What’s Behind Google’s Secretive Ad-Blocking Policy? By MIT Technolohy Review

The decision to stop carrying certain types of online ads prompts questions.

 

When Google decided in May to stop accepting online ads for short-term, ultra-high-cost personal loans known as payday loans, some people wondered whether the company was acting more like a publisher exercising editorial control than a supposedly neutral search engine.

 

Now that Google’s policy has gone into effect, it’s worth asking: To what extent should the company be a gatekeeper, judging which online ads are okay and which are not? And if the world’s largest Internet search engine is going to be selective about accepting ads, where does it draw the line?

 

The same questions could be applied to Microsoft and Yahoo, which refuse to carry ads for certain types of sensitive content (but still advertise payday loans). Baidu, the world’s second-largest search engine, has been grappling with these issues since earlier this year, when its practice of promoting medical listings without vetting them sparked outrage over a tragedy: a young man with cancer died after receiving an ineffective treatment from a hospital he found through a Baidu ad. The outcry prompted an investigation by China’s Internet regulator, which ordered Baidu to review its ads and remove any that promote unlicensed medical providers.

 

University of Maryland law professor Frank Pasquale says Google has tried to have it both ways: sometimes it portrays itself as a simple utility and a mere conduit of its customers’ ads, but other times it presents itself as a content provider that can and should exercise control over the ads it shows.

 

“Whenever Google is accused of abetting or enabling copyright infringement or defamation, it says, ‘We’re just [connecting people] like the phone company does, and you wouldn’t sue the phone company over this,’” says Pasquale. “But when people say, ‘If you’re a common carrier [utility], you should take all ads,’ Google will say, ‘No, we’re like a newspaper and we should have carte blanche over what we publish.’”

 

With payday loan ads, Google is characterizing itself as the watchful online guardian. The company has said it banned the ads to protect its users because “research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates.” (Google declined to comment for this story beyond saying that it constantly reviews its AdWords policies and updates them ”when necessary.”)

 

Google also seems to have been influenced by advocacy from a large coalition of civil rights, digital rights, and financial reform organizations. In late 2015, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other groups sent Google reports detailing abuses that often accompany payday loans—among them fraud, unauthorized transactions, and long-term indebtedness. “We said, ‘This is a problem, and we want to talk to you about this,’” says Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, who participated in the outreach campaign. “There were long conversations with Google and a lot of bringing this research to their attention over the course of a couple of months.”

 

An ongoing inquiry into payday lending by the U.S. government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may have further heightened Google’s interest in predatory lending practices.

 

Consumers might not realize it, but Google—and other ad-supported search engines—have been making editorial decisions about the types of ads they will carry for years. These companies won the right to reject ads they consider objectionable in 2007, when a Delaware district court ruled that constitutional free-speech guarantees don’t apply to search engines since they are for-profit companies and not “state actors.” The decision cited earlier cases that upheld newspapers’ rights to decide which ads to run.

 

Google currently prohibits ads for “dangerous,” “dishonest,” and “offensive” content, such as recreational drugs, weapons, and tobacco products; fake documents and academic cheating services; and hate-group paraphernalia. Google also restricts ads for content it deems legally or culturally sensitive, such as adult-oriented, gambling-related, and political content; alcoholic beverages; and health care and medicine. It may require additional information from these advertisers and limit placement to certain geographical locations.

 

Legal experts aren’t uniformly comfortable with Google’s taking on this role. While the University of Maryland’s Pasquale supports Google’s decision to add online payday loans to its restricted list as a benefit to consumers, University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak thinks Google is overreaching. Given the company’s dominance—it is estimated to have a 55 percent share of the $86.2 billion global market for search ads—Kwak thinks Google is essentially exercising regulatory authority when it bans certain ads and should be subject to scrutiny on the grounds that it might be violating First Amendment protections on free speech.

 

“The question is, ‘When does something have so much control over the dissemination of ideas that it should be treated as part of the government?’” says Kwak. “This is a company with enormous power that’s using that power to affect other industries.”

 

Now that Google has agreed to ban a category of ads, partly on the basis of community advocacy, will people expect it to block other ads that cause public harm? And since Google has committed to policing its payday loan ads, shouldn’t it take responsibility for other potentially unethical ads that it runs?

 

Consider for-profit colleges and services for relief of student debt. Google has not instituted special regulations for such ads even though both entities are widely believed to capitalize on consumers’ confusion and hurt more people than they help.

 

Logan Koepke, an analyst at Upturn, a technology law and policy consultancy that published an influential 2015 report about online payday loans, thinks Google’s decision may set a precedent for consumer advocates to seek to shape companies’ ad policies.

 

Some people aren’t comfortable with Google as the final arbiter on these topics. Kwak, for one, would like to see greater transparency surrounding such decisions. He suggests that Google hire a group of economists or social scientists to identify deceptive products being advertised online, or perhaps work with the CFPB to determine the most exploitative financial products.

Pasquale also favors some form of public or government scrutiny to ensure that such decisions are being made in the public interest and not for commercial reasons favoring Google. That’s relevant to the payday loan issue since some people have speculated that the ban will benefit LendUp, an online lender that describes itself as a “payday loan alternative” and is funded by Google Ventures, the investment division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

LendUp has pointed out, though, that its ads will be subject to Google’s ad ban, just like those of other lenders.

Bedoya understands why Google’s clout and reach make people uneasy, but he says, “The reality is, these companies had tremendous power before this decision and will have tremendous power after it. The key is to encourage them to use their position in a way that’s not harmful.”

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Frank Owens Limited Home Building Industry: Damian Owens, Company Director from Co Derry

Frank Owens Limited Home Building Industry Damian Owens Company Director from Co Derry

Damian Owens is a formally registered director born in November 1960. Up to this point, Damian was engaged as a high-level officer in 1 company. The initial nomination happened in Frank Owens Ltd on March 25, 2003. The business was formed on November 18, 2002, with headquarters set up in Co L’derry. The board member cooperated with Dorothy Kane (company director), Malcolm Harrison (it officer). This 55-year-old managing director is listed in 28 company filings, for example: the filing delivered on April 22, 2010 on behalf of Frank Owens Ltd in the officers – change category, the filing delivered on April 24, 2003 on behalf of Frank Owens Ltd, or the filing delivered on December 17, 2003 on behalf of Frank Owens Ltd. Damian is a person of Irish nationality.

About

Name: Damian Owens

Date of Birth: November 1960

Age:                55

Nationality:    Irish

Residence:     Northern Ireland

Address:         Co Derry BT47 3AX N Ireland

Last updated:            2016-06-23

Director at:

Frank Owens Ltd

Occupation:   Company Director

Appointed:    March 25, 2003

Address:         50 Main Street Co L’derry United Kingdom

Incorporation date: November 18, 2002

Work History

Company Details

Frank Owens Ltd

Incorporation date: 2002-11-18

Category: Private Limited Company

Sic Code (Services): 56302 – Public houses and bars

 

 

Intermediate Retail Fraud Analyst

About TD Bank Group

 

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (“TD” or “the Bank”).

 

TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves over 24 million customers in three key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe:

 

– Canadian Retail, including TD Canada Trust, TD Auto Finance Canada, TD Wealth, TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance;

– U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, TD Auto Finance U.S., and an investment in TD Ameritrade; and

– Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities.

 

TD had CDN$1.1 trillion in assets on January 31, 2015. TD also ranks among the world’s leading online financial services firms, with approximately 9.7 million active online and mobile customers. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol “TD”.

 

Department Overview

 

Retail Fraud Management within Financial Crimes & Fraud Management Group (FC&FMG) is responsible for the development and management of fraud prevention strategies and detection processes designed to control fraud related losses across multiple channels and products

 

Fraud Management is a customer-facing, fast-paced environment requiring quick response to changing priorities and provides a unique opportunity to leverage your analytical ability within an Operational environment

 

Job Type

Regular

 

Job Status

Full Time

 

Hours

8:30 – 5:00

 

Business Line

Corporate

 

Job Category – Primary

Business Analysis | Reporting

 

Job Category(s)

Business Analysis | Reporting

 

Job Description

 

Reporting to the Senior Manager, Retail Fraud Management, the Analyst will be responsible for developing and monitoring strategies to mitigate fraud while balancing the impact to customers and our Operations teams as well as the following:

 

– Conduct analysis on customer, account and transactional data to create segmentation and develop fraud rules/strategies while balancing the impact to Operations teams and the customer experience

– Monitor existing strategies to ensure continued effectiveness i.e. that they meet false-positive and detection rate criteria. Explain variances and recommend remedial actions

– Produce timely diagnostics to identify system, strategy and operational issues

– Convert analytic insights into recommendations for specific fraud management initiatives, and perform post-implementation tracking to ensure that targets are attained

– Provide ad-hoc analysis to support decision-making at the senior executive level

– Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders including other FG&FMG teams, Retail Risk Management, product groups and external vendors

– Create management reporting for analytics activities, fraud strategy performance & trend analysis

 

Job Requirements

 

– University degree in a numerate discipline e.g. Math, Statistics,

– Solid understanding of retail lending products and channels (asset)

– Proficient with data extraction/mining tools such as SAS and SQL

– Proficient with Microsoft Office applications; Advanced Excel

– Ability to react quickly and recognize priorities

 

Additional Information

 

– Conceptual thinker, ability to wade through data and arrive at conclusions

– Demonstrated analytical, financial modeling and problem solving skills

– Strong interpersonal and leadership skills and comfort in interacting with all levels of management

– Ability to communicate strategy analysis to both technical and non-technical team members, either verbally or via documentation

– Demonstrated ability to effectively manage multiple projects and priorities simultaneously

– Provide support and guidance to other members of the Fraud Management team

– Strong team collaboration skills

 

#LI-OM1

 

Inclusiveness

 

At TD, we are committed to fostering an inclusive, accessible environment, where all employees and customers feel valued, respected and supported. We are dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers and communities in which we live and serve. If you require an accommodation for the recruitment/interview process (including alternate formats of materials, or accessible meeting rooms or other accommodation), please let us know and we will work with you to meet your needs.

 

**Province/State (Primary)

Ontario

 

City (Primary)

Markham

Meir Ezra Blog: Why You Need Goals

Why You Need Goals - Meir Ezra BlogTo make 2015 and 2016 your most successful years ever, you need exciting goals.

The following article is excerpted from “How to Set Exciting Goals You Can Reach,” a free e-booklet you can download at http://www.tipsforsuccess.org/goals-link.htm.

“Without goals, hopes, ambitions or dreams, the attainment of pleasure is nearly impossible.” — L. Ron Hubbard

Fifteen Signs You Need to Set Some Goals

  1. You want to accomplish something great, but you don’t know what to do.
  2. Even though you are busy, you accomplish little.
  3. Little problems seem like big problems.
  4. You hate your work or other parts of your life.
  5. Nothing interests or excites you; you have little passion for what you are doing.
  6. Staying focused or concentrating is difficult.
  7. You are waiting for someone else to give you opportunities or make you successful.
  8. Even if you seem more successful than others, you are still unhappy.
  9. You spread out a little work to fill your whole day.
  10. Your life seems to be going downhill.
  11. Your days are filled with meaningless motion.
  12. Negative feelings are controlling your life: apathy, depression, fear, grief, pain, hopelessness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, revenge and so on.
  13. You wonder what will happen to you in the future.
  14. You know your potential is unlimited, yet you do not change.
  15. Life does not contain much happiness or pleasure.

Even if you realize you need to set goals, you might use one or more of the following excuses.