Google workers in the US and Canada have formed a union

More than 200 staff at Google’s parent company Alphabet have formed the Alphabet Workers Union, which is open to all employees across the US and Canada. The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) announced its formation on Monday after a year of running off-radar. The union says it aims to promote inclusivity, push for more transparency for employees, and ensure Alphabet acts ethically. Google has come under fire from both workers and ethicists over workplace sexual harassment, targeted drone strike technology, and the recent firing of AI researcher Dr. Timnit Gebru.

— source | Jan 4, 2021

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The CIA helped sell a mapping startup to Google. Now they won’t tell us why

I just got a very interesting letter from the Central Intelligence Agency.

It came in response to a FOIA request I put in regarding a decade-old business transaction between the CIA and Google. Not only did the CIA deny my request, but it refused to admit or not admit that records pertaining to this transaction even existed — all in the name of national security.

Let me explain…

As Pando readers might recall, I’m currently writing a book on “Surveillance Valley” — how tech giants are building the biggest private surveillance network the world has ever known. In the course of investigating the book, I’ve been digging deeper into Google’s relationship with US military industrial complex.

I’m trying to pinpoint as best I can the moment when Google began transitioning from being a consumer-oriented Internet search company into the hybrid military-intelligence contractor that it is today.

One of the first big milestones in this transformation took place in November 2004 when Google acquired a tiny and little-known 3-D mapping startup called Keyhole Inc. Google paid an undisclosed sum for the company, immediately absorbed it, and began turning its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. The acquisition would have gone unnoticed, had it not been for one not-so-tiny detail: Keyhole Inc was part-owned by the CIA and the “National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency” (NGA), a

— source | | Jul 1, 2015

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Google says it will not renew Project Maven

but collaboration with Pentagon will continue

On Friday, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene announced at a meeting with employees that the company will not renew its contract with the Pentagon for Project Maven following its expiry in 2019. Under the program, which Google entered in September last year, the company has provided the military with artificial intelligence software to perform real-time analysis of drone surveillance footage. The technology allows the Pentagon to develop its illegal drone assassination program that has killed thousands across the Middle East and North Africa.

Yesterday’s announcement is a response to widespread and mounting opposition from Google employees and the public to its collaboration with the military. The program only came to light as a result of opposition by employees

While Google claims it will not renew the contract, it will be involved with the project for the rest of the year, and will continue to deepen its intimate collaboration with the Pentagon.

— source | Will Morrow | 2 Jun 2018

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Neil Young spent $20,000 to Disengage Website from ‘Corrupt’ Facebook and Google

Neil Young says he’s spending $20,000 to eliminate Facebook and Google logins to his Archives website because of policies regarding the forthcoming presidential election. “Facebook knowingly allows untruths and lies in its political ads to circulate on the platform, while bots sow discord among users,” the announcement reads in part. “Sowing dissent and chaos in our country via political disinformation is something we cannot condone. Simply put, Facebook is screwing with our election.” He wrote, “Trying to disengage from the corrupt social platform is a costly and time-consuming process for NYA”.

— source | Aug 11, 2020

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Google attacking small business

My name is Brian Warner and I’m writing this testimony today to share my experiences as the founder of a website called CelebrityNetWorth (CNW) aims to provide accurate and informative content about the finances of notable people to an audience of dedicated users and curious individuals.
In July 2012, when users performed “net worth” searches for a handful of our most famous entries,Google began displaying thenumeric answer from our site directly at the top of the search result page. Imagine a large bold number taking up one-third of the result page. No attribution wasgiven to any source, even though the numbers were clearly unique and original to CNW. I declined Google’s request to provide an API to our data. Bymid-2015, Google began displaying “Featured Snippet”net worth answer boxes for roughly 1,000 of the most popularcelebritiesin the world. CNW’s traffic dropped 20% from this release. But the worst was yet to come. Our traffic plummeted by 50% overnight. Today our traffic is 80% lower than it was in 2014

— source | Brian Warner | July 16, 2019

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French court upholds ruling fining Google for data protection violations

The highest administrative court in France on Friday upheld a previous ruling ordering Google to pay a fine of around $56 million for not being transparent about Android data privacy practices. The French Council of State ruled that Google had violated the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by not providing sufficient “transparency” for Android users on how their data would be used for targeted advertisements, according to the translated French ruling. The council upheld a previous 2019 ruling by France’s National Data Protection Commission, or CNIL, that sanctioned Google for breaching the GDPR by making it difficult for users to understand how their personal data was being used.

— source | 06/19/20

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Google faces $5 billion lawsuit for tracking people in incognito mode

Google faces a proposed class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of invading people’s privacy and tracking internet use even when browsers are set to “private” mode. The suit, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Google violates wiretapping and privacy laws by continuing to “intercept, track, and collect communications” even when people use Chrome’s incognito mode and other private web browser modes. “Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” reads the complaint. The search giant surreptitiously collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plug-ins and other applications, including mobile apps, according to the complaint. The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion from Google and its parent company, Alphabet, according to Reuters.

— source | Jun 3, 2020

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