voting their own business interests before that of welfare of 99% of the country.
United States Falls Deeper Into Corrupt Nation Status By Pam Martens: January 29, 2019
The U.S. is no longer in the top 10, or even the top 20, of least corrupt nations. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018 was released today and the United States has fallen four points deeper into corruption than last year. The U.S. now ranks below Luxembourg, Estonia and France, coming in at number 22 on the chart. In the Americas region, only Canada came in among the top 10 least corrupt nations, earning a number 9 ranking. (View the full list here.) Zoe Reiter, Acting Representative to the U.S. at Transparency International said this about the report: “A four point drop in the CPI score is a red flag and comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power. If this trend continues, it would indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally. This is a bipartisan issue that requires a bipartisan solution.”
On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont declared his candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
Wall Street On Paradeendorsed Senator Sanders over Hillary Clinton in 2016because Clinton was effectively running as Wall Street’s candidate and as Obama’s third term. Unfortunately, eight years of Obama had produced zero criminal prosecutions of the executives of the largest Wall Street banks who had brought the country to its knees as they grew obscenely rich from corrupt, cartel behavior at their banks. Obama also seriously misinformed the American people about how little had changed in terms of reining in the risks on Wall Street. Obama also refused to provide a bully pulpit for breaking up the dangerous Wall Street banks by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.
Bernie Sanders explains Democratic Socialism
GOP Pence attacks ‘socialism’
Mike Pence Secures the No Law Zone Around Wall Street By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 25, 2017 Millions of Americans have quietly been pondering for months what a President Mike Pence would be like should Donald Trump be impeached or resign. Yesterday they found out and it’s not a pretty picture. After the U.S. Senate tied 50-50 on a vote yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote to keep the nation’s courthouse doors closed to the customers of the Too-Big-to-Fail banks on Wall Street – effectively strengthening the no law zone that already exists for these banks. The vote came about as a result of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issuing its final rule in July which would allow consumers who have been defrauded in financial transactions involving credit cards and bank accounts to have access to file a group action (known legally as a “class action”) using the nation’s courts.
Last week when Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a new banking bill to break up the mega banks on Wall Street, he had this to say: “In our nation today, we are moving toward an oligarchic form of society where a small number of very wealthy individuals and large corporations have enormous control over our economic and political life. Today, we are in a country where three people, three of the wealthiest people, own more wealth than the bottom half of American society and 52 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.” Sanders made this statement on October 3.
In short, Americans have gotten both the stock market and the government they deserve for failing to meaningfully reform both following the epic 2008 financial crash which pointed so clearly to unprecedented corruption on Wall Street and within the corridors of power in Washington.
Americans’ failure to demand real reform of what Senator Bernie Sanders has correctly called a business model of fraud on Wall Street means that those same behemoth Wall Street banks that crashed the financial system in 2008 are even more dangerous today. For its part, the Trump administration has become a willing enabler to Wall Street’s financial hubris by putting its former lawyer, Jay Clayton, in charge of the Securities and Exchange Commission and a former foreclosure king, Steven Mnuchin, in charge of the U.S. Treasury and the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
Wall Street banks have now grown so massive and interconnected that they are in a position to determine the very future of this nation. The big banks’ share prices are signaling that the day of reckoning is coming in 2019.