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Google - The New Censorship

How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?


By Robert Epstein
usnews.com

Google, Inc., isn't just the world's biggest purveyor of information; it is also the world's biggest censor.

The company maintains at least nine different blacklists that impact our lives, generally without input or authority from any outside advisory group, industry association or government agency. Google is not the only company suppressing content on the internet. Reddit has frequently been accused of banning postings on specific topics, and a recent report suggests that Facebook has been deleting conservative news stories from its newsfeed, a practice that might have a significant effect on public opinion – even on voting. Google, though, is currently the biggest bully on the block.

When Google's employees or algorithms decide to block our access to information about a news item, political candidate or business, opinions and votes can shift, reputations can be ruined and businesses can crash and burn. Because online censorship is entirely unregulated at the moment, victims have little or no recourse when they have been harmed. Eventually, authorities will almost certainly have to step in, just as they did when credit bureaus were regulated in 1970. The alternative would be to allow a large corporation to wield an especially destructive kind of power that should be exercised with great restraint and should belong only to the public: the power to shame or exclude.

If Google were just another mom-and-pop shop with a sign saying "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," that would be one thing. But as the golden gateway to all knowledge, Google has rapidly become an essential in people's lives – nearly as essential as air or water. We don't let public utilities make arbitrary and secretive decisions about denying people services; we shouldn't let Google do so either.

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New Think Tank Emails Show “How Google Wields its Power” in Washington


By David Dayen
The Intercept

Barry Lynn, the critic of monopolies fired this week from the New America Foundation, insisted in emails to his superiors that pressure from Google got him and his Open Markets program terminated. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the think tank’s CEO,  has denied that Google played any role in Lynn’s termination from the think tank.

Last night, New America released three emails from Slaughter to Lynn. They reference two separate events: an anti-monopoly conference organized by the Open Markets program in June 2016 that featured Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as the keynote speaker, and a series of communications in June and July 2017, involving the termination of Lynn and his group.

The emails New America released did not include Lynn’s side of the email. The Intercept obtained his responses.

The first set of emails concerned the June 2016 conference, notable because a politician of Warren’s stature made a full-throated endorsement of Lynn’s work. For 15 years, Lynn has pointed out the dangers of increasing concentration in practically every sector of the U.S. economy, including technology and internet companies.

Slaughter began the chain by asking Lynn to answer questions — which were not in the emails obtained by The Intercept — from Meredith Hanley, New America’s director of development, who is responsible for day-to-day fundraising. Slaughter mentioned that she would be meeting with Google’s top lobbyist, former Rep. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., and she needed answers about why Lynn’s New America colleagues and Google weren’t alerted about the conference and Warren’s participation.

Google, and the family foundation of Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have donated $21 million to New America over the years.

Lynn responded that he did give a heads-up internally, even trying to get another group at New America, the Open Technology Institute (which works on universal internet access and net neutrality), to co-sponsor the event. OTI declined, Lynn said, but discussed having some of their representatives moderate panels. Lynn concluded that he didn’t understand how anyone at OTI or New America would feel surprised by the event.

As for Google, Lynn said it wasn’t standard practice to alert an outside company about events or articles from his team (there’s a reference to such a request from Stephanie Valencia, who works on “strategic outreach and partnerships” at Google). Moreover, the event was publicly announced, and the eventual co-sponsor, the Capitol Forum, actively sought participation from Google employees on one of the panels.

The email is collegial, and Lynn openly acknowledges the tough spot Slaughter and Hanley faced, given Google’s funding support. He adds that Warren had originally planned to give her anti-monopoly speech at New America’s annual conference that May, which Lynn discouraged because it might create high-level discomfort. So it got moved to the June conference.

Slaughter’s response to Lynn is what got published last night. “I have to say I am with Meredith on this,” she wrote. “We worked so hard with you to get you 11th Hour funding; just THINK about how you are imperilling [sic] funding for others.” There’s at least a hint in there that Google would strip funding from New America if any part of the organization hosted a popular senator warning of threats from monopolies like Google. Slaughter also references “trying to expand our relationship with Google,” and asks Lynn for some talking points to use with Molinari.

The next series of emails concern Lynn’s firing a year later. It’s generally understood that the precipitating event was a 150-word press release from Open Markets, applauding the European Union for its $2.7 billion fine against Google for violating antitrust laws with its Google Shopping tool, which preferred its own programs over that of rivals. The New York Times reported that Schmidt voiced his displeasure to Slaughter about the press release, which then was temporarily removed from the New America website. Lynn was told that Open Markets would have to separate from New America a couple days later.

New America released two of the three emails in this chain: Slaughter’s recap of the June 29 conversation informing Lynn that New America and Open Markets would part ways, and a later email where Slaughter says, “I am disappointed in your response below, as I made clear repeatedly that I am absolutely not deciding that we must part ways based on any response from Google.” Lynn’s side of the conversation was not included in New America’s email release.

In that response, Lynn took issue with Slaughter’s characterization. He accepted the attempt to work toward a swift resolution and reiterated his affection for New America and Slaughter herself. But he disagreed that he had acted in any unprofessional manner during his tenure. And he states very explicitly his understanding of the June 29 conversation, that Google’s response to the press release about the EU fine was why Open Markets had to be cast off. Slaughter denies this in her follow-up email, saying that the issue was Lynn’s behavior, which “has been troubling to myself and your colleagues for over a year.”

There is certainly a he said/she said element to these emails. Slaughter thinks Lynn wasn’t sensitive enough to giving notice internally about his team’s practices; Lynn thinks that the content of his work, not the communication of it, was the problem. Without more context it’s hard to say much definitively. But the additional emails from Lynn do not show someone dismissive of his colleagues or the tricky situation at New America. And though Slaughter protests that Google’s influence played no role in the firing, New America’s funding from the tech giant hangs over the entire set of exchanges.

“The emails clearly show the influence that Google wields over New America’s operations,” stated the Open Markets team in a statement provided to The Intercept. “What Google did in pressuring New America to suppress the work of reporters and researchers who have directly criticized how Google wields its power is common among think tanks in D.C. It is why Louis Brandeis warned tirelessly of the political dangers posed by concentrations of power. The only unusual aspect of this particular situation is that Google got caught.” (New America and Slaughter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

Just this week, Google said they would comply with the EU’s request to change its shopping search so it no longer discriminates against rivals.

Correction: Aug. 31, 9:18 p.m.

Due to an editing error, this story originally misidentified Molinari’s party affiliation. She is a former Republican congressperson.

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DOWN THE 'TUBE

YouTube accused of CENSORSHIP over controversial new bid to ‘limit’ access to videos


 


YOUTUBE has been accused of censorship after introducing a controversial new policy designed to reduce the audience for videos deemed to be "inappropriate or offensive to some audiences".

The Google-owned video site is now putting videos into a "limited state" if they are deemed controversial enough to be considered objectionable, but not hateful, pornographic or violent enough to be banned altogether.

YouTube is by far the world's largest video publishing platform and streams one billion hours of footage every day

This policy was announced several months ago but has come into force in the past week, prompting anger among members of the YouTube community.

The Sun Online understands Google and YouTube staff refer to the tactic as "tougher treatment."

One prominent video-maker slammed the new scheme whilst WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange described the measures as "economic censorship".

However, YouTube sees it as a way of maintaining freedom of speech and allowing discussion of controversial issues without resorting to the wholesale banning of videos.

Videos which are put into a limited state cannot be embedded on other websites.

They also cannot be easily published on social media using the usual share buttons and other users cannot comment on them.

This is the screen users are shown when they click on a video that has been 'limited'


Crucially, the person who made the video will no longer receive any payment.

Earlier this week, Julian Assange wrote: "'Controversial' but contract-legal videos [which break YouTube's terms and conditions] cannot be liked, embedded or earn [money from advertising revenue].

"What's interesting about the new method deployed is that it is a clear attempt at social engineering. It isn't just turning off the ads.

"It's turning off the comments, embeds, etc too.

"Everything possible to strangle the reach without deleting it

Criticism of YouTube's policies is most acute among people on the right of the political spectrum, who fear that Silicon Valley is dominated by the left and determined to silence opposing voices - a claim denied by tech giants like Facebook and Google.

The new YouTube rules were highlighted this week by Paul Joseph Watson, a globally famous British right wing YouTuber and editor-at-large of Infowars, who spoke out after saying a guest on his online show had one of her videos removed after the appearance.

The black female YouTuber, who uses the name RedPillBlack, made a video entitled "WTF? Black Lives Matter Has A List of Demands for White People!" in response to a member of the activist's group calls for white people to "give up the home you own to a black or brown family".

The video was part of a series which features an offensive racial term in its name, which we have decided not to publish, and criticises the BLM member's statement point by point.

We watched her video and whilst it's clear that many people might disagree with the political point she is making, the actual video did not appear to be offensive or gratuitous.

"Some people might watch the video and think I'm speaking out against black people," she said in the video.

"But what I'm doing here is speaking up for black people."

The video was allegedly banned but later reinstated following a series of tweets from Watson, which you can see below.

On Twitter, the vlogger RedPillBlack wrote: "What does it mean when a company owned by rich white ppl begins censoring black people? Is this the white nationalism I should be scared of?"

She added: "They said it was for harassment and bullying. I literally just read the girl's list [of demands] out loud."

Reddit users are now building a record of all the videos which have been put into a limited state.

Many of the videos have clearly offensive.

Others discuss controversial, contested and highly inflammatory scientific theories about the link between race and intelligence.

Nazi videos featured heavily on the current list, with Hitler's speeches and even the Nazi national anthem being limited.

But amongst material that is clearly shocking and likely to cause grave offence are videos which discuss political issues such as the migrant crisis using non-extreme language.

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Video: The Truth About Net Neutrality


The federal government is about to seize control of the Internet and most Americans don't even know about it.

Advocates say that Net Neutrality means guaranteeing free speech on the Internet. Without it, big telecoms could control what you see and how you see it. But what is the truth about Net Neutrality?

2:00 - Brief Technical Introduction
9:20 - Major Concerns
14:53 - Monopoly History
35:57 - ISP Foul Play
48:05 - Event Timeline
1:02:08 - FCC Corruption
1:09:36 - Conclusions

 
 
 
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Video: "Just Be Evil" - The History Google Doesn't Want You To Know


With Google's outrageous moves toward censorship increasingly in the news, perhaps it's time to review the history of Google's censorship, spying and governmental collusion. Join James for this classic Eyeopener report from 2012 about how Google's real motto should be "Just Be Evil."

 
 
 
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FREE Video Library: Internet


  • "Just Be Evil" - The History Google Doesn't Want You To Know
    With Google's outrageous moves toward censorship increasingly in the news, perhaps it's time to review the history of Google's censorship, spying and governmental collusion. Join James for this classic Eyeopener report from 2012 about how Google's real motto should be "Just Be Evil."
  • The Truth About Net Neutrality
    The federal government wants to seize control of the Internet and most Americans don't even know about it.  Advocates say that Net Neutrality means guaranteeing free speech on the Internet. Without it, big telecoms could control what you see and how you see it. But what is the truth about Net Neutrality?.
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Help Us Go Viral!


We no longer have the
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Who's Online
Guest Users: 347
Latest Videos
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Please Support Us With A Purchase


Global Healing Center? is a leading natural health provider offering natural and organic supplements, cleanses, and a wealth of free natural health articles.

Global Healing Center? is a leading natural health provider offering natural and organic supplements, cleanses, and a wealth of free natural health articles.