GOOGLE HELPS GOVERNMENT CONDUCT WARRANTLESS SEARCHES, ALLEGES EPIC | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

GOOGLE HELPS GOVERNMENT CONDUCT WARRANTLESS SEARCHES, ALLEGES EPIC

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”), a civil liberties group based in Washington D.C., filed an amicus brief in the United States vs. Wilson case concerning Google scanning billions of users’ files for unlawful content and then sending that information to law enforcement agencies.

BYPASSING THE FOURTH AMENDMENT
EPIC alleges that law enforcement is using Google, a private entity, to bypass the Fourth Amendment, which requires due process and probable cause before “searching or seizing” someone’s property.

As a private entity, Google doesn’t have to abide by the Fourth Amendment as the government has to, so it can do those mass searches on its behalf and then give the government the results. The U.S. government has been increasingly using this strategy to bypass Fourth Amendment protections of U.S. citizens and to expand its warrantless surveillance operations further.

IMAGE HASHES VS. IMAGE MATCHES
Google and a few other companies have “voluntarily” agreed to use a database of images hashes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help the agency find exploited children.

More than that, the companies would also give any information they have on the people who owned those images, given they are users of said companies’ services and have shared the images through those services.

Image hash values are unique alphanumerical strings of characters that can be associatedwith images. These values are then used to match one image to another and see if the files are 100% identical.

EPIC alleges that Google has gone even beyond this voluntary commitment to help NCMEC find criminals who exploit children by using image hash matching, and it’s now also using image matching techniques that can look at different files to see whether or not they contain a certain image.

EPIC said this is very different from the first case of hash matching because image matching can result in many false positives (the algorithm can say that a certain file contains the original image, even though it doesn’t).

Webmaster's Commentary: 

That unholy triumverate of Google, Facebook and Twitter, now have extraordinary powers with which to punish innocent, ordinary citizens, and have collectively become 4th branch of the US government; these now include the Judiciary, Congress, the White House, and Surveillance.

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