Entries in Google (33)
Popular Teen and Pre-Teen Site YouTube Still Infested With Videos for Illegal Prescription Drugs and Steroids, Stolen Credit Card Numbers, Fake Passports and Content Theft
New Poll: Nearly Nine out of 10 Americans Agree – Google has “responsibility to help make the Internet safe”
Washington, DC – The Digital Citizens Alliance today called on Google to stop profiting from a myriad of illegal and dangerous activities that take place on YouTube. Those activities include the marketing of illegal prescription drugs and steroids, fake passports, stolen credit cards, and content theft.
Digital Citizens made public its investigative report, “Digital Weeds: How Google Continues to Allow Bad Actors to Flourish On YouTube,” that shows how YouTube is still infested with hundreds of videos promoting dangerous and illegal activities – nine months after Digital Citizens first showed ads running next to some of YouTube’s most dangerous videos. And just as troubling, both Google and the bad actors profit from advertising running along on the same YouTube page as these videos.
In many of the latest examples Digital Citizens discovered, ads from some of America’s best-known companies were running next to videos pushing access to dangerous products.
“Google has to start acting like the great company they claim to be and make Internet safety a priority,” said Tom Galvin, Executive Director of Digital Citizens. “When confronted with this issue last summer, Google scrubbed YouTube of thousands of incriminating videos to stop the criticism. Not surprisingly, the videos are back. I’ll say what I said nine months ago – the company that claims “don't be evil” is its credo has to stop treating this as a PR problem and end its relationship with the bad actors who peddle dangerous drugs, stolen credit cards and Fake IDs.”
Click here to see the report, a short video on how Google makes its money, as well as new polling results showing Americans’ growing concerns about how Google does business.
In June 2013, Digital Citizens demonstrated countless examples of videos on YouTube that promoted the sale of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Tramadol. In addition, the report, entitled, “Google, YouTube and Evildoers: Too Close for Comfort,” demonstrated how bad actors promoted the sale of forged passports and drivers licenses, escort services and prostitution, counterfeits and content theft. Google responded to the public criticism by immediately removing the videos while claiming their systems worked.
New Poll Shows Americans Concern with Google is Growing
A Digital Citizens Alliance national survey released today reinforces how the public is looking to Google to do more to protect Internet users:
· The majority of Americans (57 percent) said Google should not post ads or accept ad revenue from sites that are providing illegal or illegitimate products or services.
· By a 26-point margin (53 percent-27 percent) Americans don’t believe that Google is doing enough to make the Internet a safer place.
· 88 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “As a nearly $40 billion business, Google has a responsibility to help make the Internet safe.”
· Americans don’t feel very safe online. Less than one in five (18 percent) said they feel “very safe” online, compared to 65 percent who feel “very safe” in their neighborhood, shopping at stores or walking to local parks.
Digital Citizens commissioned Axis Research to conduct the poll. Axis Research surveyed 1,006 voters by phone across the United States from February 19-23, 2014; 32% of all interviews were conducted via cell phones. The margin of error is ± 3.1 percentage points.
Details from “Digital Weeds” Report
In its “Digital Weeds” investigation, Digital Citizens researchers search YouTube again for some of the same videos promoting illegal or dangerous activities found during research in 2013.
These subject areas include:
Prescription Narcotics: Digital Citizens found hundreds of videos promoting the sale of illegally acquired prescription drugs. One video promoting where to buy Oxycontin and Roxicodone without a prescription had an ad promoting the 2014 Winter Olympics right next to it. In another case an ad for the Discover Card is flanked next to a video offering the stimulant Adderall and other drugs.
Stolen Credit Card Numbers: Financial fraud and ID theft are a scourge and growing threat to Internet commerce. Yet on YouTube there are videos on how to get stolen credit card numbers. In some of the videos there are ads from premium brands – in one case a Honda ad – that not only give credibility to criminals selling stolen credit card numbers, but enriches them too.
Fake Passports, Goods Currency: Digital Citizens found ads embedded in videos promoting the sale of fake passports, ID cards, fake money as well as fake goods. In one video promoting knock-off Michael Kors handbags an ad ran for the University of North Carolina’s Business School.
Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs): Digital Citizens looked APEDs in a separate report in October of 2013. Steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs remain popular on YouTube, which is especially troubling given their allure by teens who make up a large part of YouTube’s audience. One HGH video, on YouTube since March 2013, has over 41,000 views. It has an ad embedded promoting flights to Los Angeles, one for hair loss and another for drug rehabilitation. Google analytics enable it to connect ads that are relevant to the video, but apparently those analytics won’t flag illegal activity.
Digital Citizens found that these videos were once again flourishing on YouTube - and Google continues to profit from them. Google profits by running ads tied to videos, and then splits the revenue with these bad actors.
“Just like after our first investigative report, we expect YouTube to take these videos down and the ads to go away almost instantly, but that is actually evidence of the problem, not the solution,” Galvin said.
About Digital Citizens Alliance
Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the Internet and the importance for Internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry - to make the Web a safer place. Based in Washington, DC, the Digital Citizens Alliance counts among its supporters: private citizens, the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries as well as online safety experts and other communities focused on Internet safety. For more information, please visit digitalcitizensalliance.org.
Feb. 12, 2014
House punts on debt ceiling, cedes power of the purse
Paul Ryan on December 15: "We don't want nothing out of this debt limit." Yet, that is exactly what the American people got in return for a one-year extension of borrowing authority by the House.
Political targeting of Walker supporters proves it can happen here
Conservative groups in the state of Wisconsin whose leaders have had their private homes raided by local police due to their attempts to support Gov. Scott Walker during the labor unions' failed attempt at recalling him from office.
Time to reform the Endangered Species Act
If you find oil or natural gas on your property, the value goes up. If you find an endangered species, your land becomes virtually worthless because the critter prevents productive use.
Washington Examiner: Google endorses NSA surveillance-reform bill
Rep. Justin Amash: "The biggest names in tech are getting behind the Freedom Act because it is the only legislation that protects Americans' privacy from unconstitutional government surveillance. Momentum is on our side, and I have no doubt that the Freedom Act would pass today if it were brought to the floor for a vote."
Each and every day, we learn more about the extent to which NSA's spying and data collection are being targeted not just toward foreign threats, but toward American citizens.
Thursday night, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. PST/ 10 p.m. EST, Governor Johnson will host a special Google Hangout to specifically discuss the NSA, its abuses, and what can be done to protect our 4th Amendment rights.
Gary Johnson looks forward to hearing from you!
P.S. Spread the word! Please share this with your friends on Social Media.
How to watch Google Hangout!
If you are unable to join the hangout via webcam, you can either watch it live on Google Plus or YouTube.
If you can't join us live, you can watch the Hangout later on YouTube.
How to participate in the Google Hangout!
To participate, you will need a web camera with a microphone, and we recommend you use Google Chrome as your web browser to minimize any technical issues.
If you have a Google Plus account, make sure to add Gov. Gary Johnson to your circle or click here to email us with your email address so that we can add you on our end ahead of time.
So how do you join?
A few minutes before the Hangout goes live, we will paste the private hangout link on our social media pages: Google+ Event page, Facebook etc.
Next, the first nine people to click on the Hangout link and join the event will be first in line to ask questions. If you are one of those first nine, you should you see your picture at the bottom of the screen.
If you are in line to ask a question, please be sure to mute your mic until Gov. Gary Johnson says your name -- to avoid background noise.
Finally, after you have asked your question, please leave the live Hangout and continue to watch on YouTube or Google+ so others can get a turn to ask questions.
For those who are waiting to ask a question, we recommend you have two screens open: one to watch the town hall and one to click on the link to join the online Google Hangout. If you are unable to join at first, keep trying.
Please note that, once you see your video pop up along the bottom of the Hangout screen, close your other screen to avoid audio feedback, -- and wait for your turn.