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Google Transparency

We want Google to provide a "one-stop" site where users can opt out of tracking across the company's platforms.

Google’s Safe Browsing Staus examines billions of URLs per day looking for unsafe websites. Every day, we discover thousands of new unsafe sites, many of which are legitimate websites that have been compromised. When we detect unsafe sites, we show warnings on Google Search and in web browsers. You can search to see whether a website is currently dangerous to visit.

</don't be evil bullshit>

Google has access to NHS patient data. Apparently that deal does not have regulatory approval – and Google says such approval is not necessary. “Under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006, sharing identifiable health data requires the consent of patients whose data is being shared. Where that consent cannot reasonably be given in practice – in large research projects, for example – those handling the data must go through an ethical approval process via the Confidentiality Advisory Group that culminates with consent being given on patients’ behalf by the UK Secretary of State for Health – currently Jeremy Hunt. DeepMind does not appear in the Health Research Authority database of approved applications, which is updated every two weeks. Google has said that its activities are not bound by such a requirement since patient consent for what it is doing is implied.” It seems to me that for some things you should not settle for “implied.”

Google has cleverly planted dozens of their people in White House, Downing St, other governments. Most brilliant new lobbying effort yet. ~ Rupert Murdoch

Turn off location services? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you Why does Google Play need constant GPS anyway? This article may be confusing two technologies. It is highly likely that no GPS, cell-tower, of Wi-Fi SSID location service at all was involve when when the mentioned researcher walked into a McDonalds an his phone prompted him to download a Mickey-D's App. Rather, Google, and others, are encouraging companies to deploy Bluetooth based "beacons" in their stores.  The location those beacons is fixed and known.  Phones listen to the beacon signals.  Each beacon is named.  The phone contacts Google or Apple to resolve the beacon's name into an action, such as prompting the user to download a store app. This of course, means that your location is known, and is provided to Google (or Apple or ..), but the location information comes from proximity to the beacon, not from any GPS or cell-tower based location service. (This is not to say that these beacons could form yet another source of location information for the location services in the phone.)

the intersection point between US global power and social media - Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, DC, including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel. While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the US State Department, the US State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea, and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. The last forty years has seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy. A toxic piñata of attendees: US officials, telecom magnates, security consultants, finance capitalists, and foreign-policy tech vultures like Alec Ross (Cohen’s twin at the State Department).33 At the hard core are the arms contractors and career military: active US Cyber Command chieftains, and even the admiral responsible for all US military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. Tying up the package are Jared Cohen and the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt.

HALF OF ALL CLASSROOM COMPUTERS ARE NOW CHROMEBOOKS a complaint filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Google has been “collecting and data mining school children’s personal information, including their Internet searches,” which is not only creepy, but also contrary to previous promises. “Despite publicly promising not to,” the EFF noted, Google mines students’ browsing data and other information, and uses it for the company’s own purposes.” EFF FILES FTC COMPLAINT

12/1/15 Google Leads In Misleading Privacy - Here's the problem... it is completely and utterly misleading.   When I dug deeper into the policies it was found that as long as Google doesn't personally identify you, Google can share with advertisers 100% of your digital activity, connect it with the places you visit and the purchases you make in the real world.  Oh, and sorry you cannot opt out. Check out Google's privacy page and their ads settings The EFF’s complaint is based upon their examination of both Google’s Chromebook and Google Apps for Education, a collection of educational software that numerous schools throughout the U.S. use. According to the watchdog group, “While Google does not use student data for targeted advertising within a subset of Google sites, EFF complaint found that Google’s ‘Sync’ feature for the Chrome browser is enabled by default on Chromebooks sold to schools.” Google has previously been tripped up by signing industry pledges, which are legally binding in the U.S. In 2012, Google paid $22.5 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that it misrepresented how it tracked Web users with cookies, or small lines of software code.

Facebook and Google Have to Open Up - Bloomberg Quint
The WPP boss has railed against the opacity of Facebook and Google for years, calling for independent checks on the effectiveness of advertising on the sites. So when Facebook said on Thursday that it had overestimated the average viewing time for video ads on the social network for the past two years, the veteran ad man was proven right. This matters because big brands are pouring ad dollars online, with nearly half of spending going to Google and Facebook alone -- as the chart below shows. Not only do the likes of Unilever and P&G want to make sure their dollars aren't going to waste, they want to know they're reaching the right people.

Google Begins Allowing Marketers to Target Advertising Using Email Addresses For example, say a consumer shares her email address with a clothing retailer when purchasing items in-store. The retailer can then upload that address to Google to identify her when she’s using Google search or YouTube, and to target search or video ads to her for similar or complementary products, provided she signed in to Google with the same email address. By tapping into email addresses, as both Facebook and Twitter do with their own respective products, Google can take higher cuts of the more costly and better targeted ads being served even from within the Gmail and YouTube apps on mobile devices. Google calls Customer Match a “privacy-safe” product, but that may not quell the concern of users who feel that advertisers are getting even more specific with their ad targeting.

Here's how to opt-out of Google's third-party email address lists ad targeting service
You can do this by switching off "Ads based on your interests" on the Google ad settings page (for logged-in Google users) at: you direct control over how your interests are (or are not) used when displaying ads via Google-associated sites. Turn off interest-based ad preferences, this will also turn off the use of these third-party email address lists for your logged in account.

3/19/15 Details from an FTC investigation into Google on anti-trust accusations have emerged, suggesting the search giant specifically worked to keep competitors out of its top results. Google was deliberately blacklisting competing shopping sites.

Your Photos Might Be Getting Uploaded On Google Without Your Knowledge

Google Analytics Unique Visitor language. Visitors are now users. Usually, the new and returning visitor reports are reporting on how many sessions are a new visitor versus a returning visitor. You might just want to think of the vocabulary instead of New Visitor and Return Visitor, as "Session with a new user" and "Session with a return user."

The BBC has published a list of stories removed from Google’s search results because of the “right to be forgotten”. It’ll be updated regularly. Neil McIntosh was careful to note in his blog that the BBC does not know, or publish details about who requested the story be removed on Google.”

Google Algorithm Change History
Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a "major" algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways. For search marketers, knowing the dates of these Google updates can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic and ultimately improve search engine optimization. Below, we’ve listed the major algorithmic changes that have had the biggest impact on search.

Google has nowupgraded its patent search

The new Google Patents helps users find non-patent prior art by cataloguing it, using the same scheme that applies to patents. We’ve trained a machine classification model to classify everything found in Google Scholar using Cooperative Patent Classificationcodes. Now users can search for “autonomous vehicles” or “email encryption” and find prior art across patents, technical journals, scientific books, and more.

We’ve also simplified the interface, giving users one location for all patent-related searching and intuitive search fields. And thanks to Google Translate, users can search for foreign patent documents using English keywords. As we said in our May 2015 on the PTO’s Patent Quality Initiative, we hope this tool will make patent examination more efficient and help stop bad patents from issuing which would be good for innovation and benefit the public.

11/16/14 Google’s secret NSA alliance:
The terrifying deals between Silicon Valley and the security state. Inside the high-level, complicated deals -- and the rise of a virtually unchecked surveillance power
< In mid-December 2009, engineers at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, began to suspect that hackers in China had obtained access to private Gmail accounts, including those used by Chinese human rights activists opposed to the government in Beijing. Like a lot of large, well-known Internet companies, Google and its users were frequently targeted by cyber spies and criminals. But when the engineers looked more closely, they discovered that this was no ordinary hacking campaign.>

8/4/14 Google scans your emails for child porn and reports to law enforcement when it finds same. Google flagged images of child abuse found in his GMail account to authorities, according to reports, revealing that the search giant is quietly but methodically watching our email activity for illegal images.

Need To Know
Mean life span of high-profile Google projects: 4 years

4/15/15 All sent and received e-mails in Gmail will be analyzed, says Google The new text might be a reaction to the e-mail scanning lawsuit. E-mail users brought the lawsuit against Google in 2013, alleging that the company was violating wiretapping laws by scanning the content of e-mails. The plaintiffs' complaints vary, but some of the cases include people who sent their e-mails to Gmail users from non-Gmail accounts and nonetheless had their content scanned.

2013 Google's Transparency Report, which lists the Internet sites receiving the most notices from studios, trade associations and software and game publishers to remove copyrighted works. Whenever an ad appears on one of these leading pirate sites, the lab uses software to obtain the name of the ad network. The list of ad networks includes Openx, a Pasadena company that was backed by AOL Ventures and describes itself as a leader in digital and mobile ad technology; Google and its advertising platform, DoubleClick; Yahoo and its ad exchange, Right Media; and Quantcast, a San Francisco firm that also places ads on sites owned by such major media companies as NBCUniversal and href=" Viacom,0,2960606.story

Google Spectrum Database


2013 Google+ is Google - There's No Avoiding Google+
Google began requiring people who want to post their reviews of restaurants or other businesses to use their Google+ profiles to do so. The same rule applies for reviews of smartphone software "apps," as well as physical goods, obtained through Google. Links to Google+ also appear in Google search-engine results involving people and brands that have set up a Google+ account. Both Facebook and Google make the vast bulk of their revenue from selling ads. But Facebook has something Google wants: Facebook can tie people's online activities to their real names, and it also knows who those people's friends are. Marketers say Google has told them that closer integration of Google+ across its many properties will allow Google to obtain this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore, more profitable) ads.Users' Google+ profile pages typically include their real names, and they can add other details such as their hometowns. By default, the page is public and will turn up in a Google search. It is possible, however, to change a setting so that the page doesn't show up in search results. There is also a way for people to disable or delete their Google+ accounts.
Google derives about 95% of its more than $40 billion in annual revenue, excluding its new Motorola phone-making unit, "click-through rates"—the rates at which Google search users click on ads—have increased for his clients' ads when they include information from Google+, such as the number of people who have recommended a brand by clicking the +1 button on the brand's Google+ page. "In the majority of cases, lift in click-through rates ranged from 2% to 15%," he says.

2012 Google sees 'alarming' level of government censorship.
Web giant says that in the past six months it received more than 1,000 requests from government officials for the removal of content. It complied with more than half of them.

Google has revealed it removed about 640 videos from YouTube

that allegedly promoted terrorism over the second half of 2011 after complaints from the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers. The news was contained in its latest Transparency Report which discloses requests by international authorities to remove or hand over material.

Paul Alan Levy --
Public Citizen Litigation Group 1600 - 20th Street, NW
(202) 588-1000
"Google, Facebook and blocking offensive content 9/1412
Readers might be interested in this comparison of recent content removals or blocking by Facebook and Google, and discussion of some of the implicated policies.
Two voluntary takedowns of user-generated have been in the news lately, spurring some reflections, on the one hand, about the dangers of becoming overly dependent on certain platforms for free expression, and about how online service providers exercise their discretion under section 230 to remove material even though the providers cannot be held legally responsible for the hosting.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee, has jurisdiction over data privacy issues. Concern over the users' ability to control the information they share with Google. "The concern of Congress is how much active participation does a user have to do to protect their own privacy," she said.

Google is now in the PNR hosting business
In accordance with the US Secure Flight rules, the Google CRS for Cape Air must also have a bi-directional connection to the US Transportation Security Administration to send passenger data to the TSA and receive permission-to-board (”cleared”) fly/no-fly messages in response. This is, so far as we can tell, an unprecedented level of direct connection between Google’s databases and any government agency.  Has Google complied with EU law? Probably not, but we can’t tell. We invite Google to allow independent verification of how it has with EU rules. There are also interesting questions about what profiling and dat mining capabilities are built into Google’s CRS system. “Legacy” CRSs store PNRs in flat files in which PNRs for different trips by the same traveler can be difficult to link. But a report on the new Google CRS in the online trade journal Tnooz says it “enables … call center agents ‘to see customers’ history,’ including past trips and upcoming flights, ‘right in front of them’.”


Google’s own Transparency Report, especially the section that addresses the number of governmental requests to Google for user data, and its response.
By way of example, between January and June 2011, Google received 5,950 user data requests, covering 11,057 users and/or accounts, from the U.S. government, and (according to Google’s own reporting) it “fully or partially complied with” 93% of those requests. (The figures from the data removal request chart at are smaller but perhaps more troubling.)
The other concern regarding Google’s information collection practice is that people may not realize how many inbound channels Google has. Under Google's current privacy policy, it maintains separate privacy statements for its standalone products, including:

+1 Button
Chrome Frame
Google Music
Google Notebook
Google TV
Google Web Toolkit
Location Service in Firefox
Safe Browsing
Translator Toolkit
Web Accelerator
Web History

The next version of the policy (the one getting all the attention) no longer explicitly breaks out the separate products, but nor does it list them to remind users of the numerous Google products (many not branded as such). It is difficult to accept that Google users are truly providing informed consent to all of the company's information collection, given the sheer volume and complexity of the disclosures.
Consumers are asked to trade convenience for personal information privacy all the time. The question, though, is how knowingly we are doing so. When it comes to Google, I am far from convinced that any sizable portion of its users understand how much of their information, through how many channels, Google is collecting in exchange for "convenience."


TYPOSQUATTING Harvard Finds Typos Gives Google 500 Million a Year Typo domains that feature only ads, no other links, have higher click-through and conversion rates, suggesting that the half-billion estimate may be too low. The full study of typosquatting and its implications found no relationship between the difficulty of spelling a word and the prevalence of typo sites, but did determine that "high PPC prices spur typosquatting registrations in the corresponding categories." Still, the study emphasizes "the feasibility of significantly reducing typosquatting" due to its high concentration among specific IDs and servers: nearly 76% of typosquatting sites were registered to the same 10 advertiser IDs.

Google public policy - changing-our-privacy-policies-
We still won’t sell your personal information TO ADVERTISERS" is an interestingly specific claim. Would you be willing to provide more information about the organizations with which Google DOES share our information?
Specifically, who are the "affiliated companies" and "other trusted businesses" your refer to in the information sharing section of your privacy policy? Have any of them provided compensation to Google in return for access to our data? And what, exactly, in a "legal process or enforceable governmental request"? How does it differ from an actual cort order?

What Does Google Store About Me?

To help make the whole process more transparent, Google has unveiled another product in its vast empire: Google Dashboard. Dashboard is a helpful tracker that sums up the information Google has collected about your profile in one place. To view your Google Dashboard, visit You will need to re-enter your password even if you are currently signed in to a Google account.


What Google does with all the data it collects (pdf)




tags: google trust, click fraud, page rank, robot exclusion, search, search operators, how to remove personal information, ethics, hacking

Can a machine think?
"You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that" ~ J. von Neumann 1948 Princeton, NJ

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