Ford Prefect: We’re safe.
Arthur Dent: Oh good.
Ford Prefect: We’re in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.
Arthur Dent: Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word safe that I wasn’t previously aware of.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

You know Internet Explorer is looking better every day

In an article published on the website Privacy Online News, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, makes the claim that Google is stealthily downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome. The software is able to transmit audio data back to Google, meaning that Google can eavesdrop on conversations in your bedroom when your computer is running Chrome. According to Falkvinge, Google is doing this without user consent.

Via Glenn. Apparently Google has apparently redefined “Evil” again.

But then again if society can redefine marriage for the sake of the narcissistic proclivities of a small minority than why can’t good redefine “privacy” & “evil” to suit their own purposes?

Welcome to the post Christian age where “Truth” is flexible.  Expect to see as I said years ago individuals, companies and governments decide to redefine their problems away.

Two generations, that’s all its taken.

By Steve Eggleston

Stop me if you heard this one before – the European Union, flush with soverign political power but essentially bankrupt in the technology world, targets a dominant American technology company to force it to “de-couple” a major part of its business model from the rest of the company’s business model. This is actually the third time the EU has at least threatened this, and while the first two times, it successfully targeted Microsoft, this time, they’re targeting Google. The opening paragraph of Forbes contributor Tim Worstall’s piece:

Or at least that’s what is being suggested in the European Parliament, that search engines should be forced to be divorced from other business activities. It’s also true that they don’t directly mention Google but that’s obviously who it is aimed at. Fortunately, as a matter of public policy this isn’t going to go very far. Because the European Parliament doesn’t actually have the right to propose either actions or legislation. Only the European Commission can actually propose something and then the Parliament gets to say yea or nay to it.

Before you laugh this threat away like Worstall does, I am compelled to point out that the EU not only got Microsoft to unbundle Windows Media Player and, later, Internet Explorer from the various versions of Windows sold in Europe, but that the EU enriched itself by nearly $2 billion from Microsoft’s coffers.

The interesting bit of the EU’s latest attack on American technology companies comes later in Worstall’s column. It seems the German press got miffed that Google News was “stealing” their articles by, get this, excerpting the articles and linking to the full versions, with the net effect of driving traffic to the German press’ websites. Their attempt to use the German Bundestag to show Google what’s what failed spectacularly when Google simply stopped linking to them instead of paying the suddenly-legalized extortion. They then got the German members of the EU bureaucracy involved, and here we are.

I’m sure there’s a lesson for the “establishment” press here. On a related note, do read Worstall’s piece for the explanation of why decoupling Google’s search engine from the rest of its business is “insane”.

I found this post at the The Thinking Americanist concerning this bit of google news represented by this seemingly innocuous video question:

In a post concerning what this means Chris Crum said this:

“If, however, your idea of quoting is including an entire article from some other site, or maybe even multiple articles, and you’re not doing any original content yourself, then that can affect the reputation of how we view your site,” he adds.

Basically, as long as you are adding some kind of value and perspective to what you are quoting, you’re going to be as far as Google is concerned.

“Those sorts of things are completely legitimate and absolutely fine,” Cutts says. “I wouldn’t worry about that.

So, if you’re quoting (and linking) rather than scraping, you’re probably okay. You may not want to go overboard on how much text you’re actually quoting from a source, however. Otherwise, you’re liable to be run into trouble with the source itself.

Now that begs the question, in trouble in what way? In the way a site is ranked? In the way Google’s engine goes through the post? Exactly how is Google looking at stuff?

Most people don’t ever think about this but at least one blogger did:

Well, I would not settle for what they are telling us; because I have discovered that Google is now coming to my blog, every time I post something new to the blog and executing a search of my blog and the internet for duplicated content.

This makes sense, if they are checking for duplicate content they must actually scan to see if it exists Mr ADkins asks the question:

why does Google feel the need to search my blog against their database? Now, if I were an Alex Jones type or an overly paranoid Conservative; I would be thinking that the Government is indexing my posts for investigation purposes or something worse. Now, I really do not believe that something like this would be occurring, but this searching my blog stuff really has me wondering.

I actually have a more practical question.

My Weekly “Under The Fedora” column appears on 4 different blogs at the moment, on two of them I post it myself, on one I leave it in draft because I have some odd formatting issues, but on another I submit it and they post it.

If Google is doing this does this cause a disadvantage to the sites that post it later? How does it handle such things as say a Mark Steyn Column that might appear at multiple places at once and what procedures are in place to make sure a post that is snarfed by someone else and copied doesn’t accidentally get promoted over the original?

I don’t think this is anything sinister but for bloggers like me who will have duplicate posts on multiple sites on a regular basis it should be a consideration when figuring out how to schedule your posts.

———————-

BTW a few people might find themselves surprised that I linked Pat Adkins here. Everyone knows I’m a friend of Zilla, Stacy and others who have had run-ins with him. Why this post and the link?

First: I found this story interesting and his quote was a part of it

Second: Since he was the source of the story for me simple blog protocol demands a link

Third: When he became aware of the Zilla video he put up a public retraction and has included a permanent link complete with graphic on the front page. I’m Catholic I like contrition and it deserves recognition and if you’re not Christian then consider these words of Glenn Reynolds: When you reward behavior, you tend to get more of it.

Update That’s ADKINS not ATKINS and yes the site was down a few hours full details not yet available.

I found most men aren’t willing, they bat an eye, or draw a breath before they shoot. I won’t.

John Wayne, The Shootist 1975

You’ve got no reputation for toughness. Once in your life you had to have hit somebody.

Fonzie Happy Days 1975

I saw the story on the Muslim march on Google this weekend and didn’t give it much mind, but when I saw Glenn’s post this morning with this comment:

IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, STOP BEING SO GODDAMN MOCKABLE, SCHMUCKS. Muslims protest ‘age of mockery’ as thousands descend on Google HQ.

After all, you just turned out en masse in response to a YouTube video. Joke’s on you. Again.

Yes we mock these folk marching over a video, but I suspect Google will not treat this as a joke to be ignored.

Whenever I cover Tea Party events that don’t take place in large cities I always speak to the local police on site. Invariably there is one officer or two at the most, to handle a crowd of several hundred. This is true even in locations like NH where people in the crowd may legally pack heat.

The reason for so few officers? These police know, media meme not withstanding, there will not be a problem at a tea party event, particularly if there is nobody counter protesting from the left.

With our Islamic Friends the opposite is true.

Madonna has no problems hitting Christian and Catholic symbols but when it was pointed out that her life would be in danger if she shot her newest video in her ‘Terror Bride’ outfit she suddenly decided for the first time EVAH this was one envelope she didn’t want to push.

The media can talk about peaceful Islam till it’s blue in the face but the reality is if you challenge Islam you are putting your life at risk. If this was not true why does cartoonist Molly Norris remain in hiding under an assumed name two years after she apologized for Everybody Draw Mohammad Day?

And if you are on the left and won’t believe me, will you believe Bill Maher & Andrew Sullivan?

It is highly necessary for us to stand up and be counted to defend free speech, even offensive speech but lets remember the reality here. The people who are going to stand up and be counted are comparatively few in number. To quote one the greatest blog posts ever written.

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

I expect Google, our media and this administration to cave and scatter because a few wolves are more powerful than 1000’s of sheep. I expect them to do this in the name of “tolerance” but the reality is they are so afraid of the wolf they won’t even admit the wolf exists, but…

….if there are a few of us, just a few sheepdogs who can be seen ready to protect the flock that can make all the difference.

You don’t have to be the equal of the sheepdogs who carry arms in Afghanistan, You don’t have to the equal of the sheepdogs who wear blue and patrol our streets. You don’t even have to be the equal of a Pam Geller or Robert Spencer who travel around the country and world speaking out.

Even if all you have is a keyboard and a name like a Mark Steyn if you are willing to say aloud: “I will not submit, nor will I give up my 1st Amendment rights and neither should you.” It will be enough.

Glenn Reports that Daily Kos has decided to try to gimmick Google

Second, as a group, we need to find and choose the damaging articles on Republican candidates that we want undecided voters to read. It is only after finding the articles that we can push them up search engine rankings.

Ah Kos kids, what an appropriate day for you to launch such a campaign, and maybe if they can keep power they can go the whole Red China:

But searches using the key words “Nobel Peace Prize” and “Liu Xiaobo” brought up no results on Chinese web portals Sina, Sohu and Baidu while similar searches on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, also drew a blank.

The evening news on China Central Television made no mention of Liu, opening instead with a story about flooding on the southern island of Hainan as foreign news outlets splashed the story across the front pages of their websites.

Text messages sent containing the full name of Liu Xiaobo appeared to be blocked, according to several tests carried out by AFP correspondents.

And people wonder why the left is always defending Communists?

During the Doctor Who special I mentioned yesterday they showed a clip from episode 4 of this year. (Not broadcast in either England or the US yet). The episode features the return of Alex Kingston as professor River Song who keeps meeting the Doctor in different relative timelines.

In the clip she points out something called “blue stabilizer” and insists they are needed to land TARDIS. When the says the ship has landed the Doctor disagrees pointing out there was no “Woosh, Woosh”. Song replies “It’s not supposed to make that sound, you leave the breaks on.”

Now this post isn’t about the canonity of that statement (Cough: episode 1 of the Pirate Planet 4th Doctor and Romana: Cough) nor the fact that the sound is the most unifying item in the show, constant since that first episode back in 1963. it’s about something more interesting.

Update: Well Luke cancels out the hole premise of the post in comments, but he’s right.

Shortly after the show I googled the phrase “you leave the breaks on” and the word “Tardis” to see what people were saying about it. Nothing, no results at all. I ended up falling asleep on the couch waking up just before 5 a.m. the next morning, the machine was on standby so I logged back in and repeated the search and this blog entry came up:

There’s a section in the special where they talk about the TARDIS, and they inserted the cutest scene where River lands the blue box and Eleven starts wondering where a certain noise was and he made the little sounds. Then River was like, “It’s not suppose to make that noise. You leave the breaks on.” Eleven replies, “It’s a brilliant noise.”

Mind you this was the ONLY entry that came up. Nothing else. Now I don’t know this blog from Adam but I do know that within a few weeks there will be hundreds upon hundreds of web sites with that phrase in it and by the end of the year it will be thousands or more.

It’s very rare to see the very first entry on something that will become part of Science Fiction pop culture, so proprietor of the blog Timey wimey, take a bow you, are the first ever blog to use the phrase. It’s an odd and in the scheme of things unimportant distinction; but it’s all yours.

…when writing about Google and China:

As of now (still early morning in Beijing), Google.com.hk is accessible from mainland China although specific search results for sensitive terms result in a browser error – or in other words, are blocked. Same as it’s always been for sensitive searches on Google.com from inside mainland China. This is network filtering and would happen automatically as part of the “great firewall” Internet filtering system.

via Glenn Reynolds who put me to shame.

Oh BTW I’ve been calling Rebecca MacKinnon the free speech diva since I was blogging at Hiwired, to my knowledge nobody else does. They should.

…she points out on Morning Joe that google gets only 1 1/2% of its revenue from China and has struggled there. She must have read this Wall Street Journal article on the subject.

So Apparently google is making lemonade out of lemons here. A pretty smart move.

Then again it doesn’t change the fact that it is the right thing to do so I’ll give them kudos anyway for taking the road less traveled by, as the Journal says:

Google is trying to continue to offer search services to Chinese users outside the purview of mainland Chinese law, a strategy that few other companies, even those who have expressed growing frustrations with doing business in China, are likely to follow. Google appears to be setting itself up to fight China’s rules on its own and to manage what is likely to continue to be a complicated relationship with Beijing as it tries to ensure the government allows it to maintain some of its operations in the country. “This is an elegant solution if it were to hold, but I’m not convinced China will allow this to continue,” said John Palfrey, an Internet scholar at Harvard Law School.

Could it also be that Google sees that China’s bubble might be ready to burst too? If so such a move has even greater rewards long term.

…so blogging might be light.

Lucky for everybody others are on the ball:

Casey Fiano takes a pause from her pro life blogging to remind us of the small annoyances that the Obama administration brings us:

“An international partner”?? This may be an international relief effort — with the United States as usual giving far more than any other country — but that hasn’t kept other countries from flying their flags. France, Germany, and Croatia are all flying their flags, just like every other country. I doubt anyone in Haiti is weeping over the French, German, and Croatian occupations taking place because of it. No one besides Obama is idiotic enough to think that flying our flag means that we’ll be seen as an occupation force. It’s perfectly clear to everyone with a brain that we are in Haiti for one reason alone, and that is to give relief.

Considering the amount of money, time, and manpower we’ve contributed to the relief effort in Haiti, one would think that Obama would be proud to have our flag flying in Haiti. But Obama isn’t a president who is proud of his country, is he? He’d rather apologize for the United States than take pride in it. We are literally saving lives for no gain of our own in a foreign country, and he’s still apologizing.

If we aren’t even allowed to be proud of the country when we are doing a humanitarian mission when will it be.

At the other McCain Smitty has a word about St. Patrick’s day at google:

As a Christian, I’ll venture as a default position that Saint Patrick would be as excited about the attention directed at himself, and not Christ, as, say, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be.
Heaven forbid anything ever be about me personally, in all seriousness.

I don’t know it sure looks like a cross on that G to me and anyways we Catholics don’t have a problem asking the saints to pray for us. After all these guys have proven that they know what they’re doing.

Meanwhile the Washington Monthly bemoans CNN’s desire to try to actually get people to watch them.

This is easily the worst decision CNN has ever made. That the network probably reviewed Erickson’s work before hiring him, and offered him a job anyway, suggests CNN’s professional standards for what constitutes “an important voice” have all but disappeared.

The point here isn’t that it’s disappointing to see CNN hire yet another conservative voice, adding to its already-large stable of conservative voices. To be sure, it’s frustrating, but it’s nothing new.

The problem here is with Erickson himself.

Well Erickson did give me CPAC credentials so that’s a strike against him.

And if you need a sign of spring, look no further than the site of Father Z. He not only give you a taste of the birds of spring he handles the attacks on the Pope exactly the right way:

Pray.

Just pray.

Forgiveness for the haters.

Forgiveness for the failings of all professed Catholics.

Consolation for the damaged.

Courage, health and length of days for the Pope.

And he provides a prayer for those who might not have one handy.

I’ll be back in a bit, meanwhile pop in The Quiet Man and enjoy St. Patrick’s day

They attack anything that facilitates the uncensored passing of information among people they rule:

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has announced that he now considers Twitter messages and social networking as terrorist threats. He is quoted in this Spanish-language news report as calling for more state control over the internet.

via who else but Glenn.

Meanwhile on the China Google front my favorite Free Speech Diva continues to speak up concerning China. And she describers her dream speech on the subject:

My dream speech would be about how the Internet poses a challenge to all governments and most companies (except those companies like Google whose business is built around that challenge). I would call on all governments to work together with citizens, companies and each other to build a globally interconnected, free and open network that enhances the lives of everybody on the planet, enables commerce and innovation by big and small players alike, makes everybody richer and freer, and improves all governments’ relations with their citizens by making government more transparent, efficient, and thus more credible and legitimate.

I would quote Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in 1759: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The speech would remind us all that all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that American democracy was built on this assumption. The Internet empowers governments and law enforcement agencies as well as citizens, upstart candidates, and dissidents.

Somebody ought to write a book about that. If you care about free speech then you should be reading Rebecca MacKinnon.

Sean Penn
could not be reached for comment.

Way back in the hiwired blog days I put up these posts concerning China and google when they first agreed to censor the net for China, contrary to their “Do no Evil policy”.

We covered China a lot in the HiWired blog days (and kudos to the bosses at HiWired back then for letting us do it) , in those days Yahoo and Microsoft were the primary villains.

Now Google may have had enough enough:

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

The statement is good but time will tell if it actually means anything.

Lileks tweats it best

Google lies down with dogs, wakes, does search for “flea treatment”

Nobody is telling me that they didn’t know stuff like this was going to happen or going on. I think that Plausible deniability just didn’t exist this time.

I hope I’m wrong, I hope it’s a real wake-up call but time will have to tell