Googles Data Police Fail with Creepy Videos

December 13, 2017

YouTube is suffering from a really strange problem lately. In various children’s programming feeds, inappropriate knockoff videos of popular cartoon characters keep appearing. It has parents outraged, as we learned in a Fast Company article, “Creepy Kids Videos Like These Keep Popping Up on YouTube.”

The videos feature things like Elle from “Frozen” firing machine guns. According to the story:

A YouTube policy imposed this year says that videos showing “family entertainment characters” being “engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior” can’t be monetized with ads on the platform. But on Monday evening Fast Company found at least one violent, unlicensed superhero video, entitled “Learn Colors With Superheroes Finger Family Song Johny Johny Yes Papa Nursery Rhymes Giant Syringe,” still included ads. A YouTube spokesperson didn’t immediately comment, but by Tuesday the video’s ads had been removed.

The videos may well draw ire from legislators, as Congress takes an increasingly close look at user-generated content online in the wake of Russian election manipulation.

It feels like they really need to have a tighter rein on content. But it would surprise us if this Congress would impose too much on YouTube’s parent company, Google. With Net Neutrality likely being erased by Congress, the idea of any deeper oversight is unlikely. If anything, we think Google will be given less oversight.

Patrick Roland, December 13, 2017

Dark Cyber for December 12, 2017, Now Available

December 12, 2017

The HonkinNews Dark Cyber program for December 12, 2017, presents a snapshot of a next-generation investigation analysis system, data about illegal drugs on the Dark Web, and news about a secure chat system which runs within Tor. Most analysts and investigators have access to a range of software and hardware devices designed to make sense of data from a range of computing devices. However, the newer systems offer visual analyses which often surprise with their speed, power, and ability to deliver “at a glance” insights. This week’s Dark Cyber examines Brainspace, now a unit of Cyxtera. Brainspace’s graphics are among the most striking in the intelligence analysis market. The role that Cyxtera plays is perhaps more important. The company is a roll up of existing businesses and focused on cloud delivery of advanced software and services. Dark Cyber also provides facts from a recent European Union report about illegal substances on the Dark Web. What’s interesting about the report is that the data it presents seems to understate the magnitude of the volume of drug sales via the Dark Web. You can download the report without charge from the url included in this week’s program. The final story addresses what is a growing challenge for law enforcement and intelligence authorities: Secure chat within Tor. The Dark Cyber team reports that Anonymous Portugal has made this alleged breakthrough. (The second edition of the Dark Web Notebook will include a new chapter about chat and related services plus ways to compromise these communications.) You can view the program at this link

Kenny Toth, December 12, 2017

HonkinNews Dark Cyber for December 5, 2017, Now Available

December 5, 2017

The December 5, 2017, Dark Cyber program includes three stories and one feature. If you were wondering if the Dark Web offered high-value content, you will find our report about the New York Times useful. The “nation’s newspaper” or the “Gray Lady” to some has a Dark Web site. Dark Cyber asks two questions about this surprising online move. Uber is a popular, controversial, and litigation magnet. For those who depend on Uber, the fact that valid Uber accounts are available for purchase on the Dark Web may be troubling. Dark Cyber adds to the concern by pointing to Surface Web sites which also sell stolen Uber accounts. Free rides on someone else’s account my sound like a good idea. The reality is that you may be violating one or more laws if your dabble in stolen Uber accounts. The feature this week answers in part the question, “Exactly what type of reports does a high-end intelligence analysis system provide to an authorized user?” Dark Cyber uses reports generated by Tovek, an intelligence software and services firm based in Prague, for the answer. As you review the outputs, please, keep in mind that Dark Cyber has intentionally blurred the images for security. Pay particular attention to the mapping of a person of interest’s travel data. The final story for December 5, 2017, is a quick look at what a consumer newspaper revealed about Google Chrome browser’s “incognito” mode. If you thought your online behaviors were hidden from monitoring, you may want to think about what Google Chrome Incognito does not do for its users. You can view the program at this link

Kenny Toth, December 5, 2017

Dark Cyber: A New HonkinNews Series from Stephen E Arnold

November 21, 2017

HonkinNews is back with a new series of videos. You can watch the program at this link on YouTube. Dark Cyber presents selected news from the Beyond Search blog and from the research conducted for Stephen E Arnold’s Dark Web Notebook, a companion to the hidden Internet tailored to the needs of security, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals. In this first Dark Cyber program, you will learn about an information-packed report about surveillance technologies and practices. The report, published by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, is available without charge. The push for a backdoor to encrypted information continues. We report that Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky is criticizing Facebook and Google for the firm’s perceived reluctance to assist with certain legitimate requests for information. But the Kentucky senator is a small cog in a larger push by the US government to obtain backdoors to unlock encrypted data. Funding continues to flow into Dark Cyber firms. We review three cash infusions and compare those amounts to the massive funding provided to the UK firm Darktrace. Arnold addresses the widely-held belief that the Tor software bundles delivers bulletproof Web access. One key point is that Tor’s security fixes do not address the monitoring of Tor entry and exit servers and log file analysis. For daily news and information about the Surface Web and Dark Web, read Beyond Search at PS. Yes, there is a Harrod’s Creek duck in the video. Here’s that link again:

Kenny Toth, November 21, 2017

HonkinNews Returns as Dark Cyber

November 17, 2017

On November 21, 2017, HonkinNews returns. The new look and approach focuses on the less visible products and services associated with the Internet. The new series is called “Dark Cyber.” The program has a new look while retaining the fact-and-opinion approach in the original HonkinNews series. HonkinNews Dark Cyber draws its information from the content in the free blog Beyond Search and from the research conducted for Stephen E Arnold’s CyberOSINT and Dark Web Notebook monographs. For information about Dark Web Notebook, click this link. Watch for the YouTube link for Dark Cyber on November 21, 2017.

Kenny Toth, November 17, 2017

Reddit Search Improves with Lucidworks

November 10, 2017

YouTube might swallow all of your free time with videos, but Reddit steals your entire life with videos, plus images, GIFS, posts, jokes, and cute pictures of doggos, danger noodles, trash pandas, and floofs.  If you do not know what those are, then shame on you.  If you are a redditor, then you might have noticed that the search function stinks worse than a troll face.  According to TechCrunch, Reddit has finally given their search function a facelift, “Reddit Teams With Lucidworks To Build New Search Framework.”

Reddit has some serious stats when it comes to user searches and postings.  The online discussion platform has more than 500 million users, generates 5 million comments, and 40 million searches are conducted each day.  While one of Reddit’s search challenges is dealing with the varied content, another is returning personalized search results without redactors having to explicitly write them in the search box.

Reddit’s poor search performance is legendary and its head honchos wanted to improve it, but trying to find the time to fix it was a problem.  That is why they hired Lucidworks to do the job for them:

Caldwell said that the company went with the Lucidworks Fusion platform because it had the right combination of technology and the ability to augment his engineering team, while helping search to continually evolve on Reddit. Buying a tool was only part of the solution though. Reddit also needed to hire a group of engineers with what Caldwell called “world class search and relevance engineering expertise.” To that end, he has set up a 30-person engineering search team devoted to maximizing the potential of the new search platform.

Lucidworks currently remains in charge of fixing Reddit’s search issues, but eventually, Reddit will take over.  Within a few searches for danger noodle, floof, and doggo not only have more accurate results, but you can learn the aww language lingo through the results

Whitney Grace, November 10, 2017

HonkinNews for 22 August 2017 Now Available

August 22, 2017

HonkinNews is going to take a different trajectory. Watch for details in the August 29, 2017, program. This week’s program contains “real” news; specifically, two items about eBay. Item 1: An eBay seller can bill a person looking at items who engages in a direct eBay Q&A session. No buy button click needed. No “are you sure” confirmation. Clever for the sellers and for eBay who needs the sale fees. Item 2: The other item is that if eBay corrupts a user’s date of birth, there is no user facing administrative control to find the error or correct it. Thanks, eBay. The Beyond Search goose enjoyed the one hour telephone drill to get a birthday error “fixed.” This week we report about Wired Magazine’s telling Google “enough is enough.” The videos that autoplay seems to have tipped the pro Silicon Valley publication off its inflatable round ball. Google’s annoying Wired may have been noted by Sogou, a Chinese search vendor. Sogou wants to target the US for its smart search system. Tor, we report, is mostly for good things. We agree, but there are enough interesting sites to make the Dark Web a magnet for certain types of activities. These “activities” can attract the attention of law enforcement and intelligence professionals. You can find this week’s video at this link.

Kenny Toth, August 22, 2017

HonkinNews for August 15, 2017 Now Available

August 15, 2017

This week’s HonkinNews has been whipped by the Google memo cyclone. The search and content processing news has been slammed into the emotional, subjective, political malestrom of Google management policies. We tackle this issue from the point of view of a science club member. How did Google respond to an emotional issue? Why did an unknown Googler become the digital equivalent of Lady Gaga? What do really smart people “love”? This week’s program answers these questions. Plus, you will learn about a quick and painless way to get your IBM Watson system running as quickly as a young Hussain Bolt. We reveal the fture of search. Hint: You will not have to read, which is great if you have the use of your eyeballs. If not, well, we don’t have an answer to that based on what we learned about the future of search. We reported that a blog about “real” publishers revealed what newspapers really want and need. Will a Chrysler-style bail out do the trick for this pround crew? What about a handful of SNAP cards? Even more interesting is access to at least one SOCOM team of skilled operators. Ah, newspaper publishers. Ever fascinating. We provide an insiders’ tip about Internet-enabled fish tanks. What’s fish got to do with anything? Watch and find out in the August 15, 2017, edition of HonkinNews. You can view this week’s program at this link.

Kenny Toth, August 15, 2017

HonkinNews for 8 August 2017 Now Available

August 8, 2017

The HonkinNews for August 8, 2017, is now available. Censorship caught the attention of the Beyond Search goose in early August. Virtual private networks are not faves of the authorities in China or Russia. Apple put money before principles, and Russia just took action without fooling around with mere commercial enterprises. Indonesia nixed encrypted message apps, and in Harrod’s Creek, incomplete information means happy information. Don Quixote is now on horseback, eager to slay the enterprise search dragon. The effort is an incomplete one. Important vendors are omitted from the study, and the promise of search provider revenues is a disappointment. Those search windmills remain formidable. Do we mention that the six key vendors are interesting to the good Don, but not to vendors like Elastic and more innovative next-generation findability companies? Yes, we do. Microsoft and LinkedIn may deliver information to Word users which can have some unintended consequences. For example, Bertin, the owner of the Ami Albert search technology, looks as if it is getting smaller, not growing. In addition, the look at Bertin Ami staffing, if accurate, says, “Sales is the main job as staff size shrinks.” IBM’s WKS warrants a comment. There is some naming confusion for liberal arts majors who paid attention in sociology and psychology classes. The main point is that Watson Knowledge Studio makes clear how much manual work is required to get Watson tuned up and ready to deliver useful outputs. Put on that IBM WKS happy face and get cracking. The program also includes a reference to Dark Web Notebook and captures a barn sign in Harrod’s Creek highlighting the book. You can view the program at this link.

HonkinNews for 1 August 2017 Now Available

August 1, 2017

HonkinNews noticed that minions beat the Kentucky heat by ice skating. We have a picture to document the event. A Chinese company wants to create a clone of Palantir Technologies. The technology involved includes five star ring technology plus transwarp. Beam it aboard, Scotty. Google released the results of its study of ad fraud. The surprising conclusion? Yes, there is online ad fraud. The Beyond Search goose was surprised. The program includes an update about the TechnoSecurity & Digital Forensics Conference plus a code for a 30 percent discount. Amazon’s super secret health care initiative may deliver telemedicince and a free banana to a patient’s bedside. Smartlogic announced a new semantic server and described it with a flurry of jargon. Machine learning and artificial intelligence seemed to have missed the cut. You can download this week’s video at this link.

Ken Toth, August 1, 2017.

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