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Conflict of Interest

Google parks its new jet fighter at NASA -- Why the deal may fleece the taxpayer

Hello? Is anyone with formal NASA oversight responsibilities looking out for the taxpayer? 

·    The New York Times Bits blog reported that Google executives added a fighter jet to "their growing fleet of private airplanes" which uniquely enjoy private landing/parking rights at NASA's Moffet airfield, a couple of miles from Google's headquarters -- an exceptional corporate perk by any measure.

Google CEO suggests journalism become not for profit!

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt had the temerity to suggest that journalism consider becoming a not-for-profit enterprise -- at a recent Google program for magazine executives.

  • See Ad Age's article: "Google's Schmidt says Internet 'cesspool' needs brands -- Says the solution is quality content; tells publishers and editors to 'increase your relevance'
    • From the article: "...when asked where the industry ends up if there aren't outlets willing to pay journalists to create quality content, Mr. Schmidt was a bit Palin-esque, saying that he didn't have an answer but one thing to look at is whether journalism should be a for-profit enterprise."

Google's CEO must think journalism-business people are stupid.

Add facial recognition to Google list of privacy creepiness

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be another creepy way Google could threaten privacy, Google does not disappoint. Google is now adding faceprints to what it already knows about you: voiceprints, searchprints, clickprints, homeprints, emailprints, DNAprints, and readerprints -- because Google does not "know enough about you..."

  • An excellent article by Jefferson Graham in USA Today informs us that Google is now an industry-leader in... facial recognition technology!
    • In 2006, Google acquired a leading company in facial recognition, and Google is using it now to help simplify the tagging and organization of people's rapidly growing archives of digital pictures through its Picassa photo application.
    • Mr. Graham found a great quote to capture the privacy concern:

      • "I don't like it at all," says Rob Williams, who blogs for the Techgage website. "Google knows what I search for, where I live and how much time I spend on websites. Now they know what my friends look like, too. That's just too much."

The problem is this is part of a much bigger pattern of disrespect of privacy by Google.

Has the Behavioral Advertising industry misled consumers?

Behavioral advertising industry... you have a problem. A BIG problem.

  • Consumer reports just released a major consumer poll that shows that the vast majority of American consumers are unaware of how the behavioral advertising industry invades their privacy and that American consumers overwhelmingly want more personal control over their privacy online.  

The BIG problem the behavioral advertising industry has is that the consumer evidence strongly suggests that the industry has not respected anti-fraud consumer protection laws that require fair representation.

  • Specifically, the industry has not fairly represented that they are invading individuals' privacy in ways most Americans do not approve of.  
  • Simply, the behavioral advertising industry finds itself squarely on the wrong side of the American consumer, as the public and Washington focus attention on the serious Internet privacy problem of Unauthorized Tracking. 

Consider the stark poll results of the widely respected and independent Consumer Reports:     

Google: Why so long to do what's obviously right? Four months to pull down terrorist training videos?

Google's motto 'Don't be evil' appears to be more PR and folklore than real ethical guidance for Google.

How could it possibly take Google almost four months to decide to act against one of the most obvious, pervasive, and painfully real 'evils' in the world today --  hateful, unabashed, terrorist organizations like al Qaida committed to destroying America?

Google Search as the Universal Remote?

Does Google inherently favor its Google-owned applications over competitors in search results? The more one looks, the more it looks that way.

Saturday's New York Times article: "Some Media companies choose to profit from pirated YouTube clips" -- got me thinking about the anti-competitive nature of Google's increasing dominance of the process of locating copyrighted content online.

Does CNET have adequate disclosures?

CNET's disclosure policy/judgement appears inadequate again in its latest net neutrality piece by Declan McCullagh: "Wanted: writers for DC tech lobby group, secrecy mandatory" which assails the financial motives/conflicts of other writers in excruciating detail without applying the same tough standard to themselves at CNET. 

  • Readers of this blog may remember another post I wrote on this subject, where I called CNET out for not disclosing when Mr. MucCullagh wrote about Google-related issues -- that his wife works for Google.  
    • In that post, I said I was a frequent and usually appreciative reader of Mr. McCullagh's Iconoclast column, but that if CNET challenges the motives/disclosures of others, they must have clean hands of their own.
  • To their credit, CNET now discloses that Mr. McCullagh's wife works for Google.

My point here is that CNET should have either had another writer who was not so conflicted write this piece or CNET should have increased the amount of disclosure on this piece to be congruent with the true thrust of the piece

Google is indeed a media company!

Miguel Helft/The New York Times has figured out that Google is indeed a media competitor, but apparently doesn't think other media have connected the dots -- given how they framed their lead business article today: "Is Google a Media Company?"

While its obvious that Helft/NYT get the joke that Google is most certainly a media company by the prominence, graphic, and headline of the story, they also did their journalistic duty in presenting both sides of the question, including allowing Google a lot of space to continue its charade that Google is not a media company.

Let's have some fun with Google's "who? little old us? a media company? you must be kidding..." --defense in the New York Times article.

Googleopoly's new self-granted entitlement: "Automatic Matching" is evidence of monopoly abuse

Kudos to Cade Metz of The Register for exposing Googleopoly's new self-granted entitlement to take their customers money without permission -- called "automatic matching" in Adwords.