Posts Tagged ‘Google’

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Google logoGoogle News is limiting the reach of two Russian media outlets, RT and Sputnik, according to Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt.Schmidt said Google is de-ranking sites it claims have been spreading Russian state-sponsored propaganda. We’re trying to engineer the systems to prevent it.

However, Schmidt added that he isn’t in favor of censorship …BUT.. his company also has a responsibility to stop the misinformation.

In response of teh censorship, Sputnik quoted research psychologist Robert Epstein:

Google is deciding what people see, which is very dangerous since they are legally a tech company and do not adhere to any type of editorial standards our guidelines

What we’re talking about here is a means of mind control on a massive scale that there is no precedent for in human history, he said at the time. Research participants spent a much larger percentage of web browsing time visiting search results that were higher up. According to Epstein, biased Google results could have provided an extra 2.6 million votes in support of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race.

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chi onwurahLabour’s industrial spokesperson has called for the algorithms used by technology firms to be made transparent and subject to regulation.Shadow minister Chi Onwurah wants to see greater scrutiny of the algorithms that now control everything from the tailored news served to Facebook users to the order in which websites are presented in Google search. She said:

Algorithms aren’t above the law. The outcomes of algorithms are regulated — the companies which use them have to meet employment law and competition law. The question is, how do we make that regulation effective when we can’t see the algorithm?

She added in a letter to the Guardian:

Google and others argue their results are a mirror to society, not their responsibility. Google, Facebook and Uber need to take responsibility for the unintended consequences of the algorithms and machine learning that drive their profits. They can bring huge benefits and great apps, but we need a tech-savvy government to minimise the downside by opening up algorithms to regulation as well as legislating for greater consumer ownership of data and control of the advertising revenue it generates.

Labour’s industrial paper, due to be published after the Christmas break, will call for suggestions on how tech firms could be more closely supervised by government.

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google canada logoTwo dozen human rights and civil liberty groups have thrown their weight behind Google’s challenge of a Canadian court decision it warns could stifle freedom of expression around the world and lead to a diminished internet of the lowest common denominator .In an appeal heard on Tuesday in the supreme court of Canada , Google Inc took aim at a 2015 court decision that sought to censor search results beyond Canada’s borders.

In 2012, Canadian company Equustek won a judgment to have a company banned from selling a counterfeit version of Equustek’s product online. Google voluntarily removed more than 300 infringing URLs. But as more sites popped up, Equustek went back to court — this time seeking a worldwide ban. A court of appeal in British Columbia sided with Equustek in 2015, ordering Google to remove all of its search results linked to the company. It is this ruling that Google is now appealing.

The human rights groups are focusing on the question at the heart of the precedent-setting case: if one country can control what you see on the internet, what is to prevent other countries from doing the same?  Gregg Leslie of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said:

It’s a worrisome trend, where we see individual countries trying to regulate the internet worldwide. And of course the consequences of that would mean that even countries like Russia and China could do the same thing and that will really affect the content available on the internet.

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media reform coalition 2016 logoThe Media Reform Coalition and National Union of Journalists are hoping to make Google and Facebook fund journalism in Britain.They are seeking to persuade politicians to include a new amendment to the digital economy bill, which is currently going through parliament. It will propose a 1% levy on the operations of the digital giants in order to pay for independent and non-profit journalism.

A statement issued by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) argues that digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook are not only amassing eye-watering profits and paying minimal tax in the UK, they are also bleeding the newspaper industry dry by sucking up advertising revenue . It continues:

As national and local newspapers try to cut their way out of trouble by slashing editorial budgets and shedding staff, journalistic quality is becoming a casualty.

Public interest journalism in particular has been hit the hardest as newspapers are being lured into a clickbait culture which favours the sensational and the trivial.

In the light of this, we propose a 1% levy on the operations of the largest digital intermediaries with the resulting funds redistributed to non-profit ventures with a mandate to produce original local or investigative news reporting.

Read more International Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Google logo Google has appealed to France’s highest court after the country’s internet censor ordered it to delete some of its search results globally.In 2015, the Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) said Google should respect French right to be forgotten rulings worldwide. Companies offering services to European citizens must comply with the ruling, even if their websites are not hosted in Europe.

But Google said the ruling could lead to abuse by less open and democratic countries. The company is now appealing against a 100,000-euro (£76,000) CNIL fine. Google says results can end up removed even when those links point to truthful and lawfully published information like newspaper articles or official government websites .

Google currently blocks all right to be forgotten content from all searches for users with a European IP address. Viewers from outside the EU and Europeans using non European proxies or VPNs can still access that links censored in Europe.

Google argues that a French authority such as the CNIL should not impose measures outside of the nation’s borders . Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel said:

For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,

In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde, Google said it had already received requests from countries to block content worldwide that was illegal locally. The letter said:

If French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?

This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one’s own country.

This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds.

We have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.

According to AFP, Google expects the Council of State, France’s highest court, will take at least a year to review its appeal.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

France flag Europe’s right to be forgotten is a nasty and arbitrary censorship power used to hide internet content such as past criminal history. Many think it tramples on the public’s right to know, as quite a few examples have born out.

It seems that France and the EU thinks that such content should be censored worldwide, and have fined Google 100,000 euro for allowing non EU internet viewers to see information censored in the EU.

Since EU laws don’t apply elsewhere, Google at first just deleted right to be forgotten requested results from its French domain. However, France pointed out that it would be easy to find the info on a different site and ordered the company to scrub results everywhere. In an attempted compromise, Google started omitting results worldwide as long as it determined, by geolocation, that the search was conducted from within France.

But now EU internet censors have rejected that idea (as it would be easy to get around with a VPN) and fined Google effectively for allowing Americans to see content censored in the EU. Google commented:

We disagree with the [regulator’s] assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France.

In its ruling, France’s CNIL censor says that geolocalizing search results does not give people effective, full protection of their right to be delisted … accordingly, the CNIL restricted committee pronounced a 100,000 euro fine against Google.

Google plans to appeal the ruling.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Google logo If you use Google in Europe, your search results will be censored under the EU’s’s disgraceful ‘right-to-be-forgotten’.Until now if you used Google.com rather than, say, Google.de, you could still find results that have been arbitrarily removed based on how loud people shout.

The censorship has been implemented as follows. Assume that someone in Germany files a Right To Be Forgotten request to have some listing censored for their name. If granted, the censorship will work like this for searches on that person’s name:

  • Listing censored for those in Germany, using ANY version of Google.
  • Listing censored for those in the EU, using a European version of Google.
  • Listing NOT censored for those outside Germany but within the EU, using non-European versions of Google.
  • Listing NOT censored for those outside the EU, using ANY version of Google.

Google’s Peter Fleischer explained the reasons for the censorship:

We’re changing our approach as a result of specific discussions that we’ve had with EU data protection regulators in recent months.

We believe that this additional layer of delisting enables us to provide the enhanced protections that European regulators ask us for, while also upholding the rights of people in other countries to access lawfully published information.