Italian Privacy Police Give Google 18 Months To Make Changes

google-italy-800 European privacy regulators have been critical of Google's unified privacy policy since it was announced in early 2012. They have demanded various changes, including more disclosures to users, to bring the law in compliance with EU and individual country rules. Italy is the latest country to issue what amounts to an ultimatum to Google to change its privacy practices or face fines (up to $1 million euros) and unspecified "possible criminal proceedings," according to Reuters. There is a similar history in France, which ordered Google to change its privacy behavior in June 2013. Google mai [...]


Google Tries To Kill Android Class Action Before It Gets Going

android-600 The FTC itself declined to pursue an antitrust case against Google, extending to Android. However, private litigants in May picked up the baton, filing a would-be class action in California federal district court. On Friday, Google moved to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs' main arguments are the following:  Google maintains a mobile search monopoly through Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADAs) and “tying” — mandatory installation of the full suite of Google mobile apps, with a privileged position for Google’s search app. If OEMs want Google Play they are requir [...]


Tiananmen Date Over, Chinese Unblock Access To Google

Google China Now that the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest and crackdown are over, China has restored access to Google services in the country. They had been totally blocked for roughly a month in the run up to the anniversary. The Chinese government had denied it was interfering with access to Google and implied there was a problem on Google's end. According to Reuters, Chinese users were once again denied access to Google search and Maps. Other services such as Flickr and South-Korean-based messaging services Line and KakaoTalk had also been blocked and are now restor [...]


Google Earns Ad Money Off YouTube Videos Hawking Stolen Credit Cards, Says Watchdog Group

YouTube-Large The Digital Citizens Alliance, an internet safety coalition, is calling out Google for allowing videos that promote the sale of stolen and bogus credit cards to appear on YouTube and then profiting from ads shown alongside the videos. [caption id="attachment_89258" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Digital Citizens Alliance[/caption] In its latest report [PDF], "Breach of Trust: How the Online Market for Stolen and Bogus Credit Cards is Eroding Confidence in the Internet", the watchdog group includes several examples like the one above which shows an ad for Target -- the company t [...]


Letter Hints At Many New EU Investigations Against Google

google-eu-featured.jpg The New York Times is reporting that a letter from European Competition chief Joaquín Almunia seeks to rally support for the existing Google antitrust settlement, quite strangely, by promising future investigations against the company. Essentially he seems to be saying: don't worry if you don't think this deal is tough enough, because there are more investigations coming. The current search antitrust settlement proposal has been revised at least twice to make rival sites more visible in search results. However, there have been many complaints from public officials, Google critics and ot [...]


Google’s Android Draws Fresh Antitrust Complaint In Europe

android-featured Google must feel like it's Groundhog Day. Another antitrust complaint has been filed against the company in Europe. This one is focused on Android and third-party app stores. There are also older complaints about Android before the European Commission (EC). According to an article in the Wall Street Journal the new complaint was filed by a Portuguese company called Aptoide, which offers a Google Play alternative. The company argues Google is blocking third party app stores seeking to compete against the Android app store: Aptoide claims that Google creates obstacles for users to install [...]


Book Scanning Suits Against Google, Others Wind Down With Fair Use Rulings

Google book scanning The book scanning litigation against Google (and others) brought by the Authors Guild on behalf of member-copyright owners is drawing to a close. The US Court of Appeal (2nd. Circuit) ruling reported yesterday affirms that full-text book scanning is generally going to be considered "fair use" and protected from claims of copyright infringement. There are still some outstanding issues in the Authors Guild vs. Google (the main case). However the principal issue, surrounding fair use, was decided last year in Google's favor. Fair use is a defense against copyright infringement (17 U.S.C. [...]


Google To Start “Forgetting” As Removal Request Form Goes Live In Europe

google-europe-featured As explained last night by Danny Sullivan, the Right to Be Forgotten has gone into effect in Europe, and Google has put up its "please remove me" request form. Officially called a "search removal request" form, it asks petitioners to submit the links they want removed, explain why and verify their identities. Specifically, Google asks users to "explain how this URL in search results is irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate." This is essentially the same vague, verbatim language used by the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice in its earlier ruling establishing the [...]


Why Google Plus Will Not Die (But May Change)

Google-plus-not-dead-yet Last week's announcement that Google+ founding father Vic Gundotra has left Google opened the door to a rash of speculation about the future of Google's biggest venture into social media. The idea that Google+ might be dying started with a TechCrunch post that included statements from a few anonymous sources declaring Google+ to be "walking dead" at Google: We've heard [...] that Google+ is not "officially" dead, more like walking dead: "When you fire the top dog and take away all resources, it is what it is." In other words, supposedly Google had decided that Google+ was a failed ex [...]


Second Apple Patent Suit Vs. Samsung Ropes In Google

apple-google-featured If you're tired of news about smartphone-related patent litigation, you're not alone. However, there's more to come as Apple and Samsung's long-running patent feud appears no closer to resolution today than it was two years ago. The parties return to court this week for another round of patent-for-tat. The new case presents five Apple claims against Samsung and two counterclaims against Apple. Among the Apple claims against Samsung are "slide to unlock" and "tap to search" (on a map) or call a phone number. The damages sought by each side are curiously unbalanced. Apple wants a $40 roya [...]


Google Fined For “Non-Cooperation” In Indian Antitrust Inquiry

computer-internet-legal-law-featured The Google antitrust drama keeps migrating east. First the US FTC settled its investigation of Google without any significant penalty or restrictions. More recently, the long European antitrust inquiry appears to be "essentially" over, with a settlement built on the presentation of "rival links." Google is also in the midst of an antitrust, anti-competition investigation in India. (There's also and ongoing antitrust investigation in Canada). Things are now heating up in the Indian case. Last week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) decided to impose a fine on Google "not pr [...]


Judge Denies Class Action Status To Gmail “Wiretapping” Suit, Effectively Killing It

computer-internet-legal-law-featured Google received a major win yesterday in the potentially massive Gmail "wiretapping" litigation. Class action status was denied to the litigation by US District Judge Lucy Koh. Had the case been permitted to go forward as a unified class action, as Bloomberg points out, "the amount at stake could have reached into the trillions of dollars if, as the plaintiffs argued, each person was eligible for damages of $100 a day for violations of federal wiretap law." Earlier, Judge Koh had refused to dismiss the case. In the wake of yesterday's ruling, however, plaintiffs must proceed individual [...]


Google Seeking To Keep Depth Of Gmail Scanning Confidential

google-chrome-privacy-featured Google is currently fighting a federal consolidated class action lawsuit over Gmail scanning and data-mining. A main legal theory in the case argues Google's activity constitutes illegal "wiretapping." Google is reportedly trying to keep confidential many of the details of its internal processes and has asked US District Judge Lucy H. Koh "to redact 'confidential' information from the [public court] transcript," according to Bloomberg. The report adds, "The main revelation at the Feb. 27 hearing was the existence of 'Content Onebox,' used by Google to intercept e-mails for targeted adverti [...]


Court Tells Google It Must Admit Privacy Penalty On Google France Home Page

google-privacy-200 Following the imposition of a fine by the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) for violating consumer privacy, Google was ordered to post a statement on its French homepage that its privacy policy did not comply with French law: The Sanctions Committee ordered Google Inc. to publish a communiqué on this decision on the website https://www.google.fr, during 48 hours, within eight days as of the notification of the decision. This publicity measure is justified by the extent of Google’s data collection, as well as by the necessity to inform the persons conce [...]


Google Tries To Block Shaming Privacy Notification In France

google-privacy-200 Last month, Google was fined for violating French privacy rules with its “unified” privacy policy. The French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) had given Google and ultimatum to “fix” its privacy policy or be fined. Generally speaking, CNIL objects to the lack of specific notice to consumers about how their data are being used. However, Google takes the position that it's in full compliance with European privacy standards. It therefore declined to change anything to satisfy French regulators. Making good on its threat, CNIL imposed the maximum avail [...]


Google Fails To Prevent UK Court From Hearing Privacy Suit

google-legal-law It's rare that courts rule they don't have jurisdiction to hear cases arising from events that happened on their own soil. Thus, predictably, Google has lost its bid to dismiss a UK-based civil complaint, arising out of the "Cookiegate" episode, on jurisdictional grounds. As you may recall, Cookiegate arose when Google was discovered surreptitiously circumventing the Safari browser’s privacy settings (on the iPhone and beyond) in early 2012. It ultimately resulted in regulatory investigations and fines. In the US, Google paid a $22.5 million fine to settle the case with the FTC. [...]


Google Faces Maximum Privacy Fine, Public Shaming In France

Google Europe legal With the NSA spying scandal and a brewing transatlantic privacy dispute in the background, Google was given the maximum fine, 150,000 euros (roughly $203,000), for violating French privacy rules with its "unified" privacy policy. The French privacy authority, the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), previously gave Google three months to change and "fix" its privacy policy or face the fine. Google maintained that it was in compliance with European privacy standards and declined to make any changes. As expected the company was penalized. The financial penalty wil [...]


Microsoft’s Scroogled Campaign Hits New Low, Uses “Pawn Stars” Guys To Attack Chromebooks

scroogled-pawn-stars-featured "Wow. How sad." That was my reaction to watching the latest in Microsoft's Scroogled campaign against Google, this time using two of the stars from Pawn Stars to attack Chromebooks as not "real laptops" and part of Google's overall plan to "Scroogle" people. I'm struggling to understand how the geniuses behind the Scroogled campaign thought going after Chromebooks as somehow Google misleading people was a great idea. But to me -- and I'm a big Pawn Stars fan -- it comes off as weak and even desperate. "It's Pretty Much A Brick" The video features a woman who walks into the Gold & Silv [...]


EU Privacy Complaint Takes Aim At Google’s ‘Shared Endorsements’ Ad Content

Google Europe legal Privacy advocate Simon Davies has filed a formal privacy complaint in 14 European countries against Google's expanded "Shared Endorsements" ad program. The "Privacy Surgeon," as Davies calls himself, lodged the complaint today with data protection regulators in Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland. The complaint argues that Google's Shared Endorsements violates a range of specific provisions of the "Article 29" data protection rules and that the opt-out aspect places too much of a burden on c [...]


German Court: Google Privacy Policy Violates Consumer Rights

google-privacy-200 A German court has ruled that Google's integrated privacy policy violates its national data protection law, according to a report from IDG news service. Google has had trouble and been criticized in Europe since consolidating its many privacy policies into one in March 2012. Google has maintained that its unified privacy policy, which allows the company to combine data sets across Google properties, benefits consumers because it's simpler than having numerous, independent privacy policies. European governments have repeatedly asked for clarifications, additional information and more recently [...]


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