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 [...]


Are Sponsored YouTubers With Undisclosed Deals Breaking The Law?

YouTube-Large As YouTube publishers specializing in commentating and reviewing have become ultra popular, the pressure to infiltrate with brand messaging has followed suit. Yesterday, Eurogamer released a dissertation on undisclosed advertorials on YouTube in the gaming industry. While there are set rules in the U.S. and Britain concerning endorsements, internationally the lines are more blurred. Due to the massive increase in gaming audiences, lead by PieDiePew with more than 28.6 million subscribers, agencies have sprouted up to push their releases on YouTube. Electronic Arts (EA) has an entire di [...]


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 [...]


Google Launches CookieChoices Site To Help Publishers With EU Cookie Compliance

shutterstock_120614257-cookies Google has launched a new resource named CookieChoices to help publishers understand the European Union's cookie compliance regulations. Bill Hartzer was the first to spot this, noticing Google purchasing the domain a while back and now launching this content on the new domain the other day. The CookieChoices explains the EU requirements as follows: European laws require that digital publishers give visitors to their sites and apps information about their use of cookies and other forms of local storage. In many cases these laws also require that consent be obtained. This site is prod [...]


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 [...]


10 People Who Want To Be Forgotten By Google, From An Attempted Murderer To A Cyberstalker

privacy-anonymous-hacker-600 Who wants things removed from Google under the newly declared "right to be forgotten" in the European Union? A convicted cyberstalker, an attempted murderer, a politician, a business with bad reviews and a pedophile are among those making such requests to Google. Yesterday, the BBC noted the first three of the cases listed below. Marketing Land has also learned of them directly from a source, along with seven other requests that Google has received. The Politician Who Behaved Badly A former politician seeks to have links removed about his behavior while in office -- presumably unfla [...]


Google Asks Appeals Court To Toss Out AdWords Patent Infringement Verdict

Google legal Today Google made oral arguments in the U.S. appeals court overturn the $30.5 million, plus royalties, verdict awarded to patent-holding company Vringo Inc. in 2012. Vringo won the case (I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 14-1233) in which it claimed the filtering technology used in Google's AdWords system to determine where ads appear in the search results is  covered under two patents it came to acquire from Lycos, the search engine that once competed with Yahoo in popularity. According to BloombergBusinessweek, Google attorney David Perlson of Quinn Emanuel in San Francisco told a three-ju [...]


Patent Verdict: Apple Wins The Round But Fails To Land A Blow Vs. Samsung

apple-google-featured You have to wonder what Apple and its lawyers are now thinking. Last Friday's patent victory did almost nothing for the company and nothing to deter or stop the momentum of chief rival Samsung. After a hard fought and widely publicized trial, Apple extracted a jury verdict of just $119 million against the Korean company. It's a far cry from the roughly $2 billion Apple was seeking. As a financial penalty it's trivial; as a "moral victory" there may be some satisfaction there -- but not much. Apple won roughly $1 billion in damages -- a landmark in patent litigation -- from Samsung last J [...]


Google Tells Users It Scans Their Email As Microsoft Puts “Scroogled” To Bed

gmail inbox tabs Google updated its terms of service (TOS) yesterday to make more explicit the fact that it scans Gmail for the purpose of matching email content with ads. The relevant part of the updated TOS reads: Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored. Google has been sued for the practice as an alleged violation of the Federal Wiretap Act. The case survived Google' [...]


Google Takes “SpyView” Wiretapping Appeal To SCOTUS

Google Street View car Google seeks US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) review of a US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which affirmed a lower court denial of Google's motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought after the 2010 Street View private "payload data" capture revelations. Plaintiffs argue that Google violated the federal "Wiretap Act" when it intercepted their private email and other communications during Street View data collection. The Wiretap Act makes it illegal to “intentionally intercept . . . any wire, oral, or electronic communication" and to "use or disclose information that is obtained [...]


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 [...]


Google Celebrates The Web’s 25th Birthday With Plea To Keep It Free

25th Web anniversary birthday cake image " Today's Google homepage includes a small birthday cake image with a "25" candle on top to celebrate the web's 25th birthday. The image links to a post on Google's blog penned by the inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, asking that everyone "fight to keep it free and open." Berners-Lee writes: On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more and speak up for the sort of web we really want [...]


Google France Home Page Now Carries Privacy Violation Notice, As Ordered

Google France notice As expected, the home page of Google France now carries a notification to users that Google was fined for privacy violations relating to the "unified" privacy policy change it made in 2012. A required link to the ruling against it might also be slowing the site of the French privacy agency. Notice Required For 2 Days Google is appealing the ruling made against it in January, which also carried a 150,000 euro fine (about $200,000). Google had asked that the requirement to post a notice be put on hold pending the appeal, but that was denied. Hence the notice going up now. The notice say [...]


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