SpyFiles, a new project from Wikileaks and several partner organization, is based on 287 secret documents revealing a campaign of mass spying on users of webmail, GPS, and mobile devices, with this data being sold in a covert, 25-nation global marketplace that Wikileaks claims is worth $5 billion. At present, the underlying documents are not available (Wikileaks is withholding them as part of a fundraising drive), but an interactive map showing the spying on a nation-by-nation basis is up and running, and there's a page showing the press reportage on the map.
Today the Sunlight Foundation launched Inbox Influence, a tool for Gmail that instantly shows you the political giving and lobbying history of the people and organizations mentioned in emails you receive. The easy-to-use tool can be used as a first step in researching influence background on corporate correspondence, adding context to newspaper headlines or discovering whom is behind political fundraising solicitations.
Inbox Influence works by tapping into Influence Explorer, Sunlight's library of federal and state data of political contributions, lobbying records and more. It provides details on any identified entity in the body of the email, plus information on both the sender of the email and the company from which it was sent. With it, you can even see how your friends and family have given to political campaigns.
Someone called Joester is purporting to show us how to block out gmail ads by using magic words in email messages, such as 9/11 or "suicide." In other words, the ads that appear when your email is catastrophe-free:
...are gone when the email you receive contains trigger words:
But it's not as easy as it sounds. Putting the key words in a signature file doesn't work; the ads return. Also, writes Joester:
If the message runs long google turns the ads back on. However, if you add another "sensitive" word they go off again. After extensive testing I've discovered you need 1 catastrophic event or tragedy for every 167 words in the rest of the email.
Questions remain. What are all the trigger words? How do you avoid scaring the people who receive your emails with your seemingly pointless references to incest and gang rape? More importantly, shouldn't this be more accurately described as a method for helping the people who you email who have gmail avoid ads?