Google_Bias_Investigated


OK GOOGLE, IS THIS A TERRORIST? —



Google helps Pentagon analyze military drone footage—employees

“outraged”

"Project Maven" applies Google's image recognition tech to drone footage.

RON AMADEO - 3/6/2018

Drone On Tarmac- Google is partnering with the United States Department of Defense and building drone software

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/03/google-helping-the-pentagon-sift-through-millions-of-hours-of-drone-footage/

A report from Gizmodo says that Google is partnering with the United States Department of Defense and building drone software. The project will reportedly apply Google's usual machine learning prowess to identify objects in drone footage. Google's involvement in the project wasn't public, but it was apparently discussed internally at Google last week and leaked.

The project is called "Project Maven," also known as the "Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT)." The project started in April of last year with a mission to “accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and machine learning.”

A DoD press release on Project Maven says the project aims to help deal with the "millions of hours of video" the military collects. Drone footage is pouring into the Pentagon at a rate faster than human analysts can keep up with, so the hope is that machine learning could help do some of the heavy lifting and identify interesting footage. As the owner of YouTube, Google is probably the world's foremost expert on having more video footage than you know what to do with.

The press release said Maven's initial focus was to detect "38 classes of objects that represent the kinds of things the department needs to detect, especially in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria." Gizmodo claims it now provides the military with "the ability to track individuals as they come and go from different locations."

According to the Gizmodo report, some Google employees are not taking the news well: "Some Google employees were outraged that the company would offer resources to the military for surveillance technology involved in drone operations... while others argued that the project raised important ethical questions about the development and use of machine learning."

A Google spokesperson responded to the report, saying, “We have long worked with government agencies to provide technology solutions. This specific project is a pilot with the Department of Defense, to provide open source TensorFlow APIs that can assist in object recognition on unclassified data.”

The spokesperson added, “The technology flags images for human review and is for non-offensive uses only. Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively discussing this important topic internally and with others as we continue to develop policies and safeguards around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.”



Google helps Pentagon analyze military drone footage-employees "outraged"

Marco Green - March 7, 2018

http://clicklancashire.com/2018/03/07/google-helps-pentagon-analyze-military-drone-footage.html


Looks like it is in for some more criticism after it was discovered that the Mountain View-based firm is working with the US Department of Defence (DoD) and is helping it develop artificial intelligence to analyse drone footage. So Maven was created with the express goal of using machine learning to identify objects such as vehicles, houses and more, in the drone footage.

According to sources who spoke on conditions of anonymity, Google's involvement in the so-called Project Maven was not public, but was discussed inside the company when information about it was shared on an internal mailing list, sparking concern among employees.

Project Maven, the Pentagon's project also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT), was established in April 2017.

The partnership is not without precedent; In 2017, the Defense Department spent $7.4 billion on A.I. -related initiatives; Project Maven, also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, was founded a year ago to "accelerate DoD's integration of big data and machine learning".

Maven was tasked with using machine learning to identify vehicles and other objects in drone footage, taking that burden off analystsGizmodo claims it now provides the military with "the ability to track individuals as they come and go from different locations". The company confirmed a Gizmodo report that it's offering TensorFlow programming kits to the Defense Department as part of a pilot program that will help Project Maven process drone footage a lot more quickly.

The Pentagon's spokesman has declined to disclose the tech giant's role in the envisaged project, while a Google spokesperson has said the technology was for "non-offensive uses only". And admitted that "military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns".

To be sure, while the Pentagon's drone program is best known for spotting and obliterating militants and alleged terrorists (and considerable numbers of innocents), US military drones - which don't all carry weapons - are frequently used to help keep American troops and their allies safe from attack, and for other non-combat purposes. Drew Cukor said in a statement. His current role is as chairman of the Defence Innovation Board, which is an independent federal committee. This project helps identify objects seen in drone footage. According to Gizmodo, the collaboration is being widely discussed within the company after it emerged from Google's internal mailing list that it was indeed working with the United States defence department.

Speaking to a crowd of military and industry technology experts, many from Silicon Valley, Cukor professed the USA to be in the midst of AI arms race. Since Google owns YouTube, the DoD could not have asked for a better partner. "Key elements have to be put together ... and the only way to do that is with commercial partners alongside us".



Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face Congress next week

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/11/28/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-totestify-for-house-judiciary-committee.html

Stephen Lam | Reuters

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 5, according to a release from the committee.

Pichai will be asked about potential bias in the platform and transparency around Google's practices.

Google previously declined to send the CEO to a hearing with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Wed, 28 Nov 2018


Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/11/28/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-totestify-for-house-judiciary-committee.html

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 5 to discuss transparency and potential bias on the platform, according to a release from the committee.

Google previously declined an invitation for Pichai or his boss, Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page, to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Tech peers Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg attended. The committee left an empty chair for Google.

Pichai later talked to members of Congress in a private session.

Now, the Google CEO will have to face lawmakers to defend its practices. The company has been accused of skewing search results against conservative viewpoints and has been criticized for its consideration of creating a censored version of its platform to re-enter the Chinese market.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in statement that Google's vast reach requires the company to be responsible with its users.

"Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially," McCarthy said. "Its business practices may have been affected by political bias. Additionally, reports claim the company is compromising its core principles by complying with repressive censorship mandates from China."

"Online technology is now an integral part of most Americans' modern lifestyle," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement. "It has globalized society and made it possible for people to connect across continents, explore vast amounts of information, and share meaningful dialogue with friends. However, the technology behind online services like social media and Internet search engines can also be used to suppress particular viewpoints and manipulate public opinion."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Google accused of manipulation to track users

November 27, 2018

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-google-accused-track-users.html

Seven European consumer groups filed complaints against Google with national regulators Tuesday, accusing the internet giant of covertly tracking users' movements in violation of an EU regulation on data protection.

The complaints cited a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council that concluded the Internet giant used "deceptive design and misleading information, which results in users accepting to be constantly tracked."

Council official Gro Mette Moen charged that "Google uses extremely detailed and comprehensive personal data without an appropriate judicial basis, and the data is acquired by means of manipulative techniques."

Complaints against Google were filed in the Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden.

They are based on the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May.

Google is accused of tracking users' movements via its Location History and Web & App Activity applications, which are built into all Google accounts.

"For users of mobile phones with Android (operating systems), such as Samsung and Huawei phones, this tracking is particularly difficult to avoid," the Norwegian council noted.

According to the internet site Statcounter, almost 70 percent of European mobile phones run on the Android system.

"Location data can reveal a lot about a person: real time movements, frequently visited places, daily routines, interests, etc," the Norwegian complaint said.

"Constant location tracking and aggregation of location data over time can be used to build very detailed profiles of individuals and to infer religious beliefs, political leanings, and sexual orientation, among other things," it added.

Monique Goyens, director general of The European Consumer Organisation said: "Google's data hunger is notorious but the scale with which it deceives its users to track and monetise their every move is breathtaking.

"The situation is more than alarming. Smartphones are being used for spying on our every move."

The Dutch organisation Consumentenbond insisted that "this tracking must stop."

Google responded by saying that "Location History is turned off by default, and you can edit, delete, or pause it at any time. If it's on, it helps improve services like predicted traffic on your commute.

"If you pause it, we make clear that—depending on your individual phone and app settings—we might still collect and use location data to improve your Google experience."



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-11-google-accused-track-users.html#jCp

 


Google accused of anti-competitive Android tactics by 'Open Internet Project'

Mar. 7, 2017 6:52 PM ET|By: Eric McCaffrey, SA News Editor 

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3249387-google-accused-anti-competitive-android-tactics-open-internet-project

Having first initiated complaint against Google (GOOGGOOGL) with the European Commission three years ago involving the company's comparison shopping product, the operation again alleges Google's breach of European Union antitrust regulations, in this case over restrictions Google is claimed to impose on Android device manufacturers and wireless service providers.

The group is requesting European Commission review of associated practices, while Google maintains the stance Android enhances, rather than deters competition.


Project Maven to Deploy Computer Algorithms to War Zone by Year’s End

https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1254719/project-maven-to-deploy-computer-algorithms-to-war-zone-by-years-end/

 

A stand-alone exhibit titled, “Innovations in Defense: Artificial Intelligence and the Challenge of Cybersecurity,” features Pittsburgh-based team  For All Secure’s Mayhem  Cyber Reasoning System.

The system took first place at the August 2016 Cyber Grand Challenge finals, beating out six other computers. The Mayhem CRS is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

 The exhibit was produced by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The exhibit will run through Sept. 17, 2017. DoD photo

WASHINGTON --

Winning wars with computer algorithms and artificial intelligence were among the topics that Defense Department intelligence officials discussed during a recent Defense One Tech Summit here.

Presenters included Marine Corps Col. Drew Cukor, chief of the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operations Directorate-Warfighter Support in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

By the end of the calendar year, the department will field advanced computer algorithms onto government platforms to extract objects from massive amounts of moving or still imagery, Cukor said in his remarks.

“People and computers will work symbiotically to increase the ability of weapon systems to detect objects,” Cukor added. “Eventually we hope that one analyst will be able to do twice as much work, potentially three times as much, as they're doing now. That's our goal.”

A computer algorithm is a set of rules to be followed during problem-solving operations. Cukor described an algorithm as about 75 lines of Python code “placed inside a larger software-hardware container.”

He said the immediate focus is 38 classes of objects that represent the kinds of things the department needs to detect, especially in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Exploitation Analyst airmen assigned to the 41st Intelligence Squadron have begun using advanced mobile desktop training that uses an environment to challenge each individual analyst in cyberspace

 maneuvers to achieve mission objectives at Fort. George G. Meade, Md. Air Force Illustration by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes

Project Maven

The effort to help a workforce increasingly overwhelmed by incoming data, including millions of hours of video, began in April when then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work

 announced in a memo that he was establishing an Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, overseen by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, to work on something he called Project Maven.

“As numerous studies have made clear, the department of defense must integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning more effectively across operations to maintain advantages over increasingly capable adversaries and competitors,” Work wrote.

“Although we have taken tentative steps to explore the potential of artificial intelligence, big data and deep learning,” he added,

 “I remain convinced that we need to do much more and move much faster across DoD to take advantage of recent and future advances in these critical areas.”

Project Maven focuses on computer vision -- an aspect of machine learning and deep learning -- that autonomously extracts objects of interest from moving or still imagery,

Cukor said. Biologically inspired neural networks are used in this process, and deep learning is defined as applying such neural networks to learning tasks.

“This effort is an announcement … that we're going to invest for real here,” he said.

Working With Industry

Rapidly delivering artificial intelligence to a combat zone won’t be easy, Cukor said.

“There is no ‘black box’ that delivers the AI system the government needs, at least not now,” he said. “Key elements have to be put together …

and the only way to do that is with commercial partners alongside us.”

Work to be accomplished over the next few months includes triaging and labeling data so the algorithms can be trained, the colonel explained.

“That work is inherently governmental and so we have a large group of people -- sophisticated analysts and engineers -- who are going through our data and cleaning it up.

We also have a relationship with a significant data-labeling company that will provide services across our three networks -- the unclassified and the classified networks -- to allow our workforce to label our data and prepare it for machine learning,” Cukor said.

The department has a significant effort ongoing to procure computational power, including graphic processing units that allow training of machine-learning algorithms,

he said. An algorithmic development contract also is in process -- the department will go through a competitive selection process to find vendors that can provide algorithms against DoD data.

“You don't buy AI like you buy ammunition,” he added. “There's a deliberate workflow process and what the department has given us with its rapid acquisition authorities is an opportunity

for about 36 months to explore what is governmental and [how] best to engage industry [to] advantage the taxpayer and the warfighter, who wants the best algorithms that exist to augment and complement the work he does.”

Other aspects of the work include integrating and fielding the algorithms, and once an algorithm is on a platform it must be optimized over its lifecycle, Cukor said.

 

The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division at the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides a common threat and targeting picture that are key to planning and

 executing theater wide aerospace operations to meet the Combined Forces Air Component commander’s objectives.

They are also the means by which the effects of air and space operations are measured. Air Force photo

AI Arms Race

“We are in an AI arms race,” Cukor said. “ … It's happening in industry [and] the big five Internet companies are pursuing this heavily. Many of you will have noted that Eric Schmidt [executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.] is calling Google an AI company now, not a data company.”

The colonel described the technology available commercially, the state-of-the-art in computer vision, as “frankly … stunning,” thanks to work in the area by researchers and engineers at Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a $36 billion investment last year across commercial industry.

“No area will be left unaffected by the impact of this technology,” he added.

For now, many tasks, like computer vision, are ready for AI capabilities and many are not, Cukor said, noting that “AI will not be selecting a target [in combat] … any time soon. What AI will do is compliment the human operator.”

Before deploying algorithms to combat zones, Cukor said, “you've got to have your data ready and you've got to prepare and you need the computational infrastructure for training.”

Also needed are algorithm developers and software engineers, he said, an interface must be developed between AI and human operators, and ultimately integration and optimization will be needed over the deployment lifecycle.

“All of these things have got to be put in harmony over the next 36 months as we move down this path,” Cukor said.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin: on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)

 


Google acused of using anti-competitive tactics


https://www.smh.com.au/technology/google-acused-of-using-anti-competitive-tactics-20090219-gdtdh8.html

19 February 2009

A would-be challenger to Google said on Tuesday it is suing the internet search leader for alleged abuses that include illegally rigging its prices to thwart potential competitive threats.

In a 38-page page complaint, TradeComet.com accused Google of manipulating its system for setting ad rates to make it too expensive for a specialty search engine called SourceTool to promote itself within Google's vast online marketing network.

In a press release, TradeComet said it filed its anti-trust lawsuit in a New York federal court.

Google said it hadn't reviewed the allegations as of late Tuesday, but the Mountain View, California-based company reiterated its belief that there are plenty of other online advertising options, including networks run by rivals Yahoo and Microsoft.

"As we have consistently made clear, the advertising market in which Google operates is highly competitive, and advertisers have a huge range of choices," Google said in a statement.

TradeComet's lawsuit is the latest legal action to allege Google has used its widening market power to create a monopoly that enables it to bully rivals or squeeze out websites that it doesn't like.

Google processes nearly two-thirds of the internet search requests in the United States and sells an even larger chunk of the text-based ad links that appear alongside search results and other content on millions of web pages served up each day.

That clout spurred a government investigation that would have culminated in an antitrust lawsuit late last year had Google not withdrawn from a planned advertising partnership with Yahoo, which runs the Internet's second biggest search engine.

New York-based TradeComet alleges Google stymied the growth of SourceTool in May 2006 when it raised the minimum bids on SourceTool ads that were triggered by specific search requests. Words that resulted in advertising costs of 5 cents and 10 cents per click soared to $US5 and $US10 per click, according to the suit.

The suit alleges the higher rates prevented SourceTool from promoting its search engine, which helps connect businesses looking to buy and sell products and services among themselves. TradeComet said its traffic plunged by 90 per cent after Google imposed its new pricing terms.


Google Denies It 'Rigs' Search Engine Results To Make Donald Trump Look Bad

A Google spokesperson said: 'We don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.'

By Kathryn Snowdon

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/donald-trump-accuses-google-rigging-search-results_uk_5b8522a6e4b0511db3d176a9

Google has hit back at Donald Trump’s claim that it manipulates its search engine results to make him look “bad”, with a spokesperson saying: “we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology”.

The online giant’s defence comes after the US President accused Google of “rigging” its search results.

In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Trump said that the “National Left Wing Media” made up 96% of the results on “Trump news”.

He accused Google of not including Republican, Conservative and “fair” media, which he claimed was illegal. He added: “This is a very serious situation – will be addressed.”

A Google spokesperson denied that the search function is used to set a political agenda. “When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” the statement said. 

Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018

....results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018

The spokesperson continued: “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. 

“Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries.

“We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Trump regularly criticises any negative news media coverage of him, frequently using the term fake news to describe critical reports. 

Political commentators in the US have pointed out that Trump’s Twitter rant comes shortly after right-wing PJ Media published an article suggesting Google was manipulating its algorithm to prioritise left-leaning news outlets.

Daniel Dale

Trump’s “96%” complaint about Google is from an article by right-wing PJ Media that has been making the rounds online in the lasy day. It complains that the News tab for TRump brings up … news sites … rather than rifhr-wijg opinion sites …like PJ Media.

https://pjmedia.com/trending/google-search-results-show-pervasive-anti-trump-anti-conservative-bias

,,,,,,

Returned as the seond-place finisher, The Washington Post, Other left-leaninf outlets also fared well, including NBC, CNBC, The Atlantic, and Politico. The only right-leaning sited to appear in the top 100 were The Wall Street Journal and Fox News with 3 and 2 results respectivelly

PJ Media did not appear in the first 100 results, not did national Review, The Weekly Standard, Breitbart, The Blaze, The Daily Wire, Hot Air,

Daniel Dale August 28th

Here is the “bias” calssification system the PJ Media uses, Amoung the “Left-wing” outlets: the Associated Press, USA Today, Politico, The Hill, Bloomber, Rueters (to which Trump just gave an interview)..

In other words, this is all very silly, But you knew that


https://pjmedia.com/trending/google-search-results-show-pervasive-anti-trump-anti-conservative-bias

Daniel Dale August 28th

There it is: Trump almost certainly found out about the Google think from Lou Dobbs. Sequesnce of events as far as we know: Absurd “Not scientific” study on PJ Media.com to big graphic on Fox to president’s Twitter feed to White House inquiry.

Matthew Gertz

Good morning. The President was up before dawn thsi morning watching and tweeting about last night’s episode of Fox’s Lou Dobbs Tonight.

D, Har August 28th August

The fact that infowars is even visible on the page tells you a lot.

Crooked Ivanka 28th August

Who ever imagined that a US President would be having a hissy because msm is showing up on google before propaganda websites

I am who I am -28th August

At 5.30 in the morning

Courtney McCain - 28th August

I have my onw problem with Googe, Everytime I search for “current U.S. President”, it keeps telling me it’s “Donald Trump”,

Chase “Individual-1” Teeples 28th August

These people really don’t undertsnad how Google’s algorithm works. This conservative sites get less traffic and have less reliable content and therefore show up in fewer search results. This isn’t complicated.

Corey Yates 28th August

SEO, how does that work?

The Politician 28th August

“Other conservative-leaning sites that did not appear included RedBallz, Patriot Fucker, God Has Mt Gun, Snowflake Factory, SovCit Review, Christian AR-15, and White People have Nver one Anyhing Wrong.”

Resisting in Newport 28th August

Trump googling name at 5:24 am suggests the McCain coverage and tributes is making him fell insecure. Womp womp

Gdeguzman 28th August

Circulat thinkin, I’m great, tehre should be all favourite new. There aren’t, its a conspitacy, I’m a victim of fake news and Google conspiracy

Michael Beaton 28th August

The enabling circle of Circular thinking

..................

Peter Goneau 28th August, 2018

Are there awards that people can nominate you for, Daniel, Your abilities are ecllipsed only by your efficiency. Great work, man.

Joe Dee 28th August, 2018

I concur, a mus to follow.

MattewDicks 28th August, 2018

Trump Googles himself ( and whines about the results) because this is what Presidents on the United States do.

KinMn 28th August, 2018

So the issue is googling ‘news’ brings up new sites. Git it. Also, someone doesn’t know how the inernet works. But you knew that.

Dwight Williams 28th August, 2018

So POTUS is up on the morning, not reading the latest security briefing or doing research, instead he’s watching Lou Dobbs and tweeting this nonsense…

ProfessingProf 28th August, 2018

How absurd that searching for news actually brings up news. Trump wants all search results to only contain praise for him, you know, Trump wants to be ‘Dear Leader’

Chuck Buck 28th August, 2018

Nobody complains when they Google “prostrate cancer” and there’s no positive coverage.

Alexa Carle Chuck Buck 28th August, 2018

PJ Media- the nation’s trusted source on sleepwear

 Cara 28th August, 2018

More evidence the Fake President is guided by Fake News

Gail J-K 28th August, 2018

It was also “reported (hahahahahahah -breathes) on @FoxNews last night by Lou Dobbs

Jamie Schler 28th August, 2018

Boy, it seems that Russia’s and the Far Right’s huge misinformation/disinformation campaign is pretty effective. At least on trump.

Cliff  Potter 28th August, 2018

Add your to a morning giggle. This one, though, was because it is so true, Kind of a nervous giggle. One from pain and agony. One that resonates from some orange clown on the horizon, beckoning me to come over to the other side, More proof he (Trump) is noting but a decadent fool…

Tero Kuittinen 28th August, 2018

“Left leaning outlets like CNBC and Politico”

Charles Arthur

 IKR

 Trending

https://pjmedia.com/trending/google-search-results-show-pervasive-anti-trump-anti-conservative-bias

96 Percent of Google Search Results for 'Trump' News Are from Liberal Media Outlets

BY PAULA BOLYARD AUGUST 25, 2018

Is Google manipulating its algorithm to prioritize left-leaning news outlets in their coverage of President Trump? It sure looks that way based on recent search results for news on the president.

Conservatives and Trump supporters have for the last several years questioned whether Google was deprioritizing conservative news sites, hiding them from users who utilize their search engine. Google has maintained that all outlets are treated fairly, but nevertheless, conservative sites have reported reduced search traffic and, in the case of Google-owned YouTube, content creators have been banned and demonetizedGoogle's high-profile firing of conservative James Damore, purportedly over his conservative political views, only reinforces the idea that Google is picking winners and losers.

Facebook Censors Conservatives Articles, Saying They 'Look Like Spam'

To test the premise, I performed a Google search for "Trump" using the search engine's "News" tab and analyzed the results using Sharyl Attkisson's media bias chart.

Hadas Gold

In the classic search of “why did TRump tweet x” it appears there was an article in Brietbart citing an unscientific PJ Meida study of searching “Trump” on Goofle News. August 2018

Trump has made social media, particularly Twitter, an integral part of his presidency.

On Friday he accused social media companies of silencing “millions of people” in an act of censorship, yet did not offer any evidence to support his claim.

Donald Trump 24th August 2018

Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. Can’t do this even it it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whoe rating have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!

Trump’s accusation of bias on the part of Google comes as social media companies have suspended accounts, banned certain users and removed content as they face pressure from the US Congress to police foreign propaganda and fake accounts aimed at disrupting American politics, including operations tied to Iran and Russia.

Companies such as Facebook and Twitter have also faced pressure to remove conspiracy driven content and hate speech.

Earlier this month Trump criticised social media outlets saying without providing proof that unidentified companies were “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.”

In October 2016, he tweeted: “Wow, Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton.”

But on July 19, he referred to Google as “one of our great companies”. 

In the past he has criticised Facebook for “always” being anti-Trump.



Trump Claims Without Evidence That Google Is Rigging Search Results Against Him

 

http://time.com/5380039/trump-google/

 

By BLOOMBERG 

August 28, 2018

 

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google of rigging its search results to display only negative stories about him, calling it “a very serious situation” that “will be addressed.”

“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD, Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday, in his latest claim of bias on the part of a news or social media company.

In a subsequent tweet, he said “Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”

The most recent broadside follows the president’s Aug. 24 claim that social media “giants” are “silencing millions of people.” Such accusations — along with assertions that the news media and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia meddling probe are biased against him — have been a chief Trump talking point meant to appeal to the president’s base.

Trump in July lashed out at the European Union in response to a record $5 billion fine against Google over its mobile phone operating system, calling Google one of America’s “great companies.”



GOOGLEWALKOUT —





Thousands of Google employees slam execs’ response to sexual misconduct



 

Organizer: "I expect them to meet the demands or be faced with an escalation."

CYRUS FARIVAR - 11/1/2018,



https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/google-offices-from-mountain-view-to-atlanta-protest-sexual-misconduct/

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Thousands of Google employees at the company’s headquarters walked out of work on Thursday to protest sexual misconduct. Many brought signs that included slogans like "End Rape Culture," "Don't be evil," "Equality for all," "Hey Google, WTF?" and "I deserve to feel safe @ work."

Similar protests took place at numerous Google offices worldwide. The Thursday protests, which featured testimonials by people who say that they suffered harassment and misconduct at the company and were not taken seriously by their superiors, marked one of the most visible instances of Silicon Valley workers protesting in recent years.

Protestors were galvanized by a recent New York Times report that chronicled three top company executives who have received massive payouts over the past decade despite being credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent out an email to employees apologizing for the company's inadequate response. He also wrote that the company would take a "much harder line on inappropriate behavior."

However, the company has not said what, if any, concrete action it plans on taking. No executives spoke to the assembled crowd during the Thursday morning walkout.

One of the organizing leaders of the protestors, who requested anonymity, reiterated that the protest was "the beginning."

"I expect them to meet the demands or be faced with an escalation," she told Ars. "I mean, we already proved that we have tens of thousands of employees across nearly three-quarters of Google offices that are prepared to walk out to demand change. The company doesn't work without them."

Demands

Late Wednesday evening, protest organizers issued a five-point list of demands.

1. “..An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.

2. A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.

3. A publicly disclosed sexual-harassment transparency report.

4. A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.

5. Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. Appoint an Employee Representative to the Board…

In December 2017, Microsoft announced that it would end forced arbitration, but few if any major tech firms have followed suit.

Arbitration is a private, quasi-legal procedure originally designed to expedite disputes between corporations. But over time, it has evolved into a system where individuals are compelled, for a variety of reasons, to agree to arbitration decisions versus seeking a court decision. The net result is that disputes that normally would have been adjudicated via the public court process are often processed via private arbitration, which generally favors corporations over individuals.

Worse still, in the world of arbitration, there is no possibility of class-action claims. Arbitration proceedings are additionally often shrouded from public view, meaning it is traditionally difficult to find out about sexual harassment or misconduct claims at corporations.

When Ars specifically asked Google whether it would consider meeting the demands issued by the protestors, spokespeople did not respond directly.

However, we were sent a statement attributed to CEO Sundar Pichai, which largely reiterated what he told employees earlier in the week.

"Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward," he said. "We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."

Solidarity

Ars spent over an hour at the protests and approached over a dozen employees—nearly all of whom were women—to discuss why they were protesting. All declined to speak with us, with one exception.

"I've experienced various forms of harassment, but most importantly is that I have a daughter who's experienced sexual harassment," said one woman who declined to give her name. "I think it's important to show solidarity and support for those individuals who have been victims of this."

She continued and explained that she felt "privileged" to work at the company and called it "terrific." The woman was hopeful that company's leadership was receptive.

As went on to say:

“.…I think the fact that they have shown so much support for this event itself has been tremendous. It's been an experience that I've never experienced at any other company in my career. And I'm one of the older Googlers, so I've had a longer career than many of the people here today, so I'm quite impressed with the leadership's response. Mainly this is a human condition, and it's really awareness for others that has to change, and people sort of recognizing that we are all human beings, and we deserve to be respected. It's not OK, no matter what level of life that you're in, to cross those boundaries….”

CYRUS FARIVAR

Cyrus is a Senior Tech Policy Reporter at Ars Technica, and is also a radio producer and author. His latest book, Habeas Data, about the legal cases over the last 50 years that have had an outsized impact on surveillance and privacy law in America, is out now from Melville House. He is based in Oakland, California.EMAIL cyrus.farivar@arstechnica.com // TWITTEr


Google accused of 'chilling' complicity in China after plans to launch censored search engine leak

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/08/01/google-accused-chilling-complicity-china-plans-launch-censored/

Campaign groups have criticised Google for hypocrisy and assisting oppression, arguing the move sets a dangerous precedent CREDIT: REUTERS

Google is launching a censored version of its search engine in China that will block access to sites including the BBC. 

The internet giant will block access to sites banned by the country's ruling communist party, including Wikipedia and BBC News, according to leaked internal documents seen by The Intercept.

Sites and search terms about human rights, democracy and religion will also be blacklisted.

Campaign groups have criticised Google for hypocrisy and assisting oppression, arguing the move sets a dangerous precedent for other large organisations.

Google, however, is desperate to crack the lucrative Chinese market of 750m web users who could provide billions in revenue.

The Chinese search engine project, code-named Dragonfly, has been in development since last spring and could launch within six to nine months, according to the leaked documents.

Work began speeding up on the project in December following a secret meeting between Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Chinese foreign policy advisor Wang Huning. Google engineers have already created a custom Android app, with different versions nicknamed "Maotai" and "Longfei".

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said that Google's decision was "absolutely chilling".

"Google is supposed to be a gateway to free information, not a gatekeeper," Mrs Carlo said. "To see a tech giant and government collude to oppress a population is a watershed moment for the digital age. Google's alarming willingness to bend to the will of the world's most censorious government serves as a wake up call to us all."

Google shut its original Chinese search engine down in 2010 following a series of cyberattacks by the Chinese government which were aimed at human rights activists in the country and elsewhere.

The company claimed that Chinese hackers had attempted to break into the Gmail accounts of activists and read their emails, a move which angered Google so much that it shut down its Chinese search engine and allowed people to access uncensored information for several months.

Sergey Brin, Google’s cofounder who was raised in the Soviet Union until he was almost six years old, said that “our objection is to those forces of totalitarianism” in China.

For several months, Google redirected people in mainland China to Google’s Hong Kong search engine, which didn’t filter results. And since then, Google has publicly opposed China’s internet censorship.

Eric Schmidt, then Google’s executive chairman, said in 2013 that China was “the most egregious example” of a country attempting to control the internet.

But that position has softened in recent years. In January, the search engine joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou, and earlier this month, launched a doodle game on Tencent's social media app WeChat.

Google’s decision to comply with the Chinese government’s censorship will be controversial inside the business. The news of the app only emerged after an employee leaked confidential documents to The Intercept, meaning that there are already signs of dissent inside Google.

Jodie Ginsberg, who is chief executive of campaigns group Index on Censorship, said: “We’re appalled that Google, which has repeatedly stressed its commitment to freedom of expression, should effectively collude with one of the world’s most oppressive regimes in this way.

A Google spokesman said: “We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com.

“But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans.”

Google accused of political censorship after pulling videos of Putin critic Alexei Navalny

By Rebecca Joseph National Online Journalist,

https://globalnews.ca/news/4438495/google-political-censorship-putin-critic/


Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia September 10, 2018.

Mikhail Metzel/TASS Host Photo Agency/Pool via REUTERS

YouTube advertisements of Alexei Navalny, a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were taken down at the request of the Russian government.

The videos reportedly showed Navalny calling for demonstrations on Sunday to protest the rising retirement age in Russia.

Putin has moved to raise the retirement age for women from 55 years old up to 60 years old, and for men, up to 65 from 60.

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin picks berries, hikes mountains in new Russian reality TV show

In Russia, it’s illegal to campaign 24 hours before an election, and a regional election was set for Sunday.

Google’s Russian office said in an emailed comment: “We consider all justified appeals from state bodies. We also require advertisers to act in accordance with the local law and our advertising policies.”

The company recieved a request to take down the videos last month, but only took down the videos on the weekend. Their compliance with the request also came after Russia warned the company last week that “meddling” in the Sunday elections could result in court action, according to AFP.

But one of Navalny’s aides said the act of removing the videos amounted to political censorship, as the rallies were to do with the retirement changes, not the elections.

“The rallies do not have anything to do with the elections,” aide Leonid Volkov said, the Guardian reported.

Navalny had planned to lead the protest, but spent Election Day behind bars after being convicted of violating protest laws last month.

The protest continued despite the fact that it was missing its leader, and over 1,000 people were detained, Russian rights group OVD-Info said.

St. Petersburg saw arguably the most robust response with riot police charging at protesters with batons. Police arrested minors and elderly people.

The accusation of political censorship comes as regulators around the world consider how powerful Alphabet Inc.’s Google has become after its inception 20 years ago.

READ MORE: Trump team suggests regulating Google — what does that entail?

U.S. President Donald Trump has also accused Google of a type of political censorship by rigging the search engine to show unfavourable stories about him.

While experts previously told Global News that data shows search results compiled by most tech companies do tend to show a personalization effect — where users see results related to links they’ve previously clicked or “liked” — they say there isn’t data to prove a political agenda.

WATCH: Google, other social media sites ‘trying to silence’ conservatives: Trump

Trump team suggests regulating Google — what does that entail?

By Rebecca Joseph National Online Journalist,

https://globalnews.ca/news/4422554/trump-regulating-google-explainer/

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump repeated allegations on Wednesday that Google is suppressing news from conservative sources, adding that social media sites including Facebook and Twitter are "trying to silence" right-wing voices.

This week, U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding “fair media” coverage of him.

He’s vowed to address the situation — without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.

READ MORE: Google refutes claim that website promoted Obama’s speeches but not Donald Trump’s

Officials in the Trump administration have said they will look into regulating the online giant. But what would that look like?

Trump said large social media companies should not be allowed to “control what we can and cannot see.”

“You look at Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants and I made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting and rigged search results,” Trump said.

“We will not let large corporations silence conservative voices,” he added, noting that “it can go the other way someday too.”

WATCH: White House adviser looking into Trump’s claim that Google only shows ‘Fake News Media’ in search results

“He is taking issue with something that we know well exists: a personalization effect,” Elizabeth Dubois, a communications professor at the University of Ottawa, explained.

“The concern that has been put forward by Trump is that these are ideologically biased results.”

But she explained that research has shown personalization is going to “give you more of what you already like rather than more of what Google may or may not like.”

But much of Google’s search algorithm – the thing it uses to find and display the search results – is shrouded in secrecy.

While Google has been accused of promoting its own products in search engine results, officials have denied accusations of a political agenda.

“Our goal is to make sure [users] receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” spokesperson Riva Sciuto told the Washington Post. “Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”

READ MORE: Google denies Trump claim that it ‘rigged’ news searches

Here are some issues that could come up if the government tried to regulate Google.

First amendment rights

Many politicians, lawyers and tech workers have opposed regulating the search engine on the basis of first amendment rights.

And rightly so, the U.S. has a high bar for any content-based restrictions by government on speech, explained University of New Brunswick law professor Hilary Young.

But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be able to impose regulations on how and where the results are shown.

READ MORE: New NAFTA could include tough intellectual property laws that Canada fought against in TPP

“The important distinction in U.S. law is between content-based restrictions (rarely permissible) and time, manner and place restrictions (more likely permissible),” Young explained.

“The government can legislate against loud speech or speech in public places in the middle of the night, but it can rarely legislate so as to say: ‘You can say x but not y.’”

She suggested some regulations could take the form of requiring Google to not use advertising in results.

“But content-based restrictions, especially one requiring Google to portray the U.S. president in a certain way, would almost certainly be unconstitutional.”

WATCH: Should the government intervene with Google’s privacy issues?

Precedent: Germany, France and China

In Germany and France, Google adheres to rules that prohibit the promotion of certain types of information; for example, information about Holocaust denial conspiracy theories are not allowed to be shown on search pages.

“There is a potential for regulation,” Dubois explained. “And there is example already where we can see certain things that have been deemed inappropriate socially and politically that are not allowed.”

As for China, Google reportedly has plans to launch a censored version of its search engine, will block some websites and search terms.

China is notorious for blocking words and terms that appear to criticize the government, and human rights advocates say it sets a “chilling precedent” and raises serious questions about Google’s autonomy.

But should tech companies be regulated?

“So technically and legally, it could be possible,” Dubois said. “But whether or not it’s actually needed is a very different question.”

She says she would need to see a systematic study of Google’s search results to try and understand whether or not there is bias.

“From all of the research that’s been done so far, we don’t have evidence to suggest that Google results are biased in that way,” she explained.

In recent days, other tech companies have banned certain content – most famously, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars podcast – for being inappropriate.

Trump has used this anecdote as an example of tech companies’ bias against Conservative media. (For reference, Jones was banned for violating the terms of service of Facebook, Vimeo and other tech sites.)

READ MORE: Infowars app downloads surge after tech giants ban Alex Jones content from platforms

But this is where it gets tricky, Dubois explained. While small businesses can reserve the right to refuse service based on terms of service, companies like Google and Facebook are different.

“When you think of companies as a pretty integral player in our information system, it gets a lot more challenging,” she said, explaining those companies may be held to a higher standard.

“It depends on how we think about Google and these tech companies and it all depends on how we think about our information system — whether or not we value that sort of balance portrayal of information.”

Either way, it will be interesting to see how things play out.

Google refutes claim that website promoted Obama’s speeches but not Donald Trump’s

By Rebecca Joseph National Online Journalist,

https://globalnews.ca/news/4417828/google-state-of-the-union-donald-trump/

U.S. President Donald Trump repeated allegations on Wednesday that Google is suppressing news from conservative sources, adding that social media sites including Facebook and Twitter are "trying to silence" right-wing voices.
U.S. President Donald Trump is stepping up his attacks against Google, continuing to call the search engine biased against him.

In a tweet Wednesday night, Trump posted a video that claimed the landing page of Google promoted former president Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses but not his own. A Google spokesperson denied these claims to Global News.

The tweet comes after two days of attacks on Google, which the president claimed only shows negative news about him – which Google also refuted. He also said they were “trying to silence” people and suggested, without evidence, that their activities may be illegal.

“I think that Google and Facebook and Twitter … treat conservatives and Republicans very unfairly,” Trump told reporters at the White House earlier on Wednesday.

Trump officials have since said they are looking into regulating Google’s search engine because of the “unfair” treatment.

The video Trump tweeted Wednesday shows a picture of Google.com on various dates throughout Obama’s presidency, with a link to watch the State of the Union Address.

But the video then shows a picture of the website on Jan. 30. 2018, which was the date of Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year.

It appears no link is provided to watch Trump’s address.

Google refuted that claim, saying officials did promote Trump’s speech.

“On January 30 2018, we highlighted the livestream of President Trump’s State of the Union on the google.comhomepage,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to Global News.

When Global News checked archived versions of Google’s homepage for Jan. 30 on the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving websites, no link to watch the address was seen.

But since the Internet Archive only captures website at certain times of the day, it’s unclear whether or not the link was present at other times of the day.

For reference, links to Obama’s State of the Union were found on the Internet Archive.

WATCH: Trump warns Google, Facebook and Twitter to ‘be careful’

The video also showed a screen grab of the website on Feb 28, 2017, where no link is provided to watch Trump’s first speech to Congress since being elected.

A spokesperson for Google said that’s because the company doesn’t typically promote speeches to Congress.

“We have historically not promoted the first address to Congress by a new President, which is technically not a State of the Union address. As a result, we didn’t include a promotion on google.com for this address in either 2009 or 2017,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

READ MORE: Google faces lawsuit over location tracking of users

“I think it’s a very serious problem because they’re really trying to silence a very large part of this country, and those people don’t want to be silenced. It’s not right. It’s not fair. It may not be legal, but we’ll see. We just want fairness,” Trump added Wednesday.

Google has said its search is non-political and aimed at getting users the most relevant answers.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” the company said in a statement.

 *with files from Reuters



Technology

Pentagon Drone Program Is Using Google AI

By Mark Bergen- 6 March 2018,

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-06/google-ai-used-by-pentagon-drone-program-in-rare-military-pilot

The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia outside Washington, D.C.

 

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Google’s artificial intelligence technology is being used by the U.S. Department of Defense to analyze drone footage, a rare and controversial move by a company that’s actively limited its work with the military in the past.

A Google spokeswoman said the company provides its TensorFlow application programming interfaces, or APIs, to a pilot project with the Department of Defense to help automatically identify objects in unclassified data. APIs are software-based rules that let computer programs communicate. TensorFlow is a popular set of APIs and other tools for AI capabilities such as machine learning and computer vision.

The feature is part of a recent Pentagon contract involving Google’s cloud unit, which is trying to wrest more government spending from cloud-computing leaders Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Alphabet Inc.’sGoogle bids on federal contracts and supplies some equipment to the military, but it has been sensitive about how its technology is used. 

"The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only," the Google spokeswoman said. "Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively discussing this important topic internally and with others as we continue to develop policies and safeguards around the development and use of our machine learning technologies."

After Google bought AI specialist DeepMind in 2014, the company set up an ethics committee to ensure the technology wasn’t abused. When it bought a series of robotics companies, it pulled one of them, Shaft Inc., from a Pentagon competition. After the acquisition of Skybox, Google cut some of the satellite startup’s defense-related contracts and ultimately sold the business.

Information about Google’s pilot project with the Defense Department’s Project Maven was shared on an internal mailing list last week, and some Google employees were outraged that the company would offer resources to the military for surveillance technology involved in drone operations, Gizmodo reported earlier.

Google’s attitude toward military work may be changing as its cloud business competes with AWS, Microsoft and other rivals. The U.S. government is already a big cloud customer and the Pentagon is looking to the technology sector for new tools and strategies, including AI.

In August, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, and met with company executives to discuss the best ways to use AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity for the Pentagon.

Google executive Milo Medin, and former Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt are on the Defense Innovation Board, an independent federal committee, and advised the Pentagon on data analysis and potential cloud-based solutions.

At a meeting in July, the board recommended that the Defense Department look at ways "to take the vast data that exists in the enterprise and turn it into something that is actionable."

Every piece of data should be stored somewhere no matter what the structure is, because we can always go back and discover the structure and use it in an appropriate way, Schmidt said, according to minutes of the meeting. He remains a technical adviser to Alphabet.

Medin warned of a tremendous lost opportunity when Pentagon data isn’t collected. That’s especially true in AI which requires lots of information to train software algorithms that automatically improve.

Every fighter plane or destroyer that returns from a mission or deployment and doesn’t provide data it collected represents a loss of capability in machine learning and training that is forever lost, Medin said, according to the meeting minutes.

 


Microsoft ends arbitration in sexual harassment cases

No word as to whether other Silicon Valley giants will follow suit.

CYRUS FARIVAR - 12/19/2017,

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/microsoft-ends-arbitration-in-sexual-harassment-cases/

Microsoft's Brad Smith addresses shareholders during Microsoft Shareholders Meeting December 3, 2014 in Bellevue, Washington.

This week Microsoft has altered a longstanding corporate policy, eliminating forced arbitration agreements for employees who file claims of sexual harassment—it is believed to be the largest such tech firm to make this notable change.

"The silencing of people’s voices has clearly had an impact in perpetuating sexual harassment," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, told The New York Times on Tuesday. In a blog post, Smith also said that the company would support new federal legislation to end the use of arbitration in sexual harassment cases.

Like other industries in recent months, Silicon Valley has come to reckonwith abuse amongst some of its most prominent corporations and people in an entirely new way. Some individuals who have been ousted this past year for alleged sexual misconduct include Shervin PishevarRobert Scoble, and Steve Jurvetson, among others.

Just last week, Bloomberg reported on previously sealed court filings brought by a former Microsoft intern that stated she was raped by a fellow intern who was later hired at the company.

Microsoft's move to eliminate arbitration in such cases was applauded by some high-profile Silicon Valley leaders.



Ellen K. Pao@ekp

Kudos @Microsoft. Ending forced arbitration on sexual harassment claims is a small step forward. Lots more to do for fair & safe workplaces

167

4:51 PM - Dec 19, 2017




Nilofer Merchant@nilofer

Bravo, @Microsoft and @satyanadella! Microsoft has eliminated forced arbitration agreements with employees who make sexual harassment claims, supports proposed federal law to ban them. A win for #MeTooWhatNext

140

4:28 PM - Dec 19, 2017

Arbi-what?

Arbitration is a private, quasi-legal procedure originally designed to expedite disputes between corporations. But over time, it has evolved into a system where individuals are compelled for a variety of reasons to agree to arbitration decisions versus seeking a court decision. The net result is that disputes that normally would have been adjudicated via the public court process are often processed via private arbitration, which generally favors corporations over individuals.

Worse still, in the world of arbitration, there is no possibility of class-action claims. Arbitration proceedings are additionally often shrouded from public view, meaning it is traditionally difficult to find out about sexual harassment or misconduct claims at corporations.

As the Times noted, the move at Microsoft is "largely symbolic because only a minority of Microsoft workers—numbering in the hundreds in its senior ranks, according to Mr. Smith—have been subject to the requirement. Microsoft will still require those employees to take claims unrelated to harassment and gender discrimination to arbitration. In total, Microsoft has about 125,000 employees around the world."

Ars has contacted Uber, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Twitter to see if they would consider making a similar move. We will update this post if we hear back.



Google’s Sundar Pichai will face Congress next week

Taylor Hatmaker@tayhatmaker

https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/28/sundar-pichai-congress-dec-5/

 Comment



Google  may have dodged a raised right hand moment on the Hill this year as top executives from Twitter and Facebook faced Congress, but the company will now have its own time in the hot seat.

First reported by The Washington Post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will appear before the House Judiciary Committee on December 5, just one week from today. TechCrunch has confirmed Pichai’s planned appearance. While there are any number of reasons that Congress might want to hear from Google, Pichai’s appearance will reportedly serve as a response to unsubstantiated claims that Google has an anti-conservative bias.

Pichai agreed to testify some time this year back in Septemberat the request of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one vocal critic who has accused the company of algorithmic bias. While that issue might still be at the forefront for some committee Republicans, getting the company’s chief executive on the stand will open the entire can of worms on Google’s recent controversies.

For Google, a lot has happened since September. For one, the company is still dealing with internal and external criticism about its plans to build a search engine tailored to meet China’s censorship specifications. In October Google also revealed that it was aware of a bug in Google+ that exposed user data dating all the way back to 2015. As recently as this month, Google has been dealing with walkouts and a widespread backlash against its handling of sexual harassment cases within the company. And that’s just to name a few.

Needless to say, Pichai will have plenty to answer for in his time on the witness stand. Assuming the plan goes forward, we can expect House Republicans and Democrats alike to come out swinging on their pet issues in a likely lengthy and wide-ranging testimony.


GOOGLE'S FOOT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS AN OBJECT OF INTEREST —



A dozen Google employees quit over military drone project

Googler: "The strongest possible statement I could take against this was to leave."

RON AMADEO - 5/15/2018,

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/05/google-employees-resign-in-protest-of-googlepentagon-drone-program/



Enlarge / A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.

Despite protests from employees, Google is still charging ahead with a Department of Defense collaboration to produce machine-learning software for drones. Google hasn't listened to a contingent of its employees that is unhappy with Google's involvement in the military-industrial complex, and now a report from Gizmodo says "about a dozen" employees have resigned over the issue.

The controversial program, called "Project Maven," sees Google applying its usual machine-learning and image-recognition expertise to millions of hours of drone footage collected by the military. The goal is to identify people and objects of interest. While a Google spokesperson says the program is "scoped for non-offensive purposes," a letter signed by almost 4,000 Google employees took issue with this assurance, saying, "The technology is being built for the military, and once it's delivered, it could easily be used to assist in [lethal] tasks."

The petition asked that Google immediately cancel the project, saying, "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war."

Opposition to the project isn't just coming from inside Google. An open letter from the International Committee for Robotics Arms Controlexpressed solidarity with the protesting Google employees and was signed by over 200 researchers and academics in artificial intelligence. The letter says Google should "commit to not weaponizing its technology" and terminate its contract with the DoD.

“If ethical action on the part of tech companies requires consideration of who might benefit from a technology and who might be harmed," the letter reads, "we can say with certainty that no topic deserves more sober reflection—no technology has higher stakes—than algorithms meant to target and kill at a distance and without public accountability.”

One resigning employee questioned why Google is even bothering with such a controversial program when it is already so massive. “It’s not like Google is this little machine-learning startup that’s trying to find clients in different industries," the anonymous employee told Gizmodo. "It just seems like it makes sense for Google and Google’s reputation to stay out of that.”

“Actions speak louder than words, and that’s a standard I hold myself to as well,” another resigning employee told Gizmodo. “I wasn’t happy just voicing my concerns internally. The strongest possible statement I could take against this was to leave.”


Google employees demand that Google stop work on censored Chinese search

Google employees are getting bolder about publicly protesting Google policies.

TIMOTHY B. LEE - 11/27/2018, 

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/google-employees-demand-that-google-stop-work-on-censored-chinese-search/

 Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2017.

Dozens of Google employees have signed on to an open letter demanding that Google stop work on Project Dragonfly, a censored version of Google's search engine that could be deployed in mainland China.

The project's existence was revealed by the Intercept back in August. Shortly afterward, Google CEO Sundar Pichai insisted that the company was "not close to launching a search product" in China, but it hasn't ruled out doing so in the future.

If Google were to launch a censored search engine, it would represent a dramatic about-face for a company that shuttered its Chinese search engine over censorship concerns back in 2010.

"Many of us accepted employment at Google with the company’s values in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and an understanding that Google was a company willing to place its values above its profits," the protesting employees wrote in a Tuesday Medium post.

"Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China," the employees added. "We object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be."

Early Internet evangelists hoped that the Internet would undermine oppressive governments by enabling the free flow of information. But China's authoritarian regime has figured out how to use Internet technologies to strengthen their own power. The country has built sophisticated infrastructure for online surveillance and censorship.

Part of China's strategy has been forcing online services operating in China to comply with Chinese censorship laws. For search engines, that means censoring search results on sensitive topics.

"The Chinese government is openly expanding its surveillance powers and tools of population control," the protesting Googlers wrote on Tuesday.

For the last eight years, Google has refused to cooperate with these efforts. Until recently, Google minimized its physical footprint in the country to avoid giving the Chinese government the leverage that would come from having offices and employees on the Chinese mainland.

But China is a big market. And under the leadership of Sundar Pichai, Google seems to be softening its hardline stance. Google opened a research center in Beijing last December, and the company began offering a Chinese version of a file management app that was originally designed for the Indian market—it's an app designed for customers with limited on-device storage.

"I care about servicing users globally in every corner. Google is for everyone," Pichai said in 2016. "We want to be in China serving Chinese users."

The big question is whether entering the Chinese market would force Google to check its values at the door.

"Google is too powerful not to be held accountable," the dissident Google employees wrote. "We deserve to know what we’re building and we deserve a say in these significant decisions."

The list of signers has been growing rapidly. The post initially had 12 names on it when it was posted early Tuesday morning, but as of this story's publication, it's up to 130 names. The authors say they'll continue adding names as more people sign up.

Google has had an increasingly fractious relationship with its own workforce in recent months. Earlier this year, more than 3,000 Googlers signed a letter asking Pichai to halt work on a military drone project. A dozen employees quit Google in protest of the project, and Google ultimately decided not to renew its contract with the military.

Google has also faced protest over its handling of sexual misconduct. Earlier this month, thousands of employees walked out to protest reports that the company had made big payouts to departing executives who faced allegations of sexual misconduct. Those protests also had an impact, as Google eliminated the mandatory arbitration clause of its employee contract in sexual misconduct cases.

"We've been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from developing Android, through mobile apps such as Google Translate and Files Go, and our developer tools," Google said in an emailed statement. "But our work on search has been exploratory, and we are not close to launching a search product in China."



Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face lawmakers at a hearing next week

"Search engines can be used to suppress particular viewpoints," Congressman says.

TIMOTHY B. LEE - 11/28/2018

 Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-will-face-lawmakers-at-a-hearing-next-week/

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to testify before Congress next Wednesday, December 5. The hearing will give members of the House Judiciary Committee a long-awaited opportunity to grill Pichai about a wide range of issues, from user privacy to free speech in China.

Google angered some members of Congress in September when the company refused to send either one of its two most senior executives—Pichai or Alphabet CEO Larry Page—to testify before a September hearing on election security before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That hearing featured Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and —from Democrats who are skeptical of big businesses generally and from Republicans who are concerned about the growing power of Silicon Valley technology companies.Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg—as well as an empty chair marked "Google."

According to the Washington Post, next week's hearing is occurring at the request of House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who has raised concerns that Google may be biased against conservatives—and that this bias may be seeping into the policies of Google's search engine, YouTube, and other products. A recently leaked video showed Google executives openly mourning Hillary Clinton's loss after the 2016 election.

"The technology behind online services like social media and Internet search engines can also be used to suppress particular viewpoints and manipulate public opinion," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in a press release announcing the hearing.

But there are plenty of other controversial topics that members of Congress may want to ask Pichai about.

Google has recently faced criticism from employees over rumors that Google is working on a censored search engine for the Chinese market. The reports have also raised concerns for members of Congress, including McCarthy.

"Reports claim the company is compromising its core principles by complying with repressive censorship mandates from China," McCarthy said in an emailed statement.

Google has also faced criticism from employees for its work on military drones—work Google is reportedly planning to discontinue in 2019. Here, the pressure from Congress is likely to push in the opposite direction from the company's protesting employees, with members of Congress encouraging Google to apply its technical prowess to strengthen the US military.

Google faces charges of anticompetitive conduct

Last year, European regulators slapped Google with a $2.7 billion fine for abusing its dominant position in the search market, then faced another $5 billion fine for using Android's dominance of the smartphone market to bolster its position in search. Google critics like Yelp have been pressing American regulators to take a closer look at these issues.

Traditionally, strict enforcement of antitrust laws has been more associated with Democrats than with Republicans. But there have been signs of growing interest in the topic within the GOP.

In an interview with Axios earlier this month, Donald Trump said his administration was "looking at" stronger antitrust enforcement against Google, as well as Amazon and Facebook. Missouri just elected a new Republican senator, Josh Hawley, who campaigned as a fierce critic of Google's business practices.

So Pichai could find himself facing tough questions from both sides of the aisle


Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face Congress next week

Lauren Feiner

CNBC November 28, 2018

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-face-163100217.html

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 5 at 10 a.m., according to a release from the committee.

Pichai will be asked about potential bias in the platform and transparency around Google's practices.

Google previously declined to send the CEO to a hearing with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Google GOOGL CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to testify in front of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. to discuss transparency and potential bias on the platform, according to a release from the committee.

Google previously declined an invitation for Pichai or his boss, Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page, to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Tech peers Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter TWTR and Square SQ , and Facebook FB COO Sheryl Sandberg attended. The committee left an empty chair for Google.

Pichai later talked to members of Congress in a private session .

Now, the Google CEO will have to face lawmakers to defend its practices. The company has been accused of skewing search results against conservative viewpoints and has been criticized for its consideration of creating a censored version of its platform to reenter the Chinese market.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in statement that Google's vast reach requires the company to be responsible with its users.

"Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially," McCarthy said. "Its business practices may have been affected by political bias. Additionally, reports claim the company is compromising its core principles by complying with repressive censorship mandates from China."

"Online technology is now an integral part of most Americans' modern lifestyle," House Judiciary Committee Chariman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement. "It has globalized society and made it possible for people to connect across continents, explore vast amounts of information, and share meaningful dialogue with friends. However, the technology behind online services like social media and Internet search engines can also be used to suppress particular viewpoints and manipulate public opinion."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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