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Google Patents Privacy Your Rights Online

Google Patents Guilt-By-Association 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it's-in-the-cloouuuudddd dept.
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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Google Patents Guilt-By-Association

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  • Re:Statistics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:44AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:12PM (#41932617) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:11PM (#41933895) Homepage Journal

    You are not saying much. If a file a patent, do *I* have to file proof, or does *THE PTO* have to prove me wrong, and if they can't/don't they have to award the patent?

    THAT is what you said - it is not quite clear, since it is a reply to a reply - so I would just like you to confirm.

    The latter - the PTO has to prove you wrong, and if they can't, they have to issue the patent. It's because of 35 USC 102, which says that an applicant "shall be entitled to a patent" subject to the requirements of the Patent Act. It's similar to the "shall issue" firearms licensing statutes that require the police to issue a permit unless they can prove that you're unfit.

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