Beta-Stage Video Sharing Platform BitChute Tosses Gauntlet at YouTube

March 28, 2017

The article on ITWire titled BitChute: The First Serious YouTube Competitor? touts the new video sharing platform, BitChute. Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, neither has anyone else, it is still in the beta stage. But the article argues that BitChute’s peer-to-peer technology may make it a serious threat to YouTube. YouTube has always had the upper hand when it came to centralized servers, especially since being acquired by Google, due to its enormous resources. The article explains how BitChute may challenge YouTube,

An example of the peer-to-peer model being used to scale up online is the creation of Skype in 2003. By 2012, Skype, the first Internet telephony application to use peer-to-peer technology, had carved out a market share of more than 30%. Not only does BitChute use different technology, its principles are clearly outlined in its FAQ, in which it is revealed that the website’s existence is in response to YouTube’s failure to cater to independent content creators.

BitChute broadcasts its disruptive intentions in the FAQs, setting up a David and Goliath archetype. YouTube’s strike system, which goes by the honor code more than anything else, alongside its history of demonetization of advertisements, plays directly into the hands of a company like BitChute. The startup calls for freedom of expression, decentralization, and customized pairings for monetization.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 28, 2017

HonkinNews Special Report for 28 March 2017

March 28, 2017

This week’s HonkinNews (https://youtu.be/N9-1LFnJW8A) provides information about Stephen E Arnold’s new report Dark Web Notebook: Investigative Tools and Tactics for Law Enforcement, Security and Intelligence Organizations. The video presents a six minute summary of the 10 sections of the Notebook, the appendices, and information about purchasing. The program contains several important announcements related to his Dark Web work:

  1. He is making a return to live, in person lectures at law enforcement and intelligence conferences. Information is at Techno Security & Digital Forensics Conference, June 4-7, 2017.
  2. He is announcing the his Dark Web Basics lecture and his Dark Web Vendor Systems lectures have been updated to include important techniques and law enforcement and intelligence software
  3. A live tutorial is available. Attendees may bring their own Windows laptop. Stephen provides each hands on tutorial attendee with [a] an untraceable prepaid debit card, [b] a clean email address not linked to the tutorial user, [c] prepaid hotspot connectivity via Karma, O2, and T-Mobile, a USB key preloaded and bootable with TAILS and support software.
  4. He is making the Dark Web Notebook available at a special pre-publication price of $99, regular price $149.

HonkinNews reveals that Stephen E Arnold’s three hour, hands on tutorial for Dark Web access via TAILS, live access to selected Dark Web sites, and the procedure for acquiring Bitcoin without revealing an investigator’s identify will be presented. Attendees for this session must have proof that they are engaged in active investigations and intelligence work.

The video explains the scope of the Dark Web Notebook and highlights several aspects of the book which make it useful for those engaged in an active investigation or intelligence operation; for example, how to obtain an untraceable identity when best practices are followed, the method for obtaining specific information about Dark Web sites engaged in unlawful activities, and cleared third-party vendors able to provide Dark Web services for operations. Vendors are on procurement schedules such as GSA or DSA, among others.

The video walks through each section’s content and appendices. This week’s program explains that for individuals or organizations not part of a government entity, on-site tutorials, webinars, and formal training programs are available from Stephen E Arnold and the Dark Web Notebook team.

The video also announces that Stephen E Arnold will be lecturing and conducting training classes at the upcoming Techno Security & Digital Forensics Conference, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The program is available at www.technosecurity.us.

I have seen the video, and it is clear that Stephen’s presentations will be a popular part of the program at the conference. The information in the Dark Web Notebook is likely to be of interest because it provides recipes for Dark Web access, use of specialized software, and identify protection. The video includes urls and email addresses for those who are interested in attending his lectures in Myrtle Beach in June 2017 or in arranging a program for a specific audience.

You can access the video at this link: https://youtu.be/N9-1LFnJW8A

Kenny Toth, March 28, 2017

Google Ads Misfire on Xenky.com

March 27, 2017

I have a site which I use to provide information to those who attend my law enforcement, intelligence, and security lectures and webinars. The site also has information about my books written specifically for law enforcement and intelligence professionals.

I don’t recall when we included Google ads on the site, but it has not been an issue until today, March 26, 2017. Google helpfully displayed for the visitors to the page for my new Dark Web Notebook:

image

Yep, an ad for Hot Latin Beauties Online. I understand that Google’s robot parsed the text about the book, which you can read at this link. That does not mean that I find the ad appropriate for my audience. Even the Jeff Bezos information service has figured out the disconnect.

The ad, appearing on a page for enforcement officials, sparked several thoughts:

  1. Google is really working overtime to burn up its advertising messages for the purpose of generating revenue. (No, I did not click on the link.) The ad’s presence illustrates what happens when concept matching simply does not work very well.
  2. The need for revenue is only part of the problem for the Google. Search has not been much of a concern for many years. The public statements about Google revisiting its systems and methods is talk. The presence of an ad which I find amusing illustrates that the company is happy to do some PR and merrily continue displaying content mismatched to the content on a Web page. Okay for me and my audience; maybe not so okay for a person uncomfortable with one click to Hot Latin Beauties Online.
  3. Google’s ability to fix this type of mismatch is going to be expensive and time consuming. The company has wrapped its search and retrieval core in layer upon layer of “smart” software. I am not sure the young Xooglers laboring on the various teams have the expertise or the motivation to figure out how the Rube Goldberg machine works.

My hunch is that one shot fixes will be the order of the day. Longer term, the GOOG has to either make the effort to work the concept disconnects or get in the hand-crafted rule business. Either way, the expense of making a meaningful fix is going to put pressure on the Google’s CFO “mom.”

Now if the GOOG can’t match ads with their software, what’s that suggest about Google’s ability to match on point, useful results to one’s query?

Answer: Google’s precision and recall is not too good. Exciting for “expert” Google searchers and the conclusions these folks draw based on access to the world’s information.

Hey, the Google is free. Stop your complaining. Yes, sir. By the way, Dark Web Notebook points its readers to far more interesting information than a link which generates this helpful message for Google’s paying customer:

image

High value click. Lucky Google advertiser. Spending money for this stuff. Clever, clumsy, tricky, or something else? Decide for yourself, gentle reader. Oh, the Dark Web Notebook is available only to those who can verify their employment with a law enforcement or intelligence agency of the US or one of its allies. Hot Latin ladies, sorry, not available no matter what Google’s term matching suggests.

Stephen E Arnold, March 27, 2017

Intelligence Researchers Pursue Comprehensive Text Translation

March 27, 2017

The US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) is seeking programmers to help develop a tool that can quickly search text in over 7,000 languages. ArsTechnica reports on the initiative (dubbed the Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language, or MATERIAL) in the article, “Intelligence Seeks a Universal Translator for Text Search in Any Language.” As it is, it takes time to teach a search algorithm to translate each language. For the most-used tongues, this process is quite well-along, but not so for “low-resource” languages. Writer Sean Gallagher explains:

To get reliable translation of text based on all variables could take years of language-specific training and development. Doing so for every language in a single system—even to just get a concise summary of what a document is about, as MATERIAL seeks to do—would be a tall order. Which is why one of the goals of MATERIAL, according to the IARPA announcement, ‘is to drastically decrease the time and data needed to field systems capable of fulfilling an English-in, English-out task.’

Those taking on the MATERIAL program will be given access to a limited set of machine translation and automatic speech recognition training data from multiple languages ‘to enable performers to learn how to quickly adapt their methods to a wide variety of materials in various genres and domains,’ the announcement explained. ‘As the program progresses, performers will apply and adapt these methods in increasingly shortened time frames to new languages.’

Interested developers should note candidates are not expected to have foreign-language expertise. Gallagher notes that IARPA plans to publish their research publicly; he looks forward to wider access to foreign-language documents down the road, should the organization meet their goal.

Cynthia Murrell, March 27, 2017

Diffeo Incorporates Meta Search Technology

March 24, 2017

Will search-and-discovery firm  Diffeo’s recent acquisition give it the edge? Yahoo Finance shares, “Diffeo Acquires Meta Search and Launches New Offering.” Startup Meta Search developed a local computer and cloud search system that uses smart indexing to assign index terms and keep the terms consistent. Diffeo provides a range of advanced content processing services based on collaborative machine intelligence. The press release specifies:

Diffeo’s content discovery platform accelerates research analysts by applying text analytics and machine intelligence algorithms to users’ in-progress files, so that it can recommend content that fills in knowledge gaps — often before the user thinks of searching. Diffeo acts as a personal research assistant that scours both the user’s files and the Internet. The company describes its technology as collaborative machine intelligence.

Diffeo and Meta’s services complement each other. Meta provides unified search across the content on all of a user’s cloud platforms and devices. Diffeo’s Advanced Discovery Toolbox displays recommendations alongside in-progress documents to accelerate the work of research analysts by uncovering key connections.

Meta’s platform integrates cloud environments into a single keyword search interface, enabling users to search their files on all cloud drives, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack and Evernote all at once. Meta also improves search quality by intelligently analyzing each document, determining the most important concepts, and automatically applying those concepts as ‘Smart Tags’ to the user’s documents.

This seems like a promising combination. Founded in 2012, Diffeo made Meta Search its first acquisition on January 10 of this year. The company is currently hiring. Meta Search, now called Diffeo Cloud Search, is based in Boston.

Cynthia Murrell, March 24, 2017

Google, Query Relaxation, and Advertisers

March 23, 2017

Most folks don’t know what a query relaxation process does. Think of a noose around your neck. If someone pulls the noose tight, you elicit a very specific result. If I remove the noose, you can frolic on your mobile device. Now substitute strict Boolean queries for a free text search. The Boolean search pulls the result set tight; that is, you get results in which the indexed words match the Boolean query. If a vendor tosses in semantic expansion which drags in concepts, synonyms, and inputs from other users’ queries, the noose is relaxed. You can breathe again.

Search vendors dependent on advertising control the scope of the result set. Yandex, we noted, is relaxing its queries. The reason? Relaxed queries allow an ad matching system more leeway. The idea is that if I search for “Kia Soul 2011 P22545R18” tire, an outfit like Google has to match with ads its system has been told want the keyword “Kia” or “Soul.”

But if the query is relaxed and expansion methods are in play, “Kia” becomes “car”, “vehicle,” “SUV” and “Soul” becomes “auto parts” and maybe “religion.”

Instantly, the ad matching system can go to the advertising pool and start putting more ads into the search results. Some of the ads may be helpful; for example, “auto parts.” Others for a Zen weekend might not be germane to a person looking for a set of radials.

Pretty boring stuff, right? The problem is that as the number of queries sent to old school desktop computers goes down, the opportunity to use ads goes down too. The fix?

Query expansion. Looser queries, more opportunities to display less and less relevant ads. Who is going to notice? Well, that’s a good question.

Now navigate to “AT&T, Other U.S. Advertisers Quit Google, YouTube over Extremist Videos.” The write up points out:

AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson and other major U.S. advertisers are pulling hundreds of millions of dollars in business from Google and its video service YouTube despite the Internet giant’s pledge this week to keep offensive and extremist content away from ads. AT&T said that it is halting all ad spending on Google except for search ads. That means AT&T ads will not run on YouTube or two million websites that take part in Google’s ad network.

On the surface, the allegations suggest that Google’s smart software is not smart enough to prevent an ad for a mobile phone company from appearing as a sponsor of a video the advertiser finds offensive. From my point of view, this is an example of what happens when revenue drives query relaxation. With relaxed queries, the advertiser’s message is “close enough” to the results list. Bingo. Google books revenue and the advertiser’s message is displayed.

In the good old days before mobile devices decimated the GoTo.com/Overture.com model, less relaxed queries and ad matching worked reasonably well. Today, relaxed queries are an easy way to generate revenue.

The counter argument is that relaxed queries are what “usage data say searchers want.” Right, that assurance an a dime will buy me what? Not much.

Net net: Buy ads and make sales is a mantra from a time past. Today’s world of search is filled with relaxed queries and less relevant result sets and less relevant, context aware ads.

Google will have to figure something out. Relaxed queries and ad matching is now big news and costing my favorite free online search outfit a lot of money. My suggestion to Google: Relax less. Embrace relevance, precision, and recall.

Users want an answer to their question. Advertisers want to make sales. Google wants money. Dare I say, “Pick two.”

Stephen E Arnold, March 23, 2017

MBAs Under Siege by Smart Software

March 23, 2017

The article titled Silicon Valley Hedge Fund Takes Over Wall Street With AI Trader on Bloomberg explains how Sentient Technologies Inc. plans to take the human error out of the stock market. Babak Hodjat co-founded the company and spent the past 10 years building an AI system capable of reviewing billions of pieces of data and learning trends and techniques to make money by trading stocks. The article states that the system is based on evolution,

According to patents, Sentient has thousands of machines running simultaneously around the world, algorithmically creating what are essentially trillions of virtual traders that it calls “genes.” These genes are tested by giving them hypothetical sums of money to trade in simulated situations created from historical data. The genes that are unsuccessful die off, while those that make money are spliced together with others to create the next generation… Sentient can squeeze 1,800 simulated trading days into a few minutes.

Hodjat believes that handing the reins over to a machine is wise because it eliminates bias and emotions. But outsiders wonder whether investors will be willing to put their trust entirely in a system. Other hedge funds like Man AHL rely on machine learning too, but nowhere near to the extent of Sentient. As Sentient bring in outside investors later this year the success of the platform will become clearer.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 23, 2017

Country to Country: Canada, Seize the Day in Technology

March 22, 2017

Canada has some excellent universities. Canada has enabled some of IBM’s nifty technology. And there was the BlackBerry moment. But the University of Waterloo soldiers on, unlike Napoleon.

Google apparently offered some country to country advice to Canada, assuming the information about the online ad giant is correct. I am referring to “Canada Must Seize the Moment to Lead in Tech Innovation, Google Canada Head Says.” That’s good advice, but I was under the impression that Industry Canada, go go provinces like Quebec, and assorted industry players like Rogers were already taking steps.

Well, I guess I was wrong. Google thinks that Canada can do more. I learned from the write up:

to seize its moment Canada’s tech industry needs to grow exponentially; focus on the regions and sectors with the greatest momentum; and ensure that today’s elementary, middle, and secondary school students are exposed to memorable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) experiences before entering university.

There you go.

Google apparently suggested that leaders of high profile Canadian technology companies were not perceived as “leaders.” I wonder if that comes as a surprise to the employees of the companies these folks lead.

Google thinks Canada is “punching above its weight.” Yep, the rule of thumb is that to estimate a market in Canada, one takes the US market number and multiples by point two. Canada, therefore, should be winning more boxing matches with US companies. (I am not sure how the logic works out, but it apparently is intended to make the Google perception that Canada is not doing enough in technology easier to swallow.)

My hunch is that the suggestion is one of those “let’s get this over with” talks. When Google executives depart from the “playbook,” oddities like telling a country what to do become news. Google sells online ads, and its core technology comes from clever places and outfits like GoTo.com. Ah, it is easy to forget the history of the GOOG, isn’t it?

I have been tracking the company as country movement. Facebook wants to a giant focus group to become the way of the world. Google tried to get China to rethink its policies. How are these ideas working out?

Hop to it, Canada. Oh, Google won’t forget buying that nifty Montreal AI company with the very influential professor. Nevertheless, Google may not be able to go back in time, but it certainly wants Canada to go forward in a Googley way. IBM is demonstrating its speech recognition wizardry in Montreal. Better late than never for both outfits.

Stephen E Arnold, March 22, 2017

Google Volunteers to Make Piracy Harder, and These Free Legal Music Sites Can Help

March 22, 2017

The article titled Google Will Make ‘Pirated’ Content Harder to Find From 1 June on The Inquirer proclaims a new approach to preventing piracy. Numerous entertainment organizations have nagged Google to set stricter rules, and even gone so far as to call Google a gateway to pirated content. The article mentions,

Google has already taken some steps to try and curb ‘piracy’ but has long refused to remove entire sites from search results as they may also offer legal content available for download. These days, the firm is flooded with takedown requests, last year revealing that it gets asked to remove 100,000 links to pirated content every hour.

The anti-piracy code will be adopted by Google and other unnamed search firms in cooperation with the British Intellectual Property Office. In the meantime, the article titled 7 Sites to Get Free Music (Legally!) on MakeUseOf suggests some solid options for people who want to kick the illegal pirating habit. BeSonic, Jamendo, and NoiseTrade are included on the list, and for those classical music lovers, MusOpen might have just the free content you are looking for.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 22, 2017

Big Data: The Crawfish Approach to Meaningful Information

March 21, 2017

Have you ever watched a crawfish (sometimes called a crawdad or a crayfish) get away from trouble. The freshwater crustaceans can go backwards. Members of the members of the Astacidae can be found in parts of the south, so you will have to wander in a Georgia swamp to check out the creature’s behavior.

The point is that crawfish go backwards to protect themselves and achieve their tiny lobster like goals. Big time consultants also crawfish in order to sell more work and provide “enhanced” insight into a thorny business or technical problem other consultants have created.

To see this in action, navigate to “The Conundrum of Big Data.” A super consultant explains that Big Data is not exactly the home run, silver bullet, or magic potion some lesser consultants said Big Data would be. I learned:

Despite two decades of intensive IT investment in data [mining] applications, recent studies show that companies continue to have trouble identifying metrics that can predict and explain performance results and/or improve operations. Data mining, the process of identifying patterns and structures in the data, has clear potential to identify prescriptions for success but its wide implementation fails systematically. Companies tend to deploy ‘unsupervised-learning’ algorithms in pursuit of predictive metrics, but this automated [black box] approach results in linking multiple low-information metrics in theories that turn out to be improbably complex.

Big surprise. For folks who are not trained in the nuts and bolts of data analysis and semi fancy math, Big Data is a giant vacuum cleaner for money. The cash has to pay for “experts,” plumbing, software, and more humans. The outputs are often fuzzy wuzzy probabilities which more “wizards” interpret. Think of a Greek religious authority looking at the ancient equivalent of road kill.

The write up cites the fizzle that was Google Flu Trends. Cough. Cough. But even that sneeze could be fixed with artificial intelligence. Yep, when smart humans make mistakes, send in smart software. That will work.

In my opinion, the highlight of the write up was this passage:

When it comes to data, size isn’t everything because big data on their own cannot just solve the problem of ‘insight’ (i.e. inferring what is going on). The true enablers are the data-scientists and statisticians who have been obsessed for more than two centuries to understand the world through data and what traps lie in wait during this exercise. In the world of analytics (AaaS), it is agility (using science, investigative skills, appropriate technology), trust (to solve the client’s real business problems and build collateral), and ‘know-how’ (to extract intelligence hidden in the data) that are the prime ‘assets’ for competing, not the size of the data. Big data are certainly here but big insights have yet to arrive.

Yes. More consulting is needed to make those payoffs arrive. But first, hire more advisers. What could possibly go wrong? Cough. Sneeze. One goes forwards with Big Data by going backwards for more analysis.

Stephen E Arnold, March 21, 2017

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