By now the majority of searchers on Google are familiar with the Knowledge Graph box, which appears on the right side of the search results page and highlights information about various entities (companies, people, places, things and so on).

In the past, I’ve written about how to both obtain and optimize a Knowledge Graph result. In my attempts to learn more and get a better understanding of Google’s Knowledge Graph, I’ve discovered some cool hacks and tricks. While these tricks do not have any significant practical implications, they can serve as a way to better understand how Google’s Knowledge Graph works, which can be used to optimize your personal or company Knowledge Graph results.

Before getting into the tricks, let’s break down some important items. For the examples below, I used Donald Trump.

Google Knowledge Graph API

The Google Knowledge Graph API is a tool that can be used to get insight into your Knowledge Graph result. It provides details about classification of the entity, score and ranking. It also provides a machine-generated identifier (MID), which is a unique code assigned to each entity.

Google Knowledge Graph API

MID (machine-generated identifier)

Machine-generated identifiers, or MIDs, are unique entity IDs that were originally generated from Freebase. Although Freebase was ultimately shut down and the data was migrated to Wikidata, Google is still using the Freebase identifier codes for entities. This could eventually change to Wikidata Qids, but we have to wait and see what Google will do.

As you can see below, in the Knowlege Graph API results for “donald trump,” the president’s entity MID is /m/0cqt90.

Donald Trump MID Entity

Normal search engine results page (SERP)

Here is what the normal SERP looks like when a search for “Donald Trump” is completed. As you can see, Trump is an entity and has a detailed Knowledge Graph panel appearing alongside his search results.


Donald Trump SERP

Knowledge Graph tricks

Knowledge Graph-only SERP

By inserting the following modifiers into the search URL, we can have just the Knowledge Graph Panel appear on the SERP, with no paid or organic listings.


  • kponly  (a command that tweaks the SERPs to only show the Knowledge Graph panel)
  • kgmid= (a command that allows the SERP to be filtered specifically for the specified entity; simply add the MID number after the equal sign)

Original URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump

Modified URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump&kponly&kgmid=/m/0cqt90

Donald Trump Knowledge Graph Result

Change the language of content in the Knowledge Graph

Adding the hl string to the URL and specifying a language code will change the language of the Knowledge Graph SERP. Here is an example of the content changed to Spanish.

Original URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump

Modified URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump&kponly&kgmid=/m/0cqt90&hl=es

Donald Trump Spanish

Change related images in the Knowledge Graph panel

Another trick that can be done is to change the related images within the Knowledge Graph panel to items you specify in your search query. For example, a regular search for “donald trump mexico” does not return a Knowledge Graph result.

Donald Trump Mexico No Knowledge Graph

However, by appending the MID to the search results URL, we can generate a Knowledge Graph result that contains images relevant to the search query.

Original URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump+mexico

Modified URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump+mexico&kgmid=/m/0cqt90

Donald Trump Mexico with Knowledge Graph

Generate a Knowledge Graph panel for an entity for any search query

This trick is my favorite, as it’s great for a prank or joke. Applying the same tactic from the previous example allows you to have a Knowledge Graph panel for your specified MID appear on the SERP for any search query — even if your Knowledge Graph entity is not related to your search.

Original URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=homer+simpson

Modified URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=homer+simpson&kgmid=/m/0cqt90

Donald Trump Homer Simpson

Note that this trick will override an existing Knowledge Graph panel for an entity. Without the “hacked” URL, a search for “Homer Simpson” generates a Knowledge Graph result for Homer Simpson, as expected.


I hope this helps shed some light on how some parts of Google’s Knowledge Graph work. It can be useful if you’re redirecting users to a Google SERP result for reasons related to business or humor.

Author : Tony Edward

Source : http://searchengineland.com/cool-tricks-hack-googles-knowledge-graph-results-featuring-donald-trump-268231

Categorized in Search Engine

"I share your concerns," Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a staff memo. "We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company."

Google, Apple and other tech giants expressed dismay over an executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump that bars nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The U.S tech industry relies on foreign engineers and other technical experts for a sizeable percentage of its workforce. The order bars entry to the U.S. for anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

The move, ostensibly intended to prevent extremists from carrying out attacks in the U.S., could now also heighten tensions between the new Trump administration and one of the nation's most economically and culturally important industries. That's especially true if Trump goes on to revamp the industry's temporary worker permits known as H-1B visas, as some fear.

"I share your concerns" about Trump's immigration order, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a memo to employees obtained by the Associated Press. "It is not a policy we support."

"We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company," he added.

Cook didn't say how many Apple employees are directly affected by the order, but said the company's HR, legal and security teams are in contact to support them. "Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," Cook wrote — an apparent reference to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was forcefully blunt. "Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all," he wrote on Facebook. "Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe."

"It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity," he continued. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized the order in similar, though more carefully couched, terms on Friday.

Technology investor Chris Sacca, an early backer of Uber and Instagram, said on Twitter that he would match ACLU donations up to $75,000 after the organization sued over the ban — and then decided to donate another $75,000, for a total of $150,000. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the child of Iranians, complained that the order was "simple bigotry ."

Google told its employees from those countries to cancel any travel plans outside the U.S. and to consult with the company's human resources department if they're not currently in the U.S., according to a company-wide note described to the Associated Press. That memo was first reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in the note that at least 187 Google workers could be affected by Trump's order. It is not clear how many of those workers are currently traveling outside the U.S. "We've always made our views on immigration known publicly and will continue to do so," Pichai said in the memo.

Company representatives declined to discuss the memo or to answer questions about the affected employees. In an official statement, Google said: "We're concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S."

Microsoft also said it is providing legal advice and assistance to its employees from the banned countries, noting they are all working in the U.S. lawfully.

In some respects, the tech industry may be bracing for further immigration-related hits. Leaks of draft executive orders, still unverified, suggest that Trump might also revamp the H1-B program that lets Silicon Valley bring foreigners with technical skills to the U.S. for three to six years.

While the tech industry insists the H1-B program is vital, it has drawn fire for allegedly disadvantaging American programmers and engineers, especially given that the visas are widely used by outsourcing firms. Trump's attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a long-time critic of the program.

Venky Ganesan, a managing director at venture capitalist firm Menlo Ventures, acknowledged that the program is "not perfect" and subject to some abuse, but noted that it provides an invaluable source of skilled workers and plays a "pivotal" role in the tech industry.

"If we want to buy American and hire American, we do that best by creating companies in America," he said. "Having the best and brightest from all over the world come and create companies in America is better than them creating companies in India, Israel or China."

Source:  http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7669985/google-apple-netflix-protest-trump-immigration-order

Categorized in News & Politics

While major tech firms such as Apple, Facebook and Google have joined over 2,800 individual tech workers in pledging not to assist the incoming Trump administration with the construction of a mandatory registry of Muslims, there is one small problem.

Such a database already exists, and anyone can buy it for less than $20,000.

NextMark bills itself as the Google of mailing lists. It’s a search engine that pulls together over 60,000 different lists of people offered for sale by over 1,400 different organizations. A search for the term “Muslim” yields dozens of results – including multiple comprehensive databases containing more than a million names, addresses, emails and other pieces of personal information for American Muslims.

Lists available on the site range from Instagram users  to truck owners and baby boomers with erectile dysfunction.

The lists are compiled and sold by data brokers, companies that aggregate information on people from a variety of sources, ranging from government records to web browsing histories.

The information is used for purposes such as verifying someone’s identity for fraud detection and powering electronic “people search” products. The most common use for this data is to help advertisers better target their marketing campaigns at segments of the population most likely to purchase their products.

Dylan Lehotsky, vice president of business development sales at Exact Data, one of the firms offering a list of American Muslims, told Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting that the complete list could be purchased for around $17,000. A representative from another broker, Sprint Data Solutions, which has a list it says comprises 95 percent of the Muslims living in the United States, said the pricing on a list of more than 1 million names would cost $0.014 per record.

Lehotsky added that the majority of the data offered in his company’s Muslim list wasn’t collected by Exact Data. Instead, the information was purchased from the Little Rock, Arkansas-based data broker Acxiom, one of the largest firms in the data brokerage industry. Exact Data augmented that data with information about user email addresses it had gathered independently and resold to the public.

Lehotsky said the company would exercise discretion if it believed a customer would be using one of its lists for discriminatory or unsavory purposes. If the Ku Klux Klan came calling, he said, the company would be unlikely to complete the sale.

However, he said he hadn’t considered the implications of a government agency buying one of the company’s lists because the government likely would go straight to the data’s original source – Acxiom.

Acxiom told CNN’s Selena Larson that it would not help build a Muslim registry. Two other companies, Recorded Future and CoreLogic, said they similarly would refuse to help. When Larson asked Oracle – which owns data brokers BlueKai and Datalogix – the company declined to comment. Oracle CEO Safra Catz has joined Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

Even so, refusal by one data broker to assemble a registry means relatively little in the grand scheme of things because there are more than 5,000 data brokerage firms worldwide, and it is a common practice for one data broker to purchase information from another.

All it would take is a single firm willing to cooperate, or being compelled to cooperate, with the government for the Trump administration to have a large list Muslims to serve as a reference point for a mandatory registration database.

Information on Muslims held by one data broker could be acquired by another more willing to cooperate with federal authorities and then resold to the government.

“Data brokers provide data not only to end-users, but also to other data brokers,” noted a 2014 Federal Trade Commission study of the data brokerage industry.

There’s nothing inherently wrong, or even especially suspicious, about a company collecting this sort of information, which has legitimate uses. The description of a list of practicing American Muslims offered by Sprint Data Solutions notes that “this file has turned GREAT results for middle east relief efforts. Donors with generous donations have come from this database and results continue to produce good results.”

These types of lists often are employed by organizations actively advocating for the rights of American Muslims. The Council for American-Islamic Relations, one of the most prominent Muslim rights groups in the U.S., purchased lists with the names and contact information of over a million American Muslims from the data broker Aristotle Inc.

“A list isn’t inherently good or bad,” said Robert McCaw, the council’s director of government affairs. “It’s all in how you use it.”

The council found the data helpful in its outreach efforts, but McCaw noted it was imperfect.

Lists drawn from consumer data often contain out-of-date information, and while ones that pull the info of registered voters with common Muslim last names are more current, they have a tendency to exclude Muslims in the African American, Latino or white communities.

“The Trump administration could easily build a similar list, but it would always be incomplete,” McCaw said. “It’s not 100 percent reliable.”

If Trump does create a Muslim registry, its actual form could be a revival of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Shortly after the election, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has advised Trump on immigration issues, was photographed carrying plans for future Department of Homeland Security efforts into a meeting with the president-elect. The paper suggested Trump should “update and reintroduce the NSEERS screening and tracking system.”

Launched exactly one year after 9/11 in the name of preventing terrorism, the system increased scrutiny of male immigrants over the age of 16 on noncitizen visas from two dozen majority Muslim countries and North Korea.

Immigrants subject to the registration system were required to undergo annual in-person check-ins with immigration officials and notify the federal government every time they changed addresses.

Failure to comply with these rules could result in deportation, and the rules were confusing and poorly publicized – leading many people covered under the program to miss appointments by mistake. The government placed nearly 14,000 people in deportation proceedings as a result of the program.

Even though some 85,000 people registered with the system in its first year, the program did not result in a single terrorism conviction.

The Department of Homeland Security effectively shuttered the program in 2011 by removing all 25 countries from the list – technically leaving it alive but dormant. That strategy left a lot of civil libertarians worried because the database still exists and could be reactivated if Kobach’s proposal gains Trump’s approval.

Groups from across the political spectrum, ranging from the ACLU on the left to the Cato Institute on the right, called on President Barack Obama to delete the database before his administration leaves office. In mid-December, Obama obliged, announcing the formal end to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System – effective immediately.

While the Council for American-Islamic Relations welcomed the system’s termination, McCaw said he worries it could push the incoming administration to funnel its energies into another controversial database that targets many American Muslims – the terrorist watch list.

Expanding that list would have the benefit of being an existing program that doesn’t need to be built from the ground up, like a registration database of all Muslims, or overcome institutional hurdles placed by the previous administration.

Whereas a mandatory Muslim registry would be highly public, the federal government’s centralized terrorist watch list is kept secret, which would keep the program from attracting significant public scrutiny. That secrecy is McCaw’s sticking point.

“There are a select few Americans who can find out if they are on the watch list through their travel patterns when they are denied services on airlines or are required to undergo additional screening at the airport,” he said. “Those are Americans placed on the no-fly list or the selectee list.”

“However, Americans who are in the terrorism database but not on the no-fly list or the selectee list have no knowledge of their placement on the watch list, no knowledge of the government’s surveillance of them and no means to challenge it.”

Author: Aaron Sankin
Source: https://www.revealnews.org/article/trump-could-build-registry-of-1-4-million-muslims-for-under-20000

Categorized in News & Politics

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President-elect Donald Trump, in the final hours of 2016, restated his doubt about the validity of U.S. intelligence analyses that the Russian government hacked various political organizations with the goal of putting him in the Oval Office.

“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure,” Trump said in a brief question-and-answer session as he prepared to enter a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure,” Trump said, referring to the faulty argument pushed by proponents of the 2003 Iraq invasion that dictator Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons. “I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump then stated his belief that extremely sensitive information should not be communicated via computers at all, citing the expertise of his pre-teen son.

“It’s very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe,” Trump said. “I have a boy who’s 10 years old. He can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.”

President-elect Donald Trump talks to reporters as he and his wife, Melania, arrive for a New Year’s Eve celebration with members and guests at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Dec. 31.

When asked what, specifically, he knew about alleged Russian hacking that others did not, Trump said he would reveal his insights into the controversy in due time. “You’ll find out Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI this week released a 13-page document outlining how Russian-based hackers stole emails of Democratic officials, which were then released online and to the outlet WikiLeaks in the closing months of the campaign.

Following the release of that report, Trump announced that during the coming days he would meet with U.S. intelligence leaders to discuss Russia’s interference in the election, even though he thought it was better for the country to move on from the election.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton herself raised the issue of Russia’s involvement during one of the presidential debates. But Trump said it was impossible to know who actually had done the hacking, suggesting it might have been a 400-pound hacker sitting in his bed and, later, that it was someone in New Jersey.

Author: S.V. Date
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-russian-hacking_us_58686f8de4b0d9a5945bc5e9

Categorized in News & Politics

Donald Trump is a huge angry missile-shooting robot battling Mexicans.

That's the concept of a dark, funny and sharply satirical sci-fi short film from Uruguay that millions are watching online.

Titled "M.A.M.O.N. (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide) Latinos VS. Donald Trump," production company APARATO used computer generated images and visual effects to lambast Trump's position on Mexican immigrants.

BBC Trending spoke with the director, Alejandro Damiani. And you can watch the complete short film here.

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38186036

Categorized in News & Politics

Google has released 2016 trending results for its search engine. Various categories were created, such as People, Dog Questions, Calorie Counts and Election Moments.

The top overall search terms for the United States were Powerball, Prince, Hurricane Matthew, and Pokemon Go.

In the People category searches for Donald Trump took the lead, followed by Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps and Bernie Sanders.

The How To questions people searched for included “How to play Pokemon Go?” “How to register to vote?” “How to play Powerball?” “How to make slime?” and “How to move to Canada?”

And on the News front, Olympics, Election, Orlando Shooting, Brexit and Zika virus took the lead.

The full list of Google’s search trends for 2016 can be found here.


Author:  Nuala Sawyer

Source:  http://www.sfexaminer.com/google-reports-2016-search-trends-trump-powerball-olympics-taking-lead

Categorized in Search Engine

NOT SO LONG ago, the internet represented a force for subversion, and WIRED’s list of the most dangerous people on the internet mostly consisted of rebellious individuals using the online world’s disruptive potential to take on the world’s power structures. But as the internet has entered every facet of our lives, and governments and political figures have learned to exploit it, the most dangerous people on the internet today often are the most powerful people.

A Russian dictator has evolved his tactics from suppressing internet dissent to using online media for strategic leaks and disinformation. A media mogul who rose to prominence on a wave of hateful bile now sits at the right hand of the president. And a man who a year ago was a reality television star and Twitter troll is now the leader of the free world.

Vladimir Putin

Since experts pinned the Democratic National Committee breach in July on two teams of hackers with Russian-state ties, the cybersecurity and US intelligence community’s consensus has only grown: Russia is using the internet to screw with America’s electoral politics. The Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, followed by the leak of those groups’ private communications, injected chaos and distraction into the Democratic party at a crucial moment in the electoral season, and may have even helped tip the scales for Trump.

Even before those Russian hackers’ handiwork came to light, Putin’s government was already hard at work poisoning political discourse online. Its armies of paid trolls have been busy injecting false stories into online discussion forums, attacking the Kremlin’s critics on Twitter and in the comments of news sites. Taken together, that hacking and trolling makes Putin’s government one of the world’s most malevolent forces for disinformation and disruption online. And if anything, recent events have only emboldened them.

Donald Trump

When WIRED compiled its list of the internet’s most dangerous people in 2015, we called Trump a “demagogue, more interested in inciting backward fears and playing to Americans’ worst prejudices than addressing global problems.” None of that has changed. Trump still hasn’t officially renounced his promises of a ban on Muslim immigration or apologized for calling Mexican immigrants rapists. Now, he’s weeks away from becoming President of the United States.

As President-elect, Trump has continued to act as the world’s most powerful internet troll, telling his 17.6 million Twitter followers that anyone who burns the American flag should be unconstitutionally imprisoned and have their citizenship revoked, and arguing, with no evidence, that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in an election that he won. Trump’s Twitter account telegraphs his apparent disregard for the Constitution, spreads disinformation on a massive scale, and has baselessly called America’s electoral process into question.

Steve Bannon

Before Steve Bannon joined Donald Trump’s campaign as CEO, he was already in Trump’s corner as the publisher of the righter-than-right wing news site Breitbart.com. During his tenure running that site, Breitbart published the racist, anti-semitic and overtly misogynist content that made it the paper of record for the bigoted new political fringe known as the alt-right. Now, as the chief strategist for Trump’s transition team coming presidency, he stands to bring that fascist agitprop perspective into the White House itself.

James Comey

In the weeks before November’s election, FBI Director James Comey cemented his already controversial reputation by revealing that his agents would continue the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, after previously setting it aside in July. He did not explain anything about what a newly found trove of emails entailed, or why they might be significant (they weren’t). That half-clue was all the Trump campaign and its surrogates needed to start a wildfire of speculation, and even to claim that Clinton would be imminently indicted (she wasn’t).

But even before Comey’s unwarranted insertion of the FBI into the most sensitive political moment of a tense election, the FBI head had led the federal government’s war on encryption to a dangerous standoff: demanding that Apple write code to help the bureau crack its own device, the locked iPhone 5c of San Bernadino killer Rizwan Farook. That six-week battle, which finally ended in the FBI finding its own method of breaking into the phone, showed Comey’s willingness to compromise Americans’ cybersecurity and privacy in the interests of surveillance, and put a lasting strain on Silicon Valley’s relationship with the FBI.


The pseudo-religious apocalyptic cult known as the Islamic State may be losing money, resources, and ground on its home turf in Iraq and Syria. But its tendrils still extend throughout the web and social media. The group showed in 2016 that it can still reach lone, disaffected, and even mentally ill people to inspire tragic acts of violence. Even as its direct power crumbles, ISIS’s propaganda this year contributed to horrific massacres from the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice to the Pulse night club shootings in Orlando. And unlike the rest of the individuals on this list, ISIS’ danger comes from what social media extremism expert Humera Khan calls “the ISIS Borg collective.” The deaths of dozens of top ISIS commanders in 2016, in other words, hasn’t dulled the group’s message.

Milo Yiannopoulos

The Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannpoulos in 2016 illustrated everything that’s wrong with Twitter. Not simply his role as an “alt-right troll”—a polite term for a race-baiting, misogynistic, immoral fame-monger. Yiannopoulos graduated from awful ideas to actual targeted abuse, gleefully turning his hordes of followers on targets like actress and comedian Leslie Jones, who thanks to Yiannopolous was drowned in so much nakedly racist, sexist abuse that she temporarily quit the site. Twitter eventually banned him, a decision Yiannopolous lauded as only increasing his fame. And there are plenty more people who still espouse his ideas on the platform. But it will at least keep his vile statements confined to the darker corners of the internet, where they belong.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

For a brief moment this summer, the world feared that a military coup would topple Turkey’s elected president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Then it watched in horror as Erdoğan used that failed coup to justify a internet and media crackdown rarely, if ever, seen in modern democracies. More than a hundred Turkish journalists have since been jailed, and access has been intermittently throttled or cut to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. In response to protests that have since embroiled the country, Erdoğan’s regime has at times cut off internet access entirely to millions of Turks, denying them both the means to assemble and spread dissident information, as well as basic services.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange proved in 2016 that even from the two-room de facto prison of London’s Ecuadorean embassy, it’s possible to upend the powers-that-be. In WikiLeaks’ most influential and controversial moves since it first rose to national attention in 2010, Assange masterminded the leaks of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton campaign staffer John Podesta. Never mind that those leaks appeared to come not from internal whistleblowers but from external hackers, believed by US intelligence agencies to be on Russia’s payroll. Assange has denied that his source is Russian. But it’s a curious claim: WikiLeaks is designed to guarantee sources’ anonymity, so that even he can’t identify them. He also promises those sources he’ll “maximize the impact” of their leaks. And in this election, he kept his promise.

Peter Thiel

After supporting Donald Trump’s campaign financially and vocally, Peter Thiel ended this year as arguably the most influential person in Silicon Valley, literally sitting at the left hand of the president-elect in the tech industry’s meeting with him earlier this month. The intelligence contractor Palantir, which he co-founded, will no doubt rise with him, and its powers for privacy-piercing analysis could become more broadly applied within America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies than ever before.

But we’ll leave all that for next year’s “most dangerous” list. Thiel’s real demonstration of his power in 2016 came in the form of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, which the tech billionaire was revealed to have funded. The suit effectively wiped one of his personal enemies off the internet—which, as Thiel has calmly explained, was his goal. Given that win for censorship, his role on the Trump transition team, and Trump’s promise to “open up” libel laws, Gawker may just be the canary in the First Amendment coal mine.1

Source : https://www.wired.com/2016/12/dangerous-people-internet-2016/

Categorized in News & Politics

Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by more than 2.86 million ballots, the final tally in the US presidential election has revealed.

According to the Cook Political Report, the Democrat beat the President-elect by 2,864,974 -more than five times the margin garnered by Al Gore in 2000 when he also lost the Electoral College.

The final count comes after 304 electors voted for Donald Trump on Monday, meaning that although two electors defected, he cleared the 270-vote hurdle and will be sworn in as president next month.

Mr Trump's win ranks 46th out of 58 on the list of Electoral College votes secured by US Presidents since George Washington in 1789. His popular vote tally was more than two percentage points lower than Ms Clinton's, at 46.1 per cent against her 48.2 per cent  – or 62.98 million against 65.84 million.

Ms Clinton's tally was just under 72,000 votes shy of Barack Obama's popular vote count in the 2012 election.

Mr Trump won 30 states in the 8 November election, securing 306 of the 538 Electoral College votes – 56.9 per cent of the total.

Only 12 other elections have seen a president receive a lower proportion of Electoral College votes, including George W Bush in 2000 and 2004, and John F Kennedy in 1960.

Confirmation of Mr Trump's victory ended an acrimonious final chapter in an election cycle that saw former president Bill Clinton accuse the director of the FBI, James Comey, of costing his wife the White House, and activists flood the letterboxes of Electoral College members with pleas to abandon the Republican candidate.

Despite the pressure on electors, experts had said a Trump defeat in the Electoral College was extremely unlikely.

Dr Jacob Parakilas, assistant head of the US and Americas Programme at Chatham House, told The Independent: "A lot of this is just a reaction to how outlandish the whole election season has been.

"I think there's also a sense that because Trump won with a significant gap between the Electoral College and the popular vote, that underscores calls for the Electoral College to do something different than it normally does.

"By and large, those calls are going to fall on deaf ears."

Author :Jon Sharman

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hillary-clinton-3-million-popular-vote-donald-trump-us-election-a7487901.html

Categorized in News & Politics

THE OBAMA WHITE House has had to reckon with cybersecurity like no other presidential administration in history, from China’s 2009 hack of Google, to the Office of Personnel Management breach, to the rise of botnets built from dangerously insecure “internet-of-things” devices. Now, in the waning days of Obama’s presidency, his team has a new plan to shore up America’s protections from digital threats. Whether any of it happens, though, is up to Donald Trump.

Late Friday afternoon last week, the White House’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released the results of a nine-month study of America’s cybersecurity problems. Its recommendations, in a hundred-page report, cover a lot of ground. It proposes fixing the shambolic security of internet-of-things consumer devices like routers and webcams, re-organizing responsibility for the cybersecurity of federal agencies, and fostering a new generation of skilled American cybersecurity experts, among other actionable steps.

But as President Obama acknowledged in a statement accompanying those recommendations, actualizing them is largely out of his hands. He asked the cybersecurity commission to brief President-elect Trump’s transition team on its work as soon as possible. “As the Commission’s report counsels, we have the opportunity to change the balance further in our favor in cyberspace—but only if we take additional bold action to do so,” Obama writes. “Now it is time for the next Administration to take up this charge and ensure that cyberspace can continue to be the driver for prosperity, innovation, and change—both in the United States and around the world.”

Whether the Trump team will in fact accept the commission’s advice—or even its briefing request—remains a mystery. “No one in Washington knows what he’s going to do,” says Alan Paller, the director of research at the security-focused SANS Institute and a former cybersecurity advisor to the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. Paller says that even Trump’s potential appointments for cybersecurity policy positions remain an unknown. “It’s very challenging to know who will be picked, and whether this [report] will have anything to do with their priorities.” The Trump transition team didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

“Nutrition Labels” and Apprenticeships

If the commission does get Trump’s ear, it will have plenty to say. Its report includes dozens of “action items,” including recommendations that the next White House:

  • Create a system of security ratings for consumer products that resemble “nutrition labels” for buyers. Those ratings would be created by an independent organization and give consumers a sense of the vulnerabilities to hacking of the products they buy. (One potential rating organization might be the Cyber Independent Testing Lab, created at the White House’s suggestion by hacker Peiter Zatko and his wife Sarah Zatko, a former NSA mathematician who advised the cybersecurity commission.)

  • Assign the Department of Justice to perform a six-month study of legal liability for security flaws in internet-of-things devices. That investigation might be the first step in pushing for more legal consequences for product manufacturers whose insecure devices lead to harm to consumers or even companies and government agencies.

  • Launch a national cybersecurity apprenticeship program that trains college students in applied information security, with the goal of adding 50,000 new “cybersecurity practitioners” to America’s government and private sector workforce by 2020.

  • Create a mandatory program that requires senior officials at all federal agencies be trained in cybersecurity basics to create a government “culture of cybersecurity.”

  • Ask Congress to increase research and development funding for any government agency that contributes to advancing an “integrated government–private-sector cybersecurity roadmap” to be created by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. That roadmap’s goal would be funding computer systems that are cheaper, more secure and more usable.

The security product rating recommendation, in particular, could have a powerful effect on consumer awareness of cybersecurity issues, and create an incentive for manufacturers to secure their devices, says Josh Corman, who founded the internet-of-things security non-profit I Am The Cavalry and served as an advisor to the White House commission. “This isn’t saying you can’t make crappy, insecure products, but it has to be clear to the public just how healthy your products are,” Corman says. “This would allow free-market forces to rule the day instead of heavy-handed compliance frameworks.

But many of the other recommendations only go as far as asking for more studies and voluntary guidelines for agencies and companies. That lack of bold action is a disappointment, says Paller. He had hoped the commission would recommend federal procurement guidelines that not only rated products based on their security, but required government agencies to only buy products above a certain security rating. “The imperatives were to protect, defend, and secure,” he says. “If you read down through the recommendations, you don’t see it. You see, ‘go to a meeting, look at a framework, have another discussion.'”

Obama’s Plan, Trump’s Call

Trump’s cybersecurity policy has so far been entirely secret or non-existent. The approach to cybersecurity revealed in his campaign consisted of his remarks in one debate that the “security aspect of cyber is very, very tough,” followed by a non sequitur about his 10-year-old son’s skill with computers. In a YouTube video last month about his plans for his first 100 days in office, he touched on cybersecurity only to say that he would ask the Department of Defense to “develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks, and all other form of attacks.

In general, Trump doesn’t seem likely to continue much that Obama started: He’s promised to rescind many of Obama’s executive orders. And he’s vowed that for any single new regulation he puts into place, he’ll get rid of two existing regulations, a promise that doesn’t bode well for new, strong cybersecurity safeguards.

But I Am the Cavalry’s Corman says he still hopes the cybersecurity commission’s recommendations can transcend partisan politics—and that its last nine months of meetings, hearings and investigations won’t be thrown out as the Trump administration starts from scratch. “If they have no intention of looking at it, it’ll be a shame,” Corman says. “If they do, there’s plenty to sink to their teeth into.”

Source : https://www.wired.com


Categorized in News & Politics

Nearly two weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election — and month before the Electoral College is set to vote, making the results permanent — a new movement wants to audit the November 8 vote, to investigate whether Trump won the election fair and square, or whether error and even fraud may have placed him in the White House.

One element of the vote audit movement is a Change.org online petition calling for election officials to “double-check the electronic results by conducting a ‘risk-limiting’ audit of the presidential election in every state that uses paper ballots.”

Even a United States Senator, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, has called for a congressional investigation into possible election tampering, particularly by Russian intelligence agencies.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

A vote-counting computer used to tabulate ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

The petition started by the Verified Voting Foundation seeks 75,000 signatures which will be forwarded to Secretaries of State, election officials, and state governors. As of Sunday morning, November 20, the petition had received 65,199 supporters.

“The FBI determined some months ago that hacking, originating from Russia, was having an influence on our electoral process,” the petition states. “These hackers interfered with our presidential election through attempted and successful penetration of email and voter registration databases, among other systems. This created fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the safety of our electoral processes.”

In fact, it was not only the FBI but the National Security Agency itself — the intelligence bureau responsible for America’s online and digital spying and counter-espionage efforts — which detected attempts to tip the United States election by what NSA chief Michael Rogers called “a nation state,” as seen in the excerpted interview with Rogers in the video below.

“This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance,” Rogers said in the Wall Street Journal interview. “This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily.”

While Russian ties to hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that were subsequently released online by the document-dumping site WikiLeaks were confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies as well as independent investigators weeks before the election, hackers connected to the Russian government are also known to have broken into a voter registration system in Illinois.

The Russian hackers also entered at least one other state’s voter database — and in theory could have penetrated many more which have yet to be detected. Once inside, the hackers could have altered voter information to create fake registrations and alter voting patterns.

Audit Vote, #AuditTheVote, Was election rigged, Donald Trump wins election, Russian election hack, vote fraud

Russian President Vladimir Putin, suspected of engineering manipulation of the presidential election that tipped the vote to Donald Trump.

According to Alexandra Chalupa, a consultant to the DNC investigating the Russian hacks, told the Gothamist news site that in Pennsylvania, especially, the voting results appeared strange, with between 50 and 75 percent of provisional ballots rejected. Even more alarming, “a large number of voters who voted for a Republican president and senator, but voted for Democrats down the rest of the ballot.”

“That’s not usually the pattern,” Chalupa said.

Trump ended up beating Clinton in Pennsylvania by a mere 57,588 votes — less than one percentage point — winning the state’s crucial 20 electoral votes, despite the fact that Pennsylvania had voted for the Democrat in six consecutive presidential elections.

A new Twitter hashtag, #AuditTheVote, appeared on Saturday, and one of the hashtag creators, Melinda Byerley, explained that the purpose was to collect public information and data that could either verify or disprove claims of election tampering and fraud.

“This is not about (Hillary Clinton) or (Donald Trump),” Byerley wrote. “This is about national sovereignty and a potential foreign breach of our voting system. “America is a beacon to the world for free and fair elections. Our ability to remain a superpower rests on the trust the world has in us.”

Author:  Jonathan Vankin

Source:  http://www.inquisitr.com/

Categorized in News & Politics
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