Russia Begins Fining Google for Failing To Respect National Blacklist Rules

This past week, the Russian Federation announced it would be fining American tech giant Google for failing to respect and adhere to Russian law, prohibiting search engines operating inside the country from linking to sites on Russia’s National blacklist. Among others, this includes linking to various state-run and international human rights organizations, as well as different internet security companies – such as VPN service providers.

While the specific websites in question were not publicly listed, according to a press release from the RKN, a Russian based telecommunications watchdog, Google will face an initial fine of $7,600 to 10,600 and Russian authorities have given the company a grace period of 30 days to begin complying with Russian Law, or risk further punishment.

Поисковик по требованию Роскомнадзора в течение 30 дней должен подключиться к федеральной государственной информационной системе, содержащей перечень запрещенных интернет-ресурсов (ФГИС). По истечении трех рабочих дней поисковая система должна начать фильтровать результаты поиска,” notes RKN. “За неисполнение этих требований для юридических лиц предусмотрена административная ответственность – штраф в размере от 500 до 700 тыс. рублей.

According to the report, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Mediahas already made several requests for Google to start connecting to Russian Federal information systems, but the company has either failed or refuses to do so. 

Translation:

The search engine at the request of Roskomnadzor within 30 days must connect to the federal state information system containing the list of prohibited Internet resources (FGIS). After three business days, the search engine should start filtering the search results.

For non-compliance with these requirements, administrative liability is provided for legal entities – a fine of between 500 and 700 thousand rubles.

UBS Releases Billionaires Report 2018

During a year in which so much of the world faced deep poverty, the corrosive effects of austerity, and extreme weather caused by the worsening human-caused climate crisis, one class of individuals raked in more money in 2017 than any other year in recorded history: the world’s billionaires.

According to the Swiss bank UBS’s fifth annual billionaires report published on Friday, billionaires across the globe increased their wealth by $1.4 trillion last year — up an astonishing 20 percent — bringing their combined wealth to $8.9 trillion. “The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age,” the UBS report notes. “That period bred generations of families in the U.S. and Europe who went on to influence business, banking, politics, philanthropy, and the arts for more than 100 years.

UBS estimates that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires, with 179 billionaires created last year. The United States alone is home to 585 billionaires — the most in the world — up from 563 in 2017. Meanwhile, according to a June report by U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston, 18.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty and “5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty.

A significant percentage of the “newly created” billionaires are hardly the self-made men — and they are overwhelmingly men — of popular lore. According to UBS, 40 of the 179 new billionaires created last year inherited their wealth—a trend that has driven an explosion of wealth inequality over the past several decades.

According to UBS, this trend will continue to accelerate over the next 20 years, given that there are currently 701 billionaires over the age of 70. “A major wealth transition has begun. Over the past five years (2012–2017), the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year,” the UBS report concludes. “Over the next two decades we expect a wealth transition of $3.4 trillion worldwide—almost 40 percent of current total billionaire wealth.

Full Billionares Report 2018:

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This article was originally published by MintPress News on October 27th 2018. It was republished, with permission, using a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 International License, in accordance with the Terms & Conditions of MintPress News | Formatting Edits, Tweets and .pdf embeds added by Rogue Media Labs.

House Introduces Bill To Block All US Assistance To Saudi Arabia

In direct response/retaliation for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a bi-partisan teams of 21 members of the US House of Representatives has introduced a new bill calling for the complete ban of military aid and weapons to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the immediate future. However, the move should be thought of as nothing more than a symbolic effort, and I say this because United States Congress has already attempted to block or ban arm deals/transfers to Saudi Arabia multiple times over the course of the last several years, and every single one of these measures has failed or been voted down. Therefore, one has no other reason than to believe this latest Bill will also fall straight on its face.

To date, it is estimated that the United States military industrial complex has sold Saudi Forces 188.5 Billion dollars worth of arms and munitions over the course of the last 10 years. Meanwhile, led by Saudi forces, the United Nations has proclaimed the situation/Civil War in Yemen to be the single greatest human rights disaster/tragedy on planet Earth at the present moment in time. To date an estimated +50,000 people have died as a result of the conflict in Yemen, another 50,000 have died of famine/food shortages, while more than 3 million Yemeni citizens have become displaced by the violence. Moreover, using these same US manufactured arms and munitions, the United Nations claims that Saudi led forces are responsible for greater than 2/3’s of the combined death total in Yemen.

Official House Bill Introduced by Jim McGovern:

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How Creative Commons Was Abused Ahead of The 2016 US Presidential Election

Yesterday I came across a piece of news from Softpedia.com detailing how Facebook has decided to set up a “War Room” of over 20,000 employees to help combat the spread of fake news, misinformation and political propaganda ahead of the 2016 US mid-Term elections. This news, of course, came less than 3 days after more than 35 million US voting records across 19 states were posted for sale on the DarkNet – indicating that hackers may be looking to exploit voters/voting habits in different states over the weeks to come.

In a press release dated October 19th 2018, Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Director of Product Management & Civic Engagement, explained how a team of over “20,000 employees and two dozen experts from across the company” will be providing “real-time monitoring on key elections issues, such as efforts to prevent people from voting, increases in spam, potential foreign interference, or reports of content that violates our policies. ” Going on to explain how the company will “also monitor news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media. ” All of these efforts designed to eliminate or prevent the same threats which may or may not have compromised voters ahead of the 2016 US Presidential election.

But the headlines of the last week or so have got me reflecting however, about how news and information was able to be shared so easily and spread so wildly across social media platforms throughout the past – specifically on Facebook. As someone who was a content specialist and ghostwriter for one of the sources of the now infamous “Prop or Not List,” I observed first hand how information was distributed across different networks. With that established, I find it interesting that what almost no one has seemed to pick up on is how badly the Creative Common Licensing system was abused in the months/years leading up the 2016 Presidential election.

Before getting into that, for those of you whom might not be aware, Creative Commons is an “alternative” licensing system to Copyright Law, allowing artists, writers, designers, site owners – et cetera – to control how their intellectual property or work is shared or distributed by others. In many ways, Creative Commons is much simpler than Copyright Law and often times allows for different sources/publishers/writers to collaborate or share resources with one another entirely for free. In part, this collaborative sharing of resources is exactly how so much “Fake News” was allowed to spread  throughout the internet over the course of 2014 – 2016.

For example, look back at the ‘Prop of Not‘ list and then cross-reference how many of those sites used Creative Commons Licenses. We are talking about AnonHQ, AnoNews,The Anti-Media, True Activist, The Free Though Project – et cetera. These are all sites which literally had millions of followers on social media in 2015/2016, but have since either been blacklisted by Google or banned/deleted off of Facebook, or both, and each site collaborated with one another using Creative Commons Licenses. For example, I was required to sign each of my articles as the following: “This article (xxxx) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to the author and example.com.

Using that simple slug at the bottom of each article, theoretically any website or publisher could republish that article at zero cost or effort – only a simple copy and paste of the subject matter was needed. If you operated a pay-per-click website or website featuring a ton of advertisements for example, this means you generate money on each article you produce/publish. Quite simply, the more articles you published the more money you made. In this way, using Creative Commons, you could essentially make money for free by featuring or republishing someone else’s work. This is exactly how Creative Commons was abused for years and why so many of the websites on the ‘Prop or Not’ list utilized Creative Commons in the first place.

This is not to say that Creative Commons is corrupt in itself. In fact, there are many different versions of these licenses which limit the type/way content can be shared by publisher or website type, including making it illegal to republish certain work for profit – exactly as the ‘Prop or Not’ peoples did. For example, I have permission to custom edit and republish works from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch legally through Creative Commons on my site, only because I do not try to generate revenue from my site. The moment I enable advertisements, my license to republish their work gets revoked. In this way, it was only the most basic and open form of Creative Commons that was abused by for-profit news websites and organizations in the months/years leading up to the US Presidential Election. Potentially, it is also something to watch out for heading into the future.

Op-Ed: Projections for News Writers Over The Years To Come

As I start to get back involved in the news game, I am starting to remember why my first website was so unsuccessful. Specifically, I am talking about my attempt to enter into and emerge out of the cyber security/hacking news market, in what was already considered a “niche” market – at best. Even today as I browse through my daily news reading list I am finding the same 6-8 sites all publishing the same stories, just using different words. What would be the point of being the 9th?

These websites, authors and journalists are all fighting for the same audience, trying to attract attention for the all same reasons and establish as much credibility as they can with the viewing public. But 2018 has been far from kind to us internet media types. Speaking as a content specialist here, the years of 2015 and 2016 spoiled us all. At no other point in time history were there more people browsing “the web” or seeking out different sources of news/information on it. Millions of bots were flying all across the internet and there was no limit on the type of content people were allowed to share/advertise, nor cap on how much they could spend. It was an unprecedented time in internet history that no one had ever seen before, and almost certainly never will see again.

Following the post election “Fake News” crackdowns by Facebook, multiple “Twitter Purges,” a never-ending “Russian Hacking” investigation and the blacklisting of hundreds of alleged “Propaganda” outlets from major search engines, the internet and internet news will never be the same again.

Fast forward into October 2018 and it appears as though the entire collective world is still suffering from the effects from a post election news hangover. All across the internet site reads are down, internet traffic is down and web-pages across the world are struggling to stay afloat or maintain relevancy. Others, such as myself, have simply decided to close up shop and quit altogether. But not all is doom and gloom, and there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.

You might be surprised to know it but, despite all of the international coverage and outrage, Donald Trump isn’t even half way through his first term in office. If he is elected for a second term in 2020, Trump isn’t even 1/4 of the way through his entire Presidency yet. With this in mind, I put forward that just as internet traffic first started to skyrocket around October 2015, about 13 months prior to the 2016 US Presidential elections, I suspect that internet traffic is once again going to start soaring around the same time – roughly one year from today.

From the perspective of a man trying to enter into the news market for a second time in 2018, I see the calendar year of 2019 as being critically important for news publishers everywhere. I say this because pages reads are only going to continue to decline over the months to come, and Facebook and Twitter will continue to delete/unpublish hundreds of pages/accounts. While some might find this incredibly troublesome or frustrating, I see it as a giant opportunity to begin establishing something new, or to start building credibility for the years ahead. From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s also helping weed out a lot of the competition, which can be construed both positively and negatively.

The way I see it, news publishers are never going to be more scrutinized for the type of content/information they put out there than they will be over the next 1-2 years. While some companies have already established their brand and reputation, others, such as myself, will be looking to set a new bench mark.

Sitting here in October 2018, I’m already feeling the pressure to launch my new platform. My previous site took over 23 months and close to 5,000 hours to build, and at times I still didn’t feel like it was complete enough – or had enough content to “compete” with the industries big dogs. Truth be told, starting from absolute scratch for a second time almost feels overwhelming to me right now. I had thought to launch The Hackers Tribune or Rogue Media Labs by last September 27th, but almost a month later now I’m not even close to getting it off the ground.

From 2015 – 2016 I personally published over 200 articles through various websites, and generated enough content for other authors to produce over 1,000 more. The websites I worked for and with were at the center of the “Prop or Not” list, and for better or worse so was I. In 2017 – 2018, at the full height of the fake news crackdowns, using the essentially the same material/methodology, but only a public name, I manged to get 2 different Facebook News/Media Pages verified and 3 different domains accepted for inclusion into Google‘s news index.

However, now at the end of 2018, my first two attempts at verifying/indexing Rogue Security Labs have both been declined. All my media partners from the past have been so beaten down at this point that it appears as though they have given up entirely, and no longer have any ambition or drive to join me in a new venture or start over themselves. Still though, the fight continues.

Perhaps I am just leading myself on, but I see 2019 – 2020 as a critical turning point in internet history. A time when it will be more important than ever to be unique, factual, responsible and accountable for the type of information anyone puts out there – especially when it comes to international politics and the US Presidential Election. This is why I see a news/media startup as a unique opportunity to begin building a new brand/reputation that no one has ever seen before. Everyone already knows what all the “legacy publishers” are all about, and people either love them or hate them for it. But I also think people are getting bored with it all, and a tired of the partisanship.

Especially given all of the crackdowns against news/media outlets inside the US and out, I believe the viewing public is craving something new/different that they have never seen before. And especially with a lot of the propaganda, fake news outlets and publishers slowly being eliminated and banned offline, at the same time, if you can begin building something new in the midst of all this then it must really say something about your product. For this reason, I embrace the challenge and see the next Presidential election and all the coverage it’s sure to generate as another media goldmine just waiting to be tapped. The key will be gaining a foothold and establishing yourself/credibility before the next media boom really starts to take off in the fall of 2019. Don’t be late 😉