Big Googly Brother

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tennpaga
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Big Googly Brother

Post by tennpaga » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:06 am

The New Mind Control
-- Robert Epstein in aeon
But what would happen if new sources of control began to emerge that had little or no competition? And what if new means of control were developed that were far more powerful – and far more invisible – than any that have existed in the past? And what if new types of control allowed a handful of people to exert enormous influence not just over the citizens of the US but over most of the people on Earth?

It might surprise you to hear this, but these things have already happened.

Google decides which web pages to include in search results, and how to rank them. How it does so is one of the best-kept secrets in the world, like the formula for Coca-Cola
    ...
Google, for all intents and purposes, has no competition, and people trust its search results implicitly, assuming that the company’s mysterious search algorithm is entirely objective and unbiased. This high level of trust, combined with the lack of competition, puts Google in a unique position to impact elections. Even more disturbing, the search-ranking business is entirely unregulated, so Google could favour any candidate it likes without violating any laws. Some courts have even ruled that Google’s right to rank-order search results as it pleases is protected as a form of free speech.

Does the company ever favour particular candidates? In the 2012 US presidential election, Google and its top executives donated more than $800,000 to President Barack Obama and just $37,000 to his opponent, Mitt Romney. And in 2015, a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and elsewhere showed that Google’s search results routinely favoured Democratic candidates. Are Google’s search rankings really biased? An internal report issued by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012 concluded that Google’s search rankings routinely put Google’s financial interests ahead of those of their competitors, and anti-trust actions currently under way against Google in both the European Union and India are based on similar findings.
    ...
Certainly, if Google set about to fix an election, it could first dip into its massive database of personal information to identify just those voters who are undecided. Then it could, day after day, send customised rankings favouring one candidate to just those people. One advantage of this approach is that it would make Google’s manipulation extremely difficult for investigators to detect.
* Gresham's Law: Bad behavior drives out good.
* Gresham's corollary: Avoid participating in systems where good behavior cannot win.

https://fs.blog/2009/12/mental-model-greshams-law/
Fred
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Fred » Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:23 am

TennPaGa wrote: Even more disturbing, the search-ranking business is entirely unregulated, so Google could favour any candidate it likes without violating any laws.
What a laughable sentence. So lets set up a new government agency to regulate search-ranking to show no favoritism. And Obama can appoint Lois Lerner to head it.
Last edited by Fred on Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jack Jones
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Jack Jones » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:00 am

TennPaGa wrote:

Google, for all intents and purposes, has no competition...
https://duckduckgo.com/

What does it mean when someone says, "for all intents and purposes": I know there are counterexamples to what I'm about to say, but I don't care to explain why they aren't relevant?
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Mountaineer
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Mountaineer » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:21 am

Jack Jones wrote:
TennPaGa wrote:

Google, for all intents and purposes, has no competition...
https://duckduckgo.com/

What does it mean when someone says, "for all intents and purposes": I know there are counterexamples to what I'm about to say, but I don't care to explain why they aren't relevant?
And,

https://www.ixquick.com

https://startpage.com

Reviews of private search engines:  https://www.expressvpn.com/blog/ixquick-startpage/

http://securityspread.com/2013/07/21/se ... ly-secure/

Duckduckgo seems a bit faster that these two on my MacBook with the Safari browser.

... M
I marvel at the creation - its beauty, its endurance, its complexity. I marvel that man can make complex things but is incapable of making even the simplest living organism - a blade of grass, a tree, an ant, an amoeba.
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BearBones
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by BearBones » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:43 am

Thanks, you all. Will try DDG and Startpage. Anyone pay for a private VPN?
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Pointedstick
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Pointedstick » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:53 am

As others have pointed out, there is plenty of competition. The author of this article comes off as hysterical and uninformed. Google is ripe for a fall as their core product--search--becomes clumsier and creepier all the time. Non-tech people I know routinely complain about Google's search. It's full of ads, they can't find what they want, when someone tells them to Google something, they get different results, and things like that. The big switch to alternatives is an inevitability that is already taking place.

I use DuckDuckGo, personally. Don't need Google for anything anymore.
Human behavior is economic behavior. The particulars may vary, but competition for limited resources remains a constant.
- CEO Nwabudike Morgan
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Early Cuyler
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Early Cuyler » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:41 am

BearBones wrote: Thanks, you all. Will try DDG and Startpage. Anyone pay for a private VPN?
I like private internet access.
You know how I feel about handouts...cash is much more flexible, hell, cash is king!
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Mark Leavy
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Mark Leavy » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:08 am

BearBones wrote: Thanks, you all. Will try DDG and Startpage. Anyone pay for a private VPN?
I use ExpressVPN.  It works perfectly for me.  ~$100 / year for unlimited data on my 2 devices. (Mac and iPhone)  Plenty of servers all over the world.

Almost all of my wifi access is via hotels, coffeeshops and AirBnB's, so not using a VPN is too much risk for me.
I also like that I connect via a US server when I'm overseas.  It prevents Google and Expedia and every other website from trying to post results in Portuguese or whatever the local language is.  It also allows me to access media content that is country restricted, by simply routing through a server in a non-restricted country.
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pugchief
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by pugchief » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:31 pm

Pointedstick wrote: As others have pointed out, there is plenty of competition. The author of this article comes off as hysterical and uninformed. Google is ripe for a fall as their core product--search--becomes clumsier and creepier all the time. Non-tech people I know routinely complain about Google's search. It's full of ads, they can't find what they want, when someone tells them to Google something, they get different results, and things like that. The big switch to alternatives is an inevitability that is already taking place.

I use DuckDuckGo, personally. Don't need Google for anything anymore.
I tried DDG for about a year, and IMHO it is inferior to Google in many ways, particularly with respect to places that I want to map. I don't find the ads intrusive, and can ignore them. I realize that big bro is data mining, but I feel like use of the internet in general is causing the same. And I use tracker-blocking software and ad block plus as well.

I'm also not sure how switching search engines will prevent Google from having an impact on the election. The unwashed masses will still use Google, and my own opinion is unlikely to be swayed by search results. Besides, I decide who to vote for based on the collective opinions of the people on this board.  ;D
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Austen Heller
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Austen Heller » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:32 pm

Mark Leavy wrote:
BearBones wrote: Thanks, you all. Will try DDG and Startpage. Anyone pay for a private VPN?
I use ExpressVPN.  It works perfectly for me.  ~$100 / year for unlimited data on my 2 devices. (Mac and iPhone)  Plenty of servers all over the world.
Interesting. I think I will also start using DDG.  I don't know much about these VPNs.  Does it make sense to use one of these, even if you don't leave the US and only use computers in your house (no coffee shops, etc)?  $100/year seems cheap for an added layer of security against hacking.
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Pointedstick
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by Pointedstick » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:37 pm

Google Maps is still very good, but I'm back to being a Mac user so I can use Apple Maps instead. I'll agree that the options for high-quality Google Maps alternatives are much rarer on Windows or Linux.
Human behavior is economic behavior. The particulars may vary, but competition for limited resources remains a constant.
- CEO Nwabudike Morgan
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pugchief
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Re: Big Googly Brother

Post by pugchief » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:38 pm

If you know how to shop, you can get a good VPN for under $20/year. For instance, the very service I use, Cyberghost is available here for $12.99/year. The only difference between this and their full price service [which still is reasonable] is a few less servers. I have never had an issue with the cheaper product.

http://milled.com/cyberghost-vpn/8jvjZVGQwZpTknsJ
"Congressmen should wear uniforms, you know, like NASCAR drivers, so we could identify their corporate sponsors."
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