Friday, September 28, 2012

Yahoo!: An Evil Internet Company?

With corporate actions somewhat contrary to Google’s “do no evil” ethic, is Yahoo! – citing the Jerry Yang era Shi Tao debacle – a bona fide evil internet company?

By: Ringo Bones  
It was during the Jerry Yang era Shi Tao debacle that many saw Yahoo! - as an internet company that seem to easily voluntary provide their clients’ private data to despotic regimes at the expense of their clients’ opportunity for a due process – as an internet company / search engine / e-mail provider that is the polar opposite to Google and their “do no evil” ethic. Given that the internet has been a force of good to those who seek a peaceful and bloodless means of inciting a political change in despotic regions of the world, does Yahoo’s recent actions during the past 10 years of easily providing private data of their clients to despotic regime already tarnished their reputation as a reputable internet company?

Back in 2002, Yahoo! inexplicably seems to readily provide the Beijing government with pertinent private data that eventually lead to the conviction of one of their clients – a Mainland Chinese political activist by the name of Wang Xiaoning. This lead to the eventual conviction of the pro-democracy activist back in 2003 resulting from somewhat less than fair court proceedings. Wang Xiaoning has just been recently released by the Beijing government during the end of August 2012 after serving a ten-year prison sentence.

In the course of his political activism before his decade-long incarceration, Wang Xiaoning had used his Yahoo Mail account to distribute pro-democracy material to other activist elsewhere in Mainland China. Even though Yahoo! has since apologized to Wang Xiaoning’s family, the damage has already done and Yahoo! – for all intents and purposes – is now seen by “internet hacktivists” as Google’s evil brother whose day-to-day corporate running seem oblivious to the concept of corporate social responsibility, let alone a private individual’s civil liberties. Which only makes me wonder if Yahoo! had already bought a really good reputational risk insurance policy before the company set up shop?   

Bones Eye Tea [Yahoo, Wang Xiaoning Case]   

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bettina Wulff And Her Google Problem

Used to only affect prejudiced American politicians like Rick Santorum, but is the former German First Lady now has a “Google Search Problem”?

By: Ringo Bones

A few days ago, Bettina Wulff – wife of former German President Christian Wulff – launched a defamation lawsuit on Google because the famed internet company’s search engine suggests that she has a somewhat “racy” past because of its autocomplete function. Given that this sort of “street-cred” is something a woman of her standing doesn’t need and she’s not the first political personality to be a victim of a well-orchestrated on-line smear campaign, are the “overlords” of Google in their “ivory towers” at Mountain View and Palo Alto really the ones’ at fault here?

A few years ago, a prominent gay rights activist in America launched a smear campaign against homophobic GOP politician by the name of Rick Santorum. With the help of other net-savvy gay rights activist in America and elsewhere in the world, whenever you Google Rick Santorum, the search result is something about the less than savory aspects of male gay sexual intercourse that’s only appropriate for those 18 or older. Scores of computer-savvy hacktivists – an overwhelming majority of them probably not employed by Google – probably used esoteric search engine optimization techniques so that whenever one use Google to search for Santorum this day and age, a less than palatable search result often returns.

Is something similar at work here with the former German First Lady Bettina Wulff? Well, based on news that came out of Germany during the past few years, former German President Christian Wulff has never been hated by net-savvy anarchists in Germany or the rest of the Eurozone to warrant such  politically motivated search engine optimization based smear campaign directed at his wife on such a wide scale. Work of a lone high-level cyberstalker, perhaps?