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Google tags Wikileaks as a dangerous site (google.com)
357 points by xname2 on July 22, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 153 comments

The biggest downside to the NSA revelations is how quickly people accept conspiracy theories.

Wikileaks just released a big email dump. People looked at it with Google Chrome, and it detected malware in the archive. That blacklisted the site it was downloaded from.

There is no big "Google is protecting the Democrats and hates Wikileaks". Wikileaks was serving malware, and Google detected it.

Really? The takeaway I got from the NSA revelations was that it's now completely reasonable to assume that Google/FB/Twitter/etc are working directly with the government or politicians.

Twitter removed #DNCLeaks right while it was the top trending topic today. Reddit paid staff has been suspending people who talk about Correct The Record or the DNC leaks. Facebook admitted to filtering certain topics due to political bias. Google just took down Wikileaks links. And while all of this is happening, there's not a single mention of the DNC leaks on CNN, MSNBC, Politico, etc.

You're right, this probably was just a mistake... but is it wrong to question it? Everything I've learned from the NSA leaks and the DNC leaks shows that the media, politicians, the intelligence community, banks, large tech companies, etc are all working together against the public.

The alternative interpretation is that the #DNCLeaks don't seem very interesting. I don't know why Twitter removed it (assuming that did happen), but to me it looks like most of the same people tweeting about are also tweeting about #Munich and or Tim Kaine, both of which are trending. If I was building a trends algorithm I'd try to aim for diversity of sources of trends.

I have no idea about Reddit. The first search result I got for "Correct the Record Reddit" was a Reddit post about some paid social media campaign by a Clinton Super PAC.

The explanation for Wikileaks is pretty clearly correct, and Google no longer is marking it as dangerous.

Not saying that's happening here

Well then what on earth are you saying? Vaguely insinuating bad behaviour is pretty easy, especially if you then say that isn't what you are doing.

Like I said - it is easy to accept conspiracy theories. They are easy explanations, but usually the truth is complex and involves multiple subtle explanations which are much harder to think about.

DNC Leaked emails are not interesting, but a plagiarized paragraph by Trump's wife is interesting?

Are you saying that politicians and political parties do not wield power and influence and do nothing to influence the media? The main purpose of politics is to wield power and influence, and the media is core to this. Are you saying that media is unbiased despite the fact that they are on record contributing to particular candidates' campaigns, e.g. Time Warner (CNN) being one of Clinton's top contributors?

You are either burying your head in the sand, or you are part of the misinformation campaign yourself.

Edit: I'm being downvoted pretty heavily on this, but I'm not entirely sure why. I didn't even mention Trump's wife.

DNC Leaked emails are not interesting, but a plagiarized paragraph by Trump's wife is interesting?

Hu? The DNC email leaks are much more interesting than the plagiarized paragraph in Melania Trump. Neither are particularly interesting in the scheme of things though.

The plagiarized paragraph shows that the Trump campaign isn't very well organized. I think most knew that.

The DNC emails show that the DNC favored Hillary as a candidate. We knew that too - they did in 2008 when Obama beat her.

Are you saying that politicians and political parties do not wield power and influence and do nothing to influence the media? The main purpose of politics is to wield power and influence, and the media is core to this. Are you saying that media is unbiased despite the fact that they are on record contributing to particular candidates' campaigns, e.g. Time Warner (CNN) being one of Clinton's top contributors?

No I'm not(!!)

I'm saying that reading the malware listing of Wikileaks by Google as some kind of Democratic party conspiracy is wrong.

I'm saying I don't know much about Reddit.

I'm saying that in my professional opinion (I work in area) there are multiple possible explanations for the Twitter hashtag thing.

I'm also (now) saying that the three things are unrelated. It is extremely temping to conflate multiple independent things and see things that aren't there.

The DNC emails show that the DNC actively nurtured relationships with reporters that went against the basics of journalistic ethics. They show that the DNC coordinated with the Hillary campaign to come up with good anti-Bernie stunts (planting an audience member to, i.e., ask if he believed in God). They show a consistent and far-reaching effort not just to "favor" Hillary, as you say, but to ensure that she would win -- whether by bullying the press, planning "counter" events, or propagating narratives about the Sanders campaign being weak and disorganized.

This is in direct violation of the DNC charter:

In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.

This is far more interesting than Munich or Tim Kaine.

Well, "interesting..." Is it more interesting than the fact that the candidate can't follow secrecy rules? Is it more interesting than the fact that those rules are so unreasonable that it's been decades-long implied policy to ignore them? Is it more more interesting than the much more blatant partiality in the only opposition party when it comes to picking candidates (not that I blame them)?

So, the DNC was caught politicking. It's perhaps not very nice, but is it surprising? Is it illegal? Is it particularly egregious? Frankly, if the worst they did was prefer clinton over sanders, they've got surprisingly little dirty laundry (or, more plausibly: they don't email about particularly questionable ideas).

None of this sounds like a conspiracy; it sounds like business as usual, and rather boring at that - at least to most people. If you're in a position to affect the composition of the DNC, perhaps it's little more relevant. And if you support(ed) Sanders, you might feel justifiably angry (although planting audience members to ask questions that are bound to come up in the election proper anyhow doesn't really strike me as high up the scale of nastiness). And of course, perhaps there's something else in those mails that is newsworthy.

This is pretty much my position.

I think it is worth noting that the Clintons have been deeply involved in the Democratic party for a long, long time, so it isn't awfully surprising there are personal relationships there.

The other thing I'd note that all this was also true when Obama ran against Clinton.

(I've noted elsewhere I'm not a Hillary supporter and that I'd have liked more candidates in the race)

"The plagiarized paragraph shows that the Trump campaign isn't very well organized. I think most knew that."

Compared to who? Hillary's #stealthebern campaign or the 2007/8 plagiarism scandals with Obama? Joe Biden has some serious scandals as well.

If the media weren't pushing a certain angle, all these scandals would have been kept in context. Instead one line from a politician's wife's speechwriter now means he's running a "campaign that isn't very well organized."

The line from the speech was just an example that underlined how little staffing Trump has.

I think it is pretty widely recognized that his staff isn't experienced, and there are very few of them compared to a usual campaign. If you don't agree, I understand that we are talking partisan politics, so I'm unlikely to convince you.

Perhaps consider listening to some political wonk podcasts and you hear how amazed they are at how the convention was run. Things like calling Fox during one of his speaker's speeches, not knowing what multiple speakers were saying, and the whole thing with the VP rollout: http://www.vox.com/2016/7/15/12199676/trump-vp-pence-rollout

Mitt Romney's convention was nothing like this, nor was any other convention from either side of politics.

It isn't really surprising - he isn't exactly from the core of the Republican party, so he hasn't been able to rely on people just doing what they always do. That's a quite reasonable explanation, but it doesn't deny the facts of his disorganized campaign.

Now it may well work out fine - a lot of things that people thought were important are tuning out not to be.

And yet, Trump is basically tied with Hillary in the polls. Even when she is vastly outspending Trump, and overly out-staffing Trump, Hillary still can't beat Trump in the polls. In fact, in some polls, Trump is well ahead of her.

What does this really says about Trump's efficiency compare to Hillary?

Vox/Salon are not a credible sources on anything Republican. That's like using Fox News as a reliable news source for Democrats.

> The alternative interpretation is that the #DNCLeaks don't seem very interesting.

The e-mails contain details of strategic political planning on the part of the DNC, and although there doesn't seem to be much in the way of nefarious behavior described within, there is frank discussion of political strategy in dry terms that will damage the DNC's (and thus Hillary's) image even though this is how all political organizations operate. Unfortunately for Hillary, there is no RNC e-mail leak, so "this is how all political organizations work" won't be a sufficient defense in the wake of this leak and you can be assured that the conservative media is going to frame the content within these e-mails as cynically as possible. There is also the possibility that there is something legitimately damning yet to be uncovered.

I agree with this, and I think it's a pretty fair assessment.

I'm not sure if that means that it should or shouldn't be a trending hashtag on Twitter.

I do know that I'm a somewhat wonkish follower of politics and didn't really find them that interesting. I would imagine that "interesting" should be something that trending hashtags should optimize for? I complete concede this is a personal opinion though.

I'm not saying this particular theory is true. It's probably a mistake.

I'm just saying that it's completely reasonable to be suspicious and ask questions, however, given that we have definitive proof that Google is known to work with the government.

"Work with government" means lots of things.

The NSA leaks proved that the NSA hacked Google's network infrastructure. That isn't exactly "working with the government".

There are other things where Google does work with the US and other governments. I believe they pass Flu Trends data to the CDC for example....

And which government branch do you think that Google is working with here?

The #DNCLeaks thing is a anti-Hillary story, promoted mostly by bitter Bernie Sanders promoters. There are some Trump supporters jumping on too, but they seem a minority. It's inside-baseball for DNC wonks.

I could see an argument that someone at Google is a Hillary Clinton supporter and therefore took it on themselves to take it down. That would be a dumb thing to do, but at least would make sense.

But which government branch would try to get Google to do it? The White House wouldn't be so stupid - it would leak in an instant. Some secret three-letter agency? Why would they care? Some other department?

You can't call something an "anti-Hillary story" if it's an uneditorialized dump of emails. Of course it's mostly Bernie supporters pushing it: the leaks show the DNC worked against Bernie while colluding with Hillary's camp.

Hillary and her supporters won't talk about it because it favors them, the DNC won't because they violated bylaws requiring impartiality, and the media won't report because the leak shows they've been taking orders from the DNC.

You can't call something an "anti-Hillary story" if it's an uneditorialized dump of emails. Of course it's mostly Bernie supporters pushing it: the leaks show the DNC worked against Bernie while colluding with Hillary's camp.

I think we mostly agree here? By the "#DNCLeak story" I mean the analysis of the emails as well as the leak itself - that's what is happening under that hashtag.

the media won't report because the leak shows they've been taking orders from the DNC.

The only thing I've seen on this is the "Chuck, this must stop" email. It's pretty clear that was a wish, not an order (otherwise why the follow up call). Anyone who's watched any political drama on TV has seen how often politicians offices call journalists to complain - I don't see much different here?

Also, the media is reporting the leaks, pretty heavily. The NY Times[1] and CNN[2] amongst plenty of others both have major stories.

I think I agree with everything else you say.

(If it matters, I don't think Hillary is a great candidate, and wouldn't class myself as a supporter. I would have liked to see a much broader set of candidates in the Democratic race.)

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/23/us/politics/dnc-emails-san...

[2] http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/22/politics/dnc-wikileaks-ema...

> The NSA leaks proved that the NSA hacked Google's network infrastructure. That isn't exactly "working with the government".

A Guardian article from September 2013, two-or-so-months after the Snowden leaks: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-cost...

> The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.

> While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly, documents passed to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden describe the problems the decision created for the agency and the efforts required to bring operations into compliance. The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.

> An NSA newsletter entry, marked top secret and dated December 2012, discloses the huge costs this entailed. "Last year's problems resulted in multiple extensions to the certifications' expiration dates which cost millions of dollars for Prism providers to implement each successive extension – costs covered by Special Source Operations," it says.

> An earlier newsletter, which is undated, states that the Prism providers were all given new certifications within days of the Fisa court ruling. "All Prism providers, except Yahoo and Google, were successfully transitioned to the new certifications. We expect Yahoo and Google to complete transitioning by Friday 6 October."

Google only gave a bla-bla answer when asked about it:

> Google did not answer any of the specific questions put to it, and provided only a general statement denying it had joined Prism or any other surveillance program. It added: "We await the US government's response to our petition to publish more national security request data, which will show that our compliance with American national security laws falls far short of the wild claims still being made in the press today."

I'd say that you should revisit your believes when it comes to the relationship between the NSA and big SV companies.

> The NSA leaks proved that the NSA hacked Google's network infrastructure.


Total misinformation. They WORKED with the NSA. Do you not remember the PRISM program?


You really should stop spreading ignorance and misinformation. You should also disclose that you work in the National Security industry, at a Palantir equivalent in Australia.

So I think that the story around PRISM specifically is a bit confused. PRISM was initially reported as mass collection of data by the NSA, and Google has repeatedly denied that they took part in that. They do co-operate with targeted national security letter investigations, and with police with warrants, but they are known to challenge both. Quoting the page you linked to:

Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users' internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

Here is some details about the hack the NSA did on Google's infrastructure: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-i...

You should also disclose that you work in the National Security industry, at a Palantir equivalent in Australia.

Wow! This made me laugh. We fund (and sometimes work on ourselves!) research on things like contagious disease prediction, and things like trying to understand mass social actions like elections. Yes, it is national security related, but not exactly that kind of national security! Sometimes the same agencies are involved though - for example, the same agency provides disease alert advice to government as provides political instability advice. So I guess maybe that makes me untrustworthy or something?

I can talk to you at great depth about Dengue Fever modelling and possible ways to try to derive parameters for mosquito breeding models if you like - it's pretty interesting, and maybe that would help some?

Citation? Nothing there says Google worked with the government. In fact, the article has Google saying the opposite. The slides just say "direct access" with no clarification.

Can you point me to exactly what you're reading that indicates Google worked with the NSA ?

You're joking right? This was national news when this was revealed.

You obviously didn't read the link: "The PRISM program collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms."

Obeying the law is not "working with"

The previous accusation was that Google was hacked and unaware that PRISM was collecting data, which is what I was referring to. Please read the thread before commenting.

OK well in that case every person/company in the country "works with" the USG since they comply with some laws/demands.

Google initially denied that they complied with the usage of PRISM, until documentation showed they were lying. Apple held out longer than Google, so at some point they all had to decide that they were going to "work" with the USG.

Please give me an exact citation. Perhaps update Wikipedia while you're at it?

I've never edited wikipedia, but my understanding is that it is labor intensive. I'll just provide a citation here:


The words "mandatory" and "compulsory" figure prominently in that article.

Anyone care to elaborate why I'm being downvoted?

I didn't downvote you but if you read the comments guidelines[0] they are helpful and cover some of the comments you made above.

As an aside, your profile says you signed up 1337 days ago and your karma is at 1358. Another 21 down-votes and your Hacker News profile page will looking pretty leet - I say go for it. Remember, it's just fake internet points, you can't spend them or do anything interesting with them.


On Reddit you can actually sell your Internet Points. Apparently spammers like to get high-karma accounts for spamming purposes.

From what I understand they had front door access, but the NSA wiretapped between datacenters.

Google engineers issue 'fuck you' to NSA over surveillance scandal http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/6/5072924/google-engineers-i...

Presidential candidates used to be nominated by party insiders. The primary system was supposed to allow the voters to choose democratic and republican candidates.

It's been pretty clear this election that the Democratic Party has gone back to the old way. I don't personally object that much because I don't vote democrat, but it's not just "inside baseball". My guess is that you don't want to hear about it because you are rooting for the democrats.

> I'm not saying this particular theory is true. It's probably a mistake.

So why are you repeating it? (It sounds like you don't even think it's true. What the use in repeating it, then?)

> I'm just saying that it's completely reasonable to be suspicious and ask questions, however, given that we have definitive proof that Google is known to work with the government.

"I'm just saying...". Well, at least it's a step up from "I'm just asking!".

Look, suspicion of government and authority (and media probably moreso) is generally speaking a good default, but if you're throwing concrete allegations about you need to have some concrete evidence of wrongdoing. Otherwise it's just scaremongering or conspiracy theory.

The dnc creating fake ads for employment @ jobs@trump.com was funny and disturbing. The satirical take was funny, but it also has a swatting kind of vibe to it. IMHO, some of the emails were disturbing. learning how the sausage is made is eye opening.

Here's a single mention of the DNC leaks on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/22/politics/dnc-wikileaks-emails/

Here's a single mention of the DNC leaks on Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/debbie-wasserman-schul...

I couldn't in a brief search find a single mention of the DNC leaks on MSNBC specifically, but there's this from NBC: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/hacked-documen...

And on HN, the stories about it that were on the front page vanished pretty quickly.

Of course, I think that might be due to political-story related 'gravity' at work. I didn't see dang or anyone else comment, though, and they normally do if they've done any sort of moderation.

It's nice to see an HN user commenting about moderation transparency (also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12148846), but I feel obliged to let you know that the way it works is more complicated than this. We don't post comments about every sort of moderation—it would lead to too many comments and many more meta-style arguments, which would make HN worse.

If you want more information you're welcome to ask us at hn@ycombinator.com.

HN mods will remove anything that isn't tangentially related to tech.

In this case, since it's Google, it can stay.

From what I see on a daily basis, mods do a really good job of curating articles focused on so many different topics with an even slight tie-in to the tech industry. This is one of the more interesting link aggragate sites or even original content sites. As a vehement bernier I'm thankful that HN didn't turn in a Bernie or Clinton voice box. During some really heated but frivolous political debates, HN was my sanctuary.

That's absolutely untrue.

HN mods (dang especially) frequently talk about how HN is not just for tech.

HN users flag political posts.

I don't think Google are using this as part of a conspiracy. IIRC they have even labelled their own sites, and at some point they blocked The Pirate Bay but cleared it once bad ads were removed.

Any raw dump of email that includes publicly available mailboxes will contain malware. Lots of it. If you download the whole archive on a system running anti-virus it will be detected. The virus scanner would complain just the same if fed the GOP's emails.

Why would any virus scanner not raise the alarm? How would it determine that this time the malware should get a pass because of the political nature of nearby data? The mailbox could contain the cure for cancer, the AV will still behave the same. The virus scanner isn't making a mistake. Wikileaks made the mistake by not scrubbing the irrelevant malware from the archive before posting it.

> Reddit paid staff has been suspending people who talk about Correct The Record or the DNC leaks.

Only on default subs (which is essentially "the front page" of Reddit, a site which touts itself as "the front page of the internet") is this occurring. There is heated and lengthy discussion on Reddit but limited to pro-Trump and pro-Sanders areas.

Google is a $0.5-$1m donator to the Clinton Foundation


So a tiny one, by either organisation's standard

Yep, outdonating those under the desk arms deals is hard work

> There is no big "Google is protecting the Democrats and hates Wikileaks"


Yes there is, and it's not a conspiracy theory. It's fact:



Of course many at Google support the Democrat party. That's pretty well known. I assume there are plenty of Republicans too.

Peter Thiel is an early investor in Facebook, and he spoke at the Trump convention. Marc Andreessen is well known as a (non-Trump!) conservative supporter.

I don't see that any of these things prove anything except that people are political.

Show me some evidence that "Google is protecting the Democrats and hates Wikileaks" - not just that people at Google are supporters of one of the two US political parties. That just means they live in the US.

The Assange thing is different. He's saying that Google acts as an unofficial representative of the US Government, not as a Democratic party entity. I don't think he makes that case very well, but even if it is true it isn't the same thing.

Do corporate donations to the Clinton Foundation count ?

$0.5m - $1m by Google


Larry Page is also a big donator ($60m+) to The Vanguard Charitable Endowment - that is Rob McKay's foundation. They, in turn, fund George Soro's Democracy Alliance [1] which fund groups such as Black Lives Matter [2].

Soros has given $6m to Clinton

Charitable foundations are a veritable rabbit warren of cross funding shenanagins, covertly political under the guise of good deeds.

[1] http://democracyalliance.org/ [2] http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/big-democratic-donors-consid...

The Democrat/Hillary thing is non-news in and of itself. I wouldn't bat an eye if a CEO of any other company did the exact same thing (as long as there weren't signs they were somehow exploiting the company's own reach to affect politics; there's no evidence of that for Schmidt).

The actual cause for concern here is Schmidt's strange willingness to effectively act as some kind of sleeper agent for the State Department (per Assange's writings and the interview transcript). Or perhaps an intelligence agency; it seems fairly plausible he was asked to speak to Assange as a way of gathering intelligence.

That's deeply concerning, and suggests Schmidt has a rather special relationship with the government. If he were no longer affiliated with Google/Alphabet, it'd still be shady yet not really violating any standards. But as CEO/chairman, it's a massive conflict of interest and suggests that the government likely was or is trying to exploit Google's leadership in some way.

Not that I blame the government here. If I were the CIA or NSA or State Department, I'd be trying to get my tentacles around massively influential companies, too. I only blame Schmidt for going along with it to such a degree.

After this knowledge is taken into account, Schmidt's involvement with the election seems a little weirder.

There are 3 factors here:

* An influential non-government civilian willing to do the State Department's dirty work, possibly at the behest of an intelligence agency

* An influential non-government civilian willing to devote a lot of time, resources, and technology to getting the State Department head elected President

* The chief executive of one of the world's largest companies

Any combination of 2 of these things isn't that odd. But the fact that someone was 1) acting covertly for a government agency, 2) working hard to get an important person in that agency elected, also attempting to be covert in the process, 3) is the executive chairman of Alphabet...

Even if the government isn't really doing anything malicious here, and Schmidt's involvement in these matters are all coincidental and his own ideas and purely due to his personal patriotism or love of the State Department and Hillary or whatever, it doesn't make it any less irresponsible to do all that while still acting as a powerful corporate executive. And even if that weren't so bad, it seems like something he is trying to really sweep under the rug as much as he can, which itself is very suspicious.

In short, regardless of the motives or conspiracies or lack thereof, all of these revelations make Schmidt seem very untrustworthy. It doesn't necessarily make Google as a whole less trustworthy, but it absolutely could if more leaks come out, and it also casts suspicion on other Google execs.

Did you not read the first link? Eric Schmidt is not just "some people at google".

edit: you should watch this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFxFRqNmXKg

The biggest downside to the NSA revelations is how quickly people accept conspiracy theories.

Where everyone else see upsides in public interest and greater transparency from leaks by Snowden, Manning, Drake and others at great personal cost to themselves you apparently are able to overlook all of that to see a downside.

There is no big "Google is protecting the Democrats and hates Wikileaks". Wikileaks was serving malware, and Google detected it.

And you are able to make this blanket statement with this incredible amount of confidence because? I am guessing only an official authorized response from Google can take this tone and be credible.

Given what we know wouldn't the default logical position be one of scepticism and engaging credibly with the facts at hand or a blanket dismissal of scepticism as conpiracy theorists?

As far as surveillance is concerned we are well beyond that stage and these kneejerk references to conspiracy theories and theorists seem tired, disingenious and incredibly out of touch.

Remember when over night VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, the Bank of America and Western Union refused to transfer money to Wikileaks? When Wikileaks mirrors were thrown off of Amazon servers? That was 2010/2011, 2½ years before Snowden.

Not saying your explanation is wrong but it did not take Snowden to make such theories plausible.

> The biggest downside to the NSA revelations is how quickly people accept conspiracy theories.

Because what Snowden revealed IS a plot against the citizen.

Got any links to the malware? Or are you just employing a classic subversion tactic

And the big upside to the NSA revelations is that people are starting to question their government and the corporatocracy that runs it. If you think Google is a 100% beneficent corporation, you gonna have a bad time.

Google's properties like DoubleClick have served malware in the past. Could you point out times when they have been blocked? :)

So if I email malware with Gmail, should Google label Gmail as dangerous?

No, but if you downloaded it from the Gmail website it would be possible. (Of course Gmail has the same malware detection so it wouldn't happen, but in theory..)

Here's the design document[1]. I think the area you are interested in is "Threat Details Collection".

[1] https://www.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/safebro...

Wikileaks itself is no angel. Have you ever wondered how they get the information they publish? The simple and most probable answer is: Julian Assagne is a Russian agent, working with GRU. That's also the reason why he helped Snowden get assylium in Russia after the whole NSA surveilance thing.

All you have are allegations.

All Assange has is evidence (in the form of leaked documents)

Even if he were a proven state agent, I am happy to have information about how my representatives are working against my interests in a systematic way.

Any proofs you can provide links to?

I based my claims mostly on this:



As a former counteritelligence officer this guy seems to know what he's talking about. Unless of course he has his own agenda, but the facts presented are verifiable and pretty convincing.

Which means, at worst, that the ad homonym attacks are factually correct.

They are still irrelevant.

This is technically accurate since I found out myself this week when browsing the AKP email leak. Some of the attachments in the emails were clearly malware of some sort. See for example: https://wikileaks.org/akp-emails/emailid/27482

The exact same thing happened to me when I was downloading a email containing a MIME base64 encoded PDF. I was curious as to what it was so I clicked the download button and Chrome warned me that it was malicious.

Funny, it doesn't give that same warning on this URL now. I've downloaded it and base64 decoded it but I'm slightly afraid to open it; I don't know how I'd do it safely. On a VM with no internet connection maybe?

https://wikileaks.org/dnc- emails/emailid/829

Space-broken URL provided above, if anyone wants it.

Submitted it to Hybrid Analysis, and this particular attachment appears to be benign, and is in fact an e-ticket for American Airlines. Doesn't seem to contain any embedded malware readily apparent in the analysis.


use a disposable amazon desktop vm

You can start a spot instance or something like pence and then remove it minutes later.

do a static binary analysis, for the fun, or just submit it to something like virustotal.

Hear hear. My bet on the reason for the status ping ponging is the site was auto flagged through some automated scanning, someone at Google contacted wikileaks (maybe after some press was seen!), wikileaks started cleaning up their shit and the Goog kept re-scanning, probably coordinated on a fascinating email chain.

I figure this link needs to stand here somewhere, even if it's just for someone trying to understand the political implications that this could have: https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems/

And while I don't take all of the claims at face value, I do wonder why Google supports the TPP.

Why wouldn't they? Among other things it bans data localization which is important for a cloud operator. There are no downsides from Google's point of view.

It requires explanation that a multinational company would support a trade deal?

Good question. Do they support every single trade deal? Do they lobby equitably between them? If not, then why this one?

Since you're the one making the insinuations/argument, you should be answering those questions for us.

No problem! 1) No. 2) No. 3) Because they like what they think it will do.

Doesn't TPP extend legal protection for intellectual property? Much of Googles value stems from its IP. It makes sense they want to protect one of their most valuable assets.

Even there, there is plenty of stuff that is not in Google's business interests.

What specifically?

Copyright term extensions for one.

How does that harm Google? It brings the other countries in line with what the US already has (at least for works created after Jan 1, 1978). But, I really don't see how having copyrights extended 20 years in a handful of countries harms Google.

It puts the longer terms in a treaty, which is more difficult to modify.

I don't think there's anything to see here. Google now tags it as "safe." The mechanism worked; the website administrators removed the malware, and the warning was removed.

See! Everything works in a rational way. There's no conspiracy.

Eric Schmidt got spooked we were onto his trilateral commission connections!!!111


More interesting is the debate here in the comments where people are unsure if it's legal for them to read something on the Internet. I doubt Google is censoring Wikileaks. Too obvious. But startling is the chilling effect nowadays.

it could be political, but it's probably because they're hosting all of the attachments from all of the e-mails that were leaked - including spam

(Tedious disclaimer: my opinion only, not speaking for anybody else. I'm an SRE at Google.)

What you want to be thinking is: all of the attachments including malware. Safebrowsing is an anti-malware system. Large collections of unfiltered email invariably contain malware.

(I can't say much more than that, sorry)

[youtube.com] https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/safebrowsing/diagn...

# Some pages on this website install malware on visitors' computers...

# Some pages on this website redirect visitors to dangerous websites that install malware on visitors..

Shows me "not dangerous" at UTC 00:43 22.07.2016.

ditto. UTC 02:05 03.07.2016

I wonder if this is related to them publishing emails containing unredacted ssn and ccn information...

I highly doubt it. Unredacted SSN and Cc numbers aren't "dangerous" to the reader by any stretch of the imagination. It's much more likely that it's malware or something, in the email attachments.

probably more accurate

Here, too.

"Not dangerous"

its not a dangerous site anymore...

as of 7:15 PM PST.


> 7:15 PM UTC-8

Fixed that for you. Not everyone know every timezone ever, but we don't need to because with UTC it's very simple arithmetic.

Even worse, sometimes different timezones share the same acronym.


If you refresh the page multiple times, it switches between "Not dangerous" and "Dangerous downloads".

I'm not sure that this is completely tin-foil hat worthy.

I was working at a defense contractor in 2010 when the big leak of all the cables occurred, and was forced to learn a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise, including something that maybe a lot of people don't fully grasp:

When stuff like this leaks, if any of the information is considered sensitive/classified/restricted in any manner, the act of it being leaked does not dissolve its restricted status. In other words, if you are a regular US citizen and you go to Wikileaks and look at something that is classified without having the proper security clearance, then you're now on the wrong side of the law.

I don't think there's any political shadiness going on here, I think Google is just trying to be on the correct side of the system. Whether or not that system is on the right side of some moral or ethical line is a different conversation entirely.

> When stuff like this leaks, if any of the information is considered sensitive/classified/restricted in any manner, the act of it being leaked does not dissolve its restricted status. In other words, if you are a regular US citizen and you go to Wikileaks and look at something that is classified without having the proper security clearance, then you're now on the wrong side of the law.

I'm pretty sure this is wrong: regular citizens are not prohibited from viewing classified material without clearance.

OTOH, if you are in particular government or government-contract jobs (including, at least, all jobs that involve a security clearance), you are prohibited from any viewing classified material you aren't cleared for (and, I believe, also have all kinds of required reporting processes if you discover you have unintentionally been exposed to such information.)

If you have secret clearance, you're not supposed to dig into other information outside your clearance, even if the information has been leaked public.

The reasoning behind this was illuminated for me by an ex-contractor recently: your given security-cleared work clears you for some subset of secured information (say, A). There is some other information that is meant to be kept very secret, call it "C". People who know "C" are the kind that can't go to the dentist without the dentist herself having security clearance and a nice person in a black suit standing nearby to make sure the C-knower doesn't blurt out something unfortunate while under anaesthetic.

When security divisons are made, the goal is to prevent someone from knowing A+B, not only because A and B are valuable, but because A+B could allow someone to derive C, which is the real issue. The government doesn't have enough people to follow the whole security-cleared body around to every dental appointment, etc., so they instead need to ask people who have clearances to not go fishing for information they aren't cleared for, even if that information is easily accessible due to Wikileaks.

It's not a philosophy that scales to the Information Age, but there's method to the madness.

I was in the military when the initial leak by Chelsea Manning occurred, and had a TS clearance. The next day, we had a base wide meeting where OSI (The Air Force's FBI) said that although all the information is classified, we were not prevented from reading it. However, none of us were permitted to discuss specifics in non-secure areas, view it on military computers, or confirm any information regarding it.

I was active Army EOD (TS-SCI) when both Chelsea's and Snowden's leaks happened. We were the opposite. Forbidden from accessing WL at all, even on our personal computers. No real way to enforce it obviously, but the threat was the fact (specifically with Snowden) that you accessed TS-SCI material that was outside the 'scope' / compartment of your SCI access.

There's a good chance this is true: I'm going off what I was told, which being that I was at a government contractor was probably largely FUD because they didn't want me doing anything that would jeopardize their business (I may not have ended up in jail but I would have cost them a lot of money and probably would have been fired).

Somebody much more knowledgeable than me can chime in on this.

Yeah, and if it was a defense contractor, its quite likely that a substantial number of people (maybe everyone) in the firm may have actually been subject to the kind of rules you describe, even when most citizens are not.

There appears to be a large gulf between what the government advises its employees and citizens about handling classified information and what criminal charges and/or adverse administrative actions it can sustain in the face of legal scrutiny.

Classification is provided by the government, internal to the government ergo a citizen that is neither government nor contractually associated with said government can read anything they like.

This, plus the fact that the DNC is not a government agency and thus classification is not a concern.

State Department appears to have said something conflicting with your account as it relates even to average citizens:


Correct. The press can report on whatever it wants and regular citizens can read it (I vaguely remember there being something like a clear and present danger exception for the former). Otherwise, it would be illegal for any news organization to write about drone strikes.

So, regular citizens are not "prohibited" from viewing such information, but the prevention of access to it never really goes away.

Legal status does not change, but neither does the effort to preserve secrecy.

This has nothing to do with morality or ethics. This is an automated system that detected malware on the wikileaks site. There's no reason to think a human was even involved in the decision to apply this label.

The site may have been hacked (and just because it looks OK when you visit doesn't mean it hasn't been hacked). It could even be a state-sponsored attacker trying to exploit a zero day to monitor wikileaks visitors. Or, as someone points out below, it could be run-of-the-mill malware contained in attachments of some of the recently released email dumps.

This has nothing to do with morality or ethics.

Regardless of the means, any entity which performs some form of censorship --- especially if that entity is through which a nontrivial amount of the population gets their knowledge and can be influenced by, like Google --- automatically makes itself the subject of moral and ethical scrutiny.

There's no reason to think a human was even involved in the decision to apply this label.

The decision was made long ago when Google started to classify sites as "unsafe" or "safe", and that was definitely a human decision. IMHO Google should still be held accountable for whatever effects their automated systems have.

This reminds me of how cracks, keygens, and other... anti-authoritarian (for lack of a better term) tools will often be detected by antivirus as "unwanted" and/or "suspicious", despite not actually doing anything the user didn't want. It might just be heuristics that happen to cast such a wide net, but it also means the authors made that decision, that moral and ethical choice.

OK, sure, but that's a completely different ethical question than that suggested above. You are asking whether it's ethical to deploy automated malware scanners (clearly ethical in my view especially considering that the scanner is correct in this case; there is malware hosted on the site as pointed out above), while the original suggestion was that Google had consciously applied this label for some legal or moral reason unrelated to actual malware.

These are all good points, but I will make the claim that it is typically possible to edit the labels of classifiers manually if they are inaccurate. Whether it is the case here, I'm uncertain, but it's worth considering. If this tag was in effect just after their recent DNC leak, the timing is uncanny, particularly since we know that Google has political leanings.

This is probably an even better counterpoint.

Only if you have a clearance.

If you're not cleared you've made no such agreement with USG and you can freely look at leaked classified material as an American citizen.

but what's the clearance Clarence?

> When stuff like this leaks, if any of the information is considered sensitive/classified/restricted in any manner, the act of it being leaked does not dissolve its restricted status. In other words, if you are a regular US citizen and you go to Wikileaks and look at something that is classified without having the proper security clearance, then you're now on the wrong side of the law.

I'm curious if you have any credible source (not part of the government) for this. This sounds very much like something government actors want people to believe.

The good thing is I am an European citizen, so I do not have to take into account at all any American "classified" or "restricted" or whatever label. Or do I?

If you don't have a U.S. security clearance, all this nonsense is basically null and void for you.

>When stuff like this leaks, if any of the information is considered sensitive/classified/restricted in any manner, the act of it being leaked does not dissolve its restricted status.

This is correct.

>In other words, if you are a regular US citizen and you go to Wikileaks and look at something that is classified without having the proper security clearance, then you're now on the wrong side of the law.

This does not follow and is incorrect. You don't have to worry about appropriate handling of classified material unless you have (or had) a security clearance.

Your email where you got this information from was directed mostly to cleared employees.

Yea I was at a defense contractor at the time, I remember an email going around telling people not to go look at this stuff for that exact reason.

This really doesn't matter. The kind of people who are concerned about the information revealed by wikileaks, Snowden, Manning and the burgeoning surveillance infrastructure have little reason to trust what Google says or does.

What seems off is the default kneejerk response especially in places like HN where one would assume a far more informed audience - working in the industry which is spearheading this - to brush things under the carpet or make discredited, desperate and increasingly irrational references to conpiracy theorists.

There have always been conspiracy theorists and always will be, but the current narrative on surveillance has moved so well beyond that point that to have this discussion tarred by these tired and banal references to conspiracy theorists is completely disingenious and makes those making these arguments look out of touch.

If you know what has been revealed so far it should not be difficult to engage with some degree of seriousness at the issues at hand without immediately resorting to strawmen.

Update: Over the weekend, I encountered some guy at a store who probably doesn't read HN. He believed that Google was deliberately filtering out WL for political/conspiracy reasons.

When I explained the automated malware protection (Safe Browsing or whatever the call it), he accepted that explanation (I had him at "emails have viruses") but he countered that "google filtered out wikileaks last time".

This concludes today's observation from IRL.

"Current Status: Not dangerous."

Did this change in the intervening (clock-check) 4 hours, or is there some definition of dangerous I'm missing?

Andrew Simpson was possibly the first to report. Comes very soon after DNC email leak. https://twitter.com/Andrewmd5/status/756529847762087936

WikiLeaks has a well documented history of knowingly distributing malware. Dates back years at this point.

As of approximately 1000 EDT (US) on 07/23/2016, the link above gives the status of wikileaks.org as "Not Dangerous".

WikiLeaks.org is NOT SERVING MALWARE today. I validated this against 210 malware URL block lists with over 2.4m domains loaded in real-time in our NetSHIELD appliances. www.snoopwall.com Gary Miliefsky, CEO

WikiLeaks is not serving malware. I checked it today. Gary Miliefsky, CEO, www.snoopwall.com - sounds like someone wants you to NOT VISIT WikiLeaks.

I am not getting the warning on my browser chrome 52.0.2743.82 beta

It says "not dangerous"

Well, in that case, they probably really are working for Killary.

Damn, I thought google was one of the good guys.

actually it doesnt anymore...

Welp, GJ - Google Changed it back.

yelp - looks google changed it back. GJ Thread!


> HN is a liberal safe space.

That is easily shown to be false by the number of people who make the opposite accusation. It's also common rhetoric to cast oneself as the brave freethinker standing up against a Goliath community; people on both sides of any divide do that as well.

In fact ideological enemies resemble each other more than they do anyone else, and are probably the biggest factor making threads on this site tedious for the rest of us.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12148604 and marked it off-topic.

In this case, the algorithm is open, so there's no guesswork:


HN has normally been transparent whenever they modify something manually.

I've been noticing a pattern lately where anything that touches on a few different hot-button issues gets blasted away with flags the second it creeps onto the front page. I don't think its the mods having anything to do with it, but it feels a little broken.

It's usually that users flag these stories, presumably because of HN's (really the public internet's) inability to discuss them civilly and substantively.

It's a tough problem. Those stories often relate to important issues which hold intellectual interest, if not necessarily gratifying intellectual curiosity (the mandate of this site). In that sense they're not all off-topic. But it damages this site and community for it to host ideological flamewars, much as it damages a neighborhood to host rubbish fires.

My reading of the user flags is that they're partly trying to protect the neighborhood, and there's value in that.

So what it achieves is silences any discussion and pretends that no controversial topics exist. I don't think there's much value in this HN's "fear of controversy". Fact is, almost ALL things that are "gratifying intellectual curiosity" have some controversy in it, so the system doesn't deliver what it's made to do. After this too aggressive filter on topics, what's left is some very niche topics without controversy, since they are too niche for the majority to have any opinion or prior knowledge on it, or so uninteresting nobody even bothers to comment.

Just open HN at any given moment and tell me honestly - how many articles do you actually read and think they are genuinely interesting?

I can tell you this - a couple years back, when HN was just starting to get popular, the algorithm was different, and I found almost 90% of top stories so interesting it was worth to read them, and the remaining 10% I usually read anyway because it was something I just didn't knew about yet, but could be safely said they were interesting to people who knows what it's about based on the way stories were ranked.

Now I open NH and AT BEST I read 1-2 articles, often 0, because it is full of either some obscure stuff, often without even upvotes, but new, or it is something everyone agree on, which is often an article about common sense. Sad.

I'm open to hearing about ways to make HN more interesting, but it's hard to have this discussion on the terms that you're presenting. For one thing, people disagree strongly about what's interesting. For another, this perception tends to be skewed by nostalgia: most of us think that HN is worse than it was when we first got into it, but that's because we mostly think that about everything. ("Things have always been getting worse", as someone once wittily said.) There are other biases too: if HN doesn't interest you (i.e. any of us) for a few days in a row, you're likely to think that it's going to seed, but in fact regular fluctuation is bound to yield such stretches from time to time.

If you'd care to find an example or two of a front page from when you think HN was better, that expresses what was better about it, I'd be happy to take a look. You can do that either using the Internet Archive, or by using HN's front page archive like this: https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2016-07-23, for any day since 2014-11-11.

For fun and a small bias check, if you do look at frontpage history, keep track of the number of days you looked at before finding suitable examples. e.g. if you come up with two good examples, it would be interesting to know if they were the first two you looked at, vs. 2/10 or whatever.

Btw, the above offer goes to any HN reader who wants to spend time finding examples of how HN was better in the past. Just make sure to give us specific links. Otherwise it's too hard to say anything meaningful.

That's a functionality I didn't know exists. So ok, I randomly selected two dates, 2016-07-23 and 2015-01-23.


Articles i would check out (2):

> Show HN: Chalkbot

> Space Emerging from Quantum Mechanics


Articles i would check out (8):

> Google discloses three severe vulnerabilities in Apple OS X

> Scientists have shown that young blood rejuvenates old tissues

> Day in the Life of a Google Manager

> Telomere extension turns back aging clock in cultured human cells, study finds

> $1.6B in funding and $7B in exits: Chicago tech just had its best year ever

> Hipster Logo Generator

> Why I Am Not a Maker

> Lars Andersen: a new level of archery [video]

Now this may be biased because I somehow knew which page was the old one, so I could choose more articles just to prove my point. So someone should do a blind test to verify it. Also it may have been a "good day", so more samples should be tested to verify it's not an exception.

But the fact is, I remember even now reading half of these articles I listed from old page. Especially telomere one. If this article would be posted today, it would attract comments and would be penalized, and who knows, maybe even flagged by some nutjob who thinks that "society obsession over youth" is bad and at the same time upvotes post about scientific study how being fat is actually not causing diabetes.

Another fact is that once community gets large enough, content gets objectively worse. Not because of nostalgia or some other psychological effect, but measurably worse.

It's a difficult balance to be sure, and I have to say that I respect your work in keeping HN a pleasant place to be. I mean, there's stuff like this which is pretty important: http://imgur.com/gallery/ebUd5

But... if you look at that, you can see 'flamewar' written all over it, even though it's getting very little coverage. So I wouldn't submit it to HN as a story, even though probably quite a few people here care about it.


This crosses into personal attack and that is not allowed here. Please don't do it again.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12148835 and marked it off-topic.

This feels pretty much like a personal attack. It feels to me like you are losing the argument, so trying to undermine my credibility.

I completely disagree with your assessment that I've made factual errors. At the very least, the replies you are receiving show that there is a fair amount of disagreement on this.

I'd note that you chose not to respond to my points about the link you posted.

But since you've decided to show such an interest in me, check my comment history and you'll see my position on this. Here's a previous comment[1] from 3 years ago (before I started in my current job) where I though that PRISM is actually a reporting system (and that explains why the reporting is pretty confused). I think I was wrong about that comment - it does cover the collection process too. But at the time there was a great deal of confusion - read the thread[2]. The context is important - it was on a story where Google denied any involvement in PRISM.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5910580

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5910297

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