Google censored 75% of ads from Australia’s anti-lockdown party

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YouTube censored 75% of ads from Australian anti-lockdown party
75% of video ads posted by the United Australia Party (UAP) since September have been removed by Google for allegedly violating the company’s ad policies, a transparency report by Google revealed.

The Labor Party has previously asked for the permanent banning of their rivals, the UAP and its leader Craig Kelly.

Craig Kelly, formerly a member of the Liberal Party, joined the UAP in late August after disagreeing with the Liberal Party’s strict Covid measures. Kelly has faced much censorship online.

Since then, the party has paid $2.684 million for YouTube ads, a move that increased views of the party’s videos into the millions. However, most of those videos have been censored by YouTube. The report does not specify what guidelines were violated.

Labor has previously complained that the UAP was using YouTube to undermine the country’s response to the pandemic, referencing videos Kelly has posted questioning the efficacy of the vaccines and promoting anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

Labor’s communication shadow minister Tim Watts wrote to Google in October, asking why the UAP had not been banned on YouTube despite having a few of its videos removed for violating policies. In parliament, Watts noted that Kelly himself had already received one strike from the video-sharing platform.

“The question is: why is the member for Hughes and the UAP’s YouTube page still operating after repeatedly violating YouTube’s policies, let alone spending millions of dollars promoting medical misinformation during a pandemic? Given the member for Hughes’s record of spreading misinformation and his intent to match the 2019 election spend of the UAP, the potential for harm is obvious and Google must act in a transparent and proactive way.”

Google appears to have responded to Labor’s complaints. The transparency report revealed that 12 of the last 16 video ads (about half of the 25 video ads since Kelly joined) the UAP has paid for have been removed.

In a previous statement, Kelly criticized Labor for reporting his party’s videos to Google, saying “it is a new low that a political party would ask a foreign oligarch to censor freedom of speech in Australian politics.

“The idea that an alternate opinion of an expert is misinformation is a claim I categorically reject,” Kelly said. He said Labor’s appeal to Google amounted to “silencing of genuine debate, and that will leave the public misinformed.”

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Chase pulled payment processing for Donald Trump Jr. event
JPMoragan Chase Bank, one of the biggest banks in the US, canceled a deal to provide online payment processing for a Missouri-based conservative group that’s organizing a Donald Trump Jr. event.

The Defense of Liberty PAC was organizing an event to be held on December 3 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. Donald Trump Jr. was expected to attend the event.

The conservative PAC used WePay, a JPMorgan Chase-owned payment processor, to process payments for the events.

On November 9, the company told Paul Curtman, the founder of the PAC, that it had canceled the contract and would be refunding the $30,000 already processed. The email also stated that the company would no longer do business with the organization in the future.

“It seems you’re using WePay Payments for one or more of the activities prohibited by our terms of service,” a copy of the message, forwarded to The Missouri Independent, states. “More specifically: Per our terms of service, we are unable to process for hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime, or items or activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others regarding the same.”

However, after being asked for a statement about the censorship, the company reversed its decision, saying that it was a mistake and insisting it would never cancel a contract because of a client’s political affiliation.

“After further review, we determined that this organization didn’t violate the terms of service, and we are reaching out to the client to discuss reinstating the account,” the company wrote in a statement. “To be clear, we have never and would never close an account due to a client’s political affiliation.”

Before the bank changed its mind, Curtman said he was surprised by the decision. He believed the decision was made because of his organization being politically conservative.

“My personal sense of why they did this is kind of along the same lines we have been seeing in our culture in recent years,” Curtman said. “If someone has a different idea politically, there is an attempt to silence them or shut them down.”

He continued: “It threw a wrench right into the middle of everything. We had vendors and small businesses and other people who were relying on this as part of their business. We are going to get back on track.”

“I guess Chase has the right to do whatever they want in terms of who they do business with,” Fitzpatrick said on the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight. “But in terms of who we, as the state of Missouri, are going to be doing business with, we won’t be doing business with any bank in the state treasurer’s office that chooses to discriminate against essentially half the population, the conservative half of the population.”



Scotland teases extension of vaccine passport program

In a few weeks, Scots might be required to show a vaccine passport to enter theaters, pubs, and restaurants, announced First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Industry bodies have warned the move will have a negative impact on businesses after an already-difficult two years.

In Scotland, vaccine passports are required for unseated indoor events with more than 500 people and unseated outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, as well as sexual entertainment venues and nightclubs.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon said that the vaccine mandate might be extended to other settings starting December 6.

“To allow us to engage openly with businesses in the coming days about the pros, cons and practicalities, I can confirm that the kinds of settings that might be in scope would be indoor cinemas, theaters, and some other licensed and hospitality premises,” she said.

The possibility of the vaccine passport mandate being extended to the hospitality industry has been criticized. A group of industry trade groups conducted a study, where over 5% of respondents said that “should the policy be extended…” and that they “would not survive without further economic support from government.”

“The survey also shows that covid certification has a hugely negative impact on businesses already caught by the policy and any extension will have a devastating impact on the wider hospitality sector,” a collective statement from the group added.

Scots show proof of vaccination through the NHS Scotland Covid Status app. Currently, the app shows if a person has received both doses of the vaccines. The First Minister said that soon the app will show if a person has received a booster shot.

“We are currently looking at how we incorporate booster vaccinations into the vaccine certification and into the app,” she said.

“Steps will be taken to ensure, particularly for international travel, where we are reliant on the requirements of other countries, that people are not disadvantaged and that the benefits of booster vaccinations are properly reflected.”

The Scottish vaccine passport can be used at venues requiring certification in EU nations.CURRENTLY TESTING
DuckDuckGo introduces new app tracking protection for Android
DuckDuckGo is introducing App Tracking Protection for Android feature in beta mode in its Android app. The new feature will allow users to block third-party trackers like Facebook and Google hidden in other apps.

Some companies, including Google and Facebook, track you without your explicit consent on other apps they do not own. These hidden trackers are a privacy nightmare as they can track everything you do even when you are not using the app. Also, these trackers record your phone activity in real time.

These trackers then send the data they collect to multiple third-party companies. The data is used to create detailed digital profiles for the purpose of targeted advertising. The owners of the trackers can also sell the data to other advertisers, data brokers, and even governments.

According to data from, more than 96% of Android apps have hidden third-party trackers. 87 of those trackers sent data to Google and 68% of them sent data to Facebook. Similar results were found in another review conducted by AppCensus.

Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency in a recent update to iOS. The feature allows iPhone and iPad users to opt-in or out of app tracking. There is no such feature in Android, which is the most popular smartphone OS globally.

However, soon, through the DuckDuckGo app, Android users will be able to block third-party trackers. According to an article on the official DuckDuckGo blog, the App Tracking Protection feature is “free and blocks trackers it identifies in other apps from third-party companies (those different from the company that owns each app).”

The feature will continuously block trackers in the background. You can view the blocked trackers as well as the tracking networks the data would have been sent to. You can also set notifications to get automatic summaries of blocked trackers.

The privacy-focused company is launching the feature in beta. To access it, you have to join a private waitlist.

“We’re letting new people in every week, so the sooner you join, the sooner you’ll be protecting your app privacy,” the company wrote.
You can join the private waitlist by navigating to “Settings” then “App Tracking Protection” on the DuckDuckGo app.4
The company claims it has launched the feature in beta while it works on “getting the experience just right.”

While the feature is in beta, the company is welcoming feedback from users to make improvements before the full launch.

Download DuckDuckGo for Android (or update to the latest version).
Open Settings > App Tracking Protection (in the Privacy section).
Click “Join the Private Waitlist.”
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