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Advertising Communications Google Government The Internet United States Politics

Placing Election Ads On Google Will Require a Government ID (gizmodo.com) 227

Google announced new policies Friday that will require advertisers to prove they are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident when buying election ads. "Under the new guidelines, Google will ask advertisers -- be they individuals, organizations, or political action committees -- to prove they are who they claim to be," reports Gizmodo. "It will also require the ads to include a clear disclosure of who is paying for it." From the report: The change comes after Google and other social media companies revealed their advertising platforms were abused by foreign actors, including the Russian government-backed troll farm Internet Research Agency, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also places Google's policies in line with U.S. laws for traditional media that restrict foreign entities from running election ads. Where Google's effort falls short, at least in its current iteration, is the new policies only cover ads featuring candidates running for office. So-called "issue ads" that advocate a certain point of view on hot-button topics are not covered in Google's policies.

Placing Election Ads On Google Will Require a Government ID

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  • Russians hiring shady US promotion agency in 3..2...1...

    • It's illegal to make political donations with money that someone else asked you to donate. But it's actually still unclear if it's legal or not to place ads with money given to you by someone else. It's not covered by the FEC [fec.gov], either.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Election Ads are generally just plain wrong.

        It at most allow candidates to get through a simple black or white stance on issues rather than allowing people to understand the candidateâ(TM)s ideas, reasons, moral standing, motivations etc.

        Election Ads are mostly fake news anyway even if itâ(TM)s by US citizens.

        We should set a limit on campaign spending and have more robust debates rather than fucking Ads.....

      • "It's illegal to make political donations with money that someone else asked you to donate."

        This is unclear. Care to be more specific? Like I can't be asked to donate? Or is it that my money needs to be used, and I can't donate with money given to me specifically for the purpose for a specific candidate?

        Or what?

    • Re: US ID (Score:2, Insightful)

      Anyone think this would be happening if Hilary had won?
  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:16PM (#56563802) Homepage

    Yeah, because if there's one thing foreign intelligence organizations are totally incapable of and stymied by, it's creating a fake ID.

  • It's all good. The best is when there are no ads.

  • Unfortunately, it's easy enough to fake a scan of a driver's license or passport.

    Also, I'm glad this doesn't extend to issue ads. The US and state governments have a history of vindictiveness on certain issues -- drug legalization, mass incarceration, etc. I can see how people supporting those issues might want to remain anonymous while still participating and trying to change public views.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately, it's easy enough to fake a scan of a driver's license or passport.

      Only works as long as it isn't verified against a government database.

      "We will send a verification letter to the address you are registered at" makes it a lot more complicated to commit identity fraud.

      • Unlikely since there are many forms of "valid ID" in the US. Address verification via letter -- maybe, but it's easy enough to arrange a mail drop for a one-time thing like this.
    • Unfortunately, it's easy enough to fake a scan of a driver's license or passport.

      It's also illegal. Very illegal, in fact.

      • Because foreign intelligence backed entities really care about legality? It's already very illegal to operate as an unregistered foreign operative in the US.
      • So what? Do you have a point?

        Everybody commits 3 felonies/day. Once your comfortable with that, the world becomes a lot less stressful.

        • Everybody commits 3 felonies/day.

          You meant everybody living in the US, presumably. To make that claim about everybody, period, seems unwarranted.

          • The EU also has volumes full of un/selectively enforced laws.

            But yeah, there might still be places where they haven't gotten around to making everyone a criminal, just not many.

  • by kronix1986 ( 1060830 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:18PM (#56563812)

    Seems perfectly reasonable to only allow citizens of a country to buy political adverts in that country during an election cycle.

    Can't wait to see how some people slam this new regulation as an attack on the free speech of Russians...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck ( 811747 )

      Unfortunately, they can still *vote* in many areas, legally or not, and many proposals to require ID have been rejected.

      • by Ayano ( 4882157 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:31PM (#56563860)
        Then those states need to remove the 'poll tax' of the cost of an ID. Everyone seems to say 'but it's as easy as a driver's license' but not everyone has a car, you'd be surprised by the numbers.

        Make the IDs free, quick, and easily replaced, and you'd see more motion in this regard, but you don't. There's always a cost for IDs for some reason and when you put a cost on anything, there will be people who cannot afford it. And the moment you say "oh those poor people don't deserve to vote then" is the moment you cease being a true American.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Then those states need to remove the 'poll tax' of the cost of an ID. Everyone seems to say 'but it's as easy as a driver's license' but not everyone has a car, you'd be surprised by the numbers.

          Make the IDs free, quick, and easily replaced, and you'd see more motion in this regard, but you don't. There's always a cost for IDs for some reason and when you put a cost on anything, there will be people who cannot afford it. And the moment you say "oh those poor people don't deserve to vote then" is the moment you cease being a true American.

          BULLSHIT.

          Texas did just that:

          Texas voter ID law can go into effect, appeals court panel rules [cnn.com]

          And it still wasn't enough to satisfy "progressives".

          Why, you'd almost think the goal of "progressives" in fighting voter ID was to do things like allow illegal immigrants to commit vote fraud.

          "There's no vote fraud!"

          Again, BULLSHIT. How can you tell if there's vote fraud if you don't ID the voter? You can't.

          • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @03:01PM (#56563988)
            Because voter impersonation is mathematically the dumbest way to rig an election. It's high risk for low reward, and the risk grows exponentially, so you couldn't rig an election for dogcatcher without getting caught. Any other method, including legitimate campaigns, would be a much more effective strategy.
            • For there to be risk, there has to be a way to detect it. If you're not doing anything which could detect voter fraud, like checking people's ID to confirm that they're actually who they say they are and confirming they're actually allowed to vote, then there's zero risk.

              Pretty much any other means of vote manipulation (e.g. rigging voting machines, altering ballot counts, foreigners running ads) leaves some evidence of the misdeed, and thus is higher risk. But voter fraud is pretty near impossible to
              • by dryeo ( 100693 )

                You guys don't have voter registration? Along with marking voters on the list when they vote?
                Seems that should produce enough evidence to capture illegal voters.

            • Because voter impersonation is mathematically the dumbest way to rig an election. It's high risk for low reward, and the risk grows exponentially, so you couldn't rig an election for dogcatcher without getting caught. Any other method, including legitimate campaigns, would be a much more effective strategy.

              Then why not require IDs? What are you afraid of? It won't change anything, right?

              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Because some citizens legitimately don't have valid IDs.

              • I'm going to assume you're not a moron and try to explain.

                The fundamental, most basic cornerstone of a democratic government is the right to vote. (Yes, I know we're technically a republic.) Everyone has a constitutional right to vote. When you put barriers in place, no matter how innocuous they may seem, you will inadvertently deny people their constitutional right to vote. You will deny them their ability to participate in self-government, which is the cornerstone of freedom.

                Voter impersonation does not r

            • Because voter impersonation is mathematically the dumbest way to rig an election.

              Chicago is famous for its history of people voting from the grave and for helping President John F. Kennedy "steal" the 1960 election. (JFK beat Richard Nixon by 9,000 votes in Illinois by capturing what some considered a suspiciously high 450,000 advantage in Cook County.)

              Chicago And Rigged Elections? The History Is Even Crazier Than You've Heard [dnainfo.com]

              • If nobody's enforcing election laws, than anything goes that's allowed by the authorities, and the only solution is to do something about corruption. Voter ID, or any other, laws won't stop the fraud. Besides, this isn't voter impersonation.

                In a district where there's even indifferent law enforcement, voter impersonation has an extremely low risk-reward business.

          • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @06:06PM (#56564488)

            "There's no vote fraud!"

            Again, BULLSHIT. How can you tell if there's vote fraud if you don't ID the voter? You can't.

            Republicans know there is voter fraud. In the first person. https://www.denverpost.com/201... [denverpost.com]

            http://occupydemocrats.com/201... [occupydemocrats.com]

            http://www.bradblog.com/?p=946... [bradblog.com]

            http://nhpr.org/post/mancheste... [nhpr.org]

            https://www.arktimes.com/arkan... [arktimes.com]

            http://archive.jsonline.com/ne... [jsonline.com]

            https://talkingpointsmemo.com/... [talkingpointsmemo.com]

            https://www.nytimes.com/2012/0... [nytimes.com]

            Yesiree, Republicans know full well that there is voter fraud, and that is because so much Votter Fraud is performed by Republicans - highly ranked ones even - And your wet dream of a voter ID is going to do nothing, not one thing but eliminate a trite old chestnut of a talking point.

            Personally, I'm in favor of voter ID - but given that Republicans bring it up every election cycle like it is the cure blessed by God himself for them thar godless commiecrats and their letting them chocolate people - who always commit fraud, amirite? - is just Bullshit - to use your term.

            Phase it in, make it free ( hey, maybe we can get that Russian Oligarch who funnels money to Republicans through the NRA to chip in ) and start long before elections.

            But how is that going to actually stop Republican election fraud? Or is that Okay because the Republican party has shown it has a lock on the moral high ground?

            • voter ID is going to do nothing, not one thing but eliminate a trite old chestnut of a talking point.

              Then why not do it? What are you (your party) so afraid of? Why the opposition, the BS lawsuits, etc.?

              Don't you want to eliminate a talking point of your opponents?

              • voter ID is going to do nothing, not one thing but eliminate a trite old chestnut of a talking point.

                Then why not do it? What are you (your party) so afraid of? Why the opposition, the BS lawsuits, etc.?

                Don't you want to eliminate a talking point of your opponents?

                Well Ivan, I am not even remotely a Democrat, and your tipping your bias assuming I am .

                I'll try this a little slower. Republicans want the talking point, not the bogus fix. If you read more than the first couple of lines - I am very much in favor of voter Identification. Free, register and get your picture taken and print out a card on the spot. Work it in over time. I already have a Voter ID where I live - Not a problem at all. I would love nothing more than the results of enacting that. REad on to und

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:43PM (#56563920) Journal

          Make the IDs free, quick, and easily replaced, and you'd see more motion in this regard, but you don't. There's always a cost for IDs for some reason and when you put a cost on anything,

          It's not just the cost. In Texas, as soon as they passed voter ID laws, they closed a bunch of the State Safety offices where you obtain a state ID. But just in the minority areas of course.

          State voter ID laws always come as part of a suite of new laws designed to disenfranchise people who might not vote Republican.

          • "State voter ID laws always come as part of a suite of new laws designed to disenfranchise people who might not vote Republican."

            A literal interpretation of your statement leaves us wondering if you realize what you actually wrote.

            'Motor voter' laws are 'State voter ID laws', and might be considered to be designed intentionally to encourage and abet non-citizens to register to vote. Some states with 'motor voter' laws require no proof of citizenship, though that was surprisingly common before the NVRA [wikipedia.org] was e

        • There's a cost for merely presenting yourself at a polling place and asking to vote. Transportation, time form work, child care, lots of possible costs.

          Are we facing having to provide ADA-style transportation? Paid time off? Special needs child care?

          Yeah, the 'poll tax' argument is most commonly used by those who want to deny any identification requirements at all. Not sure I accept that at face value.

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:40PM (#56563904) Journal

        Unfortunately, they can still *vote* in many areas, legally or not, and many proposals to require ID have been rejected.

        Yeah, except no. It doesn't happen. In fact, Trump disbanded his "election fraud" commission because after a year of work they couldn't find election fraud at any level higher than infinitesimal number of instances where some Republican in Texas tried to vote twice. That, and because the guy who Trump picked to head his "election fraud" commission has his own legal troubles.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/0... [nytimes.com]

        https://www.reuters.com/articl... [reuters.com]
         

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually, they disbanded it because none of the Democrat run states would give them any data - even the publicly available voter rolls they sell to every campaign - and would not allow them to investigate tax records, jury duty records, or anything else that would help reveal voter fraud.

          This is the same way Democrats prevent voter fraud from being found in every other attempt. Don't give any data, then claim that because nothing was found, no one should be allowed to look.

        • Yeah, except no. It doesn't happen.

          It's easy to be sure of that, when you and your sort have made it impossible to determine if someone voted illegally.

          • It's easy to be sure of that, when you and your sort have made it impossible to determine if someone voted illegally.

            Arizona, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming also refused to send data to the Kobach Kommission. Texas still hadn't decided when the Kris Kobach admitted defeat and folded up the whole thing.

            Are those the "your sort" to which you refer?

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:23PM (#56563836)

      Can't wait to see how some people slam this new regulation as an attack on the free speech of Russians...

      I'm not going to slam this as I believe that Google is free to do as it likes as a private company, but what I will say is that I find it humorous that the people most likely to be in favor of this move are probably also the same people who are most likely to disapprove of any laws requiring a valid government ID to actually vote in an election.

      • I find it humorous that the people most likely to be in favor of this move are probably also the same people who are most likely to disapprove of any laws requiring a valid government ID to actually vote in an election.

        I find it humorous that the same people who are in favor of voter ID laws disapprove of any attempts to require background checks to buy an AR-15, 5000 rounds of ammo and a bump stock.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Background checks to buy an AR-15 have been required for decades.
          Even the NRA doesn't have a problem with *reasonable* background checks. Multi-month investigations deliberately designed to never finish or cost huge amount of money, they object to.

          Just like even Voter ID supporters would object to a law that required a $100,000 ID card to vote.

    • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:57PM (#56563972) Journal
      I'll be the 1st. This does not attack the free speech of Russians. But attacking free speech of Russians in general is not better than attacking free speech of US citizens in particular. Free speech is afforded to all persons -- not all citizens. It is one of the moment important tenants of our society. And it is far, far, far better to allow speech to more people than to restrict in a way which does not allow trolls to troll. Hate speech should be legal. Offensive speech must be legal. Political speech should be legal for all (even for convicted felons). And if you don't like it, you are the one trying to undermine our Democracy.
    • Seems perfectly reasonable to only allow citizens of a country to buy political adverts in that country during an election cycle.

      First, it must be noted that anonymous political speech is one of those things the Supremes have REPEATEDLY ruled in favour of.

      Second, finding a local dupe is easy, if you have a third of a billion people to select among.

      Third, we're getting to the point that the "election cycle" is all the time, and this will essentially mean that ALL political speech would be government regula

      • Except we're not talking about speech in general - we're talking specifically about *advertising* - aka paying someone else to broadcast your speech to a large audience without their invitation. There are a LOT more restrictions on advertising than speech, and I see no reason why politics, particularly election ads, should get a free pass.

  • Seems like a better long term goal. US TV is rife with fake ads claiming just about anything one could imagine. Facebook is just the new version of TV.
  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:22PM (#56563826)
    If you are advertising a product or service of any kind online, and making "promises" as to the "benefits" of throwing your "real world money" at it will have for you, shouldn't there be a solid record - a name, an ID number, a contact email and phone number, a valid business or personal address - of who the hell you are? If it is possible to buy online advertising anonymously - no ID of any kind required, just transfer some money somehow - you just made life super-easy for any kind of scammer selling any kind of scam online, whether political, or financial, or otherwise. So in my view, the verified ID information of SOMEONE who is behind the ad in question should be there, and it should be possible to QUERY that information as well. If I, as a person, am being subjected to hundreds of unwanted ads a day, some legit, some scams, shouldn't I have the right to be able to lookup who placed the ad? You're putting YOUR ad in MY webbrowser after all. Why wouldn't I be able to look up who placed or paid for the ad with a simple click?
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @03:24PM (#56564092) Homepage Journal

      Well, sure, but why should Google care as long as they're getting their money?

      They're only doing this as a PR gesture. Note that this only applies to actual *campaign* ads -- not to ads promoting fake news.

    • If you are advertising a product or service of any kind online, and making "promises" as to the "benefits" of throwing your "real world money" at it will have for you, shouldn't there be a solid record - a name, an ID number, a contact email and phone number, a valid business or personal address - of who the hell you are? If it is possible to buy online advertising anonymously - no ID of any kind required, just transfer some money somehow - you just made life super-easy for any kind of scammer selling any kind of scam online, whether political, or financial, or otherwise.

      And?

      The X-ray specs sold from ads in the back of comic books didn't work either. The republic survived somehow.

      Everybody needs to learn to take everything - including the "legitimate" news media - with a grain of salt. Some folks won't be able to do so, but most can, if they try. And none of this is new.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This racist policy disenfranchises minorities by requiring that they must get these IDs to participate in this part of the electoral process.

    Only in Der Drumpf's America could these big greedy corporations get away with such despicable displays of white privilege.

  • FEC [fec.gov] says the court has already ruled that

    Despite the general prohibition on foreign national contributions and donations, foreign nationals may lawfully engage in political activity that is not connected with any election to political office at the federal, state, or local levels.

    It is pretty odd though that Google didn't require an id to place political ads for candidates up until now. I don't actually know if it's more odd or scary. Frankly, I am more worried about our policy being governed by ad buying by Middle Eastern oil money than by Russian money.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday May 06, 2018 @02:41PM (#56563906)

    So I think it's a great idea, that will really put some fear into Democrats and Republicans alike.

    However there's one last aspect I'd love to see - let me see the name on the ID that was approved for purchasing the ad. That would go a long way to uncovering a variety of shadow groups, including false flag ads...

    • However there's one last aspect I'd love to see - let me see the name on the ID that was approved for purchasing the ad. That would go a long way to uncovering a variety of shadow groups, including false flag ads...

      That's a good idea. It was also part of McCain/Feingold campaign reform. Get that done again and then all you have to do is overturn the Citizens United case and we might get back to something like fair elections.

  • In all fairness, I don't think there's much Google even can do about it, but this makes it seem like the problem's being addressed when it's not. All a foreign actor would have to do is hire a US-based consultant or PR company and have them place the ads.

    This issue won't really get settled until we find a way to get the money out of politics. And of course, politicians are not exactly interested in doing that, so I'm not holding my breath. But this won't in any way prevent foreign actors from having influen

  • Let's hope other countries do the same thing too.

    Remember, agencies of the US government regularly attempt to influence elections overseas, and, oppose the natural desires of their electorate

    Below are a selection of links about the same, from across the political spectrum that are quite well-documented.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/0... [nytimes.com]

    https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

    https://www.channel4.com/news/... [channel4.com]

    https://www.straitstimes.com/w... [straitstimes.com]

    https://www.telesurtv.net/engl... [telesurtv.net]

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/... [latimes.com]

    https://ww [wnyc.org]

  • Google doesn't have to go along with Citizens United. It can choose to not display ANY paid political ads during election cycles. It could be one of the most significant things they could do as a company.

    Let the propagandists fight each other on PageRank instead of dark money.

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Could they? Suppose it was from a member of a protected class? Can they legally distinguish between the types of ads? Similar to the case of the gay couple and the wedding cake, no?

  • When you have one party actively promoting voting by non-citizens?

  • Require an ID to place political ads and everyone is cool with it.

    Require an ID to prove you are a citizen who is allowed to vote and people lose their !?&@&!? minds.

    This place makes zero sense.

    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      I know, with the way people throw a fit, you'd think that voter ID laws have historically been intentionally abused to disenfranchise minorities and the poor. Not to mention, of course, that buying political ads is a fundamental right that our forefathers wanted to ensure for every citizen.

      I can tell you've put a lot of thought and research into this.

  • This entire Russian thing with them meddling with the US elections might be true, but it's not like the US hasn't done this in numerous countries, like forever.

    And regarding the special interest group ads that show up on TV during a election, it's no wonder why I hate elections.

    It's amazing that current political figures in power are so clueless about the Internet and technology in general. I propose them passing a test prior to being elected.

    Hey, I can always dream.

  • You want one, you got one. It's not a problem to found or even to buy a US company who can do it.

  • By exempting Issue Ads, Google basically demonstrates that they don't give a rat's ass, and will continue taking Russian money to interfere in the US election process.

  • Election and IDs?
    That's voter suppression!
    Disenfranchisement!!
    Racist!!!
    NAZIS!!!

  • Since people of color seem to be unable to get valid government-issued ID. That's always what we're told when voter ID legislation is on the line. So this new policy is just going to prevent people of color from making their voices heard on Google. Google is racist and just trying to suppress those voices.

    • In various places, people of color have more difficulty in getting valid IDs because the people controlling who issues the IDs make it more difficult. Only a Republican would think otherwise.

  • Requiring a government-issued ID is racist and disproportionately impacts women and minorities.

    I know this because Attorney General Eric Holder told me that a press conference about voter-ID laws he held inside a courthouse where, I kid you not, you needed to present gov't ID to hear him speak about how racist and discriminatory requiring a gov't ID is!

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