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Category Archives: Privacy

To Break Google’s Monopoly on Search, Make Its Index Public

Bloomberg – The tech giant doesn’t have to be dismantled. Sharing its crown jewel might reshape the internet. ” Recognition is growing worldwide that something big needs to be done about Big Tech, and fast. More than $8 billion in fines have been levied against Google by the European Union since 2017. Facebook Inc., facing an onslaught of investigations, has dropped in reputation to almost rock bottom among the 100 most visible companies in the U.S. Former employees of Google and Facebook have warned that these companies are “ripping apart the social fabric” and can “hijack the mind.” Adding substance to the concerns, documents and videos have been leaking from Big Tech companies, supporting fears—most often expressed by conservatives—about political manipulations and even aspirations to engineer human values. Fixes on the table include forcing the tech titans to divest themselves of some of the companies they’ve bought (more than 250 by Google and Facebook alone) and guaranteeing that user data are transportable. But these and a dozen other proposals never get to the heart of the problem, and that is that Google’s search engine and Facebook’s social network platform have value only if they are intact. Breaking up Google’s search engine would give us a smattering of search engines that yield inferior results (the larger the search engine, the wider the range of results it can give you), and breaking up Facebook’s platform would be like building an immensely long Berlin Wall that would splinter millions of relationships.

With those basic platforms intact, the three biggest threats that Google and Facebook pose to societies worldwide are barely affected by almost any intervention: the aggressive surveillance, the suppression of content, and the subtle manipulation of the thinking and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people. I’m focused here on Google, which I’ve been studying for more than six years through both experimental research and monitoring projects. (Google is well aware of my work and not entirely happy with me. The company did not respond to requests for comment.) Google is especially worrisome because it has maintained an unopposed monopoly on search worldwide for nearly a decade. It controls 92 percent of search, with the next largest competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, drawing only 2.5%…”

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 13, 2019

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 13, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and… Continue Reading

This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops

Motherboard obtained a Palantir user manual through a public records request, and it gives unprecedented insight into how the company logs and tracks individuals – “Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP… Continue Reading

New Report on the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

“Everybody seems to be talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Some people laud its possibilities, whereas others envisage nightmare scenarios where robots take over. But what is AI exactly and how are countries dealing with it? The Oxford Dictionary defines AI as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human… Continue Reading

New on LLRX for May – June 2019

The are 10 new articles and 10 new columns on LLRX for May-June 2019 Five data lies that need to die … now streaming on Netflix – Using Netflix as an example and referencing a number of articles touting the company’s expert use of data analytics and algorithms, marketing savant Jason Voiovich argues that data… Continue Reading

Google’s 4,000-Word Privacy Policy Is a Secret History of the Internet

The New York Times – “The late 1990s was a simpler time for Google. The nascent company was merely a search engine, and Gmail, Android and YouTube were but glimmers in the startup’s eye. Google’s first privacy policy reflected that simplicity. It was short and earnest, a quaint artifact of a different time in Silicon… Continue Reading

Amazon Alexa will now be giving out health advice to UK citizens

MIT Technology Review – “The UK’s National Health Service hopes that its partnership with Amazon could help to reduce demand on its services. The news: From this week, when UK users ask their Amazon smart speaker health-related questions, it will automatically search the official NHS website, which is full of medically-backed health tips and advice.… Continue Reading

Firefox 68 arrives with darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT customizations

VentureBeat: “Mozilla today launched Firefox 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 68 includes a darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT Pro customizations, and more. Firefox 68 for desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 7, 2019

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 7, 2019 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the… Continue Reading

FBI, ICE find state driver’s license photos are a gold mine for facial-recognition searches

Washington Post – A cache of records shared with The Washington Post reveals that agents are scanning hundreds of millions of Americans’ faces without their knowledge or consent – “Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have turned state driver’s license databases into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through hundreds… Continue Reading

Facebook Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Digital Information World:  “Before you go through this entire piece, imagine a figure in your mind (and note it down on a piece of paper) as how much data – according to you – gets generated in a minute. According to Domo (cloud-based operating system), the internet users have risen from 2.2 billion in 2012 to whopping… Continue Reading

‘Fingerprinting’ to Track Us Online Is on the Rise. Here’s What to Do.

The New York Times – Advertisers are increasingly turning to an invisible method that pulls together information about your device to pinpoint your identity. “Fingerprinting involves looking at the many characteristics of your mobile device or computer, like the screen resolution, operating system and model, and triangulating this information to pinpoint and follow you as… Continue Reading