According to Politico, the former worldwide head of lobbying for Google, former Berkman Center poobah and now former White House technology advisor Andrew McLaughlin is moving on. Yes, days before Congressman Daryl Issa takes over the chair of the House Government Oversight Committee but still during the statute of limitations, coffee critic McLaughlin is leaving the White House.
Recall that McLaughlin got sideways with Issa over emails sent from his personal Gmail account to lobbyists, Free Press people and others that sure looked like the improper conduct of government business to a number of people. Also recall that the only reason anyone knew about it was that those following McLaughlin on Google Buzz was inadvertently disclosed publicly and some fast acting person grabbed a screenshot of it that set off the whole brouhaha and subsequent FOIA request.
The Politico story says, “McLaughlin drew heat earlier this year when it was discovered [through the FOIA request] that he used his personal Gmail account to consult with [approximately two dozen] former colleagues at Google [including Google lobbyists] — a breach of the ethics pledge initiated by President Barack Obama that prohibits White House employees from directly engaging their former employers and clients for at least two years. McLaughlin was reprimanded for the incident, but the White House has maintained that the limited number of e-mails [if you think that the volume of disclosure in two separate FOIA requests is “limited”] had no influence on any federal policy decisions. Given Google’s interest in several policy issues — net neutrality, in particular — McLaughlin’s communication with the Internet giant [and secret meetings in coffee shops near the White House] raised some concerns that Google had extra influence over the administration as it handled the hot-button issue.”
Politico doesn’t mention that McLaughlin’s email also shows meetings arranged at coffee shops near the White House (presumably to avoid showing up in the White House visitors logs available under a Creative Commons license at whitehouse.gov). You know, that place down where the guy did that thing, across the street from where the other thing happened that time near that bookie’s house. With a skinny grande macchiato.
So where might McLaughlin end up? Perhaps there’s some room with the Poker Prof teaching ethics back at Harvard.
See also: Grande Prosecutor Macchiato Redux
“One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil The Whole Bunch, Girl”: What do Google’s “new” anti-piracy policies really mean? Part 2
“’Google received a (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down request that erroneously listed Thepiratebay.org, and as a result, this URL was accidentally removed from the Google search index,’ Google said in a statement. ‘We are now correcting the removal, and you can expect to see Thepiratebay.org back in Google search results this afternoon.’
Later, Google updated it’s statement: ‘The removal appears to be an internal error and not part of a DMCA request.’”
Well. I guess they can filter, if only by mistake.
Notwithstanding its “mistaken” removal of The Pirate Bay from search, Google recently announced four primary changes in its business practices to address what I would call the massive theft online and what they call “….some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.” Some? Really.
We will take a look at each of the four changes in separate posts—this is Part 2 of four parts.
Google’s proposal for addressing piracy concerns with its search index seems a bit limited given that they were apparently able to remove the entire Pirate Bay from search results. In a post on the Google Public Policy Blog, the company said:
“We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose. (‘Google’s autocomplete algorithm offers searches that might be similar to the one you’re typing.’)”
So if you were to use Google’s Discover Music search “Paramore Ignorance torrents” as opposed to Google’s suggested test search “Paramore Ignorance”, would the “torrents” search be kept out of Autocomplete? Not so far—number one search result for the Google Discover Illegal Music search of “paramore ignorance torrents”? The Pirate Bay. Followed by Isohunt. One criminally convicted, the other found liable for copyright infringement.
What if Google were told that nobody had licensed Paramore for any transmission using BitTorrent? Would that be enough? What do you bet it wouldn’t be? I just can’t wait to see how this Autocomplete thingy works. Taking into account fair use as a business model for a multi-billion dollar corporation and all.
What does trying to anticipate search terms accomplish, though? Not much. The point isn’t to stop searches for illegal files, the point is to stop the illegal files from being returned in search.
Like Google did by mistake.