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Google & China Have A Program Linking Phone Numbers To Searches

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(Via Zerohedge)

A prototype of Google’s censored search engine for China links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, “thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries,” reports The Intercept.

The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, revolves around the Android platform and is designed to remove content deemed by government officials to be sensitive or offensive – such as information about protests, free speech, political dissidents, democracy and human rights violations.

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.

the search platform also appeared to have been tailored to replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by an unnamed source in Beijing. The Chinese government has a record of manipulating details about pollution in the country’s cities. One Google source said the company had built a system, integrated as part of Dragonfly, that was “essentially hardcoded to force their [Chinese-provided] data.” -The Intercept

“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” says Human Rights Watch senior internet research Cynthia Wong. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”

Human rights groups have slammed Dragonfly, insisting that it could result in Google “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.”

(Full Article Here)

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Politics

“Legal Remedies” Coming For Tech Censorship?

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(Via Washington Examiner)

Rep. Devin Nunes said he is looking at possible legal action against Twitter over the “shadow banning” fiasco that temporarily decreased the visibility he and other Republicans had on the social media platform.

Last week, Vice News reported that Nunes, along with several other conservative Republican figures, were harder to find on Twitter as their accounts did not show up on the auto-populated drop-down search box.

“It sure looks to me like they are censoring people and they ought to stop it. We are looking at any legal remedies to go through,” Nunes, R-Calif., said at the end of a Sunday morning interview on Fox News.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nunes’ comments follow a tweet by President Trump saying “We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once!”

Those GOP individuals who were effected by the “shadow banning” debacle didn’t completely disappear from Twitter — their profiles did appear when a full search was conducted — but they did express ire at what they said could be a politically charged maneuver to make it less convenient for users to find them. These GOP figures — Nunes, along with Reps. Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Mark Meadows, as well as Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel — felt the impact along with controversial right-wing figures, including Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

(Full Story Here)

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Tech

Tesla AI Accelerated, Hitting Parked Vehicle

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(Via Zerohedge)

Things have gone from bad to worse for Tesla and its autopilot feature, after the police results from a recent Salt Lake City crash were released, indicating hat not only was the car was in Autopilot mode when it crashed into a stopped firetruck, but also that it sped up seconds before the moment of impact.

The police report was detailed as follows:

A Tesla Model S that crashed into a parked firetruck on a Utah highway this month while in its Autopilot mode sped up prior to the accident, a police report says.

Data retrieved from the sedan shows that it picked up speed for 3.5 seconds shortly before the collision in South Jordan, according to the Associated Press. The acceleration from 55 mph to 60 mph suggests that the Tesla had been following a slower car that then moved out of the way, allowing the Tesla to resume the higher speed that the Autopilot system had been set at.

Furthermore, the car did not warn the driver ahead of the collision, even as the driver may have been taking a cue from Elon’s Model 3 reveal, where he told people they could “sleep” in their car: to wit, the driver had her hands off the wheel for 80 seconds and was admittedly looking at her cell phone at the moment of the crash:

The driver, Heather Lommatzsch, told police that she had been looking at her phone and claimed the Tesla did not provide any warnings that it was about to crash. The car’s log said that her hands had been off of the steering wheel for 80 seconds leading up to the impact, and that she applied the brakes less than a second before hitting the firetruck, which was blocking the lane to protect the scene of a previous accident.

Lommatzsch said she had owned the car for two years and used the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature on all sorts of roadways, including on the Utah highway where she crashed, according to the report. She said the car did not provide any audio or visual warnings before the crash. A witness told police she did not see signs the car illuminated its brake lights or swerved to avoid the truck ahead of it. Meanwhile, the NTSB said it is investigating the May 11 crash.

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Politics

Trump Jr. vs Zuckerberg | Instagram Search Censorship

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(Washington Examiner Reports)

Donald Trump Jr. is furious with Instagram because he says the social media platform issued a warning to users searching his name.

After noticing a massive loss of followers in the past few weeks, President Trump’s oldest son claimed to have discovered a warning message issued to Instagram users and expressed his outrage in a post to the platform Friday night.

“REALLY?!?! Are you fricken kidding me? @zuck this is insane,” he wrote. “I get that my 3 year old Chloe can be pretty aggressive as are a few of my humorous memes, but this is ridiculous. If this account ‘could cause harm and even lead to death’ we have serious problems.”

The message that Trump Jr. is referencing said: “Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death. If you’re going through something difficult, we’d like to help.”

When the Washington Examiner attempted to replicate what Trump Jr.’s video shows in a search for his name, the warning message did not show up.

(Full Article)

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