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  1. Google bosses have forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have “unilateral access” to the data. The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China’s authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained “pixel trackers” that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined. The Dragonfly memo reveals that a prototype of the censored search engine was being developed as an app for both Android and iOS devices, and would force users to sign in so they could use the service. The memo confirms, as The Intercept first reported last week, that users’ searches would be associated with their personal phone number. The memo adds that Chinese users’ movements would also be stored, along with the IP address of their device and links they clicked on. It accuses developers working on the project of creating “spying tools” for the Chinese government to monitor its citizens. People’s search histories, location information, and other private data would be sent out of China to a database in Taiwan, the memo states. But the data would also be provided to employees of a Chinese company who would be granted “unilateral access” to the system. To launch the censored search engine, Google set up a “joint venture” partnership with an unnamed Chinese company. The search engine will “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to documents seen by The Intercept. Blacklisted search terms on a prototype of the search engine include “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize” in Mandarin, said sources familiar with the project. According to the memo, aside from being able to access users’ search data, the Chinese partner company could add to the censorship blacklists: It would be able to “selectively edit search result pages … unilaterally, and with few controls seemingly in place.” That a Chinese company would maintain a copy of users’ search data means that, by extension, the data would be accessible to Chinese authorities, who have broad powers to obtain information that is held or processed on the country’s mainland. A central concern human rights groups have expressed about Dragonfly is that it could place users at risk of Chinese government surveillance — and any person in China searching for blacklisted words or phrases could find themselves interrogated or detained. Chinese authorities are well-known for routinely targeting critics, activists, and journalists. “It’s alarming to hear that such information will be stored and, potentially, easily shared with the Chinese authorities,” said Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with the human rights group Amnesty International. “It will completely put users’ privacy and safety at risk. Google needs to immediately explain if the app will involve such arrangements. It’s time to give the public full transparency of the project.” On August 16, two weeks after The Intercept revealed the Dragonfly plan, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the company’s employees that the China plan was in its “early stages” and “exploratory.” However, employees working on the censored search engine were instructed in late July, days before the project was publicly exposed, that they should prepare to get it into a “launch-ready state” to roll out within weeks, pending approval from officials in Beijing. The memo raises new questions about Pichai’s claim that the project was not well-developed. Information stored on the company’s internal networks about Dragonfly “paints a very different picture,” it says. “The statement from our high-level leadership that Dragonfly is just an experiment seems wrong.” The memo identifies at least 215 employees who appear to have been tasked with working full-time on Dragonfly, a number it says is “larger than many Google projects.” It says that source code associated with the project dates back to May 2017, and “many infrastructure parts predate” that. Moreover, screenshots of the app “show a project in a pretty advanced state,” the memo declares. Most of the details about the project “have been secret from the start,” the memo says, adding that “after the existence of Dragonfly leaked, engineers working on the project were also quick to hide all of their code.” The author of the memo said in the document that they were opposed to the China censorship. However, they added, “more than the project itself, I hate the culture of secrecy that has been built around it.” The memo was first posted September 5 on an internal messaging list set up for Google employees to raise ethical concerns. But the memo was soon scrubbed from the list and individuals who had opened or saved the document were contacted by Google’s human resources department to discuss the matter. The employees were instructed not to share the memo. Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as “stopleaks,” which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions. Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodo and The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity. The “stopleaks” team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract. Google’s internal security team consists of a number of former military and law enforcement officials. For example, LinkedIn lists as Google’s head of global investigations Joseph Vincent, whose resume includes work as a high-ranking agent at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit. The head of security at Google is Chris Rackow, who has described himself as a former member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s hostage rescue team and as a former U.S. Navy SEAL. For some Google employees, the culture of secrecy at the company clashes directly with the its public image around fostering transparency, creating an intolerable work environment. “Leadership misled engineers working on [Dragonfly] about the nature of their work, depriving them of moral agency,” said a Google employee who read the memo. Google did not respond to a request for comment on this story. Source
  2. Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, has been a controversial project since its debut. The need for the framework has been clear: the payloads of mobile pages can be just insane, what with layers and layers of images, JavaScript, ad networks, and more slowing down page rendering time and costing users serious bandwidth on metered plans. Yet, the framework has been aggressively foisted on the community by Google, which has backed the project not just with technical talent, but also by making algorithmic changes to its search results that have essentially mandated that pages comply with the AMP project’s terms — or else lose their ranking on mobile searches. Even more controversially, as part of making pages faster, the AMP project uses caches of pages on CDNs — which are hosted by Google (and also Cloudflare now). That meant that Google’s search results would direct a user to an AMP page hosted by Google, effectively cutting out the owner of the content in the process. The project has been led by Malte Ubl, a senior staff engineer working on Google’s Javascript infrastructure projects, who has until now held effective unilateral control over the project. In the wake of all of this criticism, the AMP project announced today that it would reform its governance, replacing Ubl as the exclusive tech lead with a technical steering committee comprised of companies invested in the success in the project. Notably, the project’s intention has an “…end goal of not having any company sit on more than a third of the seats.” In addition, the project will create an advisory board and working groups to shepherd the project’s work. The project is also expected to move to a foundation in the future. These days, there are a number of places such a project could potentially reside, including the Apache Software Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation. While the project has clearly had its detractors, the performance improvements that AMP has been fighting for are certainly meritorious. With this more open governance model, the project may get deeper support from other browser makers like Apple, Mozilla, and Microsoft, as well as the broader open source community. And while Google has certainly been the major force behind the project, it has also been popular among open source software developers. Since the project’s launch, there have been 710 contributors to the project according to its statistics, and the project (attempting to empathize its non-Google monopoly) notes that more than three-quarters of those contributors don’t work at Google. Nonetheless, more transparency and community involvement should help to accelerate Accelerated Mobile Pages. The project will host its contributor summit next week at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, where these governance changes as well as the technical and design roadmaps for the project will be top of mind for attendees. Source
  3. Google has made it no secret that it wants to reinvent how you visit websites on your browser by eventually getting rid of web addresses altogether. With the launch of Chrome 69, Google stunned users last week with a surprising decision to no longer display the “www” and “m” part of the URL in the Chrome search bar, but user backlash forced Google to soften its stance. Google’s course reversal, although welcomed by users, is only short term, and the search giant said it will change course once again with the release of the Chrome 70 browser. “In Chrome M69, we rolled out a change to hide special-case subdomains “www” and “m” in the Chrome omnibox,” Google Chromium product manager Emily Schecter wrote. “After receiving community feedback about these changes, we have decided to roll back these changes in M69 on Chrome for Desktop and Android. ” Critics have argued that by not displaying the special-case subdomains, it was harder for users to identify sites as legitimate, and the move could lead to more scams on the internet. Others go as far as questioning Google’s motives for not displaying the “www” and “m” portion of a web address, and these users speculated that the move may be to disguise Google’s AMP — or Accelerated Mobile Pages — subdomain to make it indistinguishable for the actual domain. “Please leave URLs as they are,” one user commented on Google’s feedback forum. “Not always example.com is equivalent to www.example.com, so leave the freedom to the user to see what they typed in the address bar.” Other users were more direct in their criticism of Google’s proposed changes for Chrome 70. “I remain firmly convinced that some solutions are worse than the problems they address, and that hiding bits of the URL is one of them,” another user commented. “As others have stated previously both here and in other discussions about this, it will not help users learn about URLs if browsers like [Chrome] simplify them to remove complexity at the expense of clarity. Feel free to dim the unimportant parts of the domain name, or make whatever visual tweaks you think will be helpful to emphasize the main component(s) that all users should be aware of, but do not hide anything.” Before reversing the changes it made, users were able to reveal the full web address — including the www or m subdomains — by double-clicking on the address bar in Chrome 69. Google plans to initiate public discussions over the proposed changes for Chrome 70, and according to Schecter, the company does not plan to force other browsers into standardizing in the way web URLs are displayed. With the launch of Chrome 70, Google plans on hiding the ‘www’ portion of a web address inside the search bar, but it will continue to display the ‘m’ subdomain. ” We are not going to elide ‘m’ in M70 because we found large sites that have a user-controlled ‘m’ subdomain,” she said. “There is more community consensus that sites should not allow the ‘www’ subdomain to be user controlled.” Google also made headlines in recent weeks with its intentions on killing off URLs altogether in a bid to make the internet safer. Source
  4. TrojanK

    [Solved] I'm not a robot

    Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. I bookmarked this page and now I get this every time I open it. Why does this happen? Edit: Chrome (Phone) screenshot below
  5. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Thursday asked Alphabet Inc's Google <GOOGL.O> if it will re-enter the Chinese search engine market and if it would comply with China's internet censorship policies upon its return. Sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, said in a letter they had "serious concerns" about the potential step and asked Google if it would agree to restrict certain words, terms or events in China. The company did not immediately comment on Thursday. Reuters reported last month Google planned to launch a version of its search engine in China that will block some websites and search terms, two sources said. Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat and signer of the letter, wrote on Twitter that "Google should not be helping China crack down on free speech and political dissent." Other signers include Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. The letter asked if Google would take steps "to ensure that individual Chinese citizens or foreigners living in China, including Americans, will not be surveilled or targeted through Google applications." The reported plans, which has been criticized by human rights advocates, come as China has stepped up scrutiny of business dealings involving U.S. tech firms including Facebook Inc <FB.O> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, amid intensifying trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. Google, which quit China’s search engine market in 2010, has been actively seeking ways to re-enter China where many of its products are blocked by regulators. Google’s main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010, but it has been attempting to make new inroads into China. In January, the search engine joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou, and earlier this month, launched an artificial intelligence (AI) game on Tencent Holdings Ltd’s social media app WeChat. Facebook’s website is also banned in China but the company has also signalled its interest to enter the market. Source
  6. A leaked video shows Google's leaders responding in dismay at an all-hands meeting after the 2016 presidential election. The release of the video comes as Google and other major tech companies have been accused of having a liberal bias. President Donald Trump gestures after arriving at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A video published on Breitbart News on Wednesday shows top executives at Google and its parent company, Alphabet, responding in dismay to President Trump's election at an all-hands meeting shortly after the election in 2016. In the hour-long video, execs including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, chief financial officer Ruth Porat and top lawyer Kent Walker, respond to the election with somber tones and calls for employees not to let the results divide them. "Myself as an immigrant and a refugee, I certainly find the selection deeply offensive and I know many of you do too," Brin, Alphabet's president, says near the outset of the meeting. "I think it's a very stressful time and conflicts with many of our values." Later in the video, CFO Porat admits to being a Hillary Clinton supporter, but also says that the political process was fair and that employees should still feel comfortable bringing their "whole-self" to work. "For what it's worth, I've been a very long-time Hillary supporter but as Kent [Walker] said, I very much respect the outcome of the democratic process," she says, "And who any one of us voted for is really not the point because the values that are held dear at this company transcend politics and we're going to constantly fight to preserve them." The leaked video comes in the wake of a growing backlash against technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which conservatives have charged with having a liberal bias. Each of the companies has denied letting political ideology influence their products. In late August, President Trump targeted Google specifically, tweeting unfounded accusations that Google's search engine was "rigged" to show mostly "bad" stories about him and other conservatives, as well as the false assertion that it had promoted all of former President Barack Obama's State of the Union speeches, but not his. Google received additional heat from Washington when it declined to send either Pichai or Page to a recent Senate committee hearing on foreign election meddling. In general, Silicon Valley tech employees do lean liberal, although a strong libertarian streak runs through the area as well. Employees at Google's parent company, Alphabet, have donated $15.5 million to Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, compared with just $1.6 million to Republicans, according to a recent study from GovPredict. Since President Trump took office, Alphabet executives have joined other tech company leaders in denouncing specific administration policies that affected their workforces, like an order to restrict migration from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries. Some conservative tech employees say they feel out of place in Silicon Valley. In the leaked video, Google's head of HR, Eileen Naughton, says that she had heard from conservative employees that they hadn't felt comfortable expressing their beliefs at work, and calls for Google's "largely liberal-democratic" workforce to be more tolerant and inclusive. Roughly a year after the election, Google fired engineer James Damore after his internal memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts went viral. Google said at the time that it terminated Damore because the memo "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender," but in the process he became something of a right-wing "hero" and eventually sued the company alleging that it "discriminated against employees for their perceived conservative political views." (Soon after, another ex-employee sued Google for wrongful termination due to his responses to Damore's memo.) A Google spokesperson, in a statement, reiterated that political bias does not influence its products: At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint. Source Here is the video
  7. Media Research Center: Congress MUST Investigate Claims Google Tried To Fix Election RESTON, VA – Today, the Media Research Center (MRC) said Congress must hold hearings to investigate Google for possibly trying to fix the presidential election following a bombshell report by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday night. The report disclosed a November 9, 2016, email from Google Multicultural Marketing Department head Eliana Murillo describing the company’s “silent donation” to boost Latino voting turnout in the 2016 presidential election. Google’s effort was designed to aid the Clinton campaign and the results were shared with top Google executives. Murillo was upset Trump won despite Google’s “political power” and her efforts to aid Voto Latino – a left leaning get-out-the-vote organization. She said she was worried that Latino Googlers were “probably hurting right now” and how Donald Trump’s victory was “devastating for our Democratic Latino community.” This is as unacceptable as it is potentially illegal. Google is far and away the most powerful search engine in the world, and it has incredible power to sway elections. Given this report, complaints about bias in the company’s staffing and other allegations that Google search results are biased, we can no longer ignore this danger. In addition, Congress must also look at Google’s campaign partners. According to MRC Latino, Google partnered with top anchors at Univision, a network led by top Clinton fundraiser Haim Saban. According to Open Secrets, Saban gave at least $16 million to elect Democrats in 2016. The MRC urges Congress to hold extensive hearings to investigate whether misconduct was committed by Google including, but not limited to, Federal Election Commission (FEC) violations, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations Criminal violations that should be investigated by the Department of Justice. “Everyone’s worried about election collusion, only it’s not Russia we should be afraid of. It’s the damn social media – the tech companies,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell on Wednesday. “Google didn’t even show its face when Congress held hearings last week. And guess what? The man who didn’t show – Google CEO Sundar Pichai – was on this email chain and knew about this potentially illegal action. Now we have to wonder if Google also knew this story was going to break and they wanted to hide from it. Congress needs to act, and if Google won’t show up voluntarily, then it needs to use its subpoena power to drag them there,” Bozell stated. “We have to get to the bottom of this. Can America have free elections if the social media tech companies choose our candidates for us?” Source
  8. Google's move to strip out the www in domains typed into the address bar, beginning with version 69 of its Chrome browser, has drawn an enormous amount of criticism from developers who see the move as a bid to cement the company's dominance of the Web. The criticism comes a few days after Chrome's engineering manager Adrienne Porter Felt told the American website Wired that URLs need to be got rid of altogether. The change in Chrome version 69 means that if one types in a domain such as www.itwire.com into the browser search bar, the www portion is stripped out in the address bar when the page is displayed. When asked about this change in a long discussion thread on a mailing list, a Google staffer wrote: "www is now considered a 'trivial' subdomain, and hiding trivial subdomains can be disabled in flags (will also disable hiding the URL scheme): chrome://flags/#omnibox-ui-hide-steady-state-url-scheme-and-subdomains." But this was contested by a poster to the list, who wrote: "This is a dumb change. No part of a domain should be considered 'trivial'. As an ISP, we often have to go to great lengths to teach users that 'www.domain.com' and 'domain.com' are two different domains, and that they may not necessarily go to the same destination. "The marketing world has done a lot of damage convincing people that 'www' is both ubiquitous and non-essential, when in fact, for some domains, the use or lack of it can be quite important to getting to the correct location." A Google staffer attempted to justify the change, writing: "The subdomains reappear when editing the URL so people type the correct one. They disappear in the steady-state display case because this isn't information that most users need to concern themselves with in most cases. I think this is an OK tradeoff even in the rare case when www.foo.com is not actually the same as foo.com. (Side note: like it or not, almost no real-world users will use such a thing correctly; configuring your server like this seems like a Bad Move even if it's technically legal, because people are going to access the wrong thing, and that has been true for some time and irrespective of Chrome's UI changes.) "There are multiple real bugs here though: www.www.2ld.tld should become www.2ld.tld, not 2ld.tld (we should strip at most one m. and www.) subdomain.www.domain.com should be left as-is, not subdomain.domain.com (should only strip prefixes)." But this drew an angry response from a poster who questioned the statement "this isn't information that most users need to concern themselves with in most cases" and asked: "According to who? This is simply an opinion stated as a fact." This same individual also hit back at the statement, "(Side note: like it or not, almost no real-world users will use such a thing correctly;)", saying, "That's unfortunately, just another opinion stated as fact." This is not the first time Google has been criticised for its moves to change the fundamental structure of URLs. Its Accelerated Mobile Pages, introduced in October 2015, have been criticised for obscuring the original URL of a page and reducing the chances of a reader going back to the original website. Probably for this reason, Apple last year decided that version 11 of iOS would update its Safari browser to that AMP links would be stripped out of an URL when the story was shared. Doubts have also been expressed about the extent to which AMP links increase traffic to a website. Apart from Google staff on the mailing list referred to, nobody else thought the stripping of the "www" portion was a good idea. Another poster wrote: "This does appear to be inconsistent/improperly implemented. Why is www hidden twice if the domain is "www.www.2ld.tld"? I feel like the logic could be worked out better, eg If the root zone is a 301 to the 'www' version, removing 'www' from the omnibox would be acceptable since the server indicated the root zone isn't intended for use. "This isn't the behaviour, though. If example.com returns a 403 status, and www.example.com returns a 404 status, the www version is still hidden from the user. The www and the root are very obviously different pages and serve different purposes, so I believe the should be some logic regarding whether or not www should be hidden." "This is Google making subdomain usage decisions for other entities outside of Google. My domains and how subdomains are assigned and delegated are not Google's business to decide," said yet another poster. Another view was: "If the objective is to make URLs less confusing an emphasise the main domain name, why not just render parts in gray or make the main part bold. Wouldn't that achieve the same goal without essentially breaking the Internet?" And another poster wrote: "Since this is essentially a security vulnerability, is Google going to get a CVE assigned for it? It would make it easier to help affected users make sure this is patched on their end." iTWire has contacted Google for comment. Source
  9. La Liga, the premier division of the Spanish football league, has found a novel way of limiting access to pirate IPTV providers all around the world. Rather than utilize fancy ISP blocking techniques, La Liga is filing DMCA notices with Google, in an effort to remove IPTV sales portals from search results. In many cases, the scheme is fruitful. According to a recent report published by Forbes, Europe’s top five football (soccer) leagues have deals in place that generate $8.2 billion per year in media rights. Without a doubt, England’s Premier League is the most lucrative, with Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga in hot pursuit. Due to the high cost of licensing rights, TV broadcasters charge subscribers large sums to watch the action. As a result, piracy of live matches is a growing industry, with regular websites streaming unauthorized content for free and premium IPTV providers charging relatively modest amounts for access to all of the major games. One of the most visible anti-piracy mechanisms is that operated by the Premier League. It has the backing of a High Court injunction in the UK which allows it to block streams in real-time. However, there are other techniques in place, ones that tippy-toe around the DMCA in an effort to restrict access to illegal suppliers. La Liga is the premier division of the Spanish football league. It has no fancy blocking authority but has been enjoying a level of success against unlicensed IPTV providers by sending somewhat questionable DMCA notices to Google. While most DMCA notices target specific content on a specific web page, those sent by La Liga try a much broader tactic. Instead of targeting the precise URLs from where their content is being broadcast (as the law requires), La Liga has been asking Google to remove ancillary administrative pages operated by IPTV providers. In dozens of notices sent to Google recently, La Liga states the following case; “The reported website sells payment channel services in an unauthorized manner,” La Liga begins. “Among the channels they offer, we can find audiovisual content of the football competitions corresponding to the National First and Second Division League Championships, and / or the SM King of Spain Cup, competitions organized by the entity complaining here, the National Professional Soccer League.” An unconventional La Liga takedown notice As the image above shows, La Liga isn’t claiming that any of its content is being made available on any of the above links. Indeed, after testing all of the URLs in the notice, it’s clear that none of them directly distribute any of La Liga’s content. Instead, each URL refers to various aspects of the IPTV seller’s business portal, from customer support to FAQs and its in-house community forum. Nevertheless, the strategy appears to work, with Google happily de-listing the provider’s URLs from its search results. Removed from Google Intrigued that Google deleted the IPTV provider’s pages (despite the actual infringing content not being anywhere present on the portal), we looked around to see if this effort by La Liga was a one-off. It wasn’t. Trawling the always-useful Lumen Database we can see that La Liga has filed a large number of notices in the same format targeting a number of providers including, but not limited to, BestBuyIPTV, IPTV-On, SnapIPTV, TelevisionIPTV, Sat-Gold, VadersTV, IPTVServerGate, and EpicIPTV. Of course, there are dozens – perhaps hundreds – of alternative suppliers but with Google appearing to play ball in many instances, it shouldn’t take long to make a decent sized dent in the availability of providers via Google search. Source
  10. Google Campus occupied! Today we occupied the Umspannwerk in Kreuzberg to prevent the planned Google Campus there, to fight against the skyrocketing rents and to open up the space for something better. The Google Campus is intended to be a magnet for annoying young entrepreneurs whose IT-sweatshops (“start-ups”) promise to deliver new ideas to Google’s company business. New tech companies are driving the rents up in the area higher and higher. The endpoint of this process can be seen in San Francisco, which once must have been a halfway livable city. While it is especially aggravating that Google, despite its aggressive collection of data, is morphing into Big Brother with a user-friendly face, this is not the decisive factor for us. We would also put a spoke in the wheel of any other company. What happens now in the Umspannwerk instead depends on everyone who fills the house with life. It could become a base for the many initiatives that are currently struggling against rising rents and displacement – a campus of subversion. But it can also be used as a covered grill area for the cold months, or something more. We call on all rebellious tenants, subversive and precarious cultural workers, work-shy benefit scroungers, strike-hungry air traffic controllers, long-living pensioners, unruly refugees, and all other local pests from the neighborhood (and beyond) to join us in the occupation as quickly as possible. Our demands: We expect an announcement from the top management that Google immediately and irrevocably withdraws from the Kreuzberg Umspannwerk. The assembly will take place at 6 p.m. to discuss the next steps and the sensible use of the premises. If it comes to eviction, we’ll see each other again very soon, on the Campus or elsewhere – as we wander around together and take the city for ourselves. Source
  11. Bloviating conspiracy theorist Alex Jones whispered loudly in the front row with far-right media personality Jack Posobiec. Banned Twitter troll Chuck Johnson sat a few seats down giggling intermittently at who knows what. A man in a black shirt with the words “FBI used toddler for SEX" printed in red block print meandered in and out of the room. The internet’s biggest problems quite literally took a front-row seat at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday, where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, updated lawmakers on how they're addressing the issues of foreign influence and fake news that have plagued their platforms. Dorsey followed up with a solo session before the House Energy and Commerce Committee a few hours later. But while many of Wednesday's questions and answers echoed earlier statements by tech executives over the past year, the looming presence of personalities like Jones and Johnson served as a physical reminder of the still pervasive menace of misinformation. Facebook and YouTube may have kicked Jones off their platforms (and tanked his traffic in the process), but they still can't seem to shake the toxicity he propagates and personifies. Members of Congress mostly ignored the sideshow swirling around the internet trolls in the audience, instead questioning Dorsey and Sandberg on the fine line between allowing free speech and preventing harassment and disinformation campaigns. They pressed the executives on the steps their platforms have taken to identify foreign influence campaigns, and how they respond to requests from foreign countries like Turkey and Russia to suppress speech. In fact, Jones got only a glancing reference in the morning session, when Democratic senator Martin Heinrich asked the panel how they might deal with a US citizen who "says that victims of a mass shooting were actually actors, for example." Jones has famously claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. The sparse crowd let out a chuckle. But Jones didn't hear it. By then, he and his entourage had abandoned the hearing in favor of pacing the hallways, heckling lawmakers like senator Marco Rubio in front of a phalanx of microphones and cameras. “Who is this guy? I swear to god I don’t know who you are, man,” Rubio told Jones, who stood poking and prodding the senator as he talked to reporters. If that’s true, Rubio wasn’t particularly well-prepared for the hearing. Jones has been at the white-hot center of a debate over tech companies' responsibility to police not just foreign threats but also outright lies and abusive behavior from domestic actors. Recently, Facebook and YouTube suspended pages and accounts associated with Jones and his InfoWars broadcast. Apple and Spotify removed his podcasts. Twitter has, meanwhile, opted to allow Jones to operate, even while it banned fellow troll Chuck Johnson years ago. This patchwork of policies has opened the companies up to accusations of censorship, not just by the Jones and Johnson set but by government officials as well. Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee repeatedly accused Dorsey of "shadowbanning" conservatives in the afternoon session, by now a familiar refrain. Separately on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that attorney general Jeff Sessions would meet with state attorneys general to discuss whether tech companies are suppressing free speech. But the morning hearing, which stood in stark contrast to the circus outside, focused less on partisan bias than on what steps tech companies have taken to stop foreign influence campaigns. Recently, Facebook, Twitter, and Google each suspended hundreds of accounts and pages linked to Iran after receiving a tip from the cybersecurity firm, FireEye, rather than spotting it themselves. "In our mind that’s the system working," Sandberg said. The members of the committee also floated potential fixes. Democratic senator Mark Warner asked whether Twitter might consider labeling bots on the platform, an idea Dorsey said the company has contemplated. "We are interested in it, and are going to do something along those lines," Dorsey said. It wasn't just the tech representatives in the room facing questions. Between Dorsey and Sandberg was an empty seat, held open for an executive from Google. The committee invited both Google CEO Sundar Pichai as well as Larry Page, Google’s cofounder and CEO of its parent company Alphabet. The search giant refused to send either executive, instead offering senior vice president Kent Walker, who previously testified last fall. In an interview with WIRED last week, senator Mark Warner criticized Google’s resistance. “This is a hearing that’s going to talk about solutions. I think it speaks volumes that Google doesn’t want to be part of that discussion.” Last month, a bipartisan group of senators, including Warner and Rubio, sent a letter to Google after reports surfaced that the company planned to launch a censored search engine in China. In its response, submitted Friday night of Labor Day weekend, Pichai sidestepped questions about censorship. He confirmed Google’s interest in China, framing it as crucial to reaching the “next billion users.” But with regard to the country's draconian control over information, Pichai wrote only, “We are committed to promoting access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy, as well as to respecting the laws of jurisdictions in which we operate. We seek to strike the right balance in each context.” "Perhaps they didn't send a witness to answer these questions because there is no answer to those questions," speculated senator Tom Cotton during the hearing. In truth, after hours of cumulative testimony over the past year, there are still no clear answers to many of the questions being posed. For months, Congress has challenged Twitter, Google, and Facebook on matters of data privacy, foreign manipulation, ideological echo chambers, and content moderation. They've even prompted substantive changes at all three companies, with new policies in place and new tools and more humans helping to implement them. On Wednesday, Dorsey and Sandberg spoke earnestly and in detail about those improvements. But like Jones heckling Rubio just outside the hearing, the ugly, fact-free information landscape he personifies continues to needle all of the major platforms. Just last weekend, Twitter allowed a photo of a grieving Meghan McCain, which had been doctored to make it look like a gun was pointing at her head, stay up for five hours before it was taken down. Buzzfeed reported this week that researchers had successfully purchased ads on Google and YouTube while posing as Kremlin trolls. And Facebook is still struggling to prevent its platform from being used to incite violence in countries like Myanmar and Libya. As committee chairman Richard Burr said as he concluded the hearing, "There's no clear and easy path forward." After the morning session, as the crowd spilled onto the sidewalks of Capitol Hill, Jones stood outside berating Dorsey and members of the public as they passed. And so, the Senate's year-long investigation into what's ailing the internet, arguably the only serious investigation of the topic in the government, ended just as it began: with internet trolls spreading hate and confusion, only this time in real life. Source
  12. Dozens of people reported receiving an email from Google revealing a potential FBI investigation into people who purchased malware. At least dozens of people have received an email from Google informing them that the internet giant responded to a request from the FBI demanding the release of user data, according to several people who claimed to have received the email. The email did not specify whether Google released the requested data to the FBI. The unusual notice appears to be related to the case of Colton Grubbs, one of the creators of LuminosityLink, a $40 remote access tool (or RAT), that was marketed to hack and control computers remotely. Grubs pleaded guilty last year to creating and distributing the hacking tool to hundreds of people. Several people on Reddit, Twitter, and on HackForums, a popular forum where criminals and cybersecurity enthusiast discuss and sometimes share hacking tools, reported receiving the email. Google received and responded to legal process issue by Federal Bureau of Investigation (Eastern District of Kentucky) compelling the release of information related to your Google account,” the email read, according to multiple reports from people who claimed to have received it. The email included a legal process number. When Motherboard searched for it within PACER, the US government’s database for court cases documents, it showed that it was part of a case that’s still under seal. Despite the lack of details in the email, as well as the fact that the case is still under seal, it appears the case is related to LuminosityLink. Several people who claimed to have received the notice said they purchased the software. Moreover, Grubbs’ case was investigated by the same district mentioned in the Google notice. Luca Bongiorni, a security researcher who received the email, said he used LuminosityLink for work, and only with his own computer and virtual machines. The FBI declined to comment. Google did not respond to a request for comment. Lawyers that specialize in cybercrime told me that it’s not unusual for Google to disclose law enforcement requests when it is allowed to. “It looks to me like the court initially ordered Google not to disclose the existence of the info demand, so Google was legally prohibited from notifying the user. Then the nondisclosure order was lifted, so Google notified the user. There's nothing unusual about that per se,” Marcia Hoffman, a lawyer who specializes in cybercrime, told Motherboard in an online chat. “It's common when law enforcement is seeking info during an ongoing investigation and doesn't want to tip off the target(s).” What may be unusual and controversial is for the FBI to try to unmask everyone who purchased software that may not necessarily be considered illegal. “If one is just buying a tool that enables this kind of capability to remotely access a computer, you might be a good guy or you might be a bad guy,” Gabriel Ramsey, a lawyer who specializes in internet and cybersecurity law, told Motherboard in a phone call. “I can imagine a scenario where that kind of request reaches—for good or bad—accounts of both type of purchasers.” Source
  13. The leader of the firm behind the hit game Fortnite has accused Google of being "irresponsible" in the way it revealed a flaw affecting the Android version of the title. Android devices have to use Epic's own installer rather than the Google Play store to get the game On Friday, Google made public that hackers could hijack the game's installation software to load malware. The installer is needed because Epic Games has bypassed Google's app store to avoid giving it a cut of sales. Epic's chief executive said Google should have delayed sharing the news. "We asked Google to hold the disclosure until the update was more widely installed," tweeted Tim Sweeney. "They refused, creating an unnecessary risk for Android users in order to score cheap PR points." Epic Games released a "beta version" of Fortnite for Android earlier this month A spokesman for Google declined to comment. Google has been criticised in the past by Microsoft for sharing details of vulnerabilities in the Windows-maker's products before they had been addressed. The Android developer's security team has also caught out Apple and Samsung in a similar manner. But in this case, one independent cyber-security expert said Epic was responsible for getting into this situation. "People will argue until the cows come home the a period is either too long or not long enough depending on which side you're on," commented Troy Hunt. "I'm still surprised Epic didn't put it in the Play Store to begin with - and yes, I get the financial incentive." Google's terms dictate that Epic would have had to have handed over 30% of its in-game fees. The developer has, however, agreed to such terms on Apple's equivalent app store since iPhones are restricted from adding software from elsewhere. Fast fix According to Google's documentation, its security team shared a screen recording with Epic on 15 August demonstrating a way to fool the games' Android installer into loading malware. Epic responded two days later saying that it was distributing a fix after "working around the clock" to create it. Google released a video showing how a fake version of Fortnite might be installed We would like to request the full 90 days before disclosing this issue so our users have time to patch their devices," the games company added. Google's disclosure rules state that it reveals details of bugs to the public 90 days after reporting them to the developers responsible if they have not been tackled, but only waits one week after a patch is made "broadly available". As such, it rejected the request. Mr Sweeney has said he is grateful that Google audited his firm's software and notified it of the flaw. But he denied suggestions that the tech giant had acted in users' interests by refusing to keep the matter private until mid-November. "Epic Games' decision to bypass the Google app store shows that when security conflicts with commercial interests, often the commercial interests win but at the cost of the public's safety online," commented Professor Steven Murdoch, a security researcher at University College London. "Security is no longer just the result of people making good technical decisions, but also that the complex commercial structures in place work for, and not against, better online security." Users who protect their accounts will be given access to one of Fortnite's dances In a separate development, Epic has announced an incentive for all Fortnite players to activate two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of their accounts being stolen. This requires gamers to enter a code sent to their phone or email address in addition to their password when signing in. Those that adopt the practice can use the game's Boogiedown dance moves. Source
  14. California, that innovative economic juggernaut that so often takes the regulatory lead on matters such as automobile emissions, is once again establishing the ground rules to a vital industry. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in June, is the improbable result of a wealthy real estate investor, with the colorful name of Alastair Mactaggart, and a gang of volunteers taking an interest in consumer privacy. Mactaggart used California’s zany ballot initiative system (and his personal fortune) to get a version of a proposed privacy law onto the November ballot. Faced with the horrifying prospect of a well-funded privacy evangelist jamming regulation down the throats of the state’s golden-goose tech companies, legislators quickly devised their own alternative. This rollicking policy adventure is recounted at length in a cover story by Nicholas Confessore for The New York Times Magazine. Look through the rah-rah triumphalism of the piece, however and you’ll see that far from succumbing to some irresistible activist push, incumbents Google and Facebook craftily shaped the legislation to suit themselves. When in the history of American democracy have state legislators voted to severely and onerously regulate trillion-dollar companies in their home districts, motivated only by an overweening concern for consumer rights (and not donor pressure)? Never, is the answer—which is why the implications of CCPA could use some further scrutiny. (Spoiler alert: Facebook doesn’t hate the law). First, what the law does. CCPA resembles a weaker form of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which took effect in May. The California law requires companies to provide an opt-out to data sharing (GDPR required an opt-in), clear statements of what data is being collected or shared with third parties (as does the GDPR), and the right to delete data about yourself. The unique element, and the only one that the tech giants really pushed back on, was a provision granting individuals the right to sue companies for violating their privacy. The clause was effectively neutered when a political compromise limited the right to cases of egregious data loss or theft. This resemblance to GDPR, if you’re a privacy activist, is more bug than feature: Companies like Facebook and Google already comply with GDPR (or comply as much as anyone) and have extended those GDPR protections to US users. When the CCPA takes effect on January 1, 2020, the average Facebook user will likely not notice. To understand why the CCPA won’t impact Facebook in any meaningful way requires understanding (at a high level, not to worry) how Facebook’s ads ecosystem treats data and outside partners. Unlike much of the ad-tech world, Facebook lives in a walled garden where no data leaves and very little enters. When an advertiser wants to retarget you, it exchanges your contact information with Facebook, both sides agreeing to a pseudonym for you, before placing you in one or more targeting buckets (“shoe shoppers,” for example). For Facebook’s most powerful and invasive micro-targeting, almost no data is shared between advertiser and publisher, and data middlemen are largely absent. Which is why, if you download your data from Facebook, the juiciest information is in the least remarkable section: “Advertisers Who Uploaded a Contact List With Your Information.” Users and journalists fixate on the supposed creepiness of Facebook having a call log for you, for example, but the real targeters are buried in that list of companies sharing contact information. The CCPA won’t change this. So who is impacted by the CCPA? Primarily, companies you’ve never heard of like Drawbridge and LiveRamp (now owned by Acxiom, another company you’ve never heard of, but which knows everything about you). Drawbridge, using data that it managed to beg or borrow, like your IP address or GPS-derived location, figures out all the devices you own. Why? So that an online retailer that notices you browsing for a new handbag on your work computer can serve you an ad for that handbag on your mobile device on your commute home. Such “cross-device targeting and attribution” is one of the holy grails of modern digital advertising. What does LiveRamp do? Ever notice how you seem to get served ads online for products you bought in physical stores? That’s not because Facebook is eavesdropping on your phone. It’s done via what’s known as “data onboarding,” where personal data like your name, address, or phone number (which retailers know through loyalty-card programs and the like) are converted into ways to target you online. Middlemen like LiveRamp join online with offline by buying your personal data and then working with publishers—email newsletters, dating sites—to identify your browser cookies. Don’t sweat the details; the net of all this hackery is a table with your personal data plus a browser cookie or mobile device ID, which allows, say, a pharmacy chain that knows your phone number (which you entered at checkout to save 5 percent) to link all your purchases to your online presence. Together, these relatively small players provide an alternative targeting ecosystem that competes with Facebook’s one-stop-shop. If you’re Walgreens, you can use LiveRamp (or its competitors) to target people via real-time ad exchanges. Or you can upload your customers’ contact details to Facebook. The advertiser is agnostic, so long as the pixels reach the right audience. Here’s why Facebook is better positioned for CCPA, or GDPR: It has a direct relationship with you. How does it know every device you use? Because the first thing you do when you buy a new device is log into Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp. How does it know your name, phone number, and address? Because you told it those things, or opted into sharing your location via the Facebook app. The California and European privacy rules favor these first-party relationships. Data coming from elsewhere—known as third-party data—is viewed with more suspicion, so this privileged state of affairs is unlikely to change soon. So long as Facebook’s apps remain as addictive as they are, Facebook will know who you are, where you are, and every digital pseudonym for you, whether a browser cookie or a mailing address. You might now be wondering if this approach to advertising was a piece of far-sighted strategy by Facebook, to avoid the inevitable privacy storm. I can state, with some authority since I was at Facebook at the time, that the answer is no. This closed system of identity-matching with minimal data sharing was conjured mostly to assuage the mutual suspicions of Facebook and its advertisers: Advertisers didn’t trust Facebook not to recycle their precious consumer data, and Facebook didn’t trust advertisers not to repurpose its user data. A minimalist data join, with all Facebook data remaining safely within its walls and Facebook not touching often dubious outside data, was the result. It’s just a happy accident (for Facebook) that this is the optimal architecture for weathering privacy regulation like the CCPA and GDPR. Ultimately, the CCPA is a fatal blow not to Facebook but to the competing middlemen. Shortly before GDPR took effect, Drawbridge announced it was leaving the European market. Then it announced it was leaving advertising altogether. LiveRamp is reported to be up for sale. Facebook itself shut down its Partner Categories program that used targeting segments from data brokers like Acxiom, cutting off its last connection to that world. Under CCPA and GDPR, if you want to target consumers across devices, or use your trove of offline consumer data online, you’ll have to use Facebook instead of the few competitors that once eked out a business outside its walled garden. It’s as if the privacy activists labored to manufacture a fearsome cannon with which to subdue giants like Facebook and Google, loaded it with a scattershot set of legal restrictions, aimed it at the entire ads ecosystem, and fired it with much commotion. When the smoke cleared, the astonished activists found they’d hit only their small opponents, leaving the giants unharmed. Meanwhile, a grinning Facebook stared back at the activists and their mighty cannon, the weapon that they had slyly helped to design. The good news is that while the activists missed their big, showy target, they hit the often sketchy data arbitragers who do the real dirty work of the advertising machine. Facebook and Google ultimately are not constrained as much by regulation as by users. The first-party relationship with users that allows these companies relative freedom under privacy laws comes with the burden of keeping those users engaged and returning to the app, despite privacy concerns. Acxiom doesn’t have to care about the perception of consumers—they’re not even aware the company exists. For that reason, these third-party data brokers most need the discipline of regulation. The activists may not have gotten the legal weapon they wanted, but they did get the legal weapon that users deserve. Source
  15. At EFF, we often criticize software patents that claim small variations on known techniques. These include a patent on updating software over the Internet, a patent on out-of-office email, and a patent on storing data in a database. Now, Google is trying to patent the use of a known data compression algorithm - called asymmetric numeral systems (ANS) – for video compression. In one sense, this patent application is fairly typical. The system seems designed to encourage tech giants to flood the Patent Office with applications for every little thing they do. Google’s application stands out, however, because the real inventor of ANS did everything he could to dedicate his work to the public domain. Jarek Duda developed ANS from 2006-2013. When he published his work, he wanted it to be available to the public free of restrictions. So he was disappointed to learn that Google was trying to patent the use of his algorithm. In his view, Google’s patent application merely applied ANS to a standard video compression pipeline. Earlier this summer, Timothy B. Lee of Ars Technica published a detailed article about the patent application and Duda’s attempt to stop it. This week, the Patent Office issued a non-final rejection of all claims in Google’s application. The examiner rejected the claims on a number of grounds. First, he found the three broadest claims ineligible under Alice v CLS Bank, which holds that abstract ideas do not become eligible for a patent merely because they are implemented on a generic computer. The examiner rejected all of the claims for lack of clarity and for claiming functions that are not described with sufficient detail (applicants are often able to overcome these kinds of rejections with an amendment). The examiner also rejected all of Google’s claims as obvious in light of Duda’s work, in combination with an article by Fabian Giesen and a 20 year-old patent on data management in a video decoder. Duda had made a third-party submission to ensure his work was before the examiner. Notably, this is a non-final rejection (and even final rejections at the Patent Office are not really final). This means Google can still amend its claims and/or argue that the examiner was wrong. It is time for Google to abandon its attempt to patent the use of ANS for video compression. Even if it could overcome the examiner’s rejection, that would only reflect the failings of a patent system hands out patents for tiny variations on existing methods. It may be that Google is seeking the patent solely for defensive purposes. In other contexts, Google has worked to make video codecs royalty free. But that doesn’t make it okay for one of the world’s biggest companies to get a software patent on a minor tweak to someone else’s work. Perhaps it is unlikely that Google would assert an ANS patent in the short or medium term. But many once-dominant companies have turned to their patent portfolios as their star has faded. ANS should not belong to tech giants willing to push applications through a compliant Patent Office. ANS should belong to all of us. Asymmetric numeral systems (ANS) is a family of entropy coding methods introduced by Dr. Jarosław (Jarek) Dudarom Jagiellonian University, used in data compression since 2014 due to improved performance compared to previously used methods, being up to 30 times faster. ANS combines the compression ratio of arithmetic coding (which uses a nearly accurate probability distribution), with a processing cost similar to that of Huffman coding. In the tabled ANS (tANS) variant, this is achieved by constructing a finite state machine to operate on a large alphabet without using multiplication. Among others, ANS is used in the Facebook Zstandard compressor (also used e.g. in Linux kernel, there is ongoing standardization for MIME in the Apple LZFSE compressor, Google Draco 3D compressor and PIK image compressor, in CRAM DNA compressor from SAMtools utilities, Dropbox DivANS compressor, and it is being considered for the AV1 open video coding format from the Alliance for Open Media. Source : EFF
  16. Plaintiff wants to speak for everyone affected Obviously, it won't be heard by a judge this senior GOOGLE IS BEING SUED over ongoing claims that it tracks your location in Android and iOS, even if the 'Location History' option is turned off. Napoleon Patacsil, a Google user, has decided to take the matter through the courts. The ruling could affect every user of Google's services. In court papers, Mr Patacsil (also the name of a skincare cream for greasy t-zones) claims: "Google expressly represented to users of its operating system and apps that the activation of certain settings will prevent the tracking of users' geolocation. That representation was false." "Despite users' attempts to protect their location privacy, Google collects and stores users' location data, thereby invading users' reasonable expectations of privacy, counter to Google's own representations about how users can configure Google's products to prevent such egregious privacy violations." The whole shebang kicked off last week when a report from the Associated Press (AP) uncovered evidence of data collection by Google using another telemetry. When asked to explain itself, it said that it was possible to turn off location tracking more fully, using a completely erroneously labelled as 'Web and App Activity'. App permissions can also be turned off at a granular app level, but its the lack of transparency and clarity that is causing concern. Mr Patacsil is looking to make any decision awarded in his favour stand for any Android or iOS users affected. As a Californian, he is protected under the Californian Invasion of Privacy Act. It will be up to the judge to decide if this is a test case or applies solely to him. Cnet points out that Google has already had a Supreme Court ruling on the issue, stating that governments must have a search warrant to collect past notification data and that this will affect that, with lawyers pointing out the vast amount of unrelated data that can be extrapolated from your location history. Bringing that back to Google, the sensitivity of the data that can be deduced is such that if the government can't have it, then, quoth the argument, surely Google shouldn't have it either. Source
  17. A team of Belgian researchers discovered privacy issues in how browsers, ad-blocking, and anti-tracking implementations handle third-party cookie requests. A team of Belgian researchers from KU Leuven analyzed third-party cookie policies of seven major web browsers, 31 ad-blockers and 14 anti-tracking extensions and discovered major and minor issues in all of them. Major issues include Microsoft Edge's unwillingness to honor its own "block only third-party cookies" setting, bypasses for Firefox's Tracking Protection feature, and use of the integrated PDF viewer in Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers for invisible tracking. Cookie requests can be sorted into two main groups: first-party requests that come from the address listed in the address bar of the browser and third-party requests that come from all other sites. Advertisement displayed by websites makes use of cookies usually and some of these cookies are used for tracking purposes. Internet users can configure their browsers to block any third-party cookie requests to limit cookie-based tracking. Some browsers, for instance Opera or Firefox, include ad-blockers or anti-tracking functionality that is used in addition to that. Anti-tracking mechanisms have flaws The research paper, "Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies", detailed information about each web browser, tests to find out if a browser is vulnerable to exploits, and bug reports are linked on the research project's website. The researchers created a test framework that they used to verify whether "all imposed cookie- and request-policies are correctly applied". They discovered that "most mechanisms could be circumvented"; all ad-blocking and anti-tracking browser extensions had at least one bypass flaw. In this paper, we show that in the current state, built-in anti-tracking protection mechanisms as well as virtually every popular browser extension that relies on blocking third-party requests to either prevent user tracking or disable intrusive advertisements, can be bypassed by at least one technique The researchers evaluated tracking protection functionality and a new cookie feature called same-site cookies that was introduced recently to defend against cross-site attacks. Results for all tested browsers are shown in the table below. The researchers tested the default configuration of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Cliqz, and Tor Browser, and configurations with third-party cookie blocking disabled, and if available, tracking protection functionality enabled. Tor Browser is the only browser on the list that blocks third-party cookies by default. All browsers did not block cookies for certain redirects regardless of whether third-party cookies were blocked or tracking protection was enabled. Chrome, Opera and other Chromium-based browsers that use the built-in PDF viewer have a major issue in regards to cookies. Furthermore, a design flaw in Chromium-based browsers enabled a bypass for both the built-in third party cookie blocking option and tracking protection provided by extensions. Through JavaScript embedded in PDFs, which are rendered by a browser extension, cookie-bearing POST requests can be sent to other domains, regardless of the imposed policies. Browser extensions for ad-blocking or anti-tracking had weaknesses as well according to the researchers. The list of extensions reads like the who is who of the privacy and content blocking world. It includes uMatrix and uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, or AdBlock for Chrome. The researchers discovered ways to circumvent the protections and reported several bugs to the developers. Some, Raymond Hill who is the lead developer of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, fixed the issues quickly. At least one issue reported to browser makers has been fixed already. "Requests to fetch the favicon are not interceptable by Firefox extensions" has been fixed by Mozilla. Other reported issues are still in the process of being fixed, and a third kind won't be fixed at all. You can run individual tests designed for tested web browsers with the exception of Microsoft Edge on the project website to find out if your browser is having the same issues. Closing Words With more and more technologies being added to browsers, it is clear that the complexity has increased significantly. The research should be an eye opener for web browser makers and things will hopefully get better in the near future. One has to ask whether some browser makers test certain features at all; Microsoft Edge not honoring the built-in setting to block third-party cookies is especially embarrassing in this regard. (via Deskmodder) Now You: Do you use extensions or settings to protect your privacy better? Source
  18. I Am Negan

    Google and vpn

    I had my VPN set on Canada and then when I went to Google the address was www.google.com.br instead of www.google.com. Why does it do that?
  19. Google Chrome Software Removal Tool is an easy-to-use program which tries to get a broken Chrome installation working again.Launch it and the tool scans your PC for programs which Google considers "suspicious" or "known to cause problems with Chrome", and offers to remove them. Bizarrely, the CSRT won't give you the names of these suspicious programs, so you'll have to trust it. Or you can just run the program to see if it thinks there are any, then click "Cancel" instead of "Remove" when the report appears. Whatever you do, once the scan is complete, CSRT launches Chrome with the chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings command, prompting you to reset your Chrome settings. Click "Reset" and Chrome will be reset to its default settings, otherwise just close the window to continue as usual. There are no other settings or options, nothing else to do at all. Google provides few details of what the Chrome Software Removal Tool actually does. They do claim. Find programs and components that affect Chrome If you notice changes in the settings of your Chrome browser, there is a small utility that can help you identify the issue and correct it. Created by Google itself, it goes by the name of Chrome Cleanup Tool (Google Chrome Software Removal Tool), enabling you to detect programs that interfere with Google Chrome and remove them. Since toolbars, browser add-ons and pop-up ads are not typical malware, your antivirus solution might fail to detect their presence. Chrome Cleanup Tool is specifically designed to find programs and components whose installation resulted in modifications of Chrome's settings, providing you with a simple means to reset them. Remove interfering components with a click The application does not require installation and starts looking for suspicious programs as soon as you launch it. The number of findings are displayed within a small window, along with an option to remove them all, but their names are not revealed, so as to prevent name modifications that might cause Chrome Cleanup Tool not to work as it should. In some cases, a system reboot might be required in order for the changes to take effect. Once the issue is fixed, Chrome restarts and prompts you to reset the browser settings. Scan for malicious programs that cause issues with Chrome Chrome Cleanup Tool is an attempt to enhance the browsing experience of Chrome users, providing them with a simple method to factory reset the settings and remove programs that cause trouble to the browser. More aggressive malware might be impossible to remove or detect, so you might need a reputable antivirus solution to clean the system. Note that this application is not designed to search for all types of viruses and malware components, but only those that cause issues with Google Chrome. Homepage or here Download: Link 1 - New Link 2 - New
  20. When Fortnite Battle Royale launched on Android, it made an unusual choice: it bypassed Google Play in favor of offering the game directly from Epic Games’ own website. Most apps and games don’t have the luxury of making this choice – the built-in distribution Google Play offers is critical to their business. But Epic Games believes its game is popular enough and has a strong enough draw to bring players to its website for the Android download instead. In the process, it’s costing Google around $50 million this year in platform fees, according to a new report. As of its Android launch date, Fortnite had grossed over $180 million on iOS devices, where it had been exclusively available since launching as an invite-only beta on March 15th, before later expanding to all App Store customers. According to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the game has earned Apple more than $54 million thanks to its 30 percent cut of all the in-app spending that takes place on apps distributed in its store. That’s money Epic Games isn’t apparently willing to give up to Google, when there’s another way. Unlike Apple, which only allows apps to be downloaded from its own storefront, Google’s platform is more open. There’s a way to adjust an Android device’s settings to download apps and games from anywhere on the web. Of course, by doing so, users are exposed to more security risks, malware infections, and other malicious attacks. For those reasons, security researchers are saying that Epic Games’ decision sets a dangerous precedent by encouraging people to remove the default security protections from their devices. They’re also concerned that users who look for the game on Google Play could be fooled into downloading suspicious copycat apps that may be trying to take advantage of Fortnite’s absence to scam mobile users. Google seems to be worried about that, too. For the first time ever, the company is informing Google Play users that a game is not available for download. Now, when users search for things like “Fortnite” or “Fortnite Battle Royale,” Google Play will respond that the app is “not available on Google Play.” (One has to wonder if Google’s misspelling of “Royale” as “Royal” in its message was a little eff u to the gamemakers, or just a bit of incompetence.) In any event, it’s an unusual response on Google’s part – and one it can believably claim was done to serve users as well as protect them from any potential scam apps. However, the message could lead to some pressure on Epic Games, too. It could encourage consumer complaints from those who want to more easily (or more safely) download the game, as well as from those who don’t understand there’s an alternative method or are confused about how that method works. In addition, Google is serving up the also hugely popular PUBG Mobile at the top of Fortnite search results followed by other games. In doing so, it’s sending users to another game that can easily eat up users’ time and attention. For Google, the move by Epic Games is likely troubling, as it could prompt other large games to do the same. While one odd move by Epic Games won’t be a make or break situation for Google Play revenue (which always lags iOS), if it became the norm, Google’s losses could climb. At present, Google is missing out on millions that will now go directly to the game publisher itself. Over the rest of 2018, Sensor Tower believes Fortnite will have gained at least $50 million in revenues that would otherwise have been paid out to Google. The firm expects that when Fortnite rolls out to all supported Android devices, its launch revenue on the platform will closely resemble the first several months of Apple App Store player spending. It may even surpass it, given the game’s popularity continues growing and the standalone download allows it to reach players in countries where Google Play isn’t available. Meanwhile, there have been concerns that the download makes it more difficult on users with older Android devices to access the game, because the process for sideloading apps isn’t as straightforward. But Sensor Tower says this will not have a large enough impact to affect Fortnite’s revenue potential in the long run. Source
  21. Google has officially launched Android 9.0, publicly confirming the name for the next version of its mobile OS is Pie. Now that the suspense is over, we’re already thinking about 2019. Unless something changes drastically, Google will launch Android 10.0 Q a year from now. What will the next major Android update’s name be? Historically, Google has used the names of desserts, candy, treats, or cookies as the official codenames for big Android updates. The letter “Q” doesn’t offer many options if Google sticks to sweets, but it’s got a few names to pick from for Android 10.0 Q when the time comes. Consulting the internet doesn’t give a lot of options, either. There are a few desserts that do start with Q, but most of them originate outside of America. And while they’re surely delicious, they likely lack the level of familiarity that Google is looking for on a marketing level in the US. Android 10 Qurabiya Android 10 Quindim Android 10 Queen of Puddings Android 10 Qottab Android 10 Quesito Android 10 Queijadinha Android 10 Quaker Oats Quiche Quaker Oats Queen of Puddings Quindim Qottab ? Article Sources: Android Authority The Verge
  22. Don't worry, it seems to be just for security. For now Google Play is the backbone of Android and the most likely part to be abused GOOGLE HAS started adding a string of metadata to all packages downloaded to the Google Play Store. The announcement was quietly dropped last week, but before everyone starts panicking let's take a step back. Yes, it's a form of DRM. But DRM isn't all bad. In fact, the main problem with DRM to date has been the completely dastardly way it has been used. Remember 15 years ago when putting a CD into the drive would bring up an embedded music player to try and prevent you ripping it? They never really worked anyway. Anyway, the point is that DRM has got a practical purpose and in this case its to ensure that all apks coming from the store are digitally signed. That means that even if you don't get your apps from Google Play, they're still safe, and still work with the Google Play Services framework for things like cloud saving and cross-device play. Plus they're a heck of a lot safer. Not to mention it makes it a lot easier to track down anyone who has hacked a malicious payload. Perhaps the best thing about this is that if you got an app from elsewhere (say, Amazon) and installed it, as long as it has been certified, it will be added to your library and get all the updates it will ever need. Now let's be very clear here - this is now an open Pandora's box. Google is using its DRM for good right now, but this is Google, lest we forget and there could be a bit more data collection than we expected at any time. By not out-and-out calling it DRM, Google is avoiding a lot of the instant backlash the very mention of the term causes, but the fact is that, if you're the type of person that trusts big corporations as far as you can throw them, then this is one to keep an eye on - it would take very little extra code to make the new safety measures into a giant surveillance device powered by your phone. Let's just hope that doesn't happen, eh Source
  23. Quick Tip Today am gonna show you how you can download your favorite Android Apps directly from Google Play Store. From the Play Store, search for your favorite app, copy the link with the app id visit apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/ Paste the link and click generate download link. Wait for some seconds as your download link is been generated. After some few seconds, your link should be ready for download. eNJOy!!! source: thetechblog
  24. Google Chrome Software Removal Tool is an easy-to-use program which tries to get a broken Chrome installation working again.Launch it and the tool scans your PC for programs which Google considers "suspicious" or "known to cause problems with Chrome", and offers to remove them. Bizarrely, the CSRT won't give you the names of these suspicious programs, so you'll have to trust it. Or you can just run the program to see if it thinks there are any, then click "Cancel" instead of "Remove" when the report appears. Whatever you do, once the scan is complete, CSRT launches Chrome with the chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings command, prompting you to reset your Chrome settings. Click "Reset" and Chrome will be reset to its default settings, otherwise just close the window to continue as usual. There are no other settings or options, nothing else to do at all. Google provides few details of what the Chrome Software Removal Tool actually does. They do claim. Find programs and components that affect Chrome If you notice changes in the settings of your Chrome browser, there is a small utility that can help you identify the issue and correct it. Created by Google itself, it goes by the name of Chrome Cleanup Tool (Google Chrome Software Removal Tool), enabling you to detect programs that interfere with Google Chrome and remove them. Since toolbars, browser add-ons and pop-up ads are not typical malware, your antivirus solution might fail to detect their presence. Chrome Cleanup Tool is specifically designed to find programs and components whose installation resulted in modifications of Chrome's settings, providing you with a simple means to reset them. Remove interfering components with a click The application does not require installation and starts looking for suspicious programs as soon as you launch it. The number of findings are displayed within a small window, along with an option to remove them all, but their names are not revealed, so as to prevent name modifications that might cause Chrome Cleanup Tool not to work as it should. In some cases, a system reboot might be required in order for the changes to take effect. Once the issue is fixed, Chrome restarts and prompts you to reset the browser settings. Scan for malicious programs that cause issues with Chrome Chrome Cleanup Tool is an attempt to enhance the browsing experience of Chrome users, providing them with a simple method to factory reset the settings and remove programs that cause trouble to the browser. More aggressive malware might be impossible to remove or detect, so you might need a reputable antivirus solution to clean the system. Note that this application is not designed to search for all types of viruses and malware components, but only those that cause issues with Google Chrome. Homepage or here Download: Link 1 - New Link 2 - New
  25. API glitch also affects Edge, but who the frack cares about that? The Angry Fox is your guarantee that someone at Mozilla is piiiiissed GOOGLE HAS been accused of slowing down YouTube on other browsers by none other than Mozilla. The problem doesn't appear to be so much a case of malice, but more failure to think outside the box, as both Firefox and Microsoft Edge, a browser popular in small communities of primitive computer users, seem to have been affected, claims Chris Peterson, Mozilla's technical program manager. He explains that the issue is being caused by the use of an API called Shadow DOM v0 - which is not only exclusive to Chrome but is actually depreciated already. Up until recently, when YouTube had its 'Polymer' makeover, there was no issue, but now there's one heck of one, from a competitive point of view. As a result, Edge and Firefox are already at a disadvantage and, claims Peterson, the result is noticeable. Now, here's the rub. If YouTube was already being presented as "this is YouTube - if your browser won't support it, it's their problem" then we wouldn't be in this mess. But there was none of that this time and given that Internet Explorer 11 is allowed to run the old YouTube interface, the fact that Firefox and Edge are being made to suffer is partly because it hasn't moved from the obsolete Shadow DOM Polyfill v0 to the current (and supported) v1. Other browsers should be serviced by whichever interface they can support and given the lack of performance for Firefox, the Mozilla Corp argues that Firefox should serve up the old interface until the DOM plug-in has been updated. There are third-party extensions available that allow access to older site designs, but should it be necessary? Is that fair on the less computer savvy YouTube watcher? The accusations have come just a day after Google released Chrome version 68 which made encrypted sites the norm, and unencrypted sites the stuff of flashy-light warning death. Source