Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Interfered In Irish Abortion Vote

After three years of Facebook being among the most vociferous campaigners for the impeachment and removal from office of President Trump because of his camaigns alleged cooperation with the government of Russia in rigging the 2016 US election, the Social Media giant’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has at last admitted what many of us ‘conspiracy theorists’ suspected all along, that it is Facebook itself, rather that hostile governments which interfere in the political processes of democratic nations.

During a recent talk, Zuck admitted that the social media network banned a number of pro-life advertisements ahead of the Irish abortion referendum, thus slewing the weight of propaganda visible on Facebook news feeds in favour of the pro – choice campaign.

He also confirmed the suspicion that the Irish referendum on abortion is not the only political campaign Facebook has taken sides in, another act of corporate malfeasance that was always strongly suspected. Facebook’s support for Britain staying in the EU was highly evident in the UK Referendum campaign, and the smearing of new populist and nationalist Eurosceptic parties in EU member states as ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ has been ever present on Facebook pages.

PJ Media reports that during a recent interview at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, the Facebook CEO began to explain how the social media firm is attempting to work with the governments of other countries to determine what political speech should be allowed on the site. Zuckerberg gave an example of Facebook’s interaction with the Irish government ahead of a 2018 referendum on the legalization of abortion in the country.

In other words, Zuckerberg is trying to set Facebook up as an official censor, helping authoritarian regimes subvert democracy by suppressing opposition supporters presenting their case to the public.

Zuckerberg justified interference in the Irish abortion debated by explaining that American pro-life groups wanted to run Facebook ads targeted towards Irish citizens. Facebook reached out to the Irish government to determine whether or not the ads should be allowed at the time. Zuckerberg stated: “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.’”

“We ended up not allowing the ads,” Zuckerberg stated. Abortion activist Lila Rose commented on how Silicon Valley tech executives have reacted towards the issue of abortion in a tweet which can be seen below:

In other words, Facebook helped the Irish government ensure the side supported by the Europhile liberal Prime Minister achieve the result they wanted. Zuckerber is of course an enthusiastic suppoter of the far left wing of the US Democratic Party, a group which not only supports the right of abortion but actively promotes the idea that women should choose abortion over contraception as their preferred method of birth control.

Breitbart News recently reported that Facebook has been removed from Standard & Poor’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Index after the company received a score of 22 for social responsibility and only 6 for governance, out of a possible 100. This is quite justified for a company with a huge outreach to the general public which it uses to promote its founder’s own, extremist, political positions. Facebook has been caught out censoring supports of the ‘Leave’ campaign in the Brexit referendum, groups presenting perfectly reasonable arguments against abortion, the work of independent journalists, including scientists, who challenge the  consensus position on such things as climate change, vaccines, transgenderism, human rights and many more topics that are counted among the left’s ever growing herd of sacred cows.

Reid Steadman, S&P’s social and governance chief, stated that the growing number of privacy concerns around the company including “a lack of transparency as to why Facebook collects and shares certain user information, resulted in low scores for the firm. S&P cited the Cambridge Analytica scandal as one of the reasons for the tech giant’s poor performance.”

“These events have created uncertainty about Facebook’s diligence regarding privacy protection, and the effectiveness of the company risk management processes and how the company enforces them,” Steadman said. “These issues caused the company to lag behind its peers in terms of ESG performance.”

This has to be good news, because along with statistics showing Facebook is haemorrhaging users to newswer, les politically biased sites like MINDS and STEEMIT, it shows Zuckerberg’s megalomaniacal bid for world domination is faltering.

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A List Of Alternatives To Google Products

This blog is no fan of Google as our readers know.Not only do we believe Google’s origins as the brainchild of a couple of dysfunctional nerds whose ‘idiot-savant’ abilities did not include an ethical compass is a myth and that Google was spawned by the US government’ s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for military and civil surveillance projects, we are also quite sure the who Alphabet conglomerate of which the search advertising giant is now part, has fallen under the control of a bunch of Silicon Valley weirdos, who want to covertly control the world while remaining totally unaccountable for their actions.

Therefore we feel it is our duty to help readers avoid all Google products by bringing you this comprehensive list of alternatives. Google will still track you of course, they track all of us and collect data on our online activity, but the less detail they have the less value the information on us that they steal will have. And rival companies are getting better at shutting them out of the most revealing activities.

Alternatives To Google Products

from Techspot

With growing concerns over online privacy and securing personal data, more people than ever are considering alternatives to Google products. After all, Google’s business model essentially revolves around data collection and advertisements, both of which infringe on your privacy. More data means better (targeted) ads and more revenue. The company pulled in over $116 billion in ad revenue last year alone – and that number continues to grow.

Editor’s Note:
Guest author Sven Taylor is the editor behind Restore Privacy, a blog dedicated to inform about best online privacy practices, secure your electronic devices, unblock restricted content and defeat censorship.

But the word is getting out. A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to Google products that respect their privacy and data. This guide aims to be the most exhaustive resource available for documenting alternatives to Google product. So let’s get started (in no particular order or preference)…

Google search alternatives

When it comes to privacy, using Google search is not a good idea. When you use their search engine, Google is recording your IP address, search terms, user agent, and often a unique identifier, which is stored in cookies.

Here are ten alternatives to Google search:

  • StartPage – StartPage gives you Google search results, but without the tracking (based in the Netherlands).
  • Searx – A privacy-friendly and versatile metasearch engine that’s also open source.
  • MetaGer – An open source metasearch engine with good features, based in Germany.
  • SwissCows – A zero-tracking private search engine based in Switzerland, hosted on secure Swiss infrastructure.
  • Qwant – A private search engine based in France.
  • DuckDuckGo – A private search engine based in the US.
  • Mojeek – The only true search engine (rather than metasearch engine) that has its own crawler and index (based in the UK).
  • YaCy – A decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer search engine.
  • Givero – Based in Denmark, Givero offers more privacy than Google and combines search with charitable donations.
  • Ecosia – Ecosia is based in Germany and donates a part of revenues to planting trees.

Note: With the exception of Mojeek, all of the private search engines above are technically metasearch engines, since they source their results from other search engines, such as Bing and Google.

Gmail alternatives

Gmail may be convenient and popular, but there are three major problems:

  • Your inbox is used as a data collection tool. (Did you know Google is tracking your purchasing history from the receipts in your inbox?)
  • Rather than seeing just emails, your email inbox is also used for ads and marketing.
  • The contents of your inbox are being shared with Google and other random third parties.

When you remain logged in to your Gmail account, Google can easily track your activities online as you browse different websites, which may be hosting Google Analytics or Google ads (Adsense).

Here are ten alternatives to Gmail that do well in terms of privacy:

  • Tutanota – based in Germany; very secure and private; free accounts up to 1 GB
  • Mailfence – based in Belgium; lots of features; free accounts up to 500 MB
  • Posteo – based in Germany; €1/mo with 14 day refund window
  • StartMail – based in Netherlands; $5.00/mo with 7 day free trial
  • Runbox – based in Norway; lots of storage and features; $1.66/mo with 30 day free trial
  • Mailbox.org – based in Germany; €1/mo with 30 day free trial
  • CounterMail – based in Sweden; $4.00/mo with 7 day free trial
  • Kolab Now – based in Switzerland; €4.41/mo with 30 day money-back guarantee
  • ProtonMail – based in Switzerland; free accounts up to 500 MB
  • Thexyz – based in Canada; $1.95/mo with 30 day refund window

More information on these providers is available in the secure and private email services guide.

Chrome alternatives

Google Chrome is a popular browser, but it’s also a data collection tool – and many people are taking notice. Just a few days ago, the Washington Post asserted that “Google’s web browser has become spy software,” with 11,000 tracker cookies observed in a single week. Here are seven alternatives for more privacy:

  • Firefox browser – Firefox is a very customizable, open-source browser that is popular in privacy circles. There are also many different Firefox modifications and tweaks that will give you more privacy and security. (Also check out Firefox Focus, a privacy-focused version for mobile users.)
  • Iridium – Based on open source Chromium, Iridium offers numerous privacy and security enhancements over Chrome, source code here.
  • GNU IceCat – A fork of Firefox from the Free Software Foundation.
  • Tor browser – A hardened and secured version of Firefox that runs on the Tor network by default. (It also does a good job against browser fingerprinting.)
  • Ungoogled Chromium – Just as the name says, this is an open source version of Chromium that has been “ungoogled” and modified for more privacy.
  • Brave – Brave is another Chromium-based browser that is rather popular. It blocks trackers and ads by default (except for “approved” ads that are part of the “Brave Ads” network).
  • Waterfox – This is a fork of Firefox that is configured for more privacy by default, with Mozilla telemetry stripped out of the code.

Of course, there are other alternatives to Chrome, such as Safari (from Apple), Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge, Opera, and Vivaldi – but these also come with some privacy drawbacks.

Google Drive alternatives

If you’re looking for a secure cloud storage option, you can check out these Google Drive alternatives:

  • Tresorit – A user-friendly cloud storage option based in Switzerland.
  • ownCloud – An open source and self-hosted cloud platform developed in Germany.
  • Nextcloud – Nextcloud is also an open source, self-hosted file sharing and collaboration platform, based in Germany.
  • Sync – Based in Canada, Sync offers a secure, encrypted cloud storage solution for businesses and individuals.
  • Syncthing – Here we have a decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer cloud storage platform.

Of course, Dropbox is another popular Google drive alternative, but it’s not the best in terms of privacy.

Google Calendar alternative

Here are some Google Calendar alternatives:

  • Lightning Calendar is an open source calendar option developed by Mozilla, and it’s compatible with Thunderbird and Seamonkey.
  • Etar, an open source, basic calendar option.
  • Fruux, an open source calendar with good features and support for many operating systems.

For those wanting a combined solution for both email and calendar functionality, these providers offer that:

Google Docs / Sheets / Slides alternative

There are many solid Google Docs alternatives available. The largest offline document editing suite is, of course, Microsoft Office. As most people know, however, Microsoft is not the best company for privacy. Nonetheless, there are a few other good Google Docs alternatives:

  • CryptPad – CryptPad is a privacy-focused alternative with strong encryption, and it’s free.
  • Etherpad – A self-hosted collaborative online editor that’s also open source.
  • Zoho Docs – This is another good Google Docs alternative with a clean interface and good functionality, although it may not be the best for privacy.
  • OnlyOffice – OnlyOffice feels a bit more restricted than some of the other options in terms of features.
  • Cryptee – This is a privacy-focused platform for photo and document storage and editing. It’s open source and based in Estonia.
  • LibreOffice (offline) – You can use LibreOffice which is free and open source.
  • Apache OpenOffice (offline) – Another good open source office suite.

Google Photos alternative

Here are a few good Google Photos alternatives:

  • Piwigo – Piwigo is a great option that you can self-host. It is also free and open source.
  • Lychee – Lychee is another self-hosted, open source photo management platform.

Shoebox was another alternative, but it closed operations in June 2019.

YouTube alternatives

Unfortunately, YouTube alternatives can really be hit or miss, with most struggling to gain popularity.

Tip: Invidio.us is a great Youtube proxy that allows you to watch any Youtube video without logging in, even if the video is somehow restricted. To do this, simply replace [www.youtube.com] with [invidio.us] in the URL you want to view.

Google Translate alternative

Here are a few Google translate alternatives I have come across:

  • DeepL – DeepL is a solid Google Translate alternative that seems to give great results. Like Google Translate, DeepL allows you to post up to 5,000 characters at a time (but the pro version is unlimited). The user interface is good and there is also a built-in dictionary feature.
  • Linguee – Linguee does not allow you to post large blocks of text like DeepL. However, Linguee will give you very accurate translations for single words or phrases, along with context examples.
  • dict.cc – This Google Translate alternative seems to do a decent job on single-world lookups, but it also feels a bit outdated.
  • Swisscows Translate – A good translation service supporting many languages.

If you want to translate blocks of text, check out DeepL. If you want in-depth translations for single words or phrases, then Linguee is a good choice.

Google Analytics alternative

For website admins, there are many reasons to use an alternative to Google Analytics. Aside from privacy concerns, there are also faster and more user-friendly alternatives that also respect your visitors’ privacy.

  • Clicky is a great alternative to Google Analytics that truncates and anonymizes visitor IP addresses by default. It is lightweight, user-friendly, and fully compliant with GDPR regulations, while also being certified by Privacy Shield.
  • Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an open-source analytics platform that respects the privacy of visitors by anonymizing and truncating visitor IP addresses (if enabled by the website admin). It is also certified to respect user privacy.
  • Fathom Analytics is an open source alternative to Google Analytics that’s available on Github here. It’s minimal, fast, and lightweight.
  • AT Internet is a France-based analytics provider that is fully GDPR compliant, with all data stored on French servers, and a good track record going back to 1996.

Many websites host Google Analytics because they run Google Adsense campaigns. Without Google Analytics, tracking performance of these campaigns would be difficult. Nonetheless, there are still better options for privacy.

Google Maps alternative

A map alternative for PCs is OpenStreetMap.

A few Google Maps alternatives for mobile devices include:

  • OsmAnd is a free and open-source mobile maps app for both Android and iOS (based on OpenStreetMap data).
  • Maps (F Droid) uses OpenStreetMap data (offline).
  • Here WeGo provides good mapping solutions for both PCs and mobile devices with their app.
  • Maps.Me is another option that is free on both Android and iOS, but there is a fair amount of data collection with this alternative, as explained in their privacy policy.
  • MapHub is also based on OpenStreeMap data and it does not collect locations or user IP addresses.

Note: Waze is not an “alternative” as it is owned by Google.

Google Play Store alternative

Currently the best Google Play Store alternative is to use F-Droid and then go through the Yalp store. As explained on the official site, F-Droid is an installable catalog of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. After you have installed F-Droid, you can then download the Yalp store APK, which allows you to download apps from the Google Play Store directly as APK files.

See the F-Droid website or the official GitHub page for more info. Other alternatives to the Google Play Store include:

  • TechSpot – We have an Android section in Downloads full of safe and verified downloads.
  • Aptoide – An independent marketplace for Android apps.
  • APKMirror – This is a large library of APK files uploaded by different users (be careful).
  • Aurora Store – A fork of the Yalp Store.

Google Chrome OS alternative

Want to ditch the Chromebook and Chrome OS? Here are a few alternatives:

  • Linux – Of course, Linux is arguably the best alternative, being a free, open-source operating system with lots of different flavors. With some adjustments, Linux Ubuntu can be run on Chromebooks.
  • Tails – Tails is a free, privacy-focused operating system based on Linux that routes all traffic through the Tor network.
  • QubesOS – Recommended by Snowden, free, and also open source.

Of course, the other two big operating system alternatives are Windows and Apple’s operating system for MacBooks – Mac OS. Windows, particularly Windows 10, is a very bad option for privacy. While slightly better, Apple also collects user data and has partnered with the NSA for surveillance.

Android alternatives

The biggest alternative to Android is iOS from Apple. But we’ll skip over that for reasons already mentioned. Here are a few Android OS alternatives:

  • LineageOS – A free and open-source operating system for phones and tablets based on Android.
  • Ubuntu Touch – A mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system.
  • Plasma Mobile – An open source, Linux-based operating system with active development.
  • Sailfish OS – Another open source, Linux-based mobile OS.
  • Replicant – A fully free Android distribution with an emphasis on freedom, privacy, and security.
  • /e/ – This is another open source project with a focus on privacy and security.

Purism is also working on a privacy-focused mobile phone called the Librem 5. It is in production, but not yet available (estimated Q3 2019).

Google Hangouts alternatives

Here are some alternatives to Google Hangouts:

  • Wire – A great all-around secure messenger, video, and chat app, but somewhat limited on the number of people who can chat together in a group conversation via voice or video.
  • Signal – A good secure messenger platform from Open Whisper Systems.
  • Telegram – A longtime secure messenger app, formerly based in Russia, now in Dubai.
  • Riot – A privacy-focused encrypted chat service that is also open source.

Google Domains alternative

Google Domains is a domain registration service. Here are a few alternatives:

  • Namecheap – I like Namecheap because all domain purchases now come with free WhoisGuard protection for life, which protects your contact information from third parties. Namecheap also accepts Bitcoin and offers domain registration, hosting, email, SSL certs, and a variety of other products.
  • Njalla – Njalla is a privacy-focused domain registration service based in Nevis. They offer hosting options, too, and also accept cryptocurrency payments.
  • OrangeWebsite – OrangeWebsite offers anonymous domain registration services and also accepts cryptocurrency payments, based in Iceland.

Other Google alternatives

Here more alternatives for various Google products:

Google Forms alternativeJotForm is a free online form builder.

Google Keep alternative – Below are a few different Google Keep alternatives:

  • Standard Notes is a great alternative for a note-taking service. It is secure, encrypted, and free with apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android (web-based also available).
  • Joplin is another great option that is open source and works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
  • Zoho Notebook from Zoho, with apps for desktop and mobile devices.
  • QOwnNotes is an open source file editor with Nextcloud integration.

Google Fonts alternative – Many websites load Google fonts through Google APIs, but that’s not necessary. One alternative to this is to use Font Squirrel, which has a large selection of both Google and non-Google fonts which are free to download and use.

Google Voice alternativeJMP.chat (both free and paid)

G Suite alternativeZoho is probably the best option

Google Firebase alternativeKuzzle (free and open source)

Google Blogger alternativesWordPress, Medium, and Ghost are all good options.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions for Google alternatives? Feel free to drop a comment below. This guide will be regularly updated to reflect the latest information and user feedback.

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Google Spends Just $20 Million A Year To Control The U.S. Government

It’s unlikely that regular readers of this blog or The Daily Stirrer will have failed to notice one of our favourite games is revealing the true nature of the fascistic corporate entities that have been handed control of the internet by inept, virtue signalling, rent seeking politicians whose corruptibility is on a par with their technological illiteracy.

Yesterday we exposed the extent to which Facebook’s top management were aware of the extent their platform was being used to illegally obtain personal information from web users who don’t even have a Facebook account, today we move on to Google. We reported several years ago that the Search and Advertising giant, known for its rabid enthusiasm for all far left causes, had established such a cosy relationship with The Obama Administration that Google executives were regularly sitting in on government meeting in |The Oval Office.

It has often been said tht if voting changed anything they’d abolish it, and those who hoped things might change under Donald Trump will be disappointed to learn that while the US president is making noises about curbing the power wielded in Washington DC by representatives of Silicon Valley high tech corporations, those companies are so deeply embedded in government departments that little has changed in terms of the influence the tech corporations have on government policy, so much so in fact that buying favourable treatment from government is no longer a significant expense.

Google has recently severed links with six of the largest lobbying firms it had employed, in an apparent attempt to overhaul its global government affairs and policy operations amid greater government scrutiny of its business, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Over the last few months, the company has tried to give the appearance of lowering its profile in the capital, as well as scaling down its Washington policy team, and releasing two senior executives who helped develop its “influence operation” into one of the largest in the U.S. capital. The influence operation had been spending about $20 million a year on lobbying politicians and government officials, reducing the number of lobbying firms firms contracted to push Google interests which between them consumed about half of that cost seems to suggest a scaling back of political activity. But where Google is concerned things are seldom what they seem to be.

The change of direction is explained as part of a “continuing modernization” of Google’s influence operation.” Coming at a time when Google and other high tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are facing heightened government scrutiny of the shadier areas of their business is surely a factor in the change of direction.

It is worth noting too that while those of us who have highlighted the level of influence over government and social policy handed to high tech companies have routinely been dismissed as ‘conspiracy theorists,’ technophobes, and enemies of progress, that the fact that a company like Google (and others, they’re not alone,) has set up a department whose function is to influence government, this reveals the very unhealthy state of democracy in the developed world. Google sells advertising and tech services, it does not put up candidates for election so its executives should not be put on a par with our elected representatives. We cannot vote them into or out of power so in effect they have achieved the wet – dream of all tyrants and bureaucrats, power without accountability.

Fortunately Donald Trump and his advisers, no matter what the liberal chatterati say about them, are aware of this and are reportedly trying to address it. The task will not be easy, there are a lot of influential people riding onm Google’s gravy train, and a lot of political hopefuls who know their best chance of high office lies in benefitting from the claimed ability of Google and other to influence public opinion.

The tide seems to be turning however.

The Department of  Justice is widely reported to be preparing an antitrust investigation into the company alleged unfair and unconstitutional business practices while both houses of Congress and state attorneys general in various states are also reviewing its methods, particularly those which violate users’ right to privacy. Some politicians are even calling for the company to be broken up into smaller, independent businesses.

Faced with this threat it looks as if Google is planning to reallocate the paltry $20 million per year that it has been using to control the government and spend it on … you guessed, trying to control the government in slightly more subtle ways.

Among the firms and consultants who are no longer working for Google are “Charlie Black, a longtime Republican strategist, and firms that have relationships with senior Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Off Hill Strategies LLC, which has links to financially conservative Republicans.”

People who claim to be in the know about the restructuring plan say the aim is to focus the company’s global reach in order to help it deal with regulators and lawmakers across regions and markets.  That certainly sounds convincing in view of the monster fines levied by the European Union and various national governments, fines so large and so numerous they must have stung despite the size of google’s annual revenue. The moves are also being spun as a shake up of interfaces with government by Google’s new head of policy and government relations, Karan Bhatia.

Bhatia was recruited in the summer of 2018 as Google’s VP of Policy and Government Relations and tasked with reviewing the company’s lobbying needs. Susan Molinari, a former Republican congresswoman, stepped down as Google’s head of Washington operations last year and the company has yet to name a successor.

It is worth noting that in 2006, Google was spending about $800,000 on lobbying and had four firms on retainer. By 2018, the company was retaining 100 lobbyists from 30 ifferent firms at an annual cost of $21.7 million to lobby Washington politicians and top civil servants and was the largest spender on lobbying among US corporations, despite the relatively small dollar amount for the massive tech giant.

The company also makes donations running into $milliond to think tanks, political research units, universities and media consultancies that help Google shape the debate into its business practices.

Meanwhile, Google employees (under no pressure from management of course, after all seeing colleagues sacked for questioning liberal dogma would not make anyone feel coerced into joining the orgies of virtue singnalling,) helped the company become one of the largest sources of donations to the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Records show that Google employees donated a total of $1.6 million to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and after Obama, whose campaign was backed by Google took office in 2012, Google and its lobbying team enjoyed an incredible run of successes in Washington, including having the FTC drop a planned anti-trust case. The company also benefitted from favorable FTC net neutrality rulings (which decreed that favouring the websites of its own busineses and its biggest advertisers in search result listings was not unfair to competitors,)  and secured favorable legislation on self driving vehicles.

But over the last few years the company has continued to hit headwinds from both sides of the aisle while its public image has taken a beating over privacy concerns and critics claiming that its political bias influences which content is censored.

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Going To War Against The Evil Empire
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Who Runs America? US Federal Trade Commission Takes Orders From Google
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Google Meets White House Officials Every Week, Why?
We have been very suspicious for ten years of the way Google with such apparent ease achieved a dominant position in web search. How did it happen, did Google do something evil, did they invoke the powers of darkness in their meteoric rise. Or were there even darker forces at work, powering Google to a position in which their internet technologies could dominate global information flows? Here’s something cynics should read.

EU taking on Google – Well One German Publisher Is
Those New World Order fanatics at The Guardian, bless them, seldom miss a trick when it comes to promoting the single European Superstate and the globalist agenda. Their latest misrepresentation is to try and make us feel the European Union is somehow protecting our freedoms even as the bureau rats of Brussels are taking them away.

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You Will Be Told Biometric Identification Is For Your Security, But When You Can’t Do business without It, It Becomes An Assault On your Privacy
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Don’t be Evil, Google Will Do It For You
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Don’t Be Evil, That’s Our Job Is Google’s Real Motto
Don’t Be Evil said Google’s web page. But the search engine giant is the most evil of all the technology companies (though the rest can make Satan, Beelzebub, Belial, Azazel and the other Biblical demons look like choirboys. Read of Google’s latest step in advancing their evil agenda to take over our lives and make us all slaves of their technology.
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How will you know who is tracking your internet enabled sex toys

Facebook Takes Another Hit After Report Zuckerberg Knew Of “Questionable” Privacy Practices


Mark Zuckerberg: If he still thinks he is untouchable the thought will not last much longer.

The reputation of scandal – plagued social media giant Facebook took another hit on Wednesday after emails emerged which appear to show CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s knowledge of questionable privacy practices at the company, (and presumably his approval of such malfeasances as he did not act to stop them,)  according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.
The WSJ wrote:

Within the company, the unearthing of the emails in the process of responding to a continuing federal privacy investigation has raised concerns that they would be harmful to Facebook—at least from a public-relations standpoint—if they were to become public, one of the people said.

The potential impact of the internal emails has been a factor in the tech giant’s desire to reach a speedy settlement of the investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, one of the people said. Facebook is operating under a 2012 consent decree with the agency related to privacy, and the emails sent around that time suggest that Mr. Zuckerberg and other senior executives didn’t make.

It is not yet known exactly which emails the FTC has requested, or to what extent they implicate Zuckerberg.

The FTC launched its investigation in 2018 in the wake of the scandal surrounding the massive ‘data harvesting’ exercise brought to light by the Cambridge Analytica controversy which revealed that company specifically had used illegally obtained personal data to target certain users with news intended to influence voting patterns.

In the wake of that other abuses of users’ private information were brough to light and it became clear that Facebook was directly involved in gathering data on web users who do not even have a Facbook account.

The FTC investigators will be looking to ascertain if Facebook’s data privacy lapses violated a 2012 consent decree the company agreed to.

In one email exchange from April 2012 that has caught regulators’ attention, according to a person familiar with the matter, Mr. Zuckerberg asked employees about an app that claimed to have built a database stocked with information about tens of millions of Facebook users. The developer had the ability to display that user information to others on its own site, regardless of those users’ privacy settings on Facebook, the person said.

Mr. Zuckerberg wanted to know if such extensive data collection was possible and if Facebook should do anything to stop developers from displaying that data, the person said.

Another employee responded to Mr. Zuckerberg’s question, saying it was possible and many developers do the same thing but adding it was a complicated issue, the person said. –Wall Street Journal

The Journal also notes that email exchange in question happened after the FTC’s consent decree had been agreed, but before the date on which it took effect, bringing to mind Zuckerberg’s most famous one – liner, “The dumb fucks trust me.”.

The current report states “If [the decree] had been in effect at the time, the stockpiling of such user data would potentially have violated it. Mr. Zuckerberg’s message seemed to indicate he was aware of that, according to the person who was familiar with the exchange,” per the report.

In April, the company said it anticipates paying up to $5 billion to settle the case.

On Tuesday, Facebook said in a statement: “We have fully cooperated with the FTC’s investigation to date and provided tens of thousands of documents, emails and files. We are continuing to work with them and hope to bring this matter to an appropriate resolution.”

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In an opinion piece for The New York Times Chris Hughes, the co – founder of Facebook has called for scandal – plagued the social media and data theft behemoth to be broken up and lambasted the “staggering” and “unchecked” power of his former friend and co – founder, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a lengthy and searing critique of Zuckerberg’s amoral, and often illegal behaviour at the helm of the social media corporation.

Hughes co-founded Facebook with Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 and watched “in awe” as the company grew over the last 15 years — but said he now feels a “sense of anger and responsibility” about how all-powerful and out-of-control the social media giant has become under the management of the increasingly power – crazed CEO.

Lashing out at the company, Hughes wrote in the NYT piece that Zuckerberg’s power and influence goes “far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government.” People may think that is sour grapes, but Hughes has no reason to be bitter,  his time at Facebook made him a fortune estimated in the region of $500 million and he left of his own volition, having been quoted as saying, “ “Working with Mark is very challenging,” says Hughes. “You’re never sure if what you’re doing is something he likes or he doesn’t like. It’s so much better to be friends with Mark than to work with him.”

He has also said he thinks more of Zuckerberg’s friends who were involved in the creation of Facebook, most of whom he’s still in touch with, have left Zuckerberg’s empire in part because, like him, they got fed up with the CEO’s unpredictable and megalomaniacal behaviour.

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Mark Zuckerberg on ethics (Picture via Sott.net)

“Working with Mark is very challenging,” says Hughes. “You’re never sure if what you’re doing is something he likes or he doesn’t like. It’s so much better to be friends with Mark than to work with him.”

In the article Hughes criticizes Facebook over “sloppy privacy practices,” “violent rhetoric and fake news,” and the “unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention.” “It’s not that Zuckerberg is a bad person,” he writes, but “he’s human” and his focus on growth has “led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks.”

There are many who would argue with the statement that Zuckerberg is human, given his robotic performances in front of members of the US Congress, UK Parliament and European Union regulators, biologically he may appear human but there is something misssing in his make up that renders him unable to understand why people might object to his company sharing users’ illegally obtained personal data with any organisation willing to pay for it.

Hughes also bemoans the fact that the obsessive workaholic Zuckerberg controls three core communications platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) and says that lack of competition, market or government regulation is a major problem. If a competitor crops up, Zuckerberg can simply choose to shut it down “by acquiring, blocking or copying it” in the manner it did with the Instagram and WhatsApp mergers. “There is no precedent for [Zuckerberg’s] ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.” Hughes warns.

It does not stop there, the article also reveals that Zuckerberg alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered.

Hughes also worries that Zuckerberg has “surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.” He believes that neither Facebook’s offer to appoint a “privacy czar” or the expected Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fine of $5 billion will be enough to rein in the corporate tyrant who heads Facebook.

The answer lies in more government regulation of technology companies’ activities and increased market competition through breaking up Zuckerberg’s empire into separate, competing organisations Hughes says. The lack of competition means that “every time Facebook messes up, we repeat an exhausting pattern: first outrage, then disappointment and, finally, resignation.”

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Google Is Helping Governments Violate Your Privacy


Picture: https://wordstream-files-prod.s3.amazonaws

A new law suit filed in the USA complains that Google is helping the U.S. government circumvent constiutional protections in order to conduct warrantless searches on citizens. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has formally accused Google of scanning billions of personal files of users at the request of the U.S. government. EPIC recently filed a “friend of the court” brief alleging that Google is helping the U.S. government conduct warrantless searches by scanning user files in search of potentially illegal content or evidence of crimes.

The new suit came in response to United States v. Wilson, a case in which it was shown Google scanned billions of users files in an attempt to identify images of children reported as lost or missing by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). After scanning images contained om users computers, Google contacts law enforcement agencies with information on individuals who have images that may show missing children. Unfortunately this entire process happens without permission from users or a warrant issued by a court, and without reasonable grounds to suspect the individuals whose files are accessed of involvement in any crome. EPIC’s brief argues that “because neither Google nor the government explained how the image matching technique actually works or presented evidence establishing accuracy and reliability, the government’s search was unreasonable.”

EPIC claims the situation allows law enforcement oficers to ignore civil rights protections against unreasonable search and seizure of property and conduct warrantless searches with help from Google.

“If, for example, police officials would like to examine the digital files of certain suspects, they can simply turn to Google, which will do all the searching for them – and without the time, expense or hassle of getting a warrant for this search,” CPO Magazine reports. “For police departments, warrantless searches of digital material would be one way to make their criminal investigations much easier.”

This particular case centres on a new Google algorithm that scans files to locate a specific image using image matching. Previously, the NCMEC was required to provide Google with image hashes, used to identify a unique image without showing the actual image. However, Google’s new algorithm uses image matching instead of image hashing. EPIC said the “lower court made a key mistake” by confusing file hashing with the more personal method of image matching.

EPIC’s concern centers around the ways this technology might be used to target citizens for their religious or political affiliations, or even for viewing content security sgencies disapprove of. Remember, the US Govertnment under the Obama Administration, the UK Government under both Labour and Conservative Administeatuions, the German Government and the French government have all seriously considered crominalising the viewing and discussion of content questioning climate change, vaccine programs, military interventions in sovereign nations and criticism of Islam. After the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, (March 2019,) officials threatened jail time to any New Zealand citizen in possession of the shooter’s livestream video. With Google’s current policy, what’s to stop New Zealand’s law enforcement from asking Google to search user files for a copy of the banned “hate content”?

This type of arrangement with tech companies allows the government to avoid applying to a court for a warrant and sets dangerous precedents for future extensions of surveillance regimes. The world’s largest search engine company is facing increasing scrutiny as news of their comtempt for privacy laws, their deceitful statements to media about privacy policy, and their abuse of illegally obtained user information makes headlines around the world. For example, Google recently came under fire for choosing to build a censored version of their search engine for the Chinese government under the Dragonfly program.

If Google continues to show the world they respect neither privacy laws or users’ civil rights, why are so many people still not only using the tool but waxing lyrical about how it has improved our lives? The realities are that Google’s search technology made it a lot easier to hide information governments or tech companies do not want you to see, and that corporations will work with governments to erode privacy—and thus, freedom — so long as they know huge numbers of people around the world will still believe what they are told to believe and carry on using the services of corrupt and totally self interested corporate entities.


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Google Monster
Google monster” Source: Giles Nabiney via http://www.101touches.com/

 

It’s the Artificial Intelligence that manipulates people through a billion tablet computers, mobile phones, email accounts, and search engine of choice, and the mangers claim their goal is to enhance our lives by knowing us better than we know ourselves, and nudging us with constant suggestions and warning to make better, wiser decisions than we could ever make for ourselves. “Don’t be evil,” the corporate motto read in the early days, although that has now been dropped because it became something of an embarrassment when people worked out it was incomplete, the full version read, “Don’t be evil, that’s our job.”

The Google empire is anything but a force for good, As we have reported the corporation enjoys an unhealthily cosy relationship with governments and security agencies, with only the European Union, China and Russia having proved capable of standing up to it and Dave Hodges of The Common Sense Show warns if it isn’t broken up soon then we can all kiss our collective future goodbye. Google plans to track every move we make through our devices, governments want to control everything we do. Naturally the two are happy to collaborate for the purpose of advancing thir agendas.

The way Google gains influence with government is through its increasingly creepy and intrusive surveillance and data gathering and analysis technologies, which are now being included in devices that are nothing to do with the internet. Soon, if Google gets its way, everyone on the planet will be monitored, tracked, and controlled by Google algorithms overseen by a technocratic elite who plan to censor all internet content and suppress all dissent throughput the liberal democracies of the developed world. Anyone who dares to challenge the establishment narrative will be identified and targeted.

Right now, more than 98 percent of mainstream media outlets the world over are controlled by just six corporations. And all of these corporations, says Hodges, are Cultural Marxists who hate the working classes, and despise everything for which, after 5000 years of civilisation, our nations have evolved to value.

Even Fox News, which presents itself as media for conservatives, is merely controlled opposition that’s funneling its viewers right into the same slaughterhouse as all of the other news outlets. Sadly, this leaves about two percent of the media, several outlets of which are now banned by Google, to tell people the truth.

“At the forefront of the propaganda that keeps America paralyzed is Google,” Hodges explains about the source of the problem. “Google has moved past Monsanto (a.k.a. Monsatan) as the most evil corporation in the world.”

Back in the summer, it was announced that Google was developing a “special” search engine for communist China that allows for only state-sanctioned “news” to show up in the results. Pretty much par for the course where the regime in China is concerned yo might think. But what mainstream media are not reporting is that Google has similar plans for the U.S.A, the European Union, Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan and anywhere else with a reasonable level of prosperity.

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