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Chairman Lieberman responds to NYT editorial about asking Google to take down terrorist content

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Lieberman has a great response to the New York Times editorial defending Google for not taking down terrorist content.

  • "...Al Qaeda and its affiliates are engaged in a wartime communications strategy to recruit, amass funds and inspire savage attacks against American troops and civilians. Their Internet videos are branded with logos, authenticating them as enemy communications. They are patent incitements to violence, not First Amendment-protected speech. And they fall outside Google’s own stated guidelines for content..."

Well said.

I wish Google-YouTube and the New York Times editorial board would be more open, transparent, and straightforward and admit that this is speech that they personally believe should be protected -- and not bogusly try and hide behind the Constitution when the Constitutional arbiter of free speech, the United States Supreme Court categorically disagrees with Google-Youtube's and the New York Times' editorial board's "free speech" definition.

  • If they truly believe in the validity of their position -- Google-YouTube and the NYT editorial board -- should own their views, defend them on the merits, and not hide behind an empty rhetorical facade...  
  • It's neither inspiring or persuasive...

Can you trust Google to obey the rules? Is Google accountable to anyone?

In monitoring Google as closely as I do, it has become increasingly clear that Google does not believe it has to obey the rules, standards, regulations and laws, that others routinely obey and respect. Google increasingly operates like a self-declared, virtual sovereign nation, largely unaccountable to the rules and mores of the rest of the world.     

  • There is plentiful evidence of Google's unaccountability; see the following analysis peppered generously with source links. 

The impetus for this analysis and documentation was Saul Hansel's outstanding New York Times Blog: "Google fights for the right to hide its privacy policy." 

  • In a nutshell, Mr. Hansel spotlighted how Google is refusing to abide by the Network Advertising Initiative's rule that its members must display a link to their privacy policy on their home page; and that this industry self-regulatory body is expected to bend its rules specifically to accomodate Google.
  • This is no isolated incident, shirking the accountability that most everyone else respects is near standard operating procedure for Google. 

Is Google accountable to anyone?    

First, can public shareholders hold Google accountable?

Why Google storing personal health records is a really bad joke -- the public should be worried...

Given that Google began offering online personal health records to the public yesterday, I thought it would be timely and helpful to repost in its entirety a previous post of mine from February 21, 2008 on why Google being in the business of storing personal health records is a really bad joke.

  • The post has over twenty useful and illuminating links, and many of them contain mainstream documents that underscore why the public should be extremely wary about entrusting Google with its most intimate, private and personal information.

Below is my 2-21-2008 post in its entirety -- if you missed it, or care about this issue, it's a online privacy must-read post: 

AP reports "Google to Store Patient's Health Records." Let's count the reasons why Google storing Americans' private health records is a really bad joke.

New IAB data indicate Google & Yahoo have 64% share of US Internet advertising revenue!

The new 2008 Internet Advertising Revenue report just came out from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

It has U.S. Internet advertising revenues for 2007 at $21.2b, up an impressive 26% from 2006 revenues of $16.9b, but nowhere near as impressive as Google's 56% overall revenue growth in 2007. 

With the pending Google-Yahoo outsourcing pact reportedly being negotiated, I thought it might be iluminating or instructive to see what share of U.S. Internet advertising revenues Google and Yahoo each have, and what they would have on a combined basis. 

  • Given that Google's 2007 U.S. revenues were ~$8.9b that would be about 42% of all U.S. advertising of $21.2b.
  • Given that Yahoo's 2007 U.S. revenues were ~$4.7b that would be about 22% of all U.S. advertising revenues of $21.2b.
  • That would put Google and Yahoo's combined Internet advertising revenue shares at 64% that the "partnership" would collectively control. 

At a minimum, the domination of these two players in the U.S. Internet advertising market, combined with Google's incredible momentum in taking share from all its competitors signalling powerful network effects, must concern both the DOJ and FTC.

If Google and Yahoo partner to not compete as fully as they did before... where is competition going to come from? 

More on Google's conflict of interest in protecting G-mail users from new "spam bazooka"

Garett Rogers of ZDnet has a good post on how "Gmail can be used as a "Spam Bazooka""

This real and increasing Google security problem provides even more evidence to my recent posts of why Google is increasingly being targeted and leveraged by spammers and scammers to get access to unsuspecting Google users -- and why Google won't warn its users that they are at serious risk -- (Google does not work for users but for advertisers and publishers.)  

More evidence of Google's conflict of interest in protecting its users from spammers & scammers

Found a smoking gun on how Google's conflict of interests actually hurts Google users, which I explain later in this post.

  • As I have blogged several times of late, here, here, here, here, and here, Google works for advertisers and publishers not users/consumers; and Google's undisclosed conflict of interest, lulls Google's users into a false sense of security that Google is looking out for users' best interests -- and safety -- when they clearly are not.
  • I have found specific evidence below that Google is not looking out for its users' best interests or safety. 

Google knows there are "potentially harmful sites that make Google users more vulnerable to spammers or scammers. I have suggested before that they could easily warn users of the danger from specific results with warnings on search result pages.

Google's founders understood the conflict-of-interest in its business model from the beginning

A consistent theme in my ongoing analysis of Google, has been Google's corporate refusal to overtly disclose the fundamental financial conflict of interest inherent in their business model, i.e that Google does not work for users like they routinely claim, but for advertisers and publishers. 

  • The best example of the serious risks to users of this undisclosed conflict of interest has been how Google has reacted since early April to the dramatic increase in risk to its users of indentity theft and fraud by cyber-criminals exploiting security weaknesses in Google's search results.
  • I personally have seen the consumer devastation that undisclosed conflicts of interest can cause.
    • After the collapse of Enron, I was asked to testify in the Senate on how conflicts of interests were integral to Enron's fraud.
    • I was also asked to testify on the dangers of undisclosed conflicts of interest in the House during the tech meltdown.

Interestingly, it appears I am not the only one concerned that Google's advertising-based search model has a serious inherent conflict of interest.

Some Kudos for Google! Google blogged "How to avoid getting hooked" -- better late than never

Google deserves some bona fide kudos from me for blogging yesterday with some very sound and practical advice about how their users or anyone who reads their blog - could avoid getting hooked/scammed by fraudsters.

  • As a consumer, I learned a couple of new tips to better protect myself from phishing fraud.
  • The advice was clear, practical, informative and useful.

However, I was surprised that they did not choose to link to other sites in and out of government that could also be useful to consumers looking to protect themselves better.

I was also surprised it took a month for Google to say anything about how users could better protect themselves from new fraud scams that were exploiting weaknesses in Google's search engine protections so that Google was unwittingly offering up scam pages as part of their search results.

PFF's Sydnor brilliantly exposes Lessig's "quasi-socialist Utopianism" advancing net neutrality

Tom Sydnor of the Progress and Freedom Foundation has done a brilliant analysis of Professor Larry Lessig's book "Free Culture" in the important context of Professor Lessig's other works. 

  • This analysis is outstanding foundational-thinking and a must read for anyone who cares about preserving a free market Internet.  

Let me highlight some gems:

First, his conclusion:

  • "The preceding analysis shows that FREE CULTURE does demonize copyright owners and does urge the government to eliminate copyrights and impose "quasi-socialist utopianism." Nor does this pattern stop with copyrights. Indeed, the preceding analysis shows Lessig has already claimed that to Save the Net, the government must nationalize or heavily regulate:

      • The providers of Internet-access services that own the physical network infrastructure, (e.g., net neutrality);

       

      • The providers of commercial internet applications and services, like eBay, Amazon, and Google (e.g., CODE); and

       

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