Tag Archives: Google

Google’s File on You Is 10 Times Bigger Than Facebook’s — Here’s How to View It, by Jake Anderson

If you look it up, you’ll probably be amazed at how much data Google has on you. There are ways to limit its data collection. From Jake Anderson at theantimedia.org:

With all the attention paid to Facebook in recent weeks over ‘data breaches’ and privacy violations (even though what happened with Cambridge Analytica is part of their standard business model), it’s easy to forget that there are four other Big Tech corporations collecting just as much — if not more — of our personal info. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are all central players in “surveillance capitalism” and prey on our data. New reports suggest that Google may actually harvest ten times as much as Facebook.

Curious about just how much of his data Google had, web developer Dylan Curran says he downloaded his Google data file, which is offered by the company in a hub called “My Account.” This hub was created in 2015, along with a tool called “My Activity.” The report issued is similar to the one Facebook delivers to its users upon request. Whether or not these reports are comprehensive is still up in the air, but Curran says his was 5.5 GB, which is almost ten times larger than the one Facebook offered him. The amount and type of data in his file, Mr. Curran says, suggests Google is not only constantly tracking our online movements but may also be monitoring our physical locations.

Curran’s Google report contained an incredible amount documentation on his web activity, going back over a decade. But perhaps more importantly, Google had also been tracking his real-life movements via his smartphone device or tablet. This included fairly random places he’d frequented, many of the foreign countries and cities he visited, the bars and restaurants he went to while in these countries, the amount of time he spent there, and even the path he took to get there and back.

This, of course, is not new. It has been well-known for some time that Google silently tracks you everywhere you go and creates a map of your physical movements through its Location History feature. You can deactivate it by going to your timeline and adjusting the preferences.

To continue reading: Google’s File on You Is 10 Times Bigger Than Facebook’s — Here’s How to View It

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What Makes AI Dangerous? The State, by Per Bylund

As with most new technologies that have both benefits and dangers, the dangers are most pronounced when the technology gets in the hands of governments. From Per Bylund at mises.org:

So I watched “Do you trust this computer?”, a film that “explores the promises and perils” of artificial intelligence. While it notes both the good and the bad, it has an obvious focus on how AI might bring about “the end of the world as we know it” (TEOTWAWKI.) That is, if it is left unregulated.

It’s strange, however, that the examples of TEOTWAWKI AI were “autonomous weapons” and “fake news,” the latter because of how it can provide a path for a minority-supported dictator to “take over.” While I understand (and fear) both, the examples have one thing in common – but it is not AI.

That one thing is the State. Only States’ militaries and groups looking to take over a State have any interest in “killer robots.” They’re also developed by/for those groups. The fake news and “undue influence” issue is also about the power over the State. Neither weapons nor fake news require AI. Yet, in some strange twist, the film makers make it an AI problem. Worse: they end the film indicating that the main problem is that AI is “unregulated.”

But this is completely illogical: with the State as the problem’s common denominator *and* the solution?

Instead, we’re led to believe that it is problematic that Google tracks our web searches and Facebook knows our friends and beliefs (“because autonomous weapons”?). While I agree that it is ugly, neither company is making a claim over life and death. In fact, they operate under the harshest regulation there is: the market. Because they are making investments to make money, and money can only be made in one of two ways: through offering something that people want and are willing to pay for (Oppenheimer’s “economic” means), or through simply taking it from people against their will (“political” means). Companies operate according to the former, which means they are subject to the mercy of consumers. The State operate according to the latter.

 

To continue reading: What Makes AI Dangerous? The State

The Big Tech Backlash of 2018, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

There’s a revolt brewing against the tech titans that have been stock market darlings the last few years. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Something must be terribly wrong with the world. A few days ago Elizabeth Warren agreed with Trump on China, now Bernie Sanders agrees with him about Amazon. What’s happening?

Bernie Sanders Agrees With Trump: Amazon Has Too Much Power

Independent Vermont senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders echoed President Donald Trump in expressing concern about retail giant Amazon. Sanders said that he felt Amazon had gotten too big on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, and added that Amazon’s place in society should be examined.

“And I think this is, look, this is an issue that has got to be looked at. What we are seeing all over this country is the decline in retail. We’re seeing this incredibly large company getting involved in almost every area of commerce. And I think it is important to take a look at the power and influence that Amazon has,” said Sanders.

A backlash against Facebook, a backlash against Amazon. Are these things connected? Actually, yes, they are connected. But not in a way that either Trump or Sanders has clued in to. Someone who has, a for now lone voice, is David Stockman. Here’s what he wrote last week.

The Donald’s Blind Squirrel Nails An Acorn

It is said that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, and so it goes with the Donald. Banging on his Twitter keyboard in the morning darkness, he drilled Jeff Bezos a new one – or at least that’s what most people would call having their net worth lightened by about $2 billion:

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” You can’t get more accurate than that. Amazon is a monstrous predator enabled by the state, but Amazon’s outrageous postal subsidy – a $1.46 gift card from the USPS stabled on each box – isn’t the half of it.

To continue reading: The Big Tech Backlash of 2018

Never mind Facebook, Google is the all-seeing ‘big brother’ you should know about, by RT News

When it comes to collecting data, Facebook is an amateur compared to pros at Google. From RT news at rt.com:

The Cambridge Analytica scandal put Facebook through the wringer in recent weeks, losing the company $100 billion in stock value and prompting a global debate on internet privacy.

The social media giant was forced to apologize and overhaul its privacy and data sharing practices, but it still remains in the media spotlight and in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission, which says it may be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of fines.

But amid all the furor, one monolithic entity has continued to harvest data from billions of people worldwide. The data gathered includes a precise log of your every move and every internet search you’ve ever made, every email you’ve ever sent, your workout routine, your favourite food, and every photo you’ve ever taken. And you have allowed it to happen to yourself, for the sake of better service and more relevant advertising.

Google is a ‘Big Brother’ with capabilities beyond George Orwell’s wildest nightmares. These capabilities are all the more chilling after Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., cut its famous “don’t be evil” line from its code of conduct in 2015.

Everything you’ve ever searched for on any of your devices is recorded and stored by Google. It’s done to better predict your future searches and speed up and streamline your browsing. You can clear your search history, but it only works for that particular device. Google still keeps a record of everything. Click here to see everything you’ve ever searched on a Google device.

The same goes for every app and extension you use. If it’s connected to Google, your data is stored. That means that your Facebook messages are not only farmed out to companies like Cambridge Analytica, Google also has them from the Facebook app you use.

YouTube, which is a Google subsidiary, also stores a history of every video you watch. It will know if you’ve listened to Linkin Park’s ‘In the End’ 3,569 times, or watched hours of flat-earth conspiracy theory videos.

To continue reading: Never mind Facebook, Google is the all-seeing ‘big brother’ you should know about

Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users? by Charles Hugh Smith

The mechanics of the social media companies paying users for their data are daunting, but it’s an intriguing idea. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Let’s imagine a model in which the marketers of data distribute some of their immense profits to the users who created and thus “own” the data being sold for a premium.
It’s not exactly news that Facebook, Google and other “free” services reap billions of dollars in profits by selling data mined/collected from their millions of users. As we know, If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold, also phrased as if the service is free, you are the product.
Correspondent GFB recently asked, why aren’t Facebook et al. sharing a slice of the profits reaped from users’ data with the users who create the data?Given the enormous data processing capabilities of these tech giants, it’s certainly not a technical issue to credit each user a micro-payment when the data they create and thus “own” (since the creator of any digital product is by rights the owner of that product, including data sold to marketers) is sold.
Is the presumption that the collector of users’ data “own” that data via the collection process false, legally and ethically? Teams of attorneys may well be employed to support this claim on legal grounds, but what about the ethics of this data-mining of the many to profit the few with the means to collect and sell the data harvested from users?
Now that the ethical foundation of all these tech giants has been revealed to be nothing but shifting sand, it’s a line of inquiry worth pursuing. In some ways it parallels the situation in biomedicine: if a private-sector corporation harvests a particular genetic variation from an individual, do they “own” the variation because they detected it, or does the individual whose tissue/blood was harvested retain some ownership?
We need to differentiate sites and services that 1) do not collect data from users and 2) sell display advertising seen equally by all users (i.e. the traditional media model) and sites and services that 1) collect data from users as their “business model” / reason to exist and 2) sell marketing/advertising for a premium because it’s targeted to individual users.
The difference between these two models is obvious: one is “broadcast” available equally to users and advertisers alike. The other is “targeted marketing” based on data harvested from individual users.

Google’s employment quotas are racist, sexist says ex recruiter, by Frank Sellers

SLL has had its say on Google and it’s politically correct culture. Now an ex recruiter is confirming that Google’s hiring is based on racial and sexual quotas. From Frank Sellers at redpilltimes.com:

In a recent lawsuit against the Silicone Valley tech giant, a former recruiter for both Google and Youtube alleges that his former employer applied filters to their hiring process that were focused on race and gender.

Arne Wilberg filed a civil lawsuit in San Mateo Superior Court against Google on the basis that they employ racial and gender discrimination when hiring people to tech positions within the company, violating both state and federal laws prohibiting such activities.

Wilberg says he was told by the tech staffing manager to consider only those candidates who were from “historically underrepresented groups.”

He also alleges that he was ordered to cancel interviews with candidates who were not female, black, hispanic, and to trash any applications from applicants not fitting those demographics.

It was when Wilberg refused to comply with this order that he experienced considerable friction from the company’s management. The Register reports:

A former recruiter for Google and YouTube has sued the search ad beast, claiming he was fired for objecting to hiring policies that discriminated against white and Asian men.

In a civil lawsuit filed in January in San Mateo Superior Court, plaintiff Arne Wilberg contended that he was an exemplary employee who received positive performance evaluations “until he began opposing illegal hiring and recruiting practices at Google.”

The lawsuit follows in the wake of a similar claim in January by former Google engineer James Damore, fired for penning a memo against diversity.

Silicon Valley-based tech companies, chided for hiring mostly white and Asian men in technical and leadership roles, have tried to figure out ways to develop more inclusive, diverse workforces. Many have adopted policies and programs designed to encourage more balanced hiring, not only to right past discrimination but for their own economic advantage: According to management consultancy McKinsey, diverse companies deliver better financial results.

The problem is that mandatory quotas based on gender or ethnicity may violate US anti-discrimination laws, depending on how they’re implemented.

To continue reading: Google’s employment quotas are racist, sexist says ex recruiter

Google Suspends Fact Check Project, Crediting The DCNF Investigation With Decision, by Eric Lieberman

Google said it was going to start checking facts, and The Daily Caller noticed that the only “facts” it checked came from conservative websites. Now Google is backpedalling on the fact-checking. From Eric Lieberman at dailycaller.com:

Google says it is discontinuing its fact-check feature because it proved to be too faulty for public use, directly attributing the decision to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The company has no date set for when it will return, if ever.

“We launched the reviewed claims feature at the end of last year as an experiment with the aim of helping people quickly learn more about news publications,” a spokeswoman for Google told TheDCNF, while also adding that TheDCNF was the catalyst for the recent move. “We said previously that we encountered challenges in our systems that maps fact checks to publishers, and on further examination it’s clear that we are unable to deliver the quality we’d like for users.”

There were two main problems with the fact-check widget, which appeared on the sidebar of Google’s search results for very few sites and publications.

First, the legitimate outlets chosen were virtually all ones with conservatives audiences. The Daily Caller, for example, was given such treatment, while sites like Vox, Slate, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones and several others clearly on the left side of the political spectrum were not.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, many of the fact-checks were wrong. One of the purported reviewed claims was for an article that straightforwardly reported that yet another member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team was a donor for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

Google attributed the fact-check to The Washington Post, something it’s vice president of communications took issue with.

“We went back and double-checked the story and the information submitted to Google, and The Daily Caller was not mentioned at all, even in links,” Kristine Coratti, of WaPo, told TheDCNF. “We clearly labeled the source, so I cannot speak to how The Daily Caller ended up being erroneously listed as the source of the fact-checked quote in this case.”

To continue reading: Google Suspends Fact Check Project, Crediting The DCNF Investigation With Decision