This seems to be the direction for all users of Google. The new version of Chrome signs you into the browser even if you don't want to sign into the software itself. You can't really use Google's browsing device (Google Chrome) without providing your identity, if you ever want to sign into a Google website.
Support for Firefox is more important than ever.
I miss the days of being suspicious of Microsoft. But Microsoft isn't nearly as diabolical as Google, nor are they as competent.
Google, on the other hand, is fundamentally incentivized to sell ads, which requires collecting data. The more data they collect, the more money they make. As the saying goes, we are the product. No amount of hand-wringing or shaming is going to change that fundamental fact.
I think that in 100 years we're going to look back on how personal data is used the way we look at barbaric medical practices of the Dark Ages. People in general just didn't know or expect better.
Microsoft is in the same business as Google. Search, Bing. Gmail, Outlook.com. GCP, Azure. They even operate an ad network.
Google has some bad incentives but Microsoft has all the same ones. If not, why isn't there a single button for "never send any of my personal information to Microsoft" anywhere in Windows 10?
Microsoft and Google may have competing products, but they are in completely different businesses. Microsoft is in the business of software, Google is in the business of data. That's why there's a public Bing Search API, but there's no public Google Search API.
In what way are Windows and Edge "software" but Android and Chrome are not?
> That's why there's a public Bing Search API, but there's no public Google Search API.
The company that is operating a data service is the one not in the data business?
> The company that is operating a data service is the one not in the data business?
A company in the software business charges for the usage of its software (Windows, Bing API). A company in the data business gives the software for free, and monetizes the data it collects about its users (Android, Google).
A services API isn't software. You're not buying a copy of the code and running it on your computer. And Google offers the same category of thing (paid services), e.g. the Google Maps API or G Suite, while Microsoft offers free services equivalent to google.com and gmail.com like bing.com and outlook.com.
Meanwhile Microsoft has been giving away actual software like Windows 10 for free, along with a variety of other things like IE/Edge (including for non-Windows platforms), VS Express, the Skype software, etc.
They're direct competitors operating in largely the same markets and using the same business models.
It's called SaaS, which stands for "Software as a service".
> They're direct competitors operating in largely the same markets and using the same business models.
Google generates 84% of its revenues from ads, Microsoft generates 95% of its revenues from software.
In other words, you're not buying a copy of the code and running it on your computer. So the provider has all your private information.
And if that's "software" then how is Google not a "software" company? All their services are that.
> Google generates 84% of its revenues from ads, Microsoft generates 95% of its revenues from software.
It's understandable that you missed this, but the distinction you're making is arbitrary. Microsoft can book ad revenue under software and service categories because the software/service is what generated the ad views. They definitely make more than 5% of their revenue from ads.
Percentages are also useless in general. If Google merged with Amazon (which has much higher revenue) then most of their revenue wouldn't be from "advertising" but how would that change their incentives at all? If anything it would be worse -- now they're providing more non-advertising services to you and have the incentive to spy on you via those services to increase their ad profitability.
So, literally every click you make is trickling data back to Facegoogsoft, because that’s how indexing works.
It's unfortunate that every large vendor today has short-term incentives to screw users.
> any Edge-WebKit differences are bugs that we’re interested in fixing
> We recommend that web developers avoid UA sniffing as much as possible; modern web platform features are nearly all detectable in easy ways. Over the past year, we’ve seen some UA-sniffing sites that have been updated to detect Microsoft Edge… only to provide it with a legacy IE11 code path. This is not the best approach, as Microsoft Edge matches ‘WebKit’ behaviors, not IE11 behaviors (any Edge-WebKit differences are bugs that we’re interested in fixing). In our experience Microsoft Edge runs best on the ‘WebKit’ code paths in these sites. Also, with the internet becoming available on a wider variety of devices, please assume unknown browsers are good – please don’t limit your site to working only on a small set of current known browsers. If you do this, your site will almost certainly break in the future.
Personally, I think operations infrastructure should take a a more hands-off approach and let people use whatever web browsers they want and focus on educating users on why and how rather than on what. However, it is not practical for a variety of reasons. I had a chance to chat with a Chrome team member. He assured me that if you are an IT department and want to deploy Chrome in your enterprise, the Chrome team is committed to stand behind you. You can start at https://enterprise.google.com/chrome/chrome-browser/ If you have custom home-grown applications that require a legacy browser, you can centrally manage lists. In practice, this means that users will just need to open Google Chrome. If they go to some address that requires a legacy browser, Chrome will automatically kick you to the legacy browser. When someone continues on the legacy browser, you can kick them back to Google Chrome and have them continue there. I think this is the better path forward especially considering that Windows 7 will end of life in 2020. While I love Mozilla Firefox, I think Chrome is your only choice when it comes to Enterprise desktop.
For web developers like me, Edge has such a small market share that it makes no sense to test for Edge. From what I understand above, I shouldn't have to test for Microsoft Edge. It shouldn't have any of the legacy stuff from MSIE. That being said, threats of mono culture aside, I think it is best for any corporation to move their web browser to Google Chrome. Your people will be more productive on Google Chrome because it is the browser they know and love.
If you're reading this, hello from Google Cloud Summit New York!
Google has clearly showed that they will kowtow to whatever the local law is. As far as I can tell they do this as a last option though, and not just because they don't believe in certain ideas of privacy.
That makes total sense. Google is in the business of selling ads, this requires getting as much information as possible on users, through any means possible, software downloads, online services, it's all the same in the end.
I think that Firefox Quantum is a better alternative.
Damn. I just realized that. Signing out of browser signs you out of GMail. And signing into GMail signs you into the browser. Went to download Edge but turns out it's not on Win Server. MSFT really needs to get its act together.
I had always been a FF user, but switched to chrome about a year ago because it was faster. The latest version of Chrome pushed me back to Firefox, as it's WAY slower and not particularly friendly to tracking, even with Ghostery/uBlock etc... installed
I'm done with Google and refuse to support their products and services.
It doesn't sounds like you've actually tried this.
It doesn't sign you into anything but the google website, just like before. You have to turn on browser sync to sign into the browser. Seriously, try it. Your passwords, history, etc aren't there, and nothing shows up in your history from that session. Signing out of gmail still signs you out.
The new system is annoying because it makes it more difficult (impossible?) to sync to one Google account while having another one be the primary signed in one, but it doesn't sign the browser into anything on its own.
- log out of Google Chrome
- clear all cookies (requires digging deep into the settings or using devtools, otherwise Google's cookies will remain)
- restart the browser
- make sure that your picture is not displayed in the browser itself or in the browser settings and that you aren't in incognito mode
- visit the Gmail website and log in
- your picture will now be displayed in the browser software itself (not just Google websites) and in the browser settings
- clearing cookies (ctrl-shift-del on Linux) will not log you out of Google websites or the browser
In about:settings, does it say at the top "Syncing to codefined", or is there a button you can press to "Sync as codefined". Maybe the confusion is the UI.
Google is selling out for nothing.
Ask yourself, are we complicit in human rights abuse? We all pay our taxes right? Where do our taxes go? Dictators propped up globally. How many dissidents were tortured and executed with the aid of our intelligence agencies? What about the ongoing Israeli human rights abuses -- illegal occupation and genocide are somehow less than important than Chinese speech moderation?
We are so inconsistent. If we actually care about progress then we wouldn't get distracted by each instance of a problem. These posts, our comments... they are us trying to make ourselves feel better by spinning lies. Attack the underlying problems. Our problems are social problems, legal problems.
Advocate. Spread awareness. Run for office. Volunteer. Tackle the problem.
>Apple says the joint venture does not mean that China has any kind of “backdoor” into user data and that Apple alone – not its Chinese partner – will control the encryption keys.
What would be the point then, as anyone wanting to avoid Chinese surveillance could just buy an iPhone. They wouldn't go through huge, immense trouble rolling out a massive surveillance apparatus on this domestic internet only to allow the world's most popular phone to be sold domestically as a simple circumvention.
No, Apple obviously made a deal as they are totally dependent on China for manufacturing their phone as well, they have no leverage. The difference is, Apple's culture of secrecy seems to prevent their employees from leaking dissent externally, so whatever they did, the details aren't public.
Yes. Apple has even said this in court filings during the FBI legal fight :
>Finally, the government attempts to disclaim the obvious international implications of its demand, asserting that any pressure to hand over the same software to foreign agents “flows from [Apple’s] decision to do business in foreign countries . . . .” Opp. 26. Contrary to the government’s misleading statistics (Opp. 26), which had to do with lawful process and did not compel the creation of software that undermines the security of its users, Apple has never built a back door of any kind into iOS, or otherwise made data stored on the iPhone or in iCloud more technically accessible to any country’s government. See Dkt. 16-28 [Apple Inc., Privacy, Gov’t Info. Requests]; Federighi Decl. ¶¶ 6–7. The government is wrong in asserting that Apple made “special accommodations” for China (Opp. 26), as Apple uses the same security protocols everywhere in the world and follows the same standards for responding to law enforcement requests. See Federighi Decl. ¶ 5.
and Craig Federighi's declaration :
>5. Apple uses the same security protocols everywhere in the world.
>6. Apple has never made user data, whether stored on the iPhone or in iCloud, more technologically accessible to any country's government. We believe any such access is too dangerous to allow. Apple has also not provided any government with its proprietary iOS source code. While governmental agencies in various countries, including the United States, perform regulatory reviews of new iPhone releases, all that Apple provides in those circumstances is an unmodified iPhone device.
>7. It is my understanding that Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a "backdoor" in any of our products and services.
>I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.
Apple has leverage in China because they indirectly employ millions of people.
>No, Apple obviously made a deal as they are totally dependent on China for manufacturing their phone as well, they have no leverage. The difference is, Apple's culture of secrecy seems to prevent their employees from leaking dissent externally, so whatever they did, the details aren't public.
Lol. I'm sure Federighi perjured himself because the Apple Cult is just that strong.
And even then, the declaration you quote (made in a US Court case referring to the FBI) was made two years before Apple gave the keys over to China.
Apple has deleted VPN apps from the Chinese store at the request of the Chinese government. They also added a clause to their TOS that allows the state-owned data company to access all user data. When they rolled this out and gave the keys to China, they only gave their users the option to delete their account, not opt out.
I'm sorry to be the one to have to break this to you but Apple is acquiescing with the Chinese government surveillance demands.
Yes, so much leverage that China regularly forces them to censor the App Store, and forced them to give up control of iCloud in China.
Quite different than say, how Apple handled the FBI demands or AT&T?
What concessions did Apple extract from China with respect to freedom or privacy for the Chinese people that you can point to?
Have they ever gotten VPN reinstated? Can you point to a single instance of Apple even petitioning against the government in Chinese courts?
I’ll go one better: can you find an instance on record of Apple executives like Tim Cook criticizing Chinese government policies like they do the US government? Any instance of push back at all?
That doesn't mean that Apple can do whatever they want. They've had to shut down iBooks and iTunes Movies within months of turning it on. They've had to remove VPN apps and the NYT's app from the App Store.
But they haven't had to fundamentally cripple the security of their products and services. And that's a meaningful concession they've obtained, because they're Apple.
>I’ll go one better: can you find an instance on record of Apple executives like Tim Cook criticizing Chinese government policies like they do the US government? Any instance of push back at all?
We know they pushed back on the data localization regulation because they said so in a statement to Reuters.
From July 2018:
>Fast forward to today: China Telecom, a government owned telco, is taking over the iCloud data from Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. This essentially means that a state-owned firm now has access to all the iCloud data China-based users store, such as photos, notes, emails, and text messages.
The Chinese government has the exact same access to Apple user data as before, which is through Apple. Who controls the keys is what matters.
No, the Chinese government now owns the servers with the key storage. They now have access to all the keys and user data at rest.
If the Chinese government is accessing all the user data because they requested Apple to put the user keys on their now-state-owned servers, then why does it matter if Apple controls the keys? You're still splitting hairs.
>If the Chinese government is accessing all the user data because they requested Apple to put the user keys on their now-state-owned servers, then why does it matter if Apple controls the keys? You're still splitting hairs.
Apple said literally the opposite of this to Reuters and in this statement to 9to5Mac :
>Last year, we announced that Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) would become the operator of iCloud in China. As we said at the time, we’re committed to continuously improving the user experience, and our partnership with GCBD will allow us improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies. Because of our commitment to transparency, there will be a series of customer communications over the course of the next seven weeks to make sure customers are well informed of the coming changes. Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.
You seem to think there's some material difference by storing the keys or data in China. There isn't. China's power over Apple comes from the fact that they can block their access to operate in China. It's not technical or legal. Chinese iCloud data was just as vulnerable to requests from the Chinese government when it was stored in the US.
And no backdoors into any of Apple's systems are necessary because a government-owned company will be operating iCloud, including the keystore.
Apple's terms of service make this very clear:
"You understand and agree that Apple and GCBD will have access to all data that you store on this service"
Someone should ask Apple which one it is, because these statements seem completely irreconcilable to me.
Even if it does (which is unclear), do you think Apple will be able to refuse if the Chinese government asks for them? I wouldn't be surprised of "the laws and regulations of China" say that Apple is required to turn them over.
Apple says that they respond to valid legal requests, but that isn't any different than when iCloud data was stored in the US. If you thought that Apple would cave to any request for data from the Chinese before, then there's no material difference by storing Chinese iCloud data in China.
For iCloud, Apple partnered with a local Chinese entity.
> With only seven million iPhones sold in China during the second quarter of 2018, Apple's market share in the country dropped by 12.5 percent year on year to 6.7 percent, according to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC)
And you can imagine why is that so.
> Xiaomi pokes fun at Apple with phone, laptop, fitness tracker, and Bluetooth earphones bundles that cost the same as the new iPhones.
Actually mocking the Apple might became the cultural thing in China.
> Huawei has taken the act of mocking the newly launched iPhones to the next level in seemingly funny way. In Singapore, those who were waiting overnight for the release of the iPhone XS and XS Max, were handed power banks by the China-based tech giant. Some people wearing Huawei t-shirts started giving away power banks to the hundreds of people waiting in line to get their hands on the newly announced iPhones. Not just that, there’s a message on the power bank’s box which reads – “Here’s a power bank. You’ll need it. Courtesy of Huawei.”
It's like saying that the EU hated MS when Bill Gates got a pie in the face a few years ago.
Plotting a curve with a single data point...
I don't understand the notion. Google already censors anything they like with very advanced methods that even provide them with plausible deniability, high specificity etc. And I bet they're better than the Chinese at tracking literally everything you do online and connecting that with your real, offline identity, complete with your entire social network graph, your biometrics, SSN, income, race, personality type, political affiliations etc etc... And they already provide that data to governments upon request. Not a legal request, but an API request.
The only thing I'd want explained about the article is how it would be physically possible to track users more closely than they currently do in the western world.
Anybody with suppressional power over information can do it.
"Filtering" is not descriptive of what is happening either, that word trivializes and even gives the action a positive connotation. Filtering removes stuff nobody wants, it cleans, it gets rid of debris and trash.
Beware of word subversion! If you try to make morally bankrupt actions harder to describe depending on the actor then you're attempting speech and thought control.
Of course in hindsight you judge these companies not by their rationalizations, but by their actions. And this is how it should be. Rationalizations or Machiavellianism are ironically myopic. The means (or rationalizations) do not justify the ends. The ends are rarely predictable and often are far different than what we may ever expect. By contrast we live, each and every day, through the direct consequences of the means. Many people find China's actions morally dubious, and Google is now directly engaging in behavior that will, at the minimum, enhance the ability of Chinese authorities to track and 'handle' individuals who run afoul of state interests. These actions are what inform you of Google's values.
With GDPR and the "right to be forgotten" censorship?
Well, that may supply an alternative to those barred from the US internet, cf. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18043141
It would be fun to watch that develop.
Sure, that's today. But you'd be crazy if you thought the CPC would be around forever.
Companies must sometimes choose between pest and cholera. Having search in China would let millions of Chinese citizens improve themselves a LOT. It would make Chinese censorship a lot harder as well. It would have pretty damn good effects. A billion people would get access to a LOT of information they don't currently have access to.
And it would collaborate with a criminal regime. You can criticize that ... evil !
Not doing it, while less criticizeable, would imho be more evil.
Fortunately Google is an ethical company and not hypocritical when it comes to very important issues.
Maybe this will be positive and result in new US law like the foreign corrupt practices act of 1977  that prevents US companies and their subsidiaries from bribing officials in other countries, even when local law allows it. So forcing US companies to follow the minimal US laws protecting privacy even if to comply with other laws will be a net positive for humanity.
>programmers get upset about the words “master/slave” in software now, but are happy to keep constructing a global surveillance economy and becoming middle caste
My prediction is that he is going to sick with his version that this was an experiment, the headcount was necessary to fully explore the idea, it became obvious that it wasn't possible to do ethically, Google isn't going to do it.
The real question to me is what this is going to do to Google's internal transparency.
That's how US lost Africa, and China acquired it.
China will surpass the US in Africa, but they’ll surpass the US in everything economic, eventually.
If what I read is true then this is the first thing that has truly rocked my confidence that the company generally tries to do the right thing (while making money of course, we're not a charity). I expect significant internal backlash if they proceed and I hope they learn from this.
> A computing professional should...
> 4.1 Uphold, promote, and respect the principles of the Code.
The future of computing depends on both technical and ethical excellence. Computing professionals should adhere to the principles of the Code and contribute to improving them. Computing professionals who recognize breaches of the Code should take actions to resolve the ethical issues they recognize, including, when reasonable, expressing their concern to the person or persons thought to be violating the Code.
> 4.2 Treat violations of the Code as inconsistent with membership in the ACM.
Each ACM member should encourage and support adherence by all computing professionals regardless of ACM membership. ACM members who recognize a breach of the Code should consider reporting the violation to the ACM, which may result in remedial action as specified in the ACM's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Enforcement Policy.
Please voice your concern. Your voice as a Googler is louder than mine.
Nah mate. When a company isn't paying me, I am unrestrictedly free to be objective.
The problem, with companies (and with mafia, etc) starts once you take the money.
So, from that perspective, what you read from most of us, is more objective than anything you read on your internal mailing lists.
We, unlike your HR, don't care about morale, perception and corporate tracking pixels of stuff one isn't supposed to see or read.
HN crowd for the most part are smart and informed people. So, don't look at it as bias, look at it as assessment.
Apple have had plenty of stick about their practices too. I think they just have too many diehard followers that the negative information gets drowned out by the positive.
I think there's a perception that Google is the one company that many people are (or were) supportive of, because of their past stance with regard to China. Google's former motto of "Don't be evil" convinced a lot of people that they have strong ethical standards. This may have been true in the early days. To me, it has not been true ever since Schmidt became CEO. I've been actively avoiding Google as much as possible since around 2005, because it was glaringly obvious even then that they were out to destroy privacy.
I also avoid Apple. Never liked their software, and they have pretty much the same problems wrt privacy.
Look no further than this page. The top comment compares the Chinese Government's surveillance with being forced to sign into Chrome. There would have been a lot more interesting intellectual discussions to be had about this topic: China, corporate responsibility, are the Chinese better off with just Baidu...
Unfortunately we can't reach an engaging intellectual discussion on this. In the same way we can't about North Korea dedication about giving up the nukes, or women being able to drive in Saudi Arabia, because people are starving in family prisons and are being hanged and skinned alive, in 2018.
Sometimes the overall picture obscures the interesting intricate details, and as humans are emotional souls, in a very survivalist fashion, they react to what threatens them the most.
When Microsoft was deemed "evil" under Balmer, Google acted like it was a "cool startup which didn't do evil" and used that positive PR to grow as they were seen more "ethical" than the competition. That's why they are held to higher standards today.
Microsoft for instance never claimed they had any sort of moral compass other than the morals of making money.
I think you are correct. But I don't think it's people being anti-Google because it's Google, or tribalism, or whatever. It's people being anti-bad things, and Google has evolved into a bad thing.
Google is and always has been a privacy disaster waiting to happen, and we know lack of privacy and bad government are a potentially lethal (in the strictest and most literal sense!).
Historically, there has been a strong pro-Google bias in the tech sector that ignores this, possibly because of all the cool technical work they do. Still exists in my opinion, I've talked to techies who don't seem to realise that Google is an advertising company.
The current process is all the pro-technical-coolness people going quiet and all the pro-privacy people speaking up because Google has started to make poor decisions.
It seems if enough people feel strongly about this, then at least one would quit after being assigned to this project, and even if there's an NDA and they can't relate the details of why they quit, it would be alarming enough to say "I felt compelled to quit because I could not in good conscience work on the project I was assigned." I'm not sure an NDA can protect against something like that.
This last thesis is illustrated with an alarmingly clear image. The same actor, each time at a washroom sink, introduces himself as a worker, a student, an engineer. As an engineer, carrying a vacuum cleaner in one hand and a machine gun in the other, he says, "I am an engineer and I work for an electrical corporation. The workers think we produce vacuum cleaners. The students think we make machine guns. This vacuum cleaner can be a valuable weapon. This machine gun can be a useful household appliance. What we produce is the product of the workers, students, and engineers."
From an introduction to Harun Farocki's "Inextinguishable Fire": https://www.harunfarocki.de/films/1960s/1969/inextinguishabl...
But obviously a number of people must have known. I don't know how they approach and recruit these people, it's above my paygrade.
I mean, I really appreciate all of you who seem to dig in and dive into the what and why of every system you work on, but I often just do work. I get tunnel vision and do the things I have to do. I don't really care about much outside of that spectrum unless it impacts what I have to accomplish.
But somehow I never climb back out to find the bug I just fixed is part of a giant censorship machine.
Are you saying there is a greater than zero chance that you've accidentally done work on a similarly unethical system?
When you're focused on technical details, cost evaluations, etc, you're not exactly thinking about what the thing is used for, or why. At least, I wasn't and I assume it works the same way for others.
It's really easy to just get assigned to a project, and start working on it.
Edit: I wrote this because I was sad that people were arguing with the disclaimer, not the author's more substantive point. I don't mean to be patronizing or condescending in any way.
However, you should put this in perspective. Google is still one of the most transparent companies of its size. People intentionally collected and shared high sensitive company information. At most companies, security would show up at the desk of everyone involved in this with a box to pack their stuff. At Google, they got an email which asked them to delete the document.
Also, keep in mind that we are talking about a project that is not launched, probably never will be and, if you give Google's leadership the benefit of the doubt, was never going to be.
I hate to break this to you, but the anti-Google bias is well beyond HN. Google is pissing off conservatives who think you censor them, civil rights activists who are being ignored, privacy activists who want Google to be accountable, regular users who simply can't figure out how to get Google to stop tracking them, developers who go unheard on your message boards, influencers who are tired of Google unilaterally imposing their will on the internet (coughAMPcough), and a ration of other people who are just tired of Google having it's nose in literally everything they touch.
Google is held to the standard it wants to be held to. You think Project Zero can just go around blackmailing competitors forever without eventually pissing someone off? When was the last time Microsoft or Apple publicly disclosed a Google Zero Day? Google does that all the time.
You can't try to maintain 99% market share in search and not expect people to hold you to a high standard. Google put itself here and now has it in it's collective head that it's "too big and important to fail."
Even you are going around the internet saying that Google can do no wrong despite being confronted with an endless stream of evidence proving otherwise. LISTEN. TO. PEOPLE.
Microsoft and Apple don't have as good of a pentesting team. PZ publishes exploits that affect Google software all the time.
Officially removing "Don't be evil" wasn't enough of a hint for you?
Not really misinformation, thanks for sticking up for a helpless company though.
pretending to be something you aren't is whats frustrating
Google is making a very big mistake ruining this image and supposedly core principles with the actions it's been taking in the past couple of years. They won't recover for decades from this, just like Microsoft still hasn't fully.
Google's "Don't be evil" has been a huge branding asset, but it seems Google has been too eager to step all over it and throw it in the garbage lately. I wonder if it will be worth it. I hope it won't be.
These days I distrust almost every move Google makes by default, and I imagine there is a growing number of people like me. Google may think "eh, so what, we'll just lose a few percent of our users, but gain all of those juicy killer machines and censorship contracts instead," but now people like me will also be first in line to support governmental action against the company (GDPR, etc), while before I would've been the first in line to defend it. So Google won't be losing just users or even advocates, but it's also turning them into vocal enemies - all in the name of continuing to grow those quarterly profits.
Google has lost its way, not just with this, but with AMP/Chrome/URLs, and their impending destruction of one of the great achievements of modern technology -- the decentralized, open WWW. The Web was always under attack but to see the fatal blows delivered by Google is very depressing.
I've already removed Facebook's companies entirely from my life. This year, I'm working on moving away from Google as much as possible.
If there's one thing we can learn from all this, it's that decentralization of a network is best understood as a temporary process for electing the monopoly node(s).
Apple on the other hand
Campaign targets Apple over privacy betrayal for Chinese iCloud ...
The GDPR is a hugely pro-Google law. Large corporations can easily afford to wade through its complexity to find ways to comply that do not have a meaningful impact on profits, up to and including getting the law changed, if necessary, ideally by making it more complex.
Their smaller competitors can't.
This seems like the worst part (not that the rest is not bad), anyone has an idea of what this "pixel trackers" are and how they actually work?
more info @ https://en.ryte.com/wiki/Tracking_Pixel
Traditional email clients like Outlook/Thunderbird are susceptible to this kind of attack. That's why they often ask you before loading images.
A Google employee has confirmed to me that they tested killing email read receipts but it was shelved as it broke too many partner integrations.
Some clients that don't allow you to disable by default: Polymail, Gmail on iOS, Inbox (Google) on IOS
If it's free, you're the product...
Gmail sucks a bit because it always enables certain images in email and that means that google pixel trackers are really hard to block if you use google mail. If I were an employee, I’d switch to a non-google email client.
The privacy issue is problematic, but their functionality is also buggy. Untrained users will misinterpret them as they can get triggered by previews or other functions beyond just reading the message.
I don't know if that's still the case.
SMH. I read things like this and I really just hope the internet implodes one day.
Do as I say, but my company is super special so we'll just do whatever we feel like.
This is very old tech. "Invisible" image linked to a url. Pretty much every ad email has pixel trackers for data ( impressions, etc ). It's used heavily in marketing.
Not sure why google would use such primitive tech. There are better ways to verify that an message has been opened and read.
I am particularly "old style", I know, but I tend to use not whenever possible email clients that load the html, so an old habit turns out to be also (at least partially) "safer".
Of course in the US a lot of practices revolving around "controlling employees" are allowed and even considered "normal" whilst in Europe they are seriously frown upon.
<img src=“https://internal.google.com/track” width=“1” height=“1” />
Lying to our own colleagues now are we? The end justifies the means I guess. Wait, what was the end again?
If you're going to lie to your colleagues better have a very good reason ready. "They won't help me if they knew the truth" is not a good reason.
I thought you meant that he went on record saying something like "I'm perpetuating gender stereotypes".
Instead, it looks like he's just confirmed that Google thought he was perpetuating gender stereotypes, and that's what he was fired for, which is no surprise.
There are whistleblower exceptions, but generally, if you can't be trusted to keep secrets, you're not a professional.
Why do they have that plan? Because there is absolutely zero chance china would allow them to operate without it.
If supplying search history to a government known to imprison or torture dissidents is an immoral activity, then bringing it to light is whistleblowing. You can make a cogent argument that it's morally fine to do that, but you can't simultaneously say that facilitating spying is immoral and that it's unprofessional/immoral to reveal plans to that effect.
Predicting the future is tricky, particularly when it involves the decisions of complicated political processes where the decision-makers (most likely) disagree. Plans often change. We can't possibly know what they're going to do. Maybe nothing; plenty of large corporate projects never launch.
I certainly hope that Google doesn't follow the same path! But US tech companies have been complicit in human rights abuses in the past, so the public has every reason to remain vigilant.
The product hasn't launched yet, might not ever launch, and we don't know how the product will work if it did launch. I'd hope they're thinking about how to make sure nobody gets in trouble, but we currently don't know what precautions they came up with.
There are lots of companies working in China. We know of one incident involving Yahoo. Do we assume without evidence that any other companies working there have caused dissidents to be tortured?
Leadership was actively advancing the project and promoting obscurity / secrecy. Sundar did not act to mitigate risks of harm to free information and dissidents. People were not given enough clarity to make good moral decisions.
The entire project reeks of a top-down ethics violation. You can't with a straight face introduce AI ethics guidelines, while you have backdoor meetings with need-to-know engineers building a surveillance and information manipulation system.
An objective party within Google should work hard to protect Google's values. To me, an outsider, Sundar can't be trusted anymore on responsible ethical AI (and by extension: AI itself). Probably some misaligned incentives there.
> As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right.
So get it right. Start by fixing the wrongs and keeping consistency with your messaging.
Or tell me how the planning of a opaquely censored, dragnetted, privacy-intruding, and authoritarian-friendly search platform is consistent with:
1. Be socially beneficial.
2. Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.
3. Be built and tested for safety.
4. Be accountable to people.
5. Incorporate privacy design principles.
7. Be made available for uses that accord with these principles.
We will work to limit potentially harmful or abusive applications.
We will not design or deploy AI in the following application areas:
Technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm. Where there is a material risk of harm, we will proceed only where we believe that the benefits substantially outweigh the risks, and will incorporate appropriate safety constraints.
Weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.
Technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms.
Technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.
The only thing consistent with the AI ethics guidelines (a plan going forward, already abandoned on release) is the pledge to technical excellence. I am sure, as the leader in Search, that Google is able to build a fine custom solution for the Chinese government.
I’m not trying to justify Dragonfly but just pointing out that tech companies are being pushed into more censorship and tracking by governments all over the world.
At a minimum there is some serious streisand effect potential.
Does it? I feel like Google has been doing similar stuff for a long time and nobody really cares.
Half of the US electorate is completely ignorant about what's going on. The people that do know have no sway over a self-serving Congress.
Who can even imagine such a thing.
Stories about what happens in China: https://chinachange.org/
Here's Last Week Tonight's recent episode focusing on forced confessions in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET_b78GSBUs
HBO's miniseries "The Night Of" is a great look into the inner workings of the US justice system, and how it's designed to get people to take plea deals (aka forced confession): https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2016/07/10/the-night-...
The fact that you bring up these essentially sovereign nation internal issues as if they are fundamental transgressions against human rights (which maybe they are) while ignoring rights violations under your own nose, shows that your perspective on these issues is highly underdeveloped.
China has many problems, and I'm sure forced confessions are probably a larger problem over there than in the US, but for the most part their citizens don't need armchair observers to fight for their rights. They don't need proselytizers, evangelists, or colonists either.