The Daily Caller has a report concerning a debate among employees at Google about how to manipulated search results to disfavor politically incorrect websites. The report says they have copies of communications showing that The Daily Caller and Breitbart were specifically targeted.
The report quotes a Google employee as saying, “I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources,” as justification for manipulating search results. The report quotes a Google spokeswoman saying that the conversation did not lead to manipulation of search results for political purposes.
“This post shows that far from suppressing Breitbart and Daily Caller, we surfaced these sites regularly in our products. Furthermore, it shows that we value providing people with the full view on stories from a variety of sources,” the spokeswoman told TheDCNF in an email.
“Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology. Our processes and policies do not allow for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.”
I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo as my default search engine.
UPDATE—The Intercept has a post up about Google’s work on Dragonfly, a search engine for China that would censor broad categories of information about human rights, democracy, and peaceful protest.
The project, as it was then specified, was not something I could sign off on in good conscience.
Read the whole thing.
The Daily Caller is reporting another protest by Google employees. About 1,400 of them signed a letter about the Dragonfly project being worked on for China so that they could take “ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment.” According to the article, that’s only about half the number of Google employees who signed on to a letter opposing Google’s work on a DoD image recognition contract.
Google complied with the employee request concerning its AI development work with the DoD and failed to renew the contract. Will Google now back away from developing a censored search engine for China?
The Times of Israel has an article up about recent intelligence operations directed against Iran.
Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but “more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated,” and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday.
The report came hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian murder plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged that President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. It also follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a vast archive documenting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets inside Iran, in Syria and in Lebanon.
And Reuters reports that the Iranians have sorta/kinda fessed up on the computer virus attack.
Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s civil defense agency, said on Sunday that Iran had recently neutralized a new version of Stuxnet.
“Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts … and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency at a news conference marking Iran’s civil defense day. He did not give further details.
Sounds like some folks at the Mossad have been earning their pay.
VelvetRevolution.us is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit run by Brett Kimberlin. It’s articles of incorporation say the the purposes of the corporation are “The public welfare and a minority for political activity”—whatever that really means. The corporation is the registered owner of several web domains. The Gentle Reader should not be surprised to learn that one is velvetrevolution dot us. Here’s are the others:
brettkimberlin dot info
brettkimberlin dot net
brettkimberlin dot org
brettkimberlin dot us
mccutcheonwatch dot info
trumpindependentforpresident dot net
The mccutcheonwatch domain appears to be a companion to mccutcheonwatch site that used to be hosted on the same server as the Justice Through Music Project site.
The brettkimberlin domains being owned by VRUS could be a use of corporate funds to cover personal expenses.
The trumpindependtforpresident domain is intriguing. It was registered in August, 2015.
While drinking my first cup of coffee this morning, I took a look through the connection log for Hogewash! for the last couple of thousand logins. There were 9 folks still using XP and one connection each from users of Vista, Windows 8, and FreeBSD i686.
The two most popular systems were Windows 10.0 and iOS 11.2.4. Together, they accounted for about half the connections.
FWIW, the machine I usually use to create this site is currently running MacOS 10.13.4.
Yesterday, I posted a brief description of some of the types of operating systems used on device that have connected to Hogewash! recently. I mentioned that one visitor was using a PS 4. That user is now attempting to mask the operating system of his device.
The Gentle Reader will probably not be surprised to learn that most common operating systems used on devices which connect to Hogewash! are Windows 10 and Windows 7. They are slightly more common than iOS 10 and iOS 11. Android 7 is back in fifth place just ahead of MacOS 10.13.
Some of the less common systems include various forms of Linux (mostly Ubuntu) and Windows 8, and about 1% of visitors are still running Windows XP. One visitor is using a PS 4.
UPDATE—Corrected a typo.