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Category Archives: Search Engines

U.S. Agencies Are Buying Access to Bulk Internet Records

Gizmodo – “Sen. Ron Wyden urged inspectors general at three departments to investigate the military’s purchases of large swaths of data: “Multiple military intelligence offices have paid a data broker for access to internet traffic logs, which could reveal the online browsing histories of U.S. citizens, Sen. Ron Wyden said in a letter Wednesday, citing an anonymous whistleblower that had contacted his office. At least four agencies within the United States Department of Defense, including the Army and Navy, have collectively spent at least $3.5 million on a little-known data monitoring tool with the reported ability to provide access to vast swaths of email data and web browsing activity. Team Cymru, the Florida-based cybersecurity firm behind the tool, claims its product provides customers with a “super majority of all activity on the internet” and “visibility” into more than 90% of internet traffic. The previously unknown government procurements, revealed in a Wednesday Vice report, have already triggered alarm bells from a prominent U.S. Senator and the American Civil Liberties Union, which told Gizmodo there’s still far too little known about how the DoD’s making use of the tool which can “reveal extremely sensitive information about who we are and what we’re reading online,” Sen. Ron Wyden wrote. At the very least, the purchase represents the latest example of government agencies potentially finessing their way around constitutional protections by seeking out data from shady data brokers and other private firms. Wyden wrote Wednesday to the inspectors general at the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, urging an investigation of their respective agencies’ purchase of the data, saying he had confirmed that “multiple government agencies are purchasing Americans’ data without judicial authorization…”

Does this button work? Investigating YouTube’s ineffective user controls

Mozilla: “Powered by 22,722 volunteers, Mozilla scrutinized YouTube to determine how much control people actually have over the platform’s recommendation algorithm. This is what we learned….Our work is the largest experimental audit of YouTube by independent researchers, powered by Mozilla’s RegretsReporter. Using RegretsReporter, an open source tool Mozilla built to study YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, we… Continue Reading

For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine

The New York Times: “…TikTok’s rise as a discovery tool is part of a broader transformation in digital search. While Google remains the world’s dominant search engine, people are turning to Amazon to search for products, Instagram to stay updated on trends and Snapchat’s Snap Maps to find local businesses. As the digital world continues… Continue Reading

Privacy-Focused Technology Companies Call for a Floor Vote on Antitrust Legislation

Spread Privacy: “On Tuesday September 13th, 13 privacy-focused technology companies representing more than 100 million users in the United States published a letter to U.S. Congressional Leadership imploring them to support the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and bring it to a floor vote as soon as possible. Incessant data collection and tech… Continue Reading

A Prehistory of Social Media

Driscoll, Kevin. “A Prehistory of Social Media.” Issues in Science and Technology 38, no. 4 (Summer 2022): 20–23. “The standard account of internet history took shape in the early 1990s, as a mixture of commercial online services, university networks, and local community networks mutated into something bigger, more commercial, and more accessible to the general… Continue Reading

Google Patent Phrase Similarity Dataset

Kaggle: “This is a human rated contextual phrase to phrase matching dataset focused on technical terms from patents. In addition to similarity scores that are typically included in other benchmark datasets we include granular rating classes similar to WordNet, such as synonym, antonym, hypernym, hyponym, holonym, meronym, domain related. The dataset was used in the… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, September 3, 2022

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, September 3, 2022: Privacy and cybersecurity 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… Continue Reading

7 Best YouTube Curators to Find Videos, Movies, and Documentaries Worth Watching

Make Use Of: “When was the last time you opened the YouTube homepage and thought, “Why yes, that is a video I would like to watch right now, thank you, YouTube!” Finding quality videos on YouTube has become a recurring joke these days, and let’s not even get started on the irrelevant recommendations that YouTube… Continue Reading

Google Search and Maps results will confirm if a medical center offers abortions

engadget: “In the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, Google announced that it is making it easier to use its Maps and Search products to find medical providers that offer abortions. When someone searches for specific services and Google has confirmation that a location provides those services, it’ll be clearly labeled in Search and… Continue Reading