82_28 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:33 pm wrote:Amazon has destroyed Seattle. It has decimated pretty much anything and everything that if you came to town and you wanted me to show you around all you would do is hear me bitch and say how fucked this place is. I have lived here since 1999 so I am not a native but there was a reason why I moved here. It was because I liked it, no loved it. Now to go downtown it is nothing more than a private security infested, techno-dystopian starfleet academy. No, serious. It fucking sucks. Amazon destroyed it.
http://www.seattletimes.com/business/am ... pany-town/
Which cities are well positioned to land Amazon’s HQ2?
Joseph Parilla Friday, September 8, 2017
Amazon—the world’s largest online retailer and fourth largest company as measured by market capitalization—is soliciting North American regions in a competitive selection process for a second corporate headquarters, or HQ2.
In the world of economic development—of which business attraction is a core function—bringing an Amazon headquarters to town is a huge deal, likely the most significant corporate decision in recent memory.
Simply, very few companies have the potential to reshape American cities. But Amazon is probably one of them. It employs tens of thousands of workers in Seattle and claims an economic impact of $38 billion between 2010 and 2016. CEO Jeff Bezos has intimated that HQ2 will “be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters.” Specifically, the Amazon announcement projects as many as 50,000 new jobs with average compensation exceeding $100,000 per year in the new site.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-aven ... azons-hq2/
HOW PROPAGANDA HACKS OUR BRAINS
There was a time when the difference between marketing and propaganda was a bright line. Marketing, in the old days, had some responsibility to tell the truth. At the very least, ads could not be blatantly false. Propaganda, on the other hand, was a construction of lies designed to appeal to our baser instincts and to what we already believed. From a biological perspective, it triggered the dopamine receptors that provide us with immediate and short-term pleasure.
Nowadays, the line between news, marketing and propaganda has become blurred.
Politics, social media and most of our modern technologies are designed by corporate America to provide us with immediate gratification. To trigger our dopamine receptors. The problem is that the long-term effect makes us unhappy and depressed.
At least that is what Dr. Robert Lustig, who is one of the world’s experts on endocrinology, addiction, happiness and depression, claims. Lustig is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he specializes in neuroendocrinology, and the author of The Hacking of the American Mind. In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcasts, he talks to Jeff Schechtman about what is essentially the biology of the Trump era
https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/09/29/propa ... ks-brains/
Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms
By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Adam Entous October 9 at 7:00 AM
Play Video 1:31
Google uncovers Russian-bought ads
Google found tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google's platforms.
SAN FRANCISCO — Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company's investigation.
The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google’s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that have not been made public. Google runs the world’s largest online advertising business, and YouTube is the world’s largest online video site.
The discovery by Google is also significant because the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook -- a sign that the Russian effort to spread disinformation online may be a much broader problem than Silicon Valley companies have unearthed so far.
Google previously downplayed the problem of Russian meddling on its platforms. Last month, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told The Washington Post that the company is "always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we've seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms."
Nevertheless, Google launched an investigation into the matter, as Congress pressed technology companies to determine how Russian operatives used social media, online advertising, and other digital tools to influence the 2016 presidential contest and foment discord in U.S. society.
Google declined to provide a comment for this story. The people familiar with its investigation said that the company is looking at a set of ads that cost less than $100,000 and that it is still sorting out whether all of the ads came from trolls or whether some originated from legitimate Russian accounts.
To date, Google has mostly avoided the scrutiny that has fallen on its rival Facebook. The social network recently shared about 3,000 Russian-bought ads with Congressional investigators that were purchased by operatives associated with the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-government affiliated troll farm, the company has said.
Some of the ads, which cost a total of about $100,000, touted Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the Green party candidate Jill Stein during the campaign, people familiar with those ads said. Other ads appear to have been aimed at fostering division in United States by promoting anti-immigrant sentiment and racial animosity. Facebook has said those ads reached just 10 million of the 210 million U.S. users that log onto the service each month.
At least one outside researcher has said that the influence of Russian disinformation on Facebook is much greater than the company has so far acknowledged and encompasses paid ads as well as posts published on Facebook pages controlled by Russian agents. The posts were shared hundreds of millions of times, said Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.
In a blog post, Facebook wrote it is also looking at an additional 2,200 ads that may have not come from the Internet Research Agency.
"We also looked for ads that might have originated in Russia — even those with very weak signals of a connection and not associated with any known organized effort," the company wrote last month. "This was a broad search, including, for instance, ads bought from accounts with US IP addresses but with the language set to Russian — even though they didn’t necessarily violate any policy or law. In this part of our review, we found approximately $50,000 in potentially politically related ad spending on roughly 2,200 ads."
Meanwhile, Twitter said that it shut down 201 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. It also disclosed that the account for the news site RT, which the company linked to the Kremlin, spent $274,100 on its platform in 2016. Twitter has not said how many times the Russian disinformation was shared. The company is investigating that matter and trying to map the relationship between Russian accounts and well-known media personalities as well as influencers associated with the campaigns of Donald Trump and other candidates, said a person familiar with Twitter's internal investigation. RT also has a sizeable presence on YouTube.
Twitter declined to comment for this story.
Executives for Facebook and Twitter will testify before Congressional investigators on Nov. 1. Google has not said whether it will accept a similar invitation to do so.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian president Vladmir Putin intervened in the U.S. election to help Donald Trump win. But Silicon Valley companies have received little assistance from the intelligence community, people familiar with the companies' probes said.
Google discovered the Russian presence on its platforms by siphoning data from another technology company, Twitter, the people familiar with Google's investigation said. Twitter offers outsiders the ability to access a small amount of historical tweets for free, and charges developers for access to the entire Twitter firehose of data stemming back to 2006.
Google downloaded the data from Twitter and was able to link Russian Twitter accounts to other accounts that had used Google’s services to buy ads, the people said. This was done without the explicit cooperation of Twitter, the people said.
Google's probe is still in its early stages, the people said. The number of ads posted and the number of times those ads were clicked on could not be learned. Google is continuing to examine its own records and is also sharing data with Facebook. Twitter and Google have not cooperated with one another in their investigations.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... db69767fbc
Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you
Wed 28 Mar 2018 06.00 EDT
The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look
A slice of the data that Facebook keeps on the author: ‘This information has millions of nefarious uses.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
Want to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of and Google store about you without you even realising it.
Google knows where you’ve been
Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using on your phone.
Click on this link to see your own data:
Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.
A Google map of every place I’ve been in Ireland this year.
‘A Google map of every place I’ve been in Ireland this year.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted
Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.
Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity
Google has an advertisement profile of you
Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lbs in one day?) and income.
Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/settings/ads/
Google knows all the apps you use
Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.
Click on this link to see your own data: security.google.com/settings/secur…
Google has all of your YouTube history
Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they likely know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic …
Click on this link to see your own data: youtube.com/feed/history/s…
The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents
Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents.
Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a diary of everything that person has done
This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve bought through Google …
They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day …
Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout
Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too
Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.
This includes every message you’ve ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent.
Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467
A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.
‘A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location
Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic “girl”).
Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It’s just a joke at this stage).
They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.
And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I’m interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.
(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)
Privacy options in Facebook.
Privacy options in Facebook. Photograph: Dylan Curran
They can access your webcam and microphone
The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.
Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data
I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.
My Google Takeout document.
‘My Google Takeout document.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).
‘My search history document has 90,000 different entries.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
Google knows which events you attended, and when
Here’s my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I’ve ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).
‘Here is my Google calendar showing a job interview I attended.’ Photograph: Dylan Curran
And Google has information you deleted
This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my resume, my monthly budget, and all the code, files, and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.
Google can know your workout routine
This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I’ve ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I’ve recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I’ve done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).
And they have years’ worth of photos
This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos
Google has every email you ever sent
Every email I’ve ever sent, that’s been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.
And there is more
I’ll just do a short summary of what’s in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.
First, every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I’ve ever installed or searched for.
‘They have every single Google search I’ve made since 2009.’
They also have every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.
This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you’re not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you’re suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.
This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... are_btn_tw
‘They have every single Google search I’ve made since 2009.’
They also have every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.
Google’s GDPR approach raises publisher concerns
April 16, 2018 by Jessica Davies
There’s nothing like a deadline to spur action. The May 25 date for enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation has led to a flurry of activity, as players large and small look to get compliant.
While attention is squarely on Facebook’s data practices, Google has raised concerns among several publishers with how it plans to make its ad services GDPR-compliant. In late March, Google announced that it will require publishers to take “extra steps” in obtaining their consent from users for the use of Google’s ad services. As part of its approach, Google has asked to be a “co-controller” of data, along with the publisher.
The idea of a co-controller scenario with Google or any other company when it comes to an asset as precious as a publisher’s audience data isn’t likely to be a popular one for any publisher. Not when first-party audience data is the lifeblood of both product and commercial sustainability. The reason Google wants this status is because under GDPR law, a “controller” is the company that determines how the personal data will be processed.
For some time now, the GDPR has been recognized by most publishers as a chance to regain their place as the custodians of audience data. That optimism is starting to falter. Some publishers have expressed frustration that players with a dominant market position are skirting the whole premise of the GDPR — to course-correct some of the bad practices that have been allowed to persist in digital advertising. “The policy work around the GDPR is not intended to allow the status quo to perpetuate. We all need to act responsibly, and we certainly did not expect it to be used to try and steal more value from publishers,” said a different publisher executive.
“This is a commercial agenda that’s being wrapped up in a GDPR and privacy-language narrative, but it looks very much like large vendors seeking to steal ground,” said the same publisher executive.
For others, it’s more that the timing is suspicious. “It would have been best to have all these conversations last year, not with weeks before the deadline,” said a publishing executive. “It’s put publishers in a bit of a tricky situation, as they look to protect themselves and ensure they can still keep working with the ad tech partners they rely on.”
Even in Germany, where publishers have been far more concerned about the potential ePrivacy Regulation’s arrival than the GDPR, Google’s latest updates have caused consternation. “Many publishers in Germany are currently unsettled by the Google push because detailed information is missing,” said Oliver von Wersch, independent publisher consultant and former Gruner + Jahr executive, “and because the legal understanding of Google toward consent under GDPR is not shared by the publishers.”
Getting large businesses compliant with the GDPR is a highly complex, arduous undertaking. The vagueness in the law around exactly how the law will be enforced hasn’t helped expedite businesses strategies on it. It’s also meant that interpretations of what’s allowed under the law are still totally confused and differ largely across the industry. The result is that everyone is rushing to update products and alter contracts that cover their own liability, to get their businesses compliant in a way that can secure their own revenue streams under the GDPR, and in the process, some publishers feel they are being thrown under the bus. GroupM is also in discussions with publishers over the terms of its own data protection contract recently pushed out to publisher partners.
Digiday Research: Where publishers get their revenues
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The premise of the GDPR is to give consumers more transparency and control over how their personal data is used. It should, in theory, put premium publishers in a very strong position. “Because GDPR is likely to scale back the Wild West of data collection by ad tech companies and the duopoly, premium publishers are in a uniquely strong position by virtue of their direct, trusted relationships with consumers,” said Jason Kint, CEO of publisher trade body Digital Content Next.
“These ridiculous and far-fetched proposals from Google and GroupM are last-minute, desperate attempts to preserve their business models,” said Kint. “Time to pay attention to what is happening to the industry and society, and move on to a better place that actually respects the audience and the media they love.”
A legal analysis on Google’s stance conducted by law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, commissioned by DCN, determined that Google’s approach has left publishers “in the lurch” by transferring the GDPR’s “heightened consent burdens” to Google’s publisher customers. The conclusion of the law firm’s analysis was that Google should modify its recent announcement.
“While it may be the case that Google is sometimes operating as a controller … that does not mean that Google has the right to make unilateral decisions about the use of personal data collected from publisher properties. … The publishers are the primary controllers of that data and, perhaps more importantly, have the direct relationship with the consumer,” the analysis read.
Google has said its intention is not to interrupt publishers’ relationships with their users. “Google already requires publishers and advertisers using our advertising services to get consent from end users to use our services, as required under existing EU law, said Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, president for Europe, Middle East and Asia partnerships, in a statement. “However, the GDPR will further refine these requirements. We don’t want to stand between publishers and their users. That’s why we are asking our partners to get consent for the way they use our services on their sites.”
Download Digiday’s complete guide to GDPR, including primary research, checklists, a GDPR dictionary and more.
https://digiday.com/media/googles-gdpr- ... -concerns/
Google News gets an AI-powered redesign
Sarah Perez @sarahintampa
As had been previously rumored, Google introduced a revamped version of Google News at its I/O developer conference today. The A.I.-powered, redesigned news destination combines elements found in Google’s digital magazine app, Newsstand, as well as YouTube, and introduces new features like “newscasts” and “full coverage” to help people get a summary or a more holistic view of a news story.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke of the company’s responsibility to present accurate information to users who seek out the news on its platform, and how it could leverage A.I. technology to help with that.
The updated Google News will do three things, the company says: allow users to keep up with the news they care about, understand the full story, and enjoy and support the publishers they trust.
On the first area of focus – keeping up with the news – the updated version of Google News will present a briefing at the top of the page with the five stories you need to know about right now, as well as more stories selected just for you.
The feature uses A.I. technology to read the news on the web, to assemble the key things you need to know about, including also local news and events in your area. And the more you use this personalized version of Google News, the better it will get, thanks to the “reinforcement learning” technology under the hood.
However, you can also tell Google News what you want to see more or less of, in terms of both topics and publications.
In addition to the personalization and A.I.-driven news selection, the revamped Google News looks different, too. The site has been updated to use Google’s Material Design language, which makes it fit in better with Google’s other products, and it puts a heavier emphasis on photos and videos – including those from YouTube.
Another new feature called “Newscasts” will help users get a feel for a story through short-form summaries presented in a card-style design you can flip through.
If you want to learn more, you can dive in more deeply to stories through the “Full Coverage” feature, which is also launching along with the redesign.
Full Coverage largely aims to help users get a better perspective on news – that is, pop their filter bubbles by presenting news from multiple sources. It also aggregates coverage into “opinion,” “analysis” and “fact checks.” There were labels Google News was already using in the older version of the site, but are now much more prominent as they appear as section titles.
Full Coverage will also include a timeline of events, so you can get a sense of the history of what’s being reported.
As Google News PM Trystan Upstill explained, “having a productive conversation or debate requires everyone to have access to the same information.” That seems to be a bit of a swipe at Facebook, and the way it allowed fake news to propagate across its social network.
In another competitive move against Facebook, Google announced an easier way for users to subscribe to publisher content through a new “Subscribe with Google” option rolling out in the coming weeks.
The process of subscribing will leverage users’ Google account, and the payment information they already have on file. Then, the paid content becomes available across Google platforms, including Google News, Google Search and publishers’ own websites.
And Google News will integrate Newsstand, offering over 1,0000 magazine titles you can follow by tapping a star icon, or subscribing to.
The changes come at a time when Apple is reportedly prepping a premium news subscription service, based on the technology from Texture, the digital newsstand business it bought in March. Notably, it also arrives amid serious concerns among publishers about Facebook’s role in the media business, not only because of fake news, but also its methods of ranking content, among other things.
“Google’s new News app is rolling out to Android, iOS and Web in 127 countries starting today,” said Upstill. “We know getting accurate and timely information into people’s hands and supporting high quality journalism is more important than it has ever been right now.”
https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/08/googl ... -redesign/
LEAKED EMAILS SHOW GOOGLE EXPECTED LUCRATIVE MILITARY DRONE AI WORK TO GROW EXPONENTIALLY
May 31 2018, 8:36 p.m.
FOLLOWING THE REVELATION in March that Google had secretly signed an agreement with the Pentagon to provide cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology for drone warfare, the company faced an internal revolt. About a dozen Google employees have resigned in protest and thousands have signed a petition calling for an end to the contract. The endeavor, code-named Project Maven by the military, is designed to help drone operators recognize images captured on the battlefield.
Google has sought to quash the internal dissent in conversations with employees. Diane Greene, the chief executive of Google’s cloud business unit, speaking at a company town hall meeting following the revelations, claimed that the contract was “only” for $9 million, according to the New York Times, a relatively minor project for such a large company.
Internal company emails obtained by The Intercept tell a different story. The September emails show that Google’s business development arm expected the military drone artificial intelligence revenue to ramp up from an initial $15 million to an eventual $250 million per year.
In fact, one month after news of the contract broke, the Pentagon allocated an additional $100 million to Project Maven.
The internal Google email chain also notes that several big tech players competed to win the Project Maven contract. Other tech firms such as Amazon were in the running, one Google executive involved in negotiations wrote. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.) Rather than serving solely as a minor experiment for the military, Google executives on the thread stated that Project Maven was “directly related” to a major cloud computing contract worth billions of dollars that other Silicon Valley firms are competing to win.
The emails further note that Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing arm of Amazon, “has some work loads” related to Project Maven.
Jane Hynes, a spokesperson for Google Cloud, emailed The Intercept to say that the company stands by the statement given to the New York Times this week that “the new artificial intelligence principles under development precluded the use of A.I. in weaponry.” Hynes declined to comment further on the emails obtained by The Intercept.
THE SEPTEMBER EMAIL chain discussing the recently inked deal included Scott Frohman and Aileen Black, two members of Google’s defense sales team, along with Dr. Fei-Fei Li, the head scientist at Google Cloud, as well as members of the communications team.
Black provided a summary of the Project Maven deal, which she described as a “5-month long race among AI heavyweights” in the tech industry. “Total deal $25-$30M, $15M to Google over the next 18 months,” she wrote. “As the program grows expect spend is budgeted at 250 M per year. This program is directly related to the Sept 13 memo about moving DOD aggressively to the cloud I sent last week.”
“I don’t know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry.”
The September 13 memo sent by Black was not included in the emails obtained by The Intercept. It appears to be a reference to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, a contract worth $10 billion over 10 years, a project that Google has expressed an interest in obtaining. The JEDI program was announced on September 12.
The project had finally come together and was moving along rapidly, Black wrote. The Pentagon was “really fast tracking” Google’s cloud security certification, a development she called “priceless.”
The Google executives discussed the potential for a public relations fiasco from the Project Maven contract. Whether or not to reveal the deal was a point of concern.
“This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google. You probably heard Elon Musk and his comment about AI causing WW3,” wrote Fei-Fei.
“I don’t know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry,” she continued. “Google Cloud has been building our theme on Democratizing AI in 2017, and Diane and I have been talking about Humanistic AI for enterprise. I’d be super careful to protect these very positive images.”
The Google team noted that it has no press plan for the rollout of the contract and agreed that the company should work to set the “narrative” as quickly as possible. The “buzz” generated by the contract could be a positive, Black suggested.
The government sales team noted that Project Maven had been concealed through a contract awarded to ECS Federal, an arrangement first reported by The Intercept.
“The contract is not direct with Google but through a partner (ECS) and we have terms that prevent press releases from happening without our mutual consent,” wrote Black. The Defense Department “will not say anything about Google without our approval.”
Despite the secrecy, Black cautioned that news will eventually leak and that information about the contracting process could be obtained by the public through the Freedom of Information Act. Google’s involvement with Project Maven “will eventually get out,” Black warned. “Wouldn’t it be best to have it released on our terms?”
The project, however, was never announced publicly until news broke in March 2018.
AN INTERNAL WORK timeline about Project Maven, also obtained by The Intercept, provides a window into the quick progression of the contract.
On October 27, 2017, a team from Google Cloud visited Beale Air Force Base — a major hub for drone pilots — to “meet operational users (Air Force data analysts) who will be the end users of our technology, and primary testers starting June 2018.”
The previous week, Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan, who helped spearhead Project Maven, visited Google’s Advanced Solutions Lab to meet with 50 members of the team working on the project. Shanahan declared that “nothing in DoD should ever be fielded going forward without a built-in AI capability,” according to the timeline.
The timeline describes how Google engineers were continually working with the military to improve the product, including the user interface. “While the initial core technology focus will remain detection, classification, and (limited) tracking of certain classes of objects, we are considering how to address customers’ concern regarding more challenging use-cases that solve user’s real problems,” the document notes.
Top photo: A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a Hellfire missile flies over an air base after a mission in the Persian Gulf region on Jan. 7, 2016.
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/31/goo ... lucrative/
After a dozen employees quit in protest, Google has reportedly decided not to renew its contract for military drone initiative Project Maven
Greg Sandoval, Business Insider
The pressure to stop working with the military appears to have been too much for Google as the company reportedly will not renew a contract to build artificial intelligence tools for the Pentagon.
According to Gizmodo, company managers notified employees during a meeting Friday.
Google's relationship with the Department of Defense triggered a civil war inside the company and cast doubt on Google's commitment to its old motto: "Don't be evil."
Facing both public pressure and unrest from within its own company, Google will not renew its contract to help build artificial intelligence tools for the military, according to a report by Gizmodo's Kate Conger.
As part of an effort called Project Maven, Google provides the Pentagon with artificial intelligence technology that speeds up the process of analyzing video images. Google's participation in the program, which critics contend could help increase the accuracy of drone-missile strikes, sparked controversy both inside and outside of Google.
diane greene google
Google cloud boss Diane Greene Google
Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud, informed employees of the company's decision on Friday, unnamed sources told Gizmodo. She said that the current contract expires in 2019 and won't be renewed, according to the report. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
When the extent of Google's participation in Project Maven became public, it ignited a civil war inside Google. A petition demanding that Google stop cooperating with the military and condemn the creation of AI weapons was signed by thousands of Google employees.
Later, about a dozen Google staffers resigned in protest. Academics and researchers also lashed out at Google for abandoning the company's original motto: "Don't be evil."
The full report from Gizmodo is worth reading, and includes details such as:
Diane Greene told employees that Google would not choose to pursue Maven because of the controversy it has stirred
The decision to work on AI for the military was made during a period when Google was "more aggressively pursuing military work"
Google will publish new principles next week to help govern how the company handles AI in the future.
Internal emails reviewed by Gizmodo show that Google executives "viewed Project Maven as a golden opportunity" to win other AI contracts, including those pertaining to the military and US intelligence groups.
The emails show that Google and partners labored to create "machine learning algorithms" and on a "sophisticated system that could surveil entire cities."
Critics of Google's involvement with the military cheered the company's decision. The authors of a letter published last month that demanded Google pull out of Maven and signed by hundreds of academics, researchers and scientists issued a statement to Business Insider.
"We're gratified to see Google take the decision not to renew its contract for Project Maven and to make the decision public," wrote Lucy Suchman, Lilly Irani, and Peter Asaro. "Google has promised to release its ethical policy regarding the development of artificial intelligence technologies next week."
The group says it hopes included in Google's new AI policy will be the promise to never use consumer data in military operations or for mass surveillance, as well as a pledge never to develop military AI applications.
http://www.thisisinsider.com/google-cav ... act-2018-6
Google Could Face a Huge Fine for Collecting Location Data From Users Who Don't Want to Be Tracked
By DAVID MEYER 6:04 AM EDT
Last month the Associated Press reported that Google tracks users’ location even if they have told the company they don’t want to be tracked. This wasn’t the first such report—last year Oracle blew the whistle on how Android phones quietly tell Google where users are located, even if they’ve turned off location services and removed the device’s SIM card—but it’s now sparked a probe in Arizona that could lead to an enormous fine for the company.
According to the Washington Post, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich initiated the probe last month, indicating in a filing that his office would be targeting an unnamed firm over its “storage of consumer location data, tracking of consumer location, and other consumer tracking through…smartphone operating systems, even when consumers turn off ‘location services’ and take other steps to stop such tracking.”
After the AP story broke, the company changed its help page for the location history feature. While it previously claimed that “with Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored,” it now says the setting “does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.”
If the investigation leads to a full-blown consumer protection case under Arizona state law, Google (GOOGL, -1.13%) could theoretically be hit with fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
As the AP report said Google was scooping up location data on Android devices and iPhones bearing the Google Maps app—again, even if users turn off the “location history” feature—that could end up being an awful lot of money.
The AP report also ruffled feathers at the German justice ministry, which last month asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai to clarify exactly what the company does with people’s location data. Officials warned Google that collecting and storing the data despite the “disabling” of location history would “seriously and sustainably damage consumers’ confidence in digital services.”
In response to the Arizona probe, Google told the Post that it collects location data in many ways, including through search queries, in order to provide locally relevant services.
http://fortune.com/2018/09/12/arizona-g ... ata-probe/
'F--- you leakers': A former senior Google employee says a frantic quest to stop internal info getting out is now management's 'number one priority'
Jack Poulson, who quit Google in September over its search project in China, spoke about the company's culture of secrecy.
He said managers are more concerned with stopping leaks than anything else.
Poulson cited an engineer yelling "f--- you leakers" at an all-hands meeting as an example of the attitude to leaking.
Court documents and concerned employees have previously given a picture of the extreme lengths to which Google goes to protect its secrets.
A senior former Google employee who quit over its controversial plans to launch a search engine in China painted a picture of a company whose upper echelons are obsessed with stopping leaks, to the exclusion of almost anything else.
Jack Poulson, a former researcher at the company, said that senior managers consider the prevention of leaks to be their "number one priority."
In comments reported on Saturday by The Times of London, Poulson cited as an example of the anti-leak culture an an unnamed senior engineer taking the microphone at an all-hands meeting to yell "F--- you leakers" at his colleagues.
Read more: A wave of news leaks is triggering a crackdown at Google and causing fears that the culture is being 'openly destroyed'
He said that the campaign against leaking had become a way for Google to avoid tackling the reasons staff were leaking in the first place, including concerns over the Chinese search project, code-named Dragonfly, or work for the US military.
Poulson left Google in September over Dragonfly, and said he believed four other employees had done the same. Google declined to comment on his departure at the time.
He said, according to The Times: "The narrative is that leaking is bad and that the number one priority is to prevent any leaks."
Poulson said that Google was not alone in trying to suppress employee revolts, pointing to similar movements at Microsoft and Amazon. He said the back-and-forth between workers and executives is not "going to be a short battle."
Business Insider has reported previously on the culture of extreme secrecy at Google.
A lawsuit filed against the company in late 2016 alleged that employees have to sign a confidentiality agreement which even prevents them talking to a lawyer about what goes on at Google.
It describes an internal program, called "stopleaks", to which it says employees are encouraged to report their own leaks, and those of colleagues.
"Stopleaks" was referenced again in an internal email that was made public in May 2017 as part of the same lawsuit, this time in an email from the head of Google's internal investigations unit.
In September of this year, Business Insider reported that Google was tightening its security still further, clamping down on access to its weekly all-hands meeting, known as TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) for employees not physically at its Silicon Valley HQ.
It came after a video of employees lamenting the election of Donald Trump was leaked to the right-wing news site Breitbart, fuelling politically toxic accusations that the search engine is biased.
https://www.businessinsider.com/jack-po ... ks-2018-12
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