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Google to the French: Wrong to Be Forgotten

July 31, 2015

i read “Google Says Non to French Demand to Expand Right to Be Forgotten Worldwide.” When third parties want the GOOG to do something, those suggestions face headwinds. It is okay for the Google to terminate unused Gmail accounts. It is okay for the Google to nuke APIs. It is okay for the Google to deliver “relevant” results which are beyond the statistical embrace of precision and recall analyses.

But when a third party wants to be forgotten? According to the write up from the increasingly anti Google folks in the UK, I learned:

Google has rejected the French data protection authority’s demand that it censor search results worldwide in order to comply with the European Court of Justice’s so-called right to be forgotten ruling. The company’s rejection of the ruling could see its French subsidiary facing daily fines, although no explicit sanction has yet been declared.

The write up also reminded me of Google’s official view of third party requests to be forgotten:

In a blog post, Peter Fleischer, Google’s Global Privacy Counsel, said: “We believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users – currently around 97% – access a European version of Google’s search engine like, rather than or any other version of Google.” Additionally, Fleischer added, the company is concerned that complying with the French courts could potentially set a precedent that one country’s laws can control access to content globally.

My hunch is that Google wants its policies and procedures applied globally. Google has suggested that some nation states alter their behavior to better mesh with the Googley universe.

Standing by for more Google vs. France dust ups.

Stephen E Arnold, July 31, 2015

SharePoint Gets Serious with Information Governance

March 19, 2015

SharePoint has enjoyed continued success over the last 15 years, but it has not been without some bumps along the way. Information governance is one of the noted areas in which Share has fallen flat. Read more in the CMS Wire article, “Keeping SharePoint In Check with Information Governance.”

The article begins:

“Historically, SharePoint was thought to cause as many information governance problems as it solved. The 2001 to 2003 versions did not show Microsoft putting much effort into helping customers with information governance. But after the massive take up of SharePoint Portal Server 2007 licenses, and the often negative conversations coming out of the sizable SharePoint user community, Microsoft started to take governance issues seriously.”

In addition to keep an eye on your news feed for the latest SharePoint buzz, staying tuned to experts in the field is a great way to save time and get pointed information pertaining to improving a SharePoint installation. Stephen E. Arnold has one such SharePoint feed on his Web site, Focusing on tips, tricks, and news, Arnold collocates much of content that users and managers alike will find helpful for navigating day-to-day SharePoint operations.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 19, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at

Hewlett Packard: The Dodge Em Method

February 27, 2015

I read an interesting article called “Hewlett Packard Tries to Duck Investors with Virtual Meeting.” I thought it was hip to do meetings via Skype and the plug in on my Web site. Guess not.

The write up makes a point that I don’t consider when firing up the tele-meeting software. Here’s the passage I noted:

Hewlett Packard’s recent decision to ditch its annual shareholder meeting in favor of a virtual one is just bad corporate governance. The forum gives ordinary shareholders their one chance each year to directly question and even confront the CEO and board of directors. And when it comes to HP, investors should be asking plenty of questions.

Ah, corporate governance. I thought this was an area reserved for Wharton business school instructors. You know, Wharton, one of the fonts of management perspicuity for eager consultants and CEOs to be. (I wonder what “governance” means: Good decision making, prudent use of financial resources, innovating, generating sustainable revenue?)

The article points out the MBA type reasoning that HP management seems to be using. There’s a reference to the Autonomy flap, cost savings, and, of course, the somewhat lackluster financial performance.

I don’t agree with this statement:

Under Whitman, a former eBay CEO, HP has stabilized.

Like IBM, these large “information technology” companies are a bit like a whale stuck in a small bay. Everyone arrives to help, but in most cases, there is not much to be done. A confused whale is pretty much a challenge for everyone involved. When a whale thrashes before its death, I want to be standing well away from the creature.

I suppose that’s why I am confused about what HP is doing with the Autonomy technology. Some of the zeros and ones date from the mid 1990s. I don’t drive a 25 year old automobile. HP apparently plans to sell some.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2015

Information Governance Standards Group Suggests Caution in Approaching eDiscovery

November 14, 2014

The records management group ARMA International weighs in about search with an article in their Information Management magazine: “Enterprise Search vs E-Discovery Search: Same or Different?” The short answer, not surprisingly, is “different.” Writer Kamal Shah explains:

“To date, most enterprises have used the same search technologies for both tasks. However, a recent trend among large and small enterprises suggests that a significant divergence is occurring between enterprise searches and e-discovery searches. Both start by entering a search term in a search box, but that’s where the similarities end. The business requirements are different and, as a result, each needs different capabilities.”

The article goes on to elaborate on the reasons traditional enterprise search is not sufficient for most eDiscovery needs. For example, while a regular enterprise user may be looking for the top five or 10 documents that relate to a search term, a firm performing an eDiscovery search in response to litigation must turn up all relevant documents (while minimizing irrelevant clutter.) Users of eDiscovery must also be prepared to prove in court that they followed best practices in assembling their data. Shah summarizes:

“Conducting e-discovery for litigation or an investigation using enterprise search technology is a risky gamble that can result in negative outcomes in court, penalties, and excessive litigation costs.”

See the article for more details, but the upshot is clear: eDiscovery is an environment where it is becoming increasingly crucial to use the right tool for the data-digging job.

Cynthia Murrell, November 14, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Government Web Site Reliability

August 21, 2014

I read “IT Outages Are an Ongoing Problem for the US Government.” I was surprised if the information is accurate. The article reports:

When outages occur, 48% of the workers said they do what they can via telephone, while 33% use personal devices and another 24% try to find a workaround, such a Google Apps. When asked to grade their IT department, only 15% of the field workers gave it an “A”; 49% gave it a “B”; and 27% gave it a “C.” When asked what caused the most recent outages, the IT professionals said 45% were due to a network or server outage; 20% cited Internet connectivity loss; 13% blamed natural disaster; 7% said a specific application stopped working, and 6% pointed to human error.

With the new push to improve government Web sites, perhaps the core infrastructure needs attention as well? Is it possible that good enough is comparable to the US broadband capability, the educational system, or airline on time performance? And search results? Nah,’s search results are good enough for some.

Stephen E Arnold, August 21, 2014

SharePoint Information Governance Concerns

April 23, 2014

Most users of SharePoint know about the struggles and concerns of governance. CMS Wire covers the issue in their article, “The SharePoint Information Governance Problem.”

Speaking to those experienced with using SharePoint as a document management platform, the article begins:

“You’re also likely familiar with the negative impacts that typically result from using SharePoint ineffectively: a proliferation of sites, often on a proliferation of SharePoint versions, with no clear standards on what documents should (and shouldn’t) be stored there or how, no clear guidelines for users on how to classify their documents, little to no capabilities for promoting effective information lifecycle management, little to no end user governance or oversight for things like site and document library structures, security and access settings, or document hygiene, and dozens, hundreds or even thousands of orphaned sites that, taken together, represent a digital landfill of staggering proportions.”

The article then goes on to assert that most of these issues are due to SharePoint’s lack of ease of use. This is a topic that Stephen E. Arnold often covers on his information site, Specializing in all forms of search, Arnold has a lifetime of experience. Tune in to his SharePoint feed for tips and tricks on increasing ease of use.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 23, 2014

Avoiding SharePoint Governance Mistakes

April 9, 2014

SharePoint governance is a big topic for most organizations. A panel of experts from Avanade, HiSoftware, Portal Solutions and Metalogix tackled the issue in a recent webinar. CMS Wire gives all the details in their article, “How to Avoid SharePoint Governance Mistakes.”

The author writes:

“If you’re wondering what your SharePoint governance plan should look like, look around you. It should probably look a lot like your organization.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach, even if you’re in an highly regulated industry like healthcare of financial services that imposes strict regulations on information sharing.”

Stephen E. Arnold knows all to well the difficulty surrounding SharePoint governance. He is a longtime search expert, and often covers SharePoint issues on his Web site Webinars, training, and services like are important resources for enterprise managers as they seek to balance the needs of their organization.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 9, 2014

SharePoint Governance Woes and Solutions

February 5, 2014

SharePoint governance is an important aspect that’s often overlooked. And while developing a plan on the front is often hard and requires a lot of time, having some well-thought-out in place is invaluable. Read more in the Search Content Management article, “SharePoint Governance Plans Doomed Without Business Buy-in.”

The article begins:

“SharePoint implementers are often stymied when attempting to bring discipline to business processes so that SharePoint can be an effective tool in the first place. It’s about bringing order to chaos, noted Sue Hanley, founder and president of Susan Hanley LLC, in her session on developing SharePoint governance plans at SPTechCon 2013 this week. Failure to design information governance into SharePoint implementation plans can lead to deployments that resemble the ‘Wild, Wild West,’ Hanley said.”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and the man behind He spends a lot of attention on SharePoint and governance is not an infrequent topic. If a plan is not in place, extensive customization and fancy training will not do an organization any good. It all begins and ends with a smart plan.

Emily Rae Aldridge, February 5, 2014

Recommind Survey Shows Stats Related to Information Governance

January 16, 2014

The article titled Bridging the Global Information Governance Gap on IDM offers more governance advice from the findings of Recommind’s survey of US and UK companies. The survey posed questions related to information governance (IG), which is “a cross-departmental approach to optimising [sic] the value of information simultaneously associated risks and costs.” We had thought Recommind was a variant of the Autonomy type of system, we are learning new things every day. Their survey revealed that only 58% of companies in the US have an IG policy. The article quotes the global head of information governance at Recommind, Dean Gonsowski:

“It is this over-reliance on employee-based governance that is giving organizations a false sense of security. While it’s positive that organisations recognize the need for information governance, many are still not taking the requisite steps to truly govern their information in a proactive manner. In fact, many are still in the dark about governance and don’t have a full sense of the data deluge they are currently facing.”

He went on to explain that there are tools to remove the risky reliance on individuals. Not only can IG diminish the risks, but can also aid in the response efficiency of eDiscovery requests. Keeping data protected and also accessible is vital, and most US companies have not taken the proper precautions.

Chelsea Kerwin, January 16, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Autonomy: Accusations Fly from the US Air Force

January 7, 2014

The Washington Post story “Government Questioned MicroTech about Its Role in HP Fraud Allegations” puts search and content processing in the spotlight. The newspaper is digging into the interesting underbelly of US government contracting. (The full series is at

I am certain that there are many fascinating tales about the interactions of contractors, contract officers, politicians, and lobbyists. The Washington Post is hopping into the fray and not a minute too soon to probe activities somewhat less fresh than the project or a number of higher profile projects, including tanks that are orphans and fighters that are too slow, underarmed, and unable to outperform fighters from certain other countries.

In fact, I think the HP-Autonomy deal closed a couple of years ago and US government contracting has been chugging along in its present form for 40, 50 years. Perhaps the procurement processes will change so that contractors’ business practices can change accordingly.

I found this passage from the Post story  interesting:

MicroTechnologies LLC is among two companies and six executives who are said to have taken part in the efforts to boost the revenues of software maker Autonomy before its sale to HP, according to documents prepared by the Air Force deputy general counsel’s office that raised the possibility of barring all the parties from receiving federal contracts.

The Post story was picked up by other “real” journalists, including the estimable Telegraph in the UK (See the British take in “Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch under Fire from US Air Force over HP Claims.”)

After working through the stories, I formed several hypotheses:

  1. Resellers bundled software, storage, and hardware for clients. The reason may be due to a desire to get an “appliance”, not a box of Lego blocks or to procure a system without having to go through the uncertain process of getting approval for a capital expenditure.
  2. The indirect sales model used by Autonomy with considerable success required Autonomy to pay money when the reseller picked up the phone and said, “We sold a big deal, and we need cash to move forward” or some variation on this theme that is well known to integrators and resellers.
  3. The business process in place provided payments to resellers because of the terms of a particular agreement with a reseller or class or partners. Autonomy purchased some resellers and integrators to respond to the challenges the indirect sales model posed to Autonomy since 1998.
  4. Some combination of factors was arbitrated by Autonomy’s financial team.

Autonomy purchased the Fast Search & Transfer government sales unit and that group may have imported some of Fast Search’s procedures.

With Dr. Michael Lynch inventing video technology like US8392450 and US 8488011 filed coincident with the HP closing, was he able to dive into reseller deals?

The fact is that Autonomy is now a unit of Hewlett Packard. What few pay attention to is another fact. HP was an Autonomy partner for a number of years prior to its purchase of Autonomy. HP was part of Autonomy’s indirect sales channel and presumably knows how procurements, sequesters, allocated funds, and the other arcana of US government procurement “works.”

Dr. Lynch did something no other search or content processing vendor serving the enterprise market was able to do. From the inception of Autonomy in 1996, he exhibited an uncanny knack for recognizing trends and incorporating solutions to information access problems on top of those trends. In the course of Autonomy’s trajectory from 1996 to 2011, Autonomy grew as a modern day roll up that generating almost $850 million in 2011.

I am supportive of a historical understanding of search and content processing. On one hand, Autonomy is now HP’s information processing prodigy. On the other hand, HP may not have the management or technical skills to build on Dr. Lynch’s work.

Oracle paid about $1 billion for Endeca, a system that dates from roughly the same era as Autonomy’s system. But HP paid $11 billion for Autonomy and discovered quickly that surviving and thriving in the odd universe of enterprise search and content processing is tough when the steering wheel is in its hands. Is Dr. Lynch on track when he suggests that his management team was more skilled than some realized?

Investigations into government contracting procedures are quite fascinating. I know from some of my past work that bureaucracies work in mysterious ways.

Perhaps some of these mysteries will be revealed? On the other hand, some of the mysteries may never be known. Where are the Golden Fleece awards today? Do bureaucracies have teeth? Do bureaucracies protect their own? Do special interests exert influence? These are difficult questions.

Maybe there will be answers in 2014? On the other hand, there may be more public relations, content marketing, and spin. I hope those involved with the matter dig into Bayes-Laplace methods, Shannon information theory,  and Linear Weight Networks. The methods can help separate noise from high value information.

Stephen E Arnold, January 7, 2014

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