Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped.

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When the state-backed Russian news channel RT became the first news organization to surpass one billion views on YouTube in 2013, it marked the achievement with a retrospective of its most popular videos and a special guest — one of the Google-owned site’s senior executives.

Robert Kyncl, a YouTube vice president who has since become its chief business officer, joined an RT anchor in a studio, where he praised RT for bonding with viewers by providing “authentic” content instead of “agendas or propaganda.”

But now, as investigators in Washington examine the scope and reach of Russian interference in United States politics, the once-cozy relationship between RT and YouTube is drawing closer scrutiny.

YouTube — the world’s most-visited video site, owned by one of the most powerful and influential corporations in America — played a crucial role in helping build and expand RT, an organization that the American intelligence community has described as the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet” and a key player in Russia’s information warfare operations around the world.

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Tristan Walker is in the house.

He is posted up in the vestibule of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California, where the hottest venture-capital firm in Silicon Valley, Andreessen Horowitz, has just hosted a screening of a new documentary starring the rapper Nas. Nas is here, too, but from the way Tristan Walker works the crowd of nearly 1,000, you’d think it was his premiere. Sporting a light-gray Bailey fedora and a speckled charcoal sweatshirt bearing the logo of his new startup, Walker & Company Brands, the debonair 30-year-old dives into the masses, vanishes, reemerges in a corner deep in conversation, and makes introductions all around, exclaiming, “You two should meet!” During a stationary second, a young black man who can’t be more than 20 years old walks over.

“I’ve been following your moves,” he says. “And I’ve been really inspired by you.”

Image: Fast Company

Walker is a celebrity in Silicon Valley, known primarily for his success and creativity as head of business development at Foursquare, which he joined in 2009 and left in 2012. Foursquare was one of the original location-based “check-in” apps, and Walker put the startup on the map by landing hundreds of partnerships with merchants and brands such as American Express and BravoTV.

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FBI director wants access to encrypt Apple, Google users’ data, demands law ‘fix’

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Reuters / Brendan McDermid

Image: Reuters / Brendan McDermid

The FBI director has slammed Apple and Google for offering their customers encryption technology that protects users’ privacy. “Deeply concerned” James Comey wants to push on Congress to “fix” laws to ensure police can still access private data.

“It’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked,” Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, referred to the encryption technology calling the new service “a marketing pitch.”

“But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at all levels,” he warned.

Apple has recently presented its latest Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers, encouraging its customers to use FileVault disk encryption technology to keep their data secure. The tool would also prevent NSA or FBI from having access to phones and computers.

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Silicon Valley Firms Are Even Whiter and More Male Than You Thought

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After stalling for years, Google finally released data on the diversity of its workforce , admitting that the company is “miles from where want to be.” Lazlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, noted that “being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” adding that the company is supporting code education among historically underrepresented groups.

Image: Google

But those efforts may not be enough. Exclusive data obtained from the Labor Department by Mother Jones shows that top Silicon Valley tech firms lag far behind the general population in diversity, and that while Google is average in its recruitment of women, it has even fewer African-American and Latino employees than other major tech firms. More from Mother Jones

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Man sues top govt brass over Google auto-completed search ‘harassment’

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A US government contractor claims his life turned into a thriller worthy of Hollywood after Google auto-completed his search to reference bomb-making. The man lost his job and is suing top Washington brass, from the CIA head to the Secretary of State.

Jeffrey Kantor claims that Google incorrectly auto-completed his web search: “How do I build a radio controlled airplane” into “How do I build a radio controlled bomb.” This was back in 2009 when he was innocently browsing the internet, in search of an unconventional present for his son’s birthday.

After the ill-fated query, which turned the man looking to surprise his son into a prospective terrorist, Kantor claims to have become a victim of the government’s vicious campaign of harassment.

At the time of the incident Kantor worked for a government contractor, the Appian Corporation, a software company which built Army Knowledge Online (AKO), “the world’s largest intranet” service for the US Army. It supports over 2.2 million Army, Department of Defense and other military users.

According to the complaint cited by Courthouse News, he was visited at work by government investigators who adopted a “good cop/bad cop” approach when communicating with Kantor. Mr Kantor says in his complaint that the “bad cop” allegedly made “anti-Semitic comments repeatedly over the course of five months”.

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Google faces UK class action over secret iPhone tracking

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Google is embroiled in its biggest privacy battle yet in the UK over reportedly tracking users’ online habits. At least 10 UK citizens began legal action with dozens more lining up. According to media estimates up to 10 million Britons could join in.

Google is accused of evading security settings on Apple’s devices and Safari’s web browser in order to keep tabs on people’s online preferences.

This is the first group claim over privacy issues that the tech-giant is facing in the UK, the lawyer behind the action Dan Tench told The Guardian.

“It is particularly concerning how Google circumvented security settings to snoop on its users. One of the things about Google is that it is so ubiquitous in our lives and if that’s its approach, then it’s quite concerning,” Tench said.

On top of that there are plans in the works to launch an umbrella privacy action suit, which could potentially bring in millions of people in the UK.

Google executives reportedly received a letter from two users prior to the launch of legal proceedings.

The tech-giant is being sued for breaches of privacy and confidence, computer misuse and trespass, and breach of the Data Protection Act of 1998.

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Google Blocks Anti-Islam Video in Egypt and Libya; Sparks Debate on Free Speech

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I was saying this when it first happened, Google is a private company. They are not into the monitoring business except for child porn. This is disgusting behavior by some Muslims, we aren’t aren’t sure if this is a coup; I believe a combination of both. I’m just happy that some Muslims came out against these senseless acts of violence. I pray for their continued courage and boldness. I have no respect for Terry Jones, he’s a cretin. However he can practice free speech that is protected by the law. Christianity gets made fun of daily, the religious right simply gets angry in the voting booth where real change occurs; supposedly.

The behemoth search engine Google made the controversial decision Friday, Sept. 14 to block the anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” video in Egypt and Libya, where protests continue over the film’s offensive portrayal of the Muslim religion’s prophet Muhammad.
Google’s decision to block the film in these countries sparks a larger debate on free speech versus hate speech, one which Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who promoted the film, is involved in.
Google, which owns the video sharing website YouTube, reportedly chose not to take the video down from its main search engine site because it does not, by Google’s definition, fit into the description of “hate speech,” but chose to block the video’s YouTube access in Egypt and Libya due to current international events.
“This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,” Google said in a statement to The New York Times. “However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.”
Google’s choice to restrict the access of “Innocence of Muslims” in both Egypt and Libya brings up questions of free speech.
Some critics argue that Google, because it is the provider of information, may use its own discretion to post what is appropriate and inappropriate.
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“Google is the world’s gatekeeper for information so if Google wants to define the First Amendment to exclude this sort of material then there’s not a lot the rest of the world can do about it,” Peter Spiro, a constitutional and international law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, told The New York Times on the morning of Sept. 14.
Others, however, including GOP candidate Mitt Romney, slammed the Obama administration and U.S. embassy and Cairo for their responses to the Libya and Egypt attacks, saying that President Barack Obama should have focused more on America’s free speech principles instead of chastising the video.
“It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Romney said in a statement following the Sept. 11 embassy attacks.
One main figurehead in this debate is controversial pastor Terry Jones, who promoted the “Innocence of Muslims” film on Sept. 11, 2012 along with his annual “Judgment of Muhammad Day.”
Jones has been known in the past to stir controversy among the Muslim population, sparking riots in 2010 when he burned a Quran. Many Christians have spoken out against Jone, distancing themselves from his’ extreme practices.
Proponents of Jones argue that the pastor, although controversial, has a right to freedom of speech as an American. Others, however, argue that a distinction must be made between free speech and hate speech resulting in violence.
“I don’t think speech can be limited, to say OK, if I say this, then this could happen. I believe we absolutely don’t have that responsibility,” Pastor Jones told The Daily Beast on Sept. 13.
Others, however, argue that when innocent lives are lost, those seen as an accessory to the violence should be prosecuted.
American political commentator Mike Barnicle suggested on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice prosecute Pastor Jones for the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed after a grenade his the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on Sept 11.
“It might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact,” Barnicle said.
The film “Innocence of Muslims,” which was promoted by Jones and directed by California-based Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, caused angry protesters to storm the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi on Sept. 11. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed at the Benghazi Embassy as a result of smoke inhalation after a grenade was launched at the embassy.

By Katherine Weber, Christian Post

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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