I found this interesting story via Slashdot about what has to be the most depressing job one could have at Google—or quite possibly anywhere. This is a side of Google and the Internet that no one really talks about. Imagine having to filter out the most horrid and vile content on the web known to mankind on a daily basis. You are viewing every hate speech site, bestiality video, child porn site and other gruesome content. Eventually this kind of work is going to have an affect on your mental well-being. Sadly, the person who was doing this work for Google eventually had to end up going to therapy. Even more sad was the fact that he wasn’t hired full-time and was let go by Google in the end.
Just think about it. We take for granted the web services we rely on every day. Behind Twitter, Facebook, Google, Tumblr and other web apps, search engines and social networks are numerous people toiling away in obscurity filtering out the worst the Internet has to offer. We owe these people our gratitude for a job well done.
This is absolutely ridiculous. These corporations want to repatriate all of these profits and get a free ride in the process.
Independent studies have found that the last time this tax break was tried, in 2004, the bargain rate for bringing home offshore profits did little to spur hiring or domestic investment. Most of the money was used to buy back stock.
If this were done it would cost the US 78.7 billion dollars. The corporate lobbyists who are advocating for this are saying that it would help the economy. Just like how corporate welfare has helped the economy so far?
Update – I happened to see this story on the Common Dreams website today referring to the last time a tax holiday of this sort was tried and the massive layoffs that ensued.
Fifty-eight corporations that accounted for 70 percent of overseas profits repatriated under the 2004-2005 tax break collectively saved $64 billion in taxes, then cut 600,000 jobs through layoffs, the report said.
So why would you trust these corporations to do the right thing now?
Google’s filtering capabilities is too smart for its own good. Here it bans the ad of writer for The Nation.
Perhaps Joseph Heller or some other master of dark comedy would have enjoyed this. I just received e-mail notice from Google that it has suspended an online ad for my new book, which raises questions about the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, killing over 200,000 people — claiming that it “promotes violence.”
“Having prosecuted the Microsoft case, its seems to me that Google, as a monopoly, is engaging in the same tactics to keep its dominant position as Microsoft was engaging in,” Miller says. “Those are the same tactics that got Microsoft in trouble.”
via DOJs Microsoft prosecutor: Google is a monopoly – Mar. 31, 2011.
The thing is how would you brake Google up? Would Google Docs have to be its own company?
Despite the cowboy outlaw connotations, black-hat services are not illegal, but trafficking in them risks the wrath of Google. The company draws a pretty thick line between techniques it considers deceptive and “white hat” approaches, which are offered by hundreds of consulting firms and are legitimate ways to increase a site’s visibility. Penney’s results were derived from methods on the wrong side of that line, says Mr. Pierce. He described the optimization as the most ambitious attempt to game Google’s search results that he has ever seen.“
Actually, it’s the most ambitious attempt I’ve ever heard of,” he said. “This whole thing just blew me away. Especially for such a major brand. You’d think they would have people around them that would know better.”
via Search Optimization and Its Dirty Little Secrets – NYTimes.com.
A new form of ethics has emerged for the Internet age. Clearly, someone responsible for the JC Penny search rankings has not yet accepted the ethical quandary of gaming a search engine. JC Penny says they are not responsible however….ahem. There are no fingerprints is what I should say.
So I just finished reading a book called Making a Killing: How and Why Corporations Used Armed Force to Do Business. In the book we learn about corporations who are willing to go into hostile areas just so they can gain access to a state’s natural resources. Whether it is diamonds, oil or Coltan corporations will overlook the evil that governments do so they can develop and sell these resources. The know full well that the money that these governments receive from the work of the corporations goes to fund weapons, militias and armies.
I think that what Google and others are doing in China can be comparable. Sure China is not probably as ruthless as the dictatorships in Africa where the book is based. But empowering a state which is not democratic by providing it with the technological infrastructure that Google and other firms possess can’t be look upon favorably, can it?
Those Chinese hackers are rather sophisticated indeed. When blogger Noel Hidalgo went to China and was picked up & deported for filming a protest with his cell phone. He noticed that someone had also hacked his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Now Google is saying they’ve finally had enough? No more bending to the will of the Great Fire Wall of China?
Google said it had evidence to suggest that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts” of Chinese human rights activists. The attack was discovered in December.
Based on its investigation to date, Google said it does not believe the cyber attack succeeded. “Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves,” the companysaid in a blog posting.
But David Drummond, Google senior vice president and chief legal officer, added that the attacks “have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.”
For the moment it would appear that Google is saber rattling. But even if they are it will be interesting to see how China responds.
From the NY Times:
“Every American I’ve talked to says: ‘Dude, it’s ridiculous that we’re not doing everything we can to keep you in the country. We need people like you!’ ” he said.
“The people of America get it,” he added. “And in a matter of time, I think current lawmakers are going to realize how dumb they’re being.”
Immigrants like Mr. Mavinkurve are the lifeblood of Google and Silicon Valley, where half the engineers were born overseas, up from 10 percent in 1970. Google and other big companies say the Chinese, Indian, Russian and other immigrant technologists have transformed the industry, creating wealth and jobs.
I have nothing against immigrants since my parents were immigrants themselves. I also admire Mr. Mavinkurve for the drive that has gotten him to where he is now. It is quite amazing that he was there at the inception of Facebook and played a major role in some of Google’s product releases. But the question I have to ask is why are we not focusing on educating the American workforce? We make a college education here so unaffordable. We end up saddling college students with thousands of dollars of debt in the form of student loans. If you ever have a chance to read Strapped by Tamara Draut you’ll see what it’s like for twenty-and-thirty somethings in the age we are in. I’m part of the strapped generation make no mistake about it, but my own personal circumstance is best left for another blog post.
There’s no reason why the programmers, designers and engineers the country so desperately needs, not only for web & IT related fields, but for the new Green Economy can’t come from within our borders. We have hundreds of thousands of young people who can’t get into college or complete or further their education because of debt. Got Tuition? Many of us need it.
All in all, immigration is a good thing for America. The problem is that corporations are looking to bring people in from out of the country first not last. The have some reasons for doing this, obviously our education system has major problems as I’ve already mentioned.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that there is also another issue concerning corporations and the visas they seek. Not all of them are like Google wanting to bring people into the country. There have been occurrences of corporations abusing H1-b visas and even worse the workers who come in under H2-b visas. Regarding the H1-b visas their abuse usually has to do with corporations using the visas to outsource American jobs.
Trustbusters divided on next move on Google
That’s the question facing lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice investigating Google. Sources who have provided testimony to the government say a departmental debate revolves around whether antitrust regulators should challenge Google’s proposed revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo, or go for the whole enchilada–and haul Google into court on broader charges related to its dominance in search advertising.
While I feel that the government needs to disallow the merger of Yahoo! and Google over search word advertising. I don’t think you want to go too far and challenge Google’s dominance in search advertising by itself. As long as there is a fair and just open market for competition, you have to let Google be the dominant search advertising corporation. If Yahoo! or some other search company were more popular then they’d be the dominant ones pulling in search advertising revenue. And as long as fair competition is allowed that could be a hypothetical reality.
There’s a difference between success and a monopoly. Microsoft was a success with Windows but it still faces competition from Linux and Apple’s operating systems—even though Windows—like Google—is the dominant player in it’s field. Hypothetically one day Ubuntu or Leopard could be the leader. Microsoft was monopoly-like when they tried to force everyone to use Internet Explorer because it was tied in with their OS.
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I think it’s great that Google is creating so called “net neutrality” tools to monitor ISP’s who are doing wrong.
In response, the Federal Communications Commission announced it would investigate the charges, and in May, a bill was re-introduced into Congress that would rewrite U.S. antitrust law to prohibit network operators like AT&T and Comcast from blocking, impairing, or discriminating against “lawful” Internet content, applications, and services or charging extra fees for “prioritization or enhanced quality of service.”