EXCLUSIVE: DOCUMENTS DETAILING GOOGLE’S ‘NEWS BLACKLIST’ SHOW MANUAL MANIPULATION OF SPECIAL SEARCH RESULTS
J. Arthur Bloom 04/09/2019
Google does manipulate its search results manually, contrary to the company’s official denials, documents obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller indicate.
Two official policies dubbed the “misrepresentation policy” and the “good neighbor policy” inform the company’s “XPA news blacklist,” which is maintained by Google’s Trust & Safety team. “T&S will be in charge of updating the blacklist as when there is a demand,” reads one of the documents shared with The Daily Caller.
“The deceptive_news domain blacklist is going to be used by many search features to filter problematic sites that violate the good neighbor and misrepresentation policies,” the policy document says.
That document reads that it was, “approved by gomes@, nayak@, haahr@ as of 8/13/2018.” Ben Gomes is Google’s head of search, who reports directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. Pandu Nayak is a Google Fellow, and Paul Haahr is a software engineer, whose bio on Google’s internal network Moma indicates that he is also involved in, “fringe ranking: not showing fake news, hate speech, conspiracy theories, or science/medical/history denial unless we’re sure that’s what the user wants.”
“The purpose of the blacklist will be to bar the sites from surfacing in any Search feature or news product. It will not cause a demotion in the organic search results or de-index them altogether,” reads the policy document obtained by the Caller. What that means is that targeted sites will not be removed from the “ten blue links” portion of search results, but the blacklist applies to most of the other search features, like “top news,” “videos” or the various sidebars that are returned as search results.
Google Exec Finally Admits to Congress That They’re Tracking Us Even with ‘Location’ Turned Off
By PAULA BOLYARD March 12, 2019
A Google executive admitted during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday that Google tracks users’ phones — even when their location history is turned off.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) questioned Google Senior Privacy Counsel Will DeVries about the company’s tracking policies during a hearing examining online consumer privacy. Some of DeVries’ answers will likely disturb consumers who thought there was a way to avoid being tracked by Google through their phones.
In his prepared remarks, DeVries told lawmakers that “the processing of personal information is necessary to simply operate the service the user requested.” He asserted that “requiring” individuals to control every aspect of data processing “can create a burdensome and complex experience that diverts attention from the most important controls without corresponding benefits,” and therefore a “specific consent or toggle” should not be required for every use of data.
“I’m concerned about the implicit bargain that consumers are being asked to ratify by which they supposedly get free services but actually have enormous amounts of personal data extracted from them without knowing exactly what’s going on,” Hawley said. He asked DeVries about his claims in his prepared remarks that Google provides “free” services and that the company “clearly explains” how personal data is used. “Is that really true?”
DeVries explained that it’s “complicated” — a word that he used several times as he tried to evade Hawley’s questions about why Google tracks its users’ locations.
An Associated Press report in August 2018 found that “many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.”
“Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene,” the AP explained.