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Google Patents Guilt-By-Association

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the but-it's-in-the-cloouuuudddd dept.

Google 199

theodp writes "Guilt by association is defined as the attribution of guilt (without proof) to individuals because the people they associate with are guilty. It's also at the heart of U.S. Patent No. 8,306,922, which was awarded to Google on Tuesday for Detecting Content on a Social Network Using Links, the invention of three Googlers. In its patent application, Google argues that if an individual posts content to social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. 'that is illegal (e.g., content violating copyright law, content violating penal statutes, etc.), inappropriate for minors (e.g., pornography, "R" or "NC-17" rated videos, adult content, etc.), in contravention of an end user licensing agreement (EULA), etc.', then their friends 'may be likely to post content to their profile pages related to similar topics.' Google further explains: 'For instance, a first user and a second user that are designated as friends on a social network may be friends based upon a set of common interests (e.g., the first user and the second user are both interested in tennis). If the first user adds content to its profile page that is related to sports, then the friendship (link) between the first user and the second user can indicate that the profile page of the second user is likely to contain content related to sports as well.' By extension, the same holds true for porn, pirated videos and music, etc., right? So, would you feel comfortable being judged by the online company you keep?"

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This is simply collecting existing data (5, Insightful)

DaTrueDave (992134) | about 2 years ago | (#41931903)

I don't see how it does anything to indicate someone's guilt or innocence. Can it detect trends and probabilities that should be investigated? Sure, but so does a 24-hour tip-line where anyone can call and report suspicious activity.

This is just a tool that can be used and abused by law enforcement, just like their guns, their search warrants and their overall authority. Society has to give them a certain level of trust to fulfill the duties that we expect of them. Sure, sometimes we get burned. There are bad apples everywhere. But reining in the authority that law enforcement is entrusted with is OUR JOB, not theirs. We, as voters and taxpayers, are responsible for electing representatives who will determine the level of authority that law enforcement gets to use to enforce the law.

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932019)

It's also at the heart of U.S. Patent...awarded to Google on Tuesday for Detecting Content on a Social Network...

Look, we've been over this again and again. Don't fucking social network. Are you really that starved for attention and distraction, that you have no friends you could call or text, that you're willing to give up what little privacy you have for 1,000 fake friends?

Anybody who didn't learn those lessons during the MySpace days should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 years ago | (#41932315)

8427 attention-starved people +1 LIKED your shallow narcissistic plea for affirmation

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41932417)

I misread that as "Species 8472 +1 LIKED your shallow narcissistic plea for assimilation"

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (1)

JosKarith (757063) | about 2 years ago | (#41932649)

You win, man. I've watched every episode of Star Trek ever (even the very dodgy cartoon series) but you just win...

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41932411)

Police can just check your garbage to collect a lot more clues on your life.
The problem with these sites it is near impossible to track everyone to make sure they are playing by the rules. However if you can filter down your rules to a smaller set than you can probably run more efficient. Sure if your friend posts a nasty pic, you may be on the watch list. It doesn't mean they are going to kick you off just because you made a watch list.

However just like in real life, if your friend is a known criminal, chances are you are going to be watched too. You won't get arrested if you do legal things, however you will be under more scrutiny

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (4, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932459)

You mean, now i am guilty because i just read your post???

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932807)

Police can't check your garbage unless they have a warrant. The garbage can and the garbage inside are still my property until hauled away by waste management, with which I have an agreement.

Re:This is simply collecting existing data (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41932663)

It's already been done before. I worked on a system in 2001 that did this sort of thing. This seems like little more than one of those "but on the internet" kinds of patents that seem so prevalent these days.

Replace "but on the internet" with "but on social media".

Statistics (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41931917)

So,they've managed to patent using statistics? Is anyone actually doing their job in the patent office?

Re:Statistics (5, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41931949)

So,they've managed to patent using statistics?

No, they patented labeling every teenager as a marijuana user - by association of course.

Re:Statistics (5, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#41932363)

Oh well... I'm just really sorry for Kevin Bacon, that guy is going to have a hard time defending himself in court.

Re:Statistics (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932011)

If the USPTO can grant patents on rounded corners(Apple) why not this ?

Re:Statistics (1, Flamebait)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41932177)

If the USPTO can grant patents on rounded corners(Apple) why not this ?

Those are design patents.

If you don't understand patents, its probably best to not comment on patents. And, you don't understand patents.

Re:Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932571)

how smart do you have to be, to come up with rounded corners, REALLY NOW ! Quiet to the contrary, i hold a real patent. not rounded corners which my kid makes in the sand.

Re:Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933127)

Design Patent- Issued for a new, original, and
                    ornamental design for an article of manufacture, it
                    permits its owner to exclude others from making, using,
                    or selling the design for a period of fourteen years
                    from the date of patent grant. Design patents are not
                    subject to the payment of maintenance fees.

How original are rounded corners ?

Re:Statistics (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41932709)

The USPTO jumped the shark long ago. A decade ago they issued a patent for swinging sideways. In 1993 they issued a patent for using a laser pointer to exercise your cat.

Re:Statistics (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | about 2 years ago | (#41932325)

No, actually, they patented this:

A computer-implemented method comprising:

receiving at a first server system information related to users of a social network site hosted on a second server system;

determining by the first server system a social network graph for at least a portion of the social network from the received information, the graph comprising a plurality of nodes connected by links, each node corresponding to a user that is registered with the social network and that has a profile page on the social network;

identifying first nodes from the plurality of nodes as including content associated with a particular subject of interest;

seeding the identified first nodes with first scores that indicate profile pages for the identified first nodes are positively identified as including content associated with the particular subject of interest;

determining second scores for second nodes of the plurality of nodes based on propagation of the first scores from the first nodes to the second nodes using the links of the social network graph, where:

          each of the determined second scores corresponding to a second node indicates a likelihood that a profile page for the second node contains content associated with the particular subject of interest,
          a particular second score for a particular second node is determined based on a combination of scores for neighboring nodes that are connected to the particular second node by one or more of the links, and
          a particular profile page that is associated with the particular second node is determined to have at least a threshold likelihood of containing content that is associated with the particular subject of interest when at least a portion of the scores for the neighboring nodes exceed a threshold score; and

providing by the first server system the determined second scores for the second nodes.

If you're dissatisfied with that, put your money where your mouth is, and join us [usptocareers.gov] . Currently, the available listings require someone with an engineering Ph.D. or equivalent industry experience, but we will probably have openings for people with 4-year engineering degrees soon.

Re:Statistics (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41932379)

It's a little obvious, don't you think? If you described the problem to someone involved in the field, they couldn't come up with this? On the plus side, it does actually describe an implementation, which seems to be better than a lot of the 'software' patents we see.

Re:Statistics (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 years ago | (#41932617)

It's a little obvious, don't you think? If you described the problem to someone involved in the field, they couldn't come up with this?

That's like saying "he's a little guilty, don't you think? I mean, look at him, isn't he guilty looking?"
Obviousness is a legal conclusion that must be supported by evidence - currently, you have no evidence that it's the right conclusion, just a gut feeling that's based on hindsight. To show something is obvious, you need to show that one or more pieces of prior art that existed at the time of filing, alone or in combination, teach or suggest each and every element in the claims. So, for example, the claim quoted above includes "receiving at a first server system" - that's easy... here's [google.com] a patent from 1995 that shows a server system receiving information. It then says "information related to users of a social network site hosted on a second server system". That's easy, too - we can go back to the original Myspace or Facebook pages. So now, in combination, we've got the entire first line.
Then keep going.

If you can do that for everything in the claim, you can prove it's obvious, rather than just alleging it.

Re:Statistics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932963)

All of the fuck ups happening on a daily basis at the patent office go to show that even with Ph.D.s, people are fucking morons. Possibly even more so.

Re:Statistics (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#41933071)

No offense, but I would hazard a guess that the smartest and most experienced engineers would avoid the USPTO like the plague.

Re:Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933199)

Sounds like software Scotland Yard (other police forces are available, and no doubt had it too) had over ten years ago (if by "social network" you mean "has contacted by 'phone", "has met in pub", "has paid/received money to/from").

Re:Statistics (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41932601)

Seems to me like patenting behaviour, and judgements based on it.

Either way. More proof the USPTO needs complete rebuilding.

Not statistics (2)

Epeeist (2682) | about 2 years ago | (#41932995)

So,they've managed to patent using statistics? Is anyone actually doing their job in the patent office?

Nah, they have managed to patent a logical fallacy [fallacyfiles.org] .

Re:Statistics (1)

hierofalcon (1233282) | about 2 years ago | (#41933107)

The statistics indicate that the majority of them are not.

Re:Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933213)

It's almost like the patent offices are full of automated stamping machines where people just walk in and slide their patent paperwork through the machine. Maybe there is some automated scanner in place to add it to the computer database as well.

Well... (5, Insightful)

anom (809433) | about 2 years ago | (#41931929)

"So, would you feel comfortable being judged by the online company you keep?"

That is pretty much how people are judged in real life too (minus the word online).

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

macbass (868593) | about 2 years ago | (#41932197)

Except that my online company includes friends at locations thousands of miles away, kind of hard to keep up with them like the friends closer by. Additionally, while I haven't RTFA this appears to allow no room for error and assumes my friends are (mostly) mindless clones who automatically repeat or repost what I do. I don't know about you all, but I find this one step closer to welcoming our evil overlords. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Have I not lost my wide-eyed innocence yet?

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41932391)

Except that my online company includes friends at locations thousands of miles away

And yet, they are still friends. The association begs the question, "Why are they friends?" If you like and share their comments about the joys of smoking pot, even though you live in NC, it is an indication that you lean toward approving of the use of pot. No big deal, in and of itself, but if combined with an extremely large utility bill, and a propensity for buying large amounts of gardening chemicals, even though you live in a town home, and being caught with a large roll of cash, there may be a suspicion that you might be growing and selling pot. At least, that will be the argument used by the police to get a warrant to break down you door and pointlessly ruin your life.

Birds of a feather, flock together, and you WILL be known by the company you keep. These cliches don't go away just because you keep the company digitally.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932493)

Because, my friend, i may wanna to kill you, in my thoughts, but that does now make me guilty. It would, only if i explicitly express my desire, and/or actually do it. But what you say is actually that once that thought crosses my mind, i am guilty by association. Welcome Minority Report, it appears it was not science fiction.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932697)

it is an indication that you lean toward approving of the use of pot
uh maybe. Correlation != causation

For example I have a good friend who I think is a libertarian nut job. He thinks I am a republican loon job. But we are still friends. He in fact partakes of many drugs. I do not approve of it at all, I merely tolerate it and borderline despise it.

Also some of my 'friends' on facebook I have not actually talked to in 20 years. They are 'collector' friends. The kind who 'hey I knew that guy 20 years ago and I want to have 200 people in my friends list'. My list is much smaller...

Re:Well... (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 2 years ago | (#41932239)

Informally, yes, but not formally: "Sure he is guilty, his brother is in prison for murder". And on and on.

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 2 years ago | (#41932261)

I get around the problem by not having any friends. Either online or in real life.

I really don't want to be judged by the company I keep on Slashdot. People's tastes around here are just bizarre. Natalie Portman? Covered in grits? Petrified? Let alone the obsession with wanting to Beowulf everything.

Re:Well... (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41932415)

You only say that it's bizarre, because you've never had a Beowulf of Natalie Portmans trying to dig the petrified grits from your pants. Give it a try someday, buddy.

8*)

Re:Well... (1)

GatorSnake (1978412) | about 2 years ago | (#41932737)

I get around the problem by not having any friends. Either online or in real life.

Nice try, but as we know, not participating in social networks also identifies you as a potential threat http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/07/29/1627203/facebook-abstainers-could-be-labeled-suspicious [slashdot.org]

Re:Well... (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 2 years ago | (#41932271)

I'm not so thrilled about being judged on the company I keep afk either. But the internet is our brave new world, and we would not want to spoil it with the sort of crap we have to put up with in real life.

And you guys .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932291)

And you guys disparage us ACs.

Just think of the trouble we could get into with all these people here who think that Anonymous are heroes, downloading music and movies without paying isn't stealing, etc ....

5 degrees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931951)

All this patent will be able to prove is that we all, in some way, know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon.

Re:5 degrees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933043)

Thus giving the government an excuse to kidnap, torture, drone strike or otherwise murder anyone they feel like? America, fuck yeah!

Pigeonholing without purpose. (3, Insightful)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about 2 years ago | (#41931959)

Bwa-ha-hah. The porn I like is nothing like the porn my friends like, and vice versa. Not even my girlfriend and I agree on porn. I'm also willing to bet that the illegal activities I've done in my life are nothing like the ones my friends have committed.

Where did Google get this correlation theory? It seems completely counter to my experience of human beings as individuals.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932039)

But if you post about it, and you're not unfriended, then they were not offended (and maybe just found a new genre of porn).

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (4, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#41932175)

I think this is a great excuse to unfriend my mom. She's always posting copyrighted material from the dog shelter she works at and I wouldn't want to be guilty of associating with someone posting material advocating helping homeless animals without the permission of the humane society.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

hazah (807503) | about 2 years ago | (#41932209)

'Cause it's impossible to keep a friendship with someone who's some (read, not all) interests might not be your cup of tea. I don't think that's quite right.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41932405)

I've had to unfriend someone after the slutty drunken whore got "saved" and everything she posted was a bible verse and she posted at least 10 a day. So yes, if your friend posts enough of the same crap, you implicitly don't mind it enough to break the association.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

hazah (807503) | about 2 years ago | (#41933141)

Not the point I was making. You may choose to delete her, others may not, and still not care one bit for the verses.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932565)

But if you unfriend him, that means that you like to unfriend people....and we all know who does not have friends, the mass murderers LOL. And, by association, all of your ex-friends would be considered mass murderers.
Man, this whole story is becoming funnier and funnier.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932159)

Bwa-ha-hah. The porn I like is nothing like the porn my friends like, and vice versa. Not even my girlfriend and I agree on porn. I'm also willing to bet that the illegal activities I've done in my life are nothing like the ones my friends have committed.

Where did Google get this correlation theory? It seems completely counter to my experience of human beings as individuals.

When you post with crazy statements like there is a slashdot user with a girlfriend, do you really expect to be taken seriously?

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932599)

Do you mean that you like to read crazy statements???? Man, you are guilty by association.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#41933143)

I would have read that as, If we're reading a post from a Slashdot user who has a girlfriend then by association all Slashdot users have girlfriends... Don't tell my wife. I guess by association that means all Slashdot users have wives as well and are cheating on them with their associated girlfriends. Since some Slashdot users are girls that makes some Slashdot users lesbians so we must all be lesbians by association... I wonder how I'm going to break that to my wife and daughter?

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41932227)

It seems completely counter to my experience of human beings as individuals.

Well, that's part of the problem. You're not supposed to treat human beings as individuals. That's a bunch of anarchist malarkey. I mean, how else are you going to label and condemn them if they can't be pigeonholed?

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (2)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#41932233)

How many of your friends avoid porn entirely due to their religious beliefs? Many of mine do, but I suspect you have different sorts of friends than I do.

I don't think the concept is invalid, just that you're applying it at too detailed a level, and confusing "more likely to" with "will". Perhaps someone you're friends with is 2% more likely than average to have an interest in something you like. To a human looking at the data without applying any mathematical analysis, such a weak indicator would be completely invisible. And, actually, such a weak indicator is probably useless for any kind of predictions... but it may become very useful when combined with several other weak indicators.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932633)

Man, can you bet your life that none of your friends are watching porn!!! Are you really so delusional about your telepathic skills???

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

Urthas (2349644) | about 2 years ago | (#41932341)

Where did Google get this correlation theory? It seems completely counter to my experience of human beings as individuals.

Hmm. Anecdotal assertion from a /. user versus access to more data than God from Google. Who to believe, who to believe?

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (1)

Foolhardly (1773982) | about 2 years ago | (#41932409)

The porn I like is nothing like the porn my friends like, and vice versa. Not even my girlfriend and I agree on porn.

You may have just validated their point. You, your friends, and significant other all consume porn.

I'm also willing to bet that the illegal activities I've done in my life are nothing like the ones my friends have committed.

You and your friends are involved in illegal activity. Put two and two together and you've got a network of people (allegedly) illegally downloading porn.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932553)

Where did Google get this correlation theory? It seems completely counter to my experience of human beings as individuals.

Uh, where? Did you just ask the question where?

My heard hurts over this question, hinting that you have no idea what exactly Google does for a living.

Like Google needs to look any further than it's own damn backyard (which is only the world's largest by the way) to correlate and prove damn near anything with regards to online data. And yes, chances are they did prove it already, countless times, unbeknownst to anyone, before wasting the time and effort to file a patent on it.

Re:Pigeonholing without purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932725)

Bwa-ha-hah. The porn I like is nothing like the porn my friends like, and vice versa. Not even my girlfriend and I agree on porn.

That's not true - you both love cock.

Speaking of Which (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41931975)

Dear Slashdot,

I'd like to ask you some questions about your ongoing involvement and interview with Hans Reiser [slashdot.org] ... I haven't seen any activity in CmdrTaco's wife's gmail account for quite some time!

Sincerely,

Googlock Holmes

Oh Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931985)

This will end well...

Do not too much evil? (4, Insightful)

Fishead (658061) | about 2 years ago | (#41931989)

And that is why instead of Google Drive, I'm looking for an alternative that encrypts my family photo's rather than analyzes them.

I don't THINK I have anything illegal in my photo drive, but you never know what may be spotted by a robot looking through my thousands of photos.

Re:Do not too much evil? (1)

spyke252 (2679761) | about 2 years ago | (#41932375)

And that is why instead of Google Drive, I'm looking for an alternative that encrypts my family photo's rather than analyzes them.

I don't THINK I have anything illegal in my photo drive, but you never know what may be spotted by a robot looking through my thousands of photos.

You could just encrypt your photos client-side (i.e. before you put them in Google Drive).

Re:Do not too much evil? (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#41932443)

Your baby pictures.

Chris Hansen would like you to have a seat over there.

Re:Do not too much evil? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 years ago | (#41932485)

Wuala is a service that provides this (cloud storage of client-side encrypted files). The UI is a bit ugly but it works fine. Oh, and at least you used to be able to pay for storage with Bitcoins!

It's not who you know, it's who you hate. (4, Insightful)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about 2 years ago | (#41932873)

Nothing illegal in your photo drive?

Do you have a flag of Taiwan [boingboing.net] in a picture? Perhaps you took a picture of your car [boingboing.net] ? (Especially if you post it on your company's vanity page...) Or maybe there was a stranger in the background [yahoo.com] ?

It's not so much what is illegal in your photos, as it is "who takes offense at your pictures". And when anyone can sue (civil court) anyone for anything, there doesn't even have to be a law against it.

Don't be evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932017)

My ass!

But But... (1)

hundredrabh (1531761) | about 2 years ago | (#41932023)

90% of the facebook friends I have, I barely know.
Whatever one more reason not to be party to this social media mess.

Re:But But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932403)

Wow. So Google is playing Big Brother with your data and you're blaming Facebook?
 
Just another Slashtard who can't help but screaming "teh Googlez is no evil!!!!111!!!!oneone."

Re:But But... (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41932767)

thats why you should use google plus or what ever its called. because you wont have any friends on it so no guilt by associatioin

Oddly good news. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932025)

If Google didn't patent this someone else would and then any relationship-linking done by Google would be at the risk of patent infringment. That is a problem with the patent system, not Google in particular.

This is one of those cases where decent behavior intersects poorly with mathematics. Most of the people I consider friends do share the same view of copyright that I do (i.e. Lawrence Lessig's view) and some of that is simply due to my recommending his book and advocating its principles. That said, Mom is a friend and has never changed any of her views based on my input (e.g. she still runs Windows Vista). So in my single person anecdote I can still see the strong exception and the obvious correlation. Spread over millions of people I'm guessing the correlation between shared views on honesty/dishonesty issues is pretty strong.

The question isn't about the patent, its about what they will do about it. The people who purchased YouTube, and spent $millions digitizing books are not going to become *AA puppets any more than absolutely required by law.

So if this idea must be patented (as our current system dictates it must) I'd rather Google had it than Apple or Microsoft.

Lets hope the police take no notice of this bull (1)

second_coming (2014346) | about 2 years ago | (#41932037)

What an absolute load of shite. Just because you are 'friends' with someone online does not mean you do exactly the same things. How many people have people on their Facebook friends list who they haven't actually seen for years? (fucking lots I'm guessing)

Re:Lets hope the police take no notice of this bul (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41932299)

http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/09/07/239239/poll-based-system-predicts-us-election-results-for-president-senate [slashdot.org]

Given the proper algorithms, statistical analysis can produce very accurate results. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's not as simple as one friend you haven't seen in years posting something once correlates to you doing that same thing as well.

Too late (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41932399)

The police and other agencies have been doing this for decades. Google Joe McCarthy.

Re:Lets hope the police take no notice of this bul (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41932407)

The police already do this. And it works just fine.

Sure there no guarantee that just becuase you have a friend who plays a lot of board games that you do. But there's a better chance that you do than that some random person does. If you have 20 such friends who all play board games the probability is higher still.

In the police work field, if you keep associating with known criminals you'll be getting a closer look at than a random person. Doesn't mean you are a criminal and it certainly doesn't work as proof for anything.

Kevin Bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932041)

I imagine everyone is at most a few online degrees away from somebody doing something nefarious.

Seriously doubt this would work as stated.

Re:Kevin Bacon (5, Funny)

second_coming (2014346) | about 2 years ago | (#41932199)

If Kevin Bacon does anything dodgy, we're all fucked

Re:Kevin Bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932809)

if you have 1 friend that does something nefarious it doesn't mean they think you are likely to do it too.

on the other hand if the majority of your friends are doing the same nefarious thing, there is a very high probability that you have similar interests to them and so are likely to be doing it as well.

This is why. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932065)

I do not and will never have a social media account. Even though my friends are trying to push me to Facebook with them.

However, even though I do not have a Facebook or other account my pictures are slathered over their own sites, which means that I can be associated with them by facial recognition.

I love the world we are living in now, privacy has no meaning to most people any longer.

Re:This is why. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#41932717)

So, translated, you are anti social guy, and by association are all of your friends....very very interesting...

It doesn't seem surprising (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41932077)

You see reports in business rags frequently about how dangerous social network sites are; with people getting canned or failing to get a job because of something a facebook friend posted. Your best bet is avoid the mess and don't use the social networks. Really, Google should be patenting simply considering users of social networks a criminal or deviant up front... seems to be the way things are going anyway.

You'd think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932085)

that Sergei Brinn would appreciate the irony. He's Russian, and he was run out of China. Yet here he is employing people to patent KGB-style software algorithms.

Google is more evil than Microsoft ever was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932093)

Another Walled Garden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932117)

So how is this different from product sponsored web portals that never let you leave?

just shows that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932129)

you can patent the patently obvious.

There's prior art (2, Funny)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 2 years ago | (#41932147)

This shouldn't fly. Christians, and perhaps Jews, have believed in original sin in which guilt has been transferred from Eve for millennia. They published but didn't file for a patent.

Prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932155)

Didn't Valve implement the same thing when they created a "cheater detector" that just took a look at the friend list of verified cheaters?

You hvae 0 friends (4, Interesting)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#41932211)

So, the more friends you have the bigger criminal you are?

Re:You hvae 0 friends (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41932321)

Ah, the silver lining to the story.

nothing to see here (2, Insightful)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | about 2 years ago | (#41932229)

We have retarded patent, copyright, and trademark laws in the US. This is not news.

DING fries are done

Invention? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#41932237)

How is that a new invention?

This is discrimination (0)

hessian (467078) | about 2 years ago | (#41932277)

Trolls are people too.

Are you going to deny me speech, participation, happiness or social welfare benefits simply because I'm (according to some) a troll?

Will you deny my inherent humanity, that I am no different from you, and refuse me marriage or participation in the military?

This is blatant discrimination. Trolls may have a higher rate of trolling, true, but that doesn't mean we're not equal. We're just like you. Except we troll. And we deserve equal rights!

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Yes, Very Comfortable (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41932295)

"By extension, the same holds true for porn, pirated videos and music, etc., right? So, would you feel comfortable being judged by the online company you keep?"

Definitely. Most of the people whose company I enjoy favor a liberal interpretation of the authority of copyright and prefer adult-oriented content to PG and lighter fare. They speak ill of their government when it is justified (and sometimes when it is not) and accept that the four boxes of liberty are all unfortunate necessities. And they believe that even suspected terrorists who worship the wrong deity are endowed by their creator with the rights documented in the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

I rather like that sort of person, and hope that the world sees me as one of them. I think people who are not proud to fit that description tend to lie somewhere between pretentious and dull, and are detrimental to our advancement as a productive, open, honest, and self-aware society.

Would I feel comfortable? (1)

Bramlet Abercrombie (1435537) | about 2 years ago | (#41932301)

No, go to hell you fuckin' Nazi's

As always, a sensationalized story (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41932425)

The Google patent covers, in short, getting an expectation of a user's content by reviewing the content of their friends.It's a generalization of PageRank, but instead of looking only at a single numeric value for a site's worth, it looks at various other criteria.

The only meaningful "guilt by association" reference is claim 12:

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the particular subject of interest comprises at least one of the group consisting [of] adult content and illegal content.

Claims that short are usually defensive, to prevent trolls from getting a patent of "do this prior art, but looking for porn". Now Google can use their algorithm for content filters, without fear that a troll will use their own work against them. It is interesting that that's the only particular subject mentioned, but that's not very meaningful, since the general method is patented in claim 1. It could just be a writing technique to patent the technique and have the given examples be specifically covered. IANAL, so I'd love some lawyers to explain if there's something odd here.

As usual, it's a benign patent on a data mining technique that Slashdot whips up into a frenzied sensational theory about corporations working to quash the individuality of the common man.

Prior art: NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932511)

Exactly what the US gov't has been doing for years now.

musing patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932915)

I don't see how this is something one can patent.

Patents are getting so fucking dumb. Seriously guys, it makes me, as a wanna-be inventor, not bother to invent something, because someone else went rabid with patents and claims my retangular-device-with-rounded-edges infringes and therefore they deserve one of the following: some of my money, to legal action my company/product out of existance, or to legal action my company to the point that they can manipulate what occurs to it (sell me or else, etc etc etc).

Gasp, it's like the big players in business want undue influence and control, and they have the lawyers and money to leverage it.

Gasp Gasp, but this shit wasn't very prevalent back in the good ol' days of doing business, when POOR people came to America and struck it rich with innovative business ideas! (Though it sorta was, media/oil barons??! But fuck those guys)

Triple Gasp, the President talks a lot about this but MY GOD I just realized.. it kills innovation, and the spirit of business and adventure that our country was founded on according to that guy who was debating behind that one podium!

So why the fuck doesn't anyone put a stop to this?

They must be lying about protecting the great economic opportunities my country's been famed for.

The opportunities that MADE my country powerful. We're arrogant people, and many do not comprehend how young the U.S. really is.

They must be lying to me. Just like everyone else.

So, in the end, here's what I have to offer:

Patents are getting so fucking dumb.

stupid bullshit (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41932921)

Growing up I didn't smoke cigarettes (still don't, never got into that), but a lot of my friends did, buy this study, I would of been labeled a cigarette smoker.

Later on, a lot of the people I knew had felonies, I never had, but I guess I would be guilty of that also.

I have gay friends, so I guess I'm gay also (I'm not, but according to this I would be...)

My friends are a lot of things I am not, but now, maybe I am...

Re:stupid bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933103)

Exactly my thoughts.

I went to school with a guy who is serving thre elife terms for Murder. I guess that makes me one and I should hand myself into the polce this instant.
I go to watch the occassional game of Soccer. Sometimes there is a bit of crowd trouble. I guess this makes me a football hooligan.
Sometimes I go to a Pub. Some of the other people in the pub are alcoholics. I guess this makes me an Alcoholic.
Sometimes I travel into London on the train. There are probably rapists, thieves, wife beaters and a whole host of other deviants/criminals on the trains that I use. I guess I'm one as well.

This is very 1984ish IMHO.

Google is failing badly at it's 'Do No Evil'. This is one of the reasons I won't use GMail.

All other things being equal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933121)

...douchebags generate more useless patents than non-douchebags.

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