Alphabet Google Factoid: Media Spend Control

May 31, 2016

I noted “Google Now Controls 12 Percent of All Global Media Spend.” My immediate reaction was, “Just 12 percent.” I assumed that the Alphabet Google thing had cornered much more of the media spend. I learned:

Alphabet controls 12 percent of all global media spend, which primarily comes from Google and YouTube’s ad sales. The company collects $60 billion in U.S. ad spend—a figure 166 percent larger than No. 2 ranking The Walt Disney Company. To compare, Google’s ad revenue was 136 percent larger than Walt Disney last year. Alphabet’s overall ad revenue is up 17 percent year-over-year.

Google is not without competition. I love “competition” in the online digital world. The write up points out:

Facebook in particular continues to become an advertising juggernaut. The social network jumped from No. 10 in 2015 to No. 5 this year, making it the fastest-growing company on Zenith’s list with 65 percent year-over-year growth. Chinese Internet company Baidu is the second fastest-growing company, with ad revenues up 52 percent.

I am not an ad expert. I certainly don’t know anything about media spend. After 15 years of slogging, the 12 percent figure strikes me as interesting. It seems that in a shorter time period, Facebook has been the hot item. Search or social media? Which is the “winner”? Both? Who are the losers?

Traditional media. Another surprise?

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2016

What Is Hot? Search Does Not Make the Cut

May 31, 2016

I came across an infographic; that is, chart. You may want to take a look at “What’s Hot (And Not) In Early Stage Tech.” If the information is spot on you could make some real money or not. You won’t be able to read this due to the sizing conventions of this fine blogging software and the very hip colors in which the data are presented.

What's Hot (And Not) In Early Stage Tech

The winners are the words which crop up in news releases; for example, artificial intelligence, drones, the Internet of Things, etc. The hottest of these hot categories is Slack. There’s your tip. Ad, maybe?

The losers, quite surprisingly, do not include search or content processing. The doggies range from water (bummer) to bitcoin (bummer bummer).

What about semantic search, natural language processing, enterprise search, open source, and my personal favorite cognitive computing. There are in neither list. Yikes.

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2016

Considering an Epistemology of the Dark Web

May 31, 2016

The comparisons of Nucleus to Silk Road are rolling in. An article from Naked Security by Sophos recently published Dark Web marketplace “Nucleus” vanishes – and no one knows why. This piece echoes the questions those following this story have wondered. Was it attacked by ransomware? Maybe they were busted? The article also offers the low-down on how Tor works to explain why accurate investigations into the Dark Web are challenging. We learned,

“That’s why Tor also supports so-called hidden services, which have special URLs ending .onion, where your anonymised network requests are not only bounced around inside the Tor network, but also processed and answered from inside Tor. This makes it hard to find the servers behind a hidden service, which in turn makes it hard to block that service, even if it’s clearly breaking the law by selling firearms improperly or trafficking in illegal drugs. This, in turn, means it’s hard to measure what’s really going on in the Dark Web, and how many underground marketplaces exist to bring buyers and sellers together.”

We found it refreshing this piece reiterated how data about the Dark Web is not easy to pinpoint. From several tens of thousands of Dark Web sites to much lower counts, many cybersecurity groups and researchers seem certain they have the right number. But to continue on the endless hypotheses train related to the nucleus disappearance, we’ll weigh in. Maybe law enforcement outside the US operated the site? Just a thought.


Megan Feil, May 31, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The Google Knowledge Vault Claimed to Be the Future

May 31, 2016

Back in 2014, I heard rumors that the Google Knowledge Vault was supposed to be the next wave of search.  How many times do you hear a company or a product making the claim it is the next big thing?  After I rolled my eyes, I decided to research what became of the Knowledge Vault and I found an old article from Search Engine Land: “Google ‘Knowledge Vault’ To Power Future Of Search.” Google Knowledge Graph was used to supply more information to search results, what we now recognize as the summarized information at the top of Google search results.  The Knowledge Vault was supposedly the successor and would rely less on third party information providers.

“Sensationally characterized as ‘the largest store of knowledge in human history,’ Knowledge Vault is being assembled from content across the Internet without human editorial involvement. ‘Knowledge Vault autonomously gathers and merges information from across the web into a single base of facts about the world, and the people and objects in it,’ says New Scientist. Google has reportedly assembled 1.6 billion “facts” and scored them according to confidence in their accuracy. Roughly 16 percent of the information in the database qualifies as ‘confident facts.’”

Knowledge Vault was also supposed to give Google a one up in the mobile search market and even be the basis for artificial intelligence applications.  It was a lot of hoopla, but I did a bit more research and learned from Wikipedia that Knowledge Vault was nothing more than a research paper.

Since 2014, Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech companies have concentrated their efforts and resources on developing artificial intelligence and integrating it within their products.  While Knowledge Vault was a red herring, the predictions about artificial intelligence were correct.


Whitney Grace, May 31, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Alphabet Google: An NHS Explainer

May 30, 2016

I read “Did Google’s NHS Patient Data Deal Need Ethical Approval?” As I thought about the headline, my reaction was typically Kentucky, “Is this mom talking or what?”

The write up states:

Now, a New Scientist investigation has found that Google DeepMind deployed a medical app called Streams for monitoring kidney conditions without first contacting the relevant regulatory authority. Our investigation also asks whether an ethical approval process that covers this kind of data transfer should have been obtained, and raises questions about the basis under which Royal Free is sharing data with Google DeepMind.

I hear, “Did you clean up your room, dear?”

The notion of mining data has some charm among some folks in the UK. The opportunity to get a leg up on other outfits has some appeal to the Alphabet Google crowd.

The issue is, “Now that the horse has left the barn, what do we do about it?” Good question if you are a mom type. Ask any teenager about Friday night. Guess what you are likely to learn.

The write up continues:

Minutes from the Royal Free’s board meeting on 6 April make the trust’s relationship with DeepMind explicit: “The board had agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Google DeepMind to form a strategic partnership to develop transformational analytics and artificial intelligence healthcare products building on work currently underway on an acute kidney failure application.” When New Scientist asked for a copy of the memorandum of understanding on 9 May, Royal Free pushed the request into a Freedom of Information Act request.

I recall a statement made by a US official. It may be germane to this question about medical data. The statement: “What we say is secret is secret.” Perhaps this applies to the matter in question.

I circled this passage:

The HRA confirmed to New Scientist that DeepMind had not started the approval process as of 11 May. “Google is getting data from a hospital without consent or ethical approval,” claims Smith. “There are ethical processes around what data can be used for, and for a good reason.”

And Alphabet Google’s point of view? I highlighted this paragraph:

“Section 251 assent is not required in this case,” Google said in a statement to New Scientist. “All the identifiable data under this agreement can only ever be used to assist clinicians with direct patient care and can never be used for research.”

I don’t want to draw any comparisons between the thought processes in some Silicon Valley circles and the Silicon Fen. Some questions:

  • Where is that horse?
  • Who owns the horse?
  • What secondary products have been created from the horse?

My inner voice is saying, “Hit the butcher specializing in horse meat maybe.”

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2016

The New Shakespeare: The Oracle Anti Google Slide Deck

May 30, 2016

Yep, it is Sunday. You may be thinking about your next presentation. I would suggest that you navigate to “How Oracle Made Its Case against Google, in Pictures.” I don’t know much about great writing, but I do have a nose for a killer PowerPoint. Believe me. Oracle’s legal eagles crafted a Julius Caesar or Macbeth grade set of slides for its current Google dust up. My thought is that if you are working to convince folks to decide a multi billion dollar matter in your favor, you will want to check out the Oracle work.

Here is one slide or image from what appears to be a reliable source:


I know that it is not readable. The main point is that Oracle alleges that the Alphabet Google thing “copied line for line” 11,000 lines of code.

I don’t have a dog in the fight. I did find it amusing that this allegedly accurate slide quotes Alphabet Googlers. I believe the phrase is “hoisted by one’s own petard.” I am not sure what it means, but my inner voice says that a petard doing the hoisting for one’s own person is not what the doctor ordered:


Oh, before I forget, the write up begins with an allegedly accurate quote from an Alphabet Googler. The statement is, “I wanted to win.” When I read the line, I thought the person allegedly making the statement was Peter Thiel. An errant thought.

The only problem… Oracle lost. Go, Alphabet.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2016

Hacktivists Become Educators on Dark Web

May 30, 2016

A well-known hactivist group is putting themselves out there on the Dark Web. International Business Times reported on the collective’s new chatroom in a piece entitled Anonymous hackers launch dark web chatroom OnionIRC to teach next generation of hacktivists. Anoynmous intends to teach those interested in hacktivism about the basics: coding, encryption and even history. IBT journalists went undercover and logged into the chat room to learn more about the next generation of hacktivists. Reporting back, the article states,

“[we] found roughly 40 people logged in and talking about topics, such as GPG encryption, NSA surveillance and how the government reportedly installs backdoors into computer software. According to HackRead, which first reported on the chatroom, the IRC has at times been particularly dysfunctional. Indeed, during our time in the chatroom, some of the contributors appeared to lack any hacking knowledge at all. “I want to learn Bash. Beginner level. Where should I start?” wrote one anonymous contributor. “With a Bash Book,” came the reply. This group, at least in its current form, is a far-cry from the more sophisticated and feared members that in the past have been known to hack federal agencies and assist in global political uprisings.”

This article’s reference to the “next generation of hacktivists” calls to mind a question about the age demographics of Dark Web users. Our bet is that, while they may tend young, there is likely to be significant representation from a variety of age groups. While it’s captured media attention, the Dark Web is no new phenomenon.


Megan Feil, May 30, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Financial Institutes Finally Realize Big Data Is Important

May 30, 2016

One of the fears of automation is that human workers will be replaced and there will no longer be any more jobs for humanity.  Blue-collar jobs are believed to be the first jobs that will be automated, but bankers, financial advisors, and other workers in the financial industry have cause to worry.  Algorithms might replace them, because apparently people are getting faster and better responses from automated bank “workers”.

Perhaps one of the reasons why bankers and financial advisors are being replaced is due to their sudden understanding that “Big Data And Predictive Analytics: A Big Deal, Indeed” says ABA Banking Journal.  One would think that the financial sector would be the first to embrace big data and analytics in order to keep an upper hand on their competition, earn more money, and maintain their relevancy in an ever-changing world.   They, however, have been slow to adapt, slower than retail, search, and insurance.

One of the main reasons the financial district has been holding back is:

“There’s a host of reasons why banks have held back spending on analytics, including privacy concerns and the cost for systems and past merger integrations. Analytics also competes with other areas in tech spending; banks rank digital banking channel development and omnichannel delivery as greater technology priorities, according to Celent.”

After the above quote, the article makes a statement about how customers are moving more to online banking over visiting branches, but it is a very insipid observation.  Big data and analytics offer the banks the opportunity to invest in developing better relationships with their customers and even offering more individualized services as a way to one up Silicon Valley competition.  Big data also helps financial institutions comply with banking laws and standards to avoid violations.

Banks do need to play catch up, but this is probably a lot of moan and groan for nothing.  The financial industry will adapt, especially when they are at risk of losing more money.  This will be the same for all industries, adapt or get left behind.  The further we move from the twentieth century and generations that are not used to digital environments, the more we will see technology integration.

Whitney Grace, May 30, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Cut It Up and Sell Off the Parts

May 28, 2016

Someone called me to alert me to Hewlett Packard Enterprise was doing the mitosis approach to financial goodness. As you recall, gentle reader, Hewlett Packard chopped itself in half, emulating Solomon’s approach to shared custody. One part was printers and ink. The other part was everything not part of the printers and ink deal.

The resulting non ink outfit was dubbed Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The solution to HP’s revenue problems was to create two companies, make bankers happy, and ponder what to do next. The answer according to “Hewlett Packard Enterprise Surges on Move to Merge Services Unit with CSC,” is to create an HP outfit and a spinoff/merger deal.

The write up states:

The union will create a “a pure-play, global IT services powerhouse,” said HP Enterprise in a statement.

The HPE entity will sell hardware. The HP-CSC entity which seems to be called Spinco. Spinco suggests spin off or spin out and reminds me of PR spin. HPE is now free to become a big dog because the annoying little puppies like printers and ink and the thrilling EDS operation are at a minimum an arm’s length away.

I recall a series of MBA type paragraphs published by ZDNet. Hey, a listicle dragged out over six weeks is ideal for the mobile phone researcher. Navigate to ”Worst Tech Mergers and Acquisitions.” Number one with a bullet was HP and Compaq. HP also made the list at Number four with its purchase of Autonomy. Not bad 40 percent of the top five worst deals of all time in the eyes of the really expert ZDNet researchers.

I once tracked Autonomy closely. I have included information about IDOL in the forthcoming Palantir Notebook we are finalizing. In the last couple of years, Autonomy faded from my radar. Obviously it is not a giant blip on the HPE control room either.

Several questions/observations are warranted:

  • Is it now time for the top brass at HPE to withdraw from the field of battle now that the corporate aircraft carrier has been refitted and once again sea worthy?
  • What happens to those luck licensees of various Autonomy technologies?
  • Will HPE continue to grow its revenues and once again hit the $100 billion in revenue mark?
  • Will People Magazine cover the party the legal eagles, accountants, and financial institutions which worked on the deal will hold at the La Quinta in South San Francisco?

From my vantage point in Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky, I am not sure that the newly painted HPE will be able to match the performance of other, more modern money machines.

Stephen E Arnold, May 28, 2016

From My Palantir Archive: Security

May 27, 2016

I was curious about my notes about Palantir and its security capabilities. I have some digital and paper files. I print out some items and tuck them in a folder labeled “Hobbits.” In my Hobbit folder was:

Q.&A.: Guarding Personal Data From Abuse by Insiders, October 14, 2015

You may be able to locate a copy of this story by searching the New York Times or by going to your local library and using its OPAC. If that doesn’t work, you may have to delve into the flagging world of commercial databases.

In the write up, I noticed that I had circled in tell-the-truth blue this passage:

For privacy, the main worry may not be hackers as much as bad actions by authorized users. A useful concept in information system architecture is accountability oversight. Flagging people who misuse things. Revealing private things only by degree. Having access controls.

I thought of this because Buzzfeed has published a couple of write ups based on Palantir’s own information. Presumably the information could not have come from insiders because Palantir’s own security professional referenced the firm’s auditing capability.

The idea, as I understand it, is that one can use Palantir’s logs to “walk back the cat” and identify a person or persons who might have taken an action to reveal company information.

I also circled:

When a data breach is exposed, it’s a discrete event. You know what will happen, for the most part. Marketing is directed at a lifestyle.

Yeah, but Buzzfeed has published two articles and both struck me as deriving factoids from different sources.

With Socom embracing Palantir for maybe three years, my question is, “Does Palantir have safeguards in place which will make a third Buzzfeed type article a low probability or 0.000001 event?

Yikes, two articles based on what may be leaked internal information. What happens if sensitive military information goes walkabout?

I assume there is no such thing as a Hobbit alert? I need to read The Architecture of Privacy, an O’Reilly book written by Palantirians or Hobbits. I hope this is not a do-as-I-say, not a do-as-I-do thing.

Stephen E Arnold, May 27, 2016

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta