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The Snooper’s Charter & Innocence of Muslims Censorship

It seems every time we turn around there is another new article about government bodies attempting to impose Internet censorship, threats to our online anonymity or online privacy concerns. Today’s headlines are no different.

The Snooper’s Charter

Opponents of the "Snooper’s Charter" received a minor victory. The proposed UK Draft Communications Bill published on June 14th by the Joint Parliamentary Committee received approximately 19,000 emails during its consultation period.

Of the 19,000 emails, not one single email was in favor of the proposed bill. There was not a single one that even agreed with the premise of the bill. Several civil liberty advocacy groups in the UK encouraged people to email their protests in opposition to the bill.

British Parliment

Opponents state that the Bill would grant powers to the Home Secretary, or other cabinet minister to order the gathering and retaining of any "communications data" by "telecommunications operators."

The bill goes on to state that the data would be held for 12 months and that access to this data will be safeguarded and only accessible by a "designated senior officer."

Of paramount concern to opponent is the fact that the wording of bill has been left seemingly intentionally vague. The broad definitions of the terms "communications data" and &telecommunications operators" could cover anything from traditional mail to any activity on the internet.

The implications of this ability to collect and retain all of your online activities means that this data can and will be held and examined for scrutiny and usage.

The Innocence of Muslims – Aftermath

In response to the recent YouTube video, "The Innocence of Muslims" and the resulting public fervor and the ensuing violence that occurred, officials in Saudi Arabia propose global Internet regulations and censorship. Saudi officials state that there is a "crying need for international collaboration to address ‘freedom of expression’ which clearly disregards public order."

Alan Roberts stars in The Innocence of Muslims

During the violence, Google did restrict access to the 14 minute clip from YouTube, but resisted pressure from the White House and others to remove it.The Saudi government has gone on to tell the World Telecommunications Policy Forum (a UN body) that the incident was an "obvious example" of the need for greater international cooperation to restrict online content.

"Any reasonable person would know that this film would foment violence and, indeed, many innocent persons have died and been injured with this film as a root cause," the Saudi submission said.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:44 am on October 15, 2012

Categories:Internet Law,Privacy

 

EMD Insanity and Coining Phrases

It’s clearly time for Beanstalk to officially list ourselves as a sitedefibrillation solution provider.

Why? Because apparently the secret to SERP dominance with an EMD is to coin your own phrase!

Do a search for ‘coinflation’ + ‘gold’ or really, almost any other keyword to see what Google considers an ‘improved’ result following the EMD update.

Google Search results for Coinflation 
If you didn’t get something like the results above, please let us know!

 
Okay so that seems slightly silly, but how the heck did they pull that off? There’s clearly PPC/AdWords competition for the phrase, and EMD should either be a penalty or moot, shouldn’t it?

Well apparently not! In fact EMD can still clearly be an asset if the ‘quality’ scores are all above par!

This means that if you have an organic campaign, with ongoing back links/references from trusted sources, and you aren’t hitting other penalties, you really should be feeling no loss at all from the EMD update.

Indeed, if your competition was using non-organic approaches to EMDs they should have taken a trust hit, and you may see an improvement in position due to their failings!

So while I can show you some examples of the EMD apparently failing to work, we can assure you it’s working, and overall seems like a positive step for Google.

10″ Google Nexus from Samsung?

Last night CNET announced some ‘highly’ probable info that Samsung is manufacturing a new 10.1″ Nexus tablet for Google.

The article is more of a stub of hear-say but had some rather ‘exact’ details including the resolution of the display:

The 2,560×1,600 display will have a PPI (pixels per inch) of about 299, said Shim. That tops the 264 PPI on the 9.7-inch 2,048×1,536 Retina iPad.

Clearly this will be the ‘high end’ model for the Nexus line (currently manufactured by Asus), especially when you consider that Google will be releasing a 7″ Nexus subsidized down to a $99 price this December!

In fact since we’re pondering things to come more than talking facts, I’d have to assume this will be a dual or quad core device with GPU acceleration of some sort to assist with up-scaling video content and 3d games to that eye-popping resolution.

So if this high-end Nexus tablet is anything less than $399 I’d be really shocked and very worried for Apple.

Okay, perhaps more worried for Apple, would be more accurate given it’s current public affairs issues..

[iframe width="549" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JEy2u2n_XTQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

In case you’re wondering ‘who cares?’; Tim Pool goes to the streets and broadcasts unedited footage of protests/events.

I’d like to think Apple is patenting this to prevent companies from doing this, but in actual fact this is very creepy stuff from the overly litigious makers of the most expensive walled gardens on the planet.

It seems almost like Apple is testing how well their brand/product can weather bad public image at this point?

SEO news blog post by @ 11:53 am on October 9, 2012


 

Dying Online, Facebook and the Digital Afterlife

From time immemorial, countless people have looked at the stars and contemplated their existence and life’s greatest questions; What happens to us after we die? What will our legacy be? What will become of my Facebook account?

dying online

In an ever increasing digital world, this is a question that has been posed more than a few times between around the water cooler here at Beanstalk. With an ever increasing amount of users employing cloud based digital assets, and engaging in social media, many people are concerned not only for the protection of these valuable assets and intellectual property, but in preserving memories for friends and family for posterity.

A paper published law professor Jason Mazzone from the University of Illinois calls for federal government to interevene and to regulate what happens to digital accounts after an account holder’s demise.

Along with an ever increasing amount of people, Mazzone argues that social platforms and other online services have policies that do not adequately protect an individual’s intellectual property or privacy after their death.

"Virtually no law regulates what happens to a person’s online existence after his or her death," he said. "This is true even though individuals have privacy and copyright interests in materials they post to social networking sites."

In an absence of any legal regulations, social sites are unlikely to adopt any policies of their own accord that will do little to protect a users account or intellectual property. Presently there are very few regulations in place, and most sites are left developing policies on-the-fl, with little regard for the user’s data.

"It’s becoming increasingly common for people to have digital assets, and some of them do actually have value," he said. "Not only are such sites repositories of intellectual property, they also are important to family members and friends. Historians of the future will likely depend upon digital archives to reconstruct the past, which creates a real problem, particularly in an age when we don’t leave diaries, and, increasingly, people don’t write books."

Facebook’s policy is to "memorialize" the deceased’s account. All content that has been uploaded (status updates, photos & videos) are removed. The user’s wall remains intact so that individuals can express their condolences to the departed. However, the user data is not deleted by Facebook. Currently, the data is archived with the speculation that it will be held for posterity by Facebook until a such time where it can be re-purposed for historical records.

There is no system in place to state your wishes for your account after your demise (similar to a living will) and no regulations in place to appoint an executor of your estate. As the population of Facebook users begin to age, Mazzone is at the forefront of a growing movement to instill federally mandated regulations to protect the billions of Facebook and social networking users worldwide.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:43 pm on October 1, 2012


 

Google is 14 Years Old and Under Arrest

Well I guess ’14′ is not a very important number, since Google’s own birthday doodle is an animated GIF:

Google's 14th Birthday Doodle Gif
Does that really say PooP?

.. unless you count this ’14′ year old girl with ’14′ million views?

[iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lXbC1p8jaKU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

That’s evil Google, even if you didn’t actually make that the top search result for ’14 years old’, it’s very evil. ;)

Stop! Jail Time!

Speaking of unintentional evils, Google’s chief executive in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, was arrested and then released after a Brazilian court found him guilty of violating South American pre-vote election laws.

Fabio’s crime? He denied a request to have politically sensitive videos removed from YouTube.

The same judge also ordered a .5 million dollar per day ‘penalty’ for Google to pay if it continues to host the videos!

Since the videos are not in English and most of the news sources are English, finding these ‘horrible’ videos isn’t very easy.

Here’s one explaining a connection between the candidate for Mayor, Alcides Bernal, and a money laundry scheme with a co-operative taxi service.

[iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/OUPRVnnBeds?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

My Portuguese is pretty non-existent, but even without Google TranslateOpen in a New Tab, it’s pretty clear that the candidate for Mayor isn’t being promoted favorably in this video.

Google is facing similar political pressures over the recent anti-Muslim videos, including fines, however they are all currently being left online by YouTube/Google as it’s very clear that no rules of the service have been violated and removing the videos would merely make people want to share them even more.

Bearded Sikh Woman Teaches Reddit A Lesson

In fact these political types could learn a great lesson from a young Sikh woman who recently was ridiculed for not tending to her facial hair/beard over on Reddit’s r/funny boards : source

Ugly remarks like: “Transgender Sikh Dwarf” didn’t phase Balpreet!

Rather than get upset, Balpreet Kaur, took the attention as an opportunity to register with Reddit as a new user and explain herself in a calm respectful manner.

This resulted in a huge cultural awareness among the thread readers, and she is currently being hailed as an outstanding example of how to handle criticism.

Here’s the full storyOpen in a New Tab (with twitter reactions) over on CBC News.

You go girl! :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:36 pm on September 27, 2012


 

Google Forbids Online Anonymity…While Patenting It

Recently Google stated the importance of using your real (common) name so that people you want to connect with can find you. Google goes on to say that using a secondary online identity or pseudonym on its Google+ service can result in your profile in being suspended if it does not adhere to the Google Names Policy.

dafuq?

At the same time, Google has been awarded a new patent called Social Computing Personas for Protecting Identity in Online Social Interactions.

In the patent application, Google explains to the USPTO (US Patent Office) that when a user reveals their identity on the internet that it, that “it leaves them more vulnerable to stalking, identity theft and harassment.” Google’s patented solution is to provide online anonymity to social networking users using an alter ego, or anonymous identity.

pop art girl image

One can only speculate why one hand of Google is warning about the folly and penalties for not following their Names Policy, while the other hand of Google says that users are at risk if they do not protect their identity with an anonymous identity.

Has Google change its official stance regarding online anonymity? Is this a case where one hand of Google doesn’t know what the other is doing? Or is Google just avoiding putting all its eggs into one basket? And what about Mary-Lou?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:03 pm on September 19, 2012


 

New Conceited Search: Gmail in Google Web Search

Simon Cowell

I get plenty of me time doing my hair in the mirror each morning and seeing myself in store windows on the walk to work. I really cannot think of any good examples of a web search that would be better with my emails included in the results?

That isn’t stopping Google from offering this new search service to the first 1 million users that opt-in.

Here’s the link to the Gmail search field trial experiment.

Even the sample image from the Google signup page has a potential gaffe :
Gmail search example
What if I was going to Tahoe for some biking to forget that Jenny broke up with me to date Jeff Teele (my ex-bike buddy) and totally forgot she spent a summer biking in Tahoe?

And that guide from Media temple? That’s one of a few spams, year after year, again and again, that GMail can’t seem to figure out!! Way to remind me at the worst moment Google!

Actually I suppose if I was searching for a solution I’d talked about in email, forgot I’d emailed about the solution, and then did a web search looking for the solution I’d already talked about, then I might appreciate Google showing me some old email in a web search.

Not to over-use HIMYM sayings, but that would be a long walk for a short drink of water.

I tried to come up with some worse examples, like accidentally sending someone a LMGTFY link for something like “fighting” and it loads up a ton of emails you should have deleted?

Nope LMGTFY actually adds the “&pws=0″ search parameter to the Google URL and this would obviously deter Google from including Gmail in the SERPS. At least one would hope they were that wise.

I’m still waiting for my request to be approved so I can offer more than some personal perspective and conjecture.

In the mean time I might want to delete some mail I’ve been trying to forget and reconsider all the keywords I send in my emails? Hmm..

SEO news blog post by @ 10:45 am on August 9, 2012


 

SOPA and PIPA Failures & the Sneaker Net Resurgence

Why RIAA Supported SOPA and PIPA & the Sneaker Net Resurgence
We have written extensively about the move by the RIAA to curb the illegal downloading though SOPA and PIPA bills introduced last year. A leaked report shows that the RIAA never really had much faith in the SOPA/PIPA bills and even stated that it thought it was an "ineffective tool" against combating online privacy.

riaa chart illegal music sharing

In a leaked presentation given by RIAA Deputy General Counsel Vicky Sheckler last April, she states that they "never actually believed that either piece of legislation would have put a dent in music piracy." Sheckler goes on to state that the intention of the SOPA and PIPA bills were "intended to defer [copyright] infringements [by] foreign sites by obligating/encouraging intermediaries to take action," and they were "not likely to have been an effective tool for music."

The report also shows that shipments from the US music industry declined from $12.3 billion in 2005 t approximately $7 billion in 2011. What is most interesting about the report is that is shows that only 1 in 6 music files are shared over a peer to peer network and that most pirating occurs over a physical sneaker-net; via ripped music CDs or transfer from a physical hard drive to others. File sharing networks only account for barely 4% of the total downloads.

Speculation is that this increase in "sneaker-net" pirating can be attributed to the low cost and availability or large storage mediums rather than a botched attempt by the RIAA to regulate or reduce piracy. Although one can speculate that the actions by the RIAA may have encouraged rekindling of the antiquated sneaker net in the first place.

Previous SOPA/PIPA Blog Posts

SEO news blog post by @ 9:00 am on August 2, 2012


 

SOPA Friends: Internet League of America

The recording industry, agents, and vendors of music aren’t the only ones spending way too much of their profits on lobbying the government. Major internet companies that see the harm of bills like SOPA/PIPA are spending the time and money to fight back against this lobbying.

[jwplayer config="SmallThumb" mediaid="4737"]

Not to be confused with SuperFriends..

This organization is less about crime and more about reasonable expenses for making sure government is making informed decisions.

Google alone spent $3.9million in the second quarter of 2012, and $5.4million in 2012 total so far trying to help government see the internet as more than just a ‘series of tubes’.

Google isn’t alone in fighting for your rights, Amazon’s spending between Jan 2012 and June 2012 was pegged at $1.34million, EBay spent nearly as much at $827k, and Facebook also jumped into the fight for $650k of lobbying.

It stands to reason then that if they all had the same message a lot of time and money could be saved by joining forces, and this is how the Internet Association has come to be.

With Google, Amazon, EBay and Facebook already signed into the Internet Association it’s already huge and it’s still in the ‘coming soon’ phase of setting up.

This new group should not be confused with existing organizations like The Internet Defense League which are seeking other solutions to keeping people informed as to threats to online access/freedom.

A few sites (RIAA partners?) are panning this as ‘evil‘ and un-Google for companies to work together to support a shared message to the government, but I think anyone who knows the extent of SOPA/PIPA and other bills will see that spin for what it really is, fear and loathing of anything that stands in the way of an easy profit.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Appliances
Remember us writing about Kansas City dark fiber, Google’s plans to light it up, and the various media/recording industry fears/objections?

While I was composing this article on the new Internet Association I managed to eavesdrop on the details coming from the live broadcast at the launch of Google Fiber in Kansas this morning.

Google Fiber Announcement Center

Here’s what I caught (again this was just details I overheard and not officially published):

  • Google Fiber is run right to your house
  • A fiber-conversion firewall appliance converts the optical signal
  • The Google fiber-wall has built in WiFi and 4 gigabit RJ45 ports
  • The WiFi radio is very fast (no specs given) and features a guest portal system
  • Google Fiber offers TV boxes that act as WiFi boosters
  • The TV boxes stream Netflix/Youtube in HD quality with more options to follow
  • Google’s TV boxes work with Bluetooth headphones and can be controlled by Bluetooth devices
  • Currently purchasing a TV box will including a free Nexus 7 Tablet that acts as a remote control for the TV box.
  • $300 is mentioned as the ‘construction fee’ to send a Google rep to your home to install the fiber cable.
  • $120/mth for the TV and Gigabit Internet package (on 2 year contracts the $300 fee is waived)
  • $70/mth for just Gigabit fibre internet (no install fee for 1yr contracts)
  • $Free/mth 5mbps down, 1mbps up, of capped fiber access to anyone who wants to pay the $300 install fee
  • The free service option is guaranteed for anyone in the service area for 7 years
  • You can pay the $300 fee off over time if you wish as an incentive to connect everyone regardless of income levels
  • 1TB of Google Drive storage (directly linked to the Fibre) comes with the $70/mth and up packages
  • No mention of monthly data use caps, but they would need to be fairly generous

Google Fiber Building in Kansas
Apparently they are deciding which homes get fiber first by running a lobbying contest where they reward the communities that lobby other communities the most. The speaker tried to sell this as ‘doing it for Kansas’ and ‘spreading the word about what fiber really means’, but of all the announcements, there was no applause for
this.

Clearly most of Kansas is tired of waiting for Google Fiber and would like to start actually using it vs. running around ‘competing’ with other communities for the first chance to get hooked up.

It’s an odd move for Google but you have to respect that they had to find a fair way to select the first communities to get connected.

UPDATE: They have published the official Google Fiber data plans and yes, there’s NO DATA CAPS. Wow.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:25 am on July 26, 2012


 

Warez between Google and DMCA

Google has published another transparency report, and thanks to the detailed removal requests info, it’s actually a decent index of pirated content on the web.
A googlish WAREZ sign
You want something from Microsoft? Sort the report by their requests, viola, a list of offending sites that Microsoft has verified as having options to download copyrighted content.

It’s like an all you can eat buffet for people who don’t know where to find warez!

In fact the report, warez aside, has all sorts of neat statistics for the curious among us to poke at:

It’s a pretty honest bit of transparency that is very informative and handy. If you didn’t know who the top sites are in terms of pirated content, this is a great resource.

Google News – More options?

To be frank, it’s another slow news day for SEO happenings, but it prompted me to hit news.google.com with my desktop browser for a change.

Since I’m logged into a Google account on my desktop machine the Google News page loaded up a preferences panel on the left hand sidebar which I’d never known about because I use my phone for browsing Google News (usually all about world headlines if you’re not logged in).

Options panel for Google News

With these options you can:
- Choose how much of each type
- Remove news types
- Add news types (ie: Women’s Sports)
- Add/Remove Sources
- And more..

Personally, I was quite impressed by this as Google seems to really want to handle the customization and learn from your habits, vs. letting you tell them exactly what to show you.

I suppose in the long run this is a lot less of a control and more of a suggestion, like how Google bot reads a canonical tag. ;)

If you don’t use Google for News, perhaps you aught to go take a look at what they have been working on?

 

SEO news blog post by @ 1:56 pm on July 19, 2012


 

Canada’s Supreme Court Rules “Technological Neutrality” as New Copyright Principle

The Canadian Supreme Court has made a ruling on various copyright issues. The Supreme Court of Canada has made “technological neutrality” a foundational principle of Canadian copyright and effectively adopted a fair use policy.

They have ruled that ISP will not be required to pay copyright fees for their subscribers download or preview music. They court also ruled that teachers will no longer pay fees associated with the photocopying of copyrighted materials for their students.

Some feel that the new technological neutrality principle may have a huge long term effects on Canadian copyright and will pose a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules.

The technological neutrality principle is discussed in several cases, but gets its most important airing in the Entertainment Software Association of Canada v. SOCAN decision. The majority of the court states:

In our view, the Board’s conclusion that a separate, "communication" tariff applied to downloads of musical works violates the principle of technological neutrality, which requires that the Copyright Act apply equally between traditional and more technologically advanced forms of the same media: Robertson v. Thomson Corp., [2006] 2 S.C.R. 363, at para. 49.

The principle of technological neutrality is reflected in s. 3(1) of the Act, which describes a right to produce or reproduce a work "in any material form whatever".

In our view, there is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet. The Internet is simply a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user.

It seems in this case, that Canada is making strides ahead in the contentious copyright foray that has been plaguing many countries for some time. It will be noteworthy to see if a similar ruling makes its way into the American legal system.

Here are some additional sites talking about this:

SEO news blog post by @ 11:41 am on July 18, 2012


 

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