Spam at Google

As a programmer, who maintained his own email server, directly on the internet, from his home, for many years, I understand the problem of spam better than a lot of other people. It’s tricky. I get that. But, come on, Google. You have 100% certainty that this stuff is garbage, and can be zapped before it even hits the junk folder.

Google and “Privacy”

Does iOS even have any other categories that could be added to this list?

I do as little with Google as possible these days. All my “cloud stuff” is in iCloud now. But I can’t get away from their search. Especially for programming-related questions. DDG just can’t bubble up answers like Google can. I’ve tried several times, and keep coming back.

Google eyes privacy-friendly substitute to cookies – Axios

Tests show advertisers can expect at least 95% of conversions per dollar spent on ads, compared to cookie-based advertising, Google said.

Source: Google eyes privacy-friendly substitute to cookies – Axios

I don’t even need to read the article to know this is utter BS. If Google is advocating for it, it will not do anything like it is purported to do. It will aid Google’s efforts to serve you ads, and hinder other advertiser’s efforts. And Google won’t knowingly give up any tracking, in any way, shape, or form, so don’t pretend that this is helping privacy. All this will do is more-solidly cement the fact that if you want to advertise on the internet, you’ll have to go through Google to do it. Any effort they expend in this area will have that goal, no matter what color of lipstick they apply to the pig.

… given that the entire digital ad ecosystem, worth $330 billion USD globally…

Yeah, and according to some reports, it’s about 80% fraudulent. I’m just glad I don’t need to be involved in that world whatsoever.

Google And Oracle’s Decade-Long Copyright Battle Reaches Supreme Court : NPR

Source: Google And Oracle’s Decade-Long Copyright Battle Reaches Supreme Court : NPR

I don’t want Oracle to win on the basis of software copyrights, but I do want Google to lose, and get hit with an astronomical penalty. I also would love to see a general chilling effect on the use of Java and Oracle, which I think are terrible technical choices today. But everyone involved here is part of the problem of our country being a captured corporatocracy now, so I’m very conflicted. If there’s a way that they both lose, and the public wins, I’d be for that.

Amazon and AI/ML

At this point in our glorious capitalistic society, it’s the companies who are running the country, and they’ve got us by the short hairs. Who could have guessed, even 25 years ago, that the American public would literally fall over themselves letting companies track everything they do — and therefore surmise our thoughts — in the name of getting directions, seeing friends’ baby pics, and getting an illusory 3% discount on purchases?

Amazon has stated that they see themselves becoming a SHIPPING company. They’ll just send you the stuff they know you want and are ready for. On the odd occasion you DIDN’T want what they shipped you, you just send that one back. Once they get their predictions algorithms down to a theoretical 5% return rate, they’re going to start doing it. That’s how well they feel they can predict our thinking.

Amazon, Google, and Facebook all have an internal profile of every person in America. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast too. Even if you don’t have an account, these profiles are built over decades of data collection, colluding with other tracking companies, and collating everything you do which could have left a digital trail.

These companies know IF you’ll vote, and who you’ll vote for, and they know how to present things to people on the fence in order to tip their preference. This is all in the documentary on Cambridge Analytica: The Great Hack. Yes, the last presidential election was hacked, but not by Russia. By the Republicans. In aggregate, it’s a definitive science. I don’t even see the platforms being used in this regard (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) necessarily preferring one party or the other, as long as they push votes to candidates that they feel will allow them to continue to extract rent from society, unchecked.

This is what we’re up against now. Silicon Valley has captured our government through campaign contributions, and they have the means to keep it in their pocket going forward. The United States is now a corporatocracy. We are now the United States of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. (And Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, and Apple.) Some people want to use the full weight of the US government to fight climate change. I would rather use it to break up the tech companies to manageable, competing pieces, and return to a government of, by, and for the people; not companies.

ADL International Leadership Award Presented to Sacha Baron Cohen at Never Is Now 2019 – YouTube

It’s time to regulate Facebook, Twitter, Google, et. al.

I love just about everything about this, but the money quote, for me, is this, at 15:40…

“… when discussing the difficulty of removing content, Zuckerberg asked “where do you draw the line?” Yes, drawing the line can be difficult. But here’s what he’s really saying: removing more of these lies and conspiracies is just too expensive. These are the richest companies in the world, and they have the best engineers in the world. They could fix these problems if they wanted to.”

In the past couple days, I was mocked on Twitter for making the same argument. I’m convinced there is a small army of astroturfers working for Facebook, who run around telling people that we just don’t understand how hard it is (to remove garbage from the platform), and that it simply can’t be done, and we just have to live with the resulting dumpster fire.

I still say: Bologna.

What needs to happen, and SBC alludes to this in his speech, is that all postings should go through a sanity check before going live. As a 40-year, veteran programmer, I stand by my assertion that it would be possible to scan for a lot of stuff that should just be weeded out: pornography, violence, gore, racial slurs, and knowingly-inaccurate conspiracy theories, like anti-vax, flat earth, faked moon landing, and holocaust denial. The filters could catch 90% of that garbage, especially the egregious stuff. The rest could be marked for further review by human beings, which wouldn’t have to deal with the truly horrific stuff any more.

But here’s the rub: it would take another data center’s worth of kit to do this, which would be bad enough on its own for the sake of cost, but putting all posts through a “cool off period” while they were scanned would also be disastrous to “engagement,” which the company cannot abide, because it would be a massive hit to the bottom line.

That’s why it will never happen on its own. It must be regulated. The problem, of course, is regulatory capture, which is trivial, when you’re one of the 10 largest companies in the world. That’s a whole other ball game, which probably has to be fixed first. Sigh.