Category: Opinion

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University hosts separate orientation for black freshmen…


Incoming freshmen at George Mason University recently had the opportunity to attend another orientation created specifically for black students.

The event was called the “Black Freshman Orientation.” Hosted by the Black Student Alliance, the additional orientation occurred on August 25 at the university. It has become an annual event there.

Incoming black freshmen at GMU did not have to attend the Black Freshman Orientation, and if they decided to attend, they still were required to go to the university’s regular orientation as well, according to the university.

As for the Black Freshman Orientation, it aimed to help new students feel welcome at the public, Virginia-based university.

“This event is dedicated for the incoming freshman who identify as black or are supporters of black people. The Black Freshman Orientation will offer ways to be involved at Mason not only with the black organizations but also mason as a whole. This event allows incoming students for an outlook on how the Black Community at Mason is like,” a Welcome 2 Mason website about the event states.

On a seperate website, GMU Campus Labs, it described the event as a chance to network.

“The Black Freshman Orientation is a Black Student Alliance event that occurs annually at the beginning of the school year. This year, the Black Student Alliance will be collaborating with other on campus organizations to make the experience even more valuable and enriching for all who attend,” it stated.

“This event is exclusively for the freshman class at George Mason University. At this event, the freshman class will be able to get the ins and outs of GMU, learn how to navigate the campus, as well as learn about the different resources and organizations available to them on campus,” the website states.

Michael Sandler, director of strategic communications at George Mason University, told The College Fix that while the Black Student Alliance did hold this event, it was open for any student to attend.

“The university also has over 300 student organizations that sponsor a variety of events throughout the year. Many student organizations hold welcome back activities as we get close to the beginning of the fall semester. Mason’s Black Student Alliance, one of our student organizations, did sponsor a welcome event during the first week of the fall semester, which was open to all,” Sandler told The Fix.

Black Student Alliance at GMU did not respond to an inquiry from The College Fix for comment.

George Mason University is not the only school to host such an event. Many universities across the nation each year host a variety of welcome back events designed especially for black students.

MORE: Black students demand segregated spaces from white students

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Bomb, shoot, stab…


A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail /

A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail / Getty Images

BY: Adam Kredo

The Palestinians continue to groom and employ an increasing number of child terrorists to launch strikes on Israel, throwing into further question the ability of the Palestinian government to form a legitimate state, according to a new report on child terrorists and their enablers provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

At least 18 Palestinian child terrorists ranging in ages from 13 to 18 years old have been caught carrying out terrorist attacks in the first eight months of 2018, including stabbing attacks, bombings, and other types of violent terrorism, according to a new report issued by the Human Rights Voices organization, which tracks and analyzes these attacks.

Since 2015, there has been an alarming use of child terrorists by the Palestinians, according to the report, which found “at least 142 separate terrorist attacks by at least 174 Palestinian children” since September of that year. These attacks led to the deaths of seven Israelis and wounding of 58 others, including some who were children themselves.

The support for Palestinian child terrorists is raising new fears and questions about the Palestinian government’s ability to govern its own state amid a parallel and recent rise in riots along the border with Israel.

“The Palestinian Authority claims it is ready and deserving of statehood. But a society that encourages its own children to engage in violence, to become armed combatants, to kill and to maim in pursuit of their parents’ ambitions—contrary to the most elementary norms of human decency—is not ready, willing or able to accept the essentials of peaceful coexistence,” said Anne Bayefsky, a human rights scholar who serves as director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices.

“The fact is that the wave of Palestinian terrorism that began in September 2015—a wave of stabbings and knifings emulated far beyond the Middle East—has a particularly grotesque feature: child terrorists,” Bayefsky said.

The “preferred method of murder” for these Palestinian child terrorists is stabbings and knifings, according to the report, which found this to be “the modus operandi in 105 of the 142 attacks.”

The ages of these attackers ranged from as young as 8 to 17 years of age. The bulk of these attacks—125 in total—were perpetrated by terrorists aged 15 through 17.

“The exact age of the perpetrator under the age of 18 was unspecified in the cases of 20 additional offenders,” according to the report.

The numbers could be even higher.

“These totals do not include incidents where children are known to have been involved in terror but the exact numbers involved are unknown,” the report notes.

In 2018, for instance, “children have been repeatedly involved in violence along the Gaza border, both as perpetrators (April 6, 2018, sent to the front lines; April 20, 2018, engaged in a variety of attacks; June 9, 2018, attack on Israeli military post; June 24, 2018, arson attack; August 3, 2018, infiltration of Israeli territory), and as ‘human shields,'” the report notes.

At least 101 of these child terrorists were male, while 32 were identified as female.

The report criticizes the United Nations for attempting to spin these attacks as the result of Israeli aggression.

“The UN Secretary-General’s most recent annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, released in May 2018, turns Palestinian child terrorists into victims of Israeli defensive reactions,” according to the Human Rights Voices report.

The U.N. report, for example, describes certain attacks as “two girls, three boys aged between 15 and 17 [who] were killed in the context of stabbing or presumed stabbing attacks.” They are not described as terrorists.

The U.N. report “also never mentions ‘Hamas.’ It manages to find ‘worrisome’ not the child stabbers, bombers and shooters, but ‘calls by Palestinian political actors for the participation of youth in stone-throwing against Israelis,'” according to Bayefsky’s report. “At least 32 Palestinian children were involved in carrying out terror attacks during the reporting period of the Secretary General’s report.”

This type of spin by the U.N. has led to accusations it is “an active enabler of the violation of the rights of Israelis and Palestinians: the basic rights to life and security of the person of the Israeli victims of Palestinian children engaged in terrorism, and the rights of Palestinian children not to be recruited or engaged in terrorism in the first place,” according to the report.



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After Johnny Depp's Court Win, Showbiz Lawyers Question 'Handshake' Deals…


Hollywood talent lawyers get 5 percent of their clients’ pay. Everyone knows this, and virtually no one puts it in writing. But decades of gentlemen’s agreements could haunt industry dealmakers after a California judge ruled Aug. 28 that Johnny Depp’s 1999 oral agreement with his former lawyer Jake Bloom is voidable at the actor’s discretion. Now, as Depp seeks a full refund for the estimated $30 million he paid Bloom, more attorneys are weighing whether to seek a retroactive written agreement from clients.

Depp sued Bloom not long after declaring legal war with his ex-business managers, claiming, among other allegations, that he represented him without a proper contract. A provision in the California Business and Professions Code mandates that lawyers get contingency fee agreements in writing. Section 6147 is well known to litigators who take cases with the expectation that they’ll get paid only if they win or settle, but Hollywood talent lawyers have operated for decades under the assumption that the rule doesn’t apply to them. “There is a culture of informality in this world,” says top talent lawyer Rick Genow, who reps Debra Messing and Henry Golding. “Do people use engagement letters? Most do not. Having fee disputes with clients is extremely rare.”

Lawyers aren’t allowed to have fixed-term contracts with clients, he says, so they’re forced to continually prove their value and foster relationships. Since talent can walk away at any point, many lawyers view a written contract as unnecessary.

“You sign the client and it’s an uncomfortable moment to thrust a legal agreement in front of them when you’re the person who’s supposed to be advising them on whether it’s appropriate to sign legal agreements,” says Genow. “A lot of people make the decision it’s not worth the effort.”

Given the proclivity for verbal agreements, Judge Terry Green’s ruling that Depp can void his deal with Bloom is raising eyebrows across the industry. “Everybody’s concerned because most people have handshake deals,” says an entertainment litigator at a major firm. He, like many attorneys consulted by THR, doesn’t think talent deals are contingency-based. “Usually by the time a transactional lawyer gets called a deal has been made, or is pretty close, and it’s a question of cranking out the paperwork,” he says. “It’s not a question of if they’re going to get paid, it’s when they’re going to get paid.”

But Judge Green found Depp’s deal is a contingency fee agreement because Bloom’s fees were “directly linked” to the actor’s success, which isn’t guaranteed. “That is the very definition of a performance-based incentive,” he wrote in his opinion, which is posted below. “This is a contingency fee agreement. There is nothing else it can be.”

Bloom, one of Hollywood’s top dealmakers, had argued he provided “thousands of hours” of legal services for a variety of matters, not all of which resulted in income. “Some jobs are taken by a client to advance his or her artistic goals, and some jobs are taken to advance commercial goals,” states an Aug. 2 filing. “The amount of an actor’s revenue, viewed with no context, could not, should not, and is not used as the sole determinant of a client’s ‘success’ or ‘failure,’ nor, for that matter, the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the attorney who negotiated the deal.”

Matt Galsor, who reps A-list talent including Tom Cruise and James Cameron, agrees with Green’s assessment. “We don’t do a contingent deal ever without an engagement letter,” he says. “It’s just not enforceable.”

Contingency debate aside, Depp’s lawyers also point to Section 6148 of the statute, which mandates that any time an individual client’s legal expenses are expected to exceed $1,000 the contract must be in writing. The section doesn’t apply to corporations, so may be moot if an actor operates through a loan-out corporation, which is common in Hollywood. It also includes a carve out for when “the attorney’s services are of the same general kind as previously rendered to and paid for by the client” and, therefore, may not apply to longstanding relationships. Green didn’t reach this argument.

Although Depp estimates he paid Bloom about $30 million during the course of an 18-year relationship that included mega deals for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and several Tim Burton films, that doesn’t mean Bloom comes out empty-handed. Under the legal concept of quantum meruit, he’ll still likely be able to collect a “reasonable fee” for the services he provided. The big question is whether courts will consider the industry standard 5 percent to be “reasonable.” A trial to determine the remaining issues in the suit, including the quantum meruit claim, is set to begin May 6.

“Lawyers’ hourly fees are extraordinarily high these days,” argues Genow. “In most situations, quantum meruit might actually be worth as much or more than the 5 percent fee arrangement.”

Depp presents a rare case in which someone who has been extremely successful for many years has an ugly falling-out with his longtime lawyer. Few people make Depp money, and few see a business relationship end with such fireworks. For much of Depp’s tenure with Bloom, he routinely earned $20 million up front plus a big share of backend profits — he got $55 million from his profit participation on Alice in Wonderland alone. If a star suspects he or she is paying more than a “reasonable” fee, it’s not cheap to get confirmation from the court. “Even if the client prevails, it’s really the outside litigators who are getting enriched,” says Genow. “You might spend millions trying to prove that you should get an extra couple hundred thousand.”

Lawyers at several top firms say they are debating whether to ask clients to sign a written fee deal under the guidance of an independent attorney. Clients choosing to challenge an oral agreement under Section 6147 could spark litigation, create tax disasters for lawyers and possibly even bankrupt smaller law firms, Galsor says. “Of all of the people who have a percentage arrangement, I would say the absolute majority don’t have anything in writing,” he says. “This puts a spotlight on it. Is it going to explode? I think it might.”

A version of this story also appears in the Sept. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.



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BOOM: 45 Americans Under Age 26 Earned $10 Million or More…



BOOM: 45 Americans Under Age 26 Earned $10 Million or More...

(Third column, 12th story, link)


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Best Sport for Longer Life? Tennis…


Playing tennis and other sports that are social might add years to your life, according to a new epidemiological study of Danish men and women.

The study found that adults who reported frequently participating in tennis or other racket and team sports lived longer than people who were sedentary. But they also lived longer than people who took part in reliably healthy but often solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling.

The results raise interesting questions about the role that social interactions might play in augmenting the benefits of exercise.

At this point, no one doubts that being physically active improves our health and can extend our longevity. Multiple, recent epidemiological studies have pinpointed links between regular exercise and longer lives in men and women.

The researchers zeroed in on 8,600 of the participants who had been part of the study for about 25 years.

They cross-referenced records with the national death registry to see if and when any of these people had passed away.

Then they compared activities and life spans.

The most obvious finding was that people who had reported almost never exercising were more likely than the active to have died in the ensuing decades.

The associations between particular activities and life span were more surprising.

Cycling was the most popular activity among the Danes in the study, many of whom reported riding for four or more hours every week. Their pedaling was associated with a lengthier life span, adding an average of 3.7 years to riders’ lives, compared to sedentary Danes.

Running likewise was associated with an extra 3.2 years of life.

But these gains were notably less than for playing tennis, which was linked to 9.7 added years of life, or badminton, which was linked to an extra 6.2 years, or soccer, which added almost 5 years to players’ lives.

These associations remained unchanged even when the researchers controlled for people’s education, socioeconomic status and age.

Why and how some sports might add more years to people’s lives than others is impossible to know from this kind of observational study, says Dr. James O’Keefe, a study co-author and the director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute at Saint Luke’s Health Center in Kansas City.

The differing physical demands of some sports could play a role, he says, although little of the exercise in this study was heavily intense, whether people were cycling or backhanding a shuttlecock.

Income and other aspects of people’s lifestyles also likely matter, he says. The researchers tried to account for socioeconomic factors, but it remains possible, he says, that people who have sufficient money and leisure time to play tennis live longer because they have sufficient money and leisure time, not because they play tennis.

Still, he suspects that the social aspects of racket games and other team sports are a primary reason that they seem to lengthen lives, he says.

“We know from other research that social support provides stress mitigation,” he says.

“So being with other people, playing and interacting with them, as you do when you play games that require a partner or a team, probably has unique psychological and physiological effects,” he says, amplifying the benefits of the exercise.

That possibility requires verification, he says, especially in randomized experiments directly comparing different types of exercise.

But for now, people who run or ride solo might consider finding a group or partner with whom to work out, he says.

“Raising your heart rate is important” for health, he says. “But it looks like connecting with other people is, too.”



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States Forget to Save…


The situation is worse in states like Kentucky, where the rainy-day fund and leftover cash covers only about a third of a day of general fund expenditures, according to an analysis of fiscal 2018 estimates. The data are based on estimates from states before the close of the fiscal year and could change, Barb Rosewicz, project director at Pew, said in an email.



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Outcry over 'FIRST MAN' Signals Controversial Award Season…




Outcry over 'FIRST MAN' Signals Controversial Award Season...

(Third column, 7th story, link)


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APPLE Self-Driving Car in Crash…


On the afternoon of Aug. 24, Apple’s car was traveling at less than 1 mile per hour, while the car that rear-ended it, a Nissan Leaf, was moving at about 15 miles per hour, according to the report, which was filed by Steve Kenner, who works on Apple’s driverless tech project.



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Hotel staffed by robot dinosaurs…


Dinosaur robots wait to check in customers at the Henn na hotel

The reception at the Henn na Hotel east of Tokyo is eerily quiet until customers approach the robot dinosaurs manning the front desk. Their sensors detect the motion and they bellow “Welcome.”


It might be about the weirdest check-in experience possible, but that’s exactly the point at the Henn na (whose name means ‘weird’) chain, which bills itself as offering the world’s first hotels staffed by robots.

The front desk staff are a pair of giant dinosaurs that look like cast members of the Jurassic Park movies, except for the tiny bellboy hats perched on their heads.

The robo-dinos process check-ins through a tablet system that also allows customers to choose which language—Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean—they want to use to communicate with the multilingual robots.

The effect is bizarre, with the large dinosaurs gesticulating with their long arms and issuing tinny set phrases. Yukio Nagai, manager at the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay, admits some customers find it slightly unnerving.

“We haven’t quite figured out when exactly the guests want to be served by people, and when it’s okay to be served by robots,” he told AFP.

But for other guests the novelty is the charm: each room is staffed with mini-robots that look a bit like spherical Star Wars droid BB-8, and help guests with everything from changing channels to playing music.

Even the fish are robotic with electric lights on their battery-powered bodies

Even the fish swimming in the lobby run on batteries, with electric lights in their articulated bodies flickering on and off as they work their way around giant tanks.

“The dinosaurs looked intriguing, and I thought my son would love it,” said Chigusa Hosoi, who was at the hotel with her three-year-old.

“My son is really happy. There’s an egg-shaped robot inside the room. He was playing with it a lot.”

The first Henn na Hotel opened in Nagasaki in 2015, and was certified the following year by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on its staff.

The travel agency group that operates the chain now runs eight hotels across the country, all with robots on the staff, some of them dinosaurs, but others taking a more humanoid shape.

The Henn na Hotel in Nagasaki was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on staff

Some humans are also on call to intervene in case of glitches, which customer reviews online suggest are a not infrequent problem at check-in.

But Nagai said relying on robots for everything from front desk duty to cleaning had proved an efficient choice in a country with a shrinking labour market.

“It’s becoming difficult to secure enough labour at hotels. To solve that problem, we have robots serving guests.”


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Robot butlers are coming to this downtown hotel. Is Miami ready for robo-room service?



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MASTERCARDGOOGLE Secret Deal to Track Retail Sales…


(Bloomberg) — For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement. 

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

But the deal, which has not been previously reported, could raise broader privacy concerns about how much consumer data technology companies like Google quietly absorb.

“People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,” said Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). “There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”

Google paid Mastercard millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked on the deal, and the companies discussed sharing a portion of the ad revenue, according to one of the people. The people asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A spokeswoman for Google said there is no revenue sharing agreement with its partners.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the partnership with Mastercard, but addressed the ads tool. “Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” the company said in a statement. “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.” The company said people can opt out of ad tracking using Google’s “Web and App Activity” online console. Inside Google, multiple people raised objections that the service did not have a more obvious way for cardholders to opt out of the tracking, one of the people said.  

Seth Eisen, a Mastercard spokesman, also declined to comment specifically on Google. But he said Mastercard shares transaction trends with merchants and their service providers to help them measure “the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.” The information, which includes sales volumes and average size of the purchase, is shared only with permission of the merchants, Eisen added. “No individual transaction or personal data is provided,” he said in a statement. “We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers.”

Last year, when Google announcedthe service, called “Store Sales Measurement,” the company just said it had access to “approximately 70 percent” of U.S. credit and debit cards through partners, without naming them.

That 70 percent could mean that the company has deals with other credit card companies, totaling 70 percent of the people who use credit and debit cards. Or it could mean that the company has deals with companies that include all card users, and 70 percent of those are logged into Google accounts like Gmail when they click on a Google search ad.

Google has approached other payment companies about the program, according to two people familiar with the conversations, but it is not clear if they finalized similar deals. The people asked to not be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the matter. Google confirmed that the service only applies to people who are logged in to one of its accounts and have not opted out of ad tracking. Purchases made on Mastercard-branded cards accounted for around a quarter of U.S. volumes last year, according to the Nilson Report, a financial research firm.

Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales. 

Google is testing the data service with a “small group” of advertisers in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman. With it, marketers see aggregate sales figures and estimates of how many they can attribute to Google ads — but they don’t see a shoppers’ personal information, how much they spend or what exactly they buy. The tests are only available for retailers, not the companies that make the items sold inside stores,the spokeswoman said. The service only applies to its search and shopping ads, she said.

For Google, the Mastercard deal fits into a broad effort to net more retail spending. Advertisers spend lavishly on Google to glean valuable insight into the link between digital ads a website visit or an online purchase. It’s harder to tell how ads influence offline behavior. That’s a particular frustration for companies marketing items like apparel or home goods, which people will often research online but walk into actual stores to buy.

That gap created a demand for Google to find ways for its biggest customers to gauge offline sales, and then connect them to the promotions they run on Google. “Google needs to tie that activity back to a click,” said Joseph McConellogue, head of online retail for the ad agency Reprise Digital. “Most advertisers are champing at the bit for this kind of integration.”

Initially, Google devised its own solution, a mobile payments service first called Google Wallet. Part of the original goal was to tie clicks on ads to purchases in physical stores, according to someone who worked on the product. But adoption never took off, so Google began looking for allies. A spokeswoman said its payments service was never used for ads measurement.

Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps. Still, the advertiser didn’t know if the shopper made a purchase. So Google added more. A tool, introduced the following year, let advertisers upload email addresses of customers they’ve collected into Google’s ad-buying system, which then encrypted them. Additionally, Google layered on inputs from third-party data brokers, such as Experian Plc and Acxiom Corp., which draw in demographic and financial information for marketers.

But those tactics didn’t always translate to more ad spending. Retail outlets weren’t able to connect the emails easily to their ads. And the information they received from data brokers about sales was imprecise or too late. Marketing executives didn’t adopt these location tools en masse, said Christina Malcolm, director at the digital ad agency iProspect. “It didn’t give them what they needed to go back to their bosses and tell them, ‘We’re hitting our numbers,’” she said.

Then Google brought in card data. In May 2017, the company introduced “Store Sales Measurement.” It had two components. The first lets companies with personal information on consumers, like encrypted email addresses, upload those into Google’s system and synchronize ad buys with offline sales. The second injects card data.

It works like this: a person searches for “red lipstick” on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn’t buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads “Offline Revenue” — only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase. Mastercard’s spokesman said the company does not view data on the individual items purchased inside stores.

It’s not an exact match, but it’s the most powerful tool Google, the world’s largest ad seller, has offered for shopping in the real world. Marketers once had a patchwork of consumer data in their hands to triangulate who saw their ads and who was prompted to spend. Now they had far more clarity.

Google’s ad chief, Sridhar Ramaswamy, introduced the product in a blog post, writing that advertisers using it would have “no time-consuming setup or costly integrations.” Missing from the blog post was the arrangement with Mastercard.

Early signs indicate that the deal has been a boon for Google. The new feature also plugs transaction data into advertiser systems as soon as they occur, fixing the lag that existed previously and letting Google slot in better-performing ads. Malcolm said her agency has tested the card measurement tool with a major advertiser, which she declined to name. Beforehand, the company received $5.70 in revenue for every dollar spent on marketing in the ad campaign with Google, according to an iProspect analysis. With the new transaction feature, the return nearly doubled to $10.60.

“That’s really powerful,” Malcolm said. “And it was a really good way to invest more in Google, frankly.”

But some privacy critics derided the tool as opaque. EPIC submitted a complaint about the sales measuring tack to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year. A report in August that Facebook Inc. was talking with banks about accessing information for consumer service products sparked similar criticism. For years, Facebook and Google have worked to link their massive troves of user behavior with consumer financial data.

And financial companies have plotted ways to tap into the bounty of digital advertising. The Google tie-up isn’t Mastercard’s only stab at minting the data it collects from customers. The company has built out its data and analytics capabilities in recent years through its consulting arm, Mastercard Advisors, and gives advertisers and merchants the ability to forecast consumer behavior based on cardholder data.

Ad buyers that work with Google insist that the company is careful to maintain the walls between transaction information and web behavior, keeping any info flowing to retailers and marketers anonymous. “Google is really strict about that,” said Malcolm.

Before launching the product, Google developed a novel encryption method, according to Jules Polonetsky, head of the Future Privacy Forum, who was briefed by Google on the product. He explained that the system ensures that neither Google nor its payments partners have access to the data that each collect. “They’re sharing data that has been so transformed that, if put in the public, no party could do anything with it,” Polonetsky said. “It doesn’t create a privacy risk.”

Future Privacy Forum, a nonprofit, receives funding from 160 companies including Google.

Google’s ad business, which hit $95.4 billion in 2017 sales, has maintained an astounding growth rate of about 20 percent a year. But investors have worried how long that can last. Many major advertisers are starting to funnel more spending to rival Amazon, the company that hosts far more, and more granular, data on online shopping.

In response, Google has continued to push deeper into offline measurements. The company, like Facebook and Twitter Inc., has explored the use of “beacons,” Bluetooth devices that track when shoppers enter stores.

Some ad agencies have actively talked to Google about even more ways to better size up offline behaviors. They have discussed adding features into the ads system such as what time of day people buy items and how much they spend, said John Malysiak, who runs search marketing for the Omnicom agency OMD USA. “We’re trying to go deeper with Google,” he said. “We’d like to understand more.” Google declined to comment on the discussions.



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