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In a move that has been long in coming Google has chosen to provide a safer environment for its patrons by blocking access to sites that appear to have malicious code.

The genius, in my opinion, is they are not blocking the sites from appearing but offering a warning under the title of a ‘harmful’ listing. The site may even appear number one and two as in the case of the search phrase “beautiful free screensaver” where the top 2 listings from the same site have the “this site may harm your computer” warning listed below the title. Read more…

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Hacker Sentenced Cinched by Searches

According to ZDNet, something interesting has occurred. A hacker taping into wireless internet connections and disrupting service has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, nearly $20,000 in restitution, and 3 years of supervised released. What makes this story interesting is the actual nail in his coffin so to speak. Read more…

Earlier this week, the board of directors of a well trafficked grassroots online news-source decided to pull Google AdWords from their site. The decision was based on the outrage its members felt over what they perceive to be Google’s collaboration with Chinese Government (PRC) officials to censor or otherwise limit content available through Google China.

It’s easy to understand why a group of social activists have become disenamored with Google over its relationship with the PRC. The details surrounding the numerous issues shared amongst activists are far too broad to mention however most people are familiar with concerns over Tibet, Human Rights and Democracy. Read more…

Yesterday, the Bush Administration asked a federal judge to order Google to give the US Government access to approximately one week of recorded searches. Read more…

Many search industry observers see click fraud as the number one threat to the growth of the Internet economy. An even greater threat has emerged one that not only places the entire infrastructure of the Internet at risk, it also threatens non-Net users. Read more…

Google Labs has released the beta version of what might become the application that changes Google’s relationship with its users forever. My Search History (beta) is an opt-in program that records your Google search history and where the search results led you, making that history available for personal viewing on any computer. Users who sign up for the service will learn a lot about how they use Google. In turn, Google will learn a lot about every user as well. Read more…

Daniel Brandt knows a lot about what Google knows about you. Having spent the past three years studying Google and the ways Google collects personal information, Brandt is the self-appointed “voice of reason” behind the Google-Watch website. In an email yesterday, Brandt expressed his continuing concerns about Google’s data collection and personal privacy. Brandt’s concerns have been exasperated by Google’s recent mission to digitalize the collections of as many libraries as possible. Read more…

Innovation in the world of search seems to come in waves with the major search engine firms appearing to follow each other’s lead in the development of new products, tools and services. Witness today’s introduction of a desktop search/toolbar by MSN. Search engines are standardizing their services around the basic business model of contextual ad delivery and introducing new products and features designed to win the loyalty of new users and retain the loyalty of old ones. The past year has been one of the most expansive and interesting in the world of search since day one. Two major trends, personalization and localization, combined with the competitive necessity to gain users and advertisers provided the foundation for development of desktop search applications and the immense number of toolbars available now. The goal of all major search firms is to offer results that are relevant to an individual searchers’ profile in the least steps possible. User adoption of toolbars and desktop search are major steps in accomplishing that goal. Read more…

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Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Yahoo Anti-Spy Toolbar

Yahoo has released a new version of its toolbar that targets, explains and eliminates spy-ware and ad-ware programs. Installed without user knowledge, spy-ware and ad-ware programs monitor your movement, your words and your communications. With spy-ware, information is fed back to the writer of the software. They sell that information to whomever wants to pay for it. You should know, that information is often personal, useful and identifiable. Important stuff like credit card numbers are NOT safe on your computer screen unless you are certain your computer is free of spyware. Ad-ware is slightly different in that it feeds advertising to your machine based on your surfing behaviors. A quick way to check for one form of ad-ware is to look in the upper left hand corner of your browser window. Do you see a small Netscape logo or an Internet Explorer logo, or do you see the logo for your local radio station? (this does not apply to MAC users or users of alternative browsers). Most ad-ware is more subtle than that though. If you don’t have another means of removing spyware and adware, try Yahoo’s new toolbar. Just a quick note though… Like the Google toolbar, the Yahoo toolbar feeds information back to its maker.

Cyberspace is a lot like the real world except in one major field, privacy. In the real world, people have privacy. In cyberspace you are a series of identifiable numbers often being watched from many directions at the same time. Your email, “private” chats, and the website’s you visit are all read and/or recorded in one way or another. Paradoxically, people operating in cyberspace tend to feel more anonymous than a person walking down a crowded public street. They are not, as is proven by the number of vigilante sites being established to bust suspected pedophiles, scammers and other social miscreants. Recently, a site known as Perverted Justice was established to lure and catch pedophiles in chat-rooms. What they do is pose as a minor and seduce older males into agreeing to meet. Once an arrangement is made and solidified, members of Perverted Justice set about finding as much information on the alleged pedophile as possible. They then use that information to harass the alleged pedophile in any way possible. Postering his neighborhood and calling his employer are two of many means of harassment.

Sometimes cited as being online heroes, the vigilantes often forget a central tenant of law in a free society, the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Another extremely important right that is a pillar of our justice systems is the right to face your accuser in court.

I hate pedophiles and would personally like to see them jailed and forced into counseling. My love of western democratic values however forces me to say that vigilante justice is often justice perverted.