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September 21, 2006

Daily Round Up

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Attorney General Learns Nothing from AOL

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (aka AG squared) is back lobbying Congress to pass a law that would require ISPs to retain customer information for as long as one to two years. The law is being touted as a safeguard for “the children”, but for those who haven’t already forgotten AOL’s privacy leak, red flags and panic alarms are going off everywhere.

Gonzales is trying to bypass privacy concerns by pushing the bill as a deterrent against “the growing threat of child pornography over the Internet”. While, we’d all like to eradicate instances of child exploitation on the Web, what Gonzales is advocating is very dangerous. NCMEC president says the law could take two approaches:

“One form could require Internet providers and perhaps social-networking sites and search engines to record for a year or two which IP address is used by which user. The other form would be far broader, requiring companies to record data such as the identities of e-mail correspondents, logs of who sent and received instant messages (but not the content of those communications), and the addresses of Web pages visited.”

Hmm… The problem with holding onto information for long periods of time is that information gets leaked. Without fail, no matter the safeguards, or whether it’s done accidentally or maliciously, the outcome is always the same — personal information is revealed and searchers are left feeling violated. It’s the same reason why I never kept a journal as a kid. Someone, somehow, for whatever reason, always looks under the mattress. Let’s hope someone in Congress has some common sense and knocks this one out.

Chicago Tribune Highlights Search

Danny Sullivan reports that the Chicago Tribune is running a special package on search today entitled Gunning for Google (subscription required). SEW has a full break-down on the package so I’d check that out.

Personally I enjoyed the Tribune’s piece on Matt Cutts (“Google’s Credibility Cop”) and Inside a Web giant’s manic search for staying power. The rest of the package is interesting, though it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.

Google: The Manhattan Edition

eWeek’s Steve Bryant takes us with him as he sneaks ventures into Google’s new Manhattan digs. Google’s new office comes complete with a massage room, cereal dispensers*, healthy chips, multiple kitchens, razor scooters, funky red Panton chairs and yummy bowls of fruit. Now that’s a place worth breaking into.

*Like Google, my adult dream house will also feature a wall of cereal dispensers. There will always be an endless supply of Lucky Charms, Apple Jacks, Kix, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Cheerios, Special K and a few others. (I will also have a dispenser of corresponding cereal-box prizes, obviously.)

Is Bush is no longer a miserable failure?

Yesterday, a Threadwatch thread reported that George W. Bush had lost his number one ranking for the terms “failure” and “miserable failure”. I bet there were high fives throughout the White House, unfortunately for Bush and minions, he seems to have regained his ranking.

The TW thread discovered that the Bush administration, likely having grown tired of Google’s most famous link bomb, had moved the tainted bio to a new page and was using a Meta refresh command to direct visitors and spiders to the new, unbombed page. As a result, some forum members reported that Bush was no longer showing up for the Google bombed terms. Fixed, right? Not so much. It seems the Meta refresh transferred Page Rank, causing the new URL to once again rank for the terms, putting Bush in the exact same position.

Sorry, George.

Fun Find

Jeremy Zawodny points us to Matthew Baldwin’s Defective Yeti blog where he ponders the origin of the name Taco Bell and the cruel lie he was told by his father as a child.

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