Google Says It Will No Longer Scan & Collect Data From Student Gmail Accounts For Ad Purposes

Google legal Google announced today it has ceased scanning student Gmail accounts, and can no longer collect or use student data from its Apps for Education services for advertising purposes. The decision by Google comes after a recent lawsuit against the company, claiming Google's practice of scanning student Gmail accounts violated privacy laws. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Google admitted during court proceedings that it had scanned emails belonging to students who attended schools using Google's Apps for Education. The report claimed Google said it never used the information [...]


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 [...]


Consumer Watchdog Files FTC Complaint Over “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature

consumerwatchdog Consumer Watchdog, the non-profit group that might more accurately be called "Google Watchdog," has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google's recent rollout of a feature that lets Gmail users contact Google+ users without knowing the recipient's email address. Google launched the "Send to Anyone on Google+" feature earlier this month, which lets anyone with a Gmail and Google+ account send messages to anyone else with Gmail and Google+ accounts. Google made the feature opt-out, meaning users that didn't want to potentially get messages from strangers via Gmail/Google+ had to turn it off [...]


Dutch Data Protection Authority Says Google’s Privacy Policy Breaks Privacy Laws

google-europe-featured A statement released yesterday by the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) claims Google's privacy policy is in breach of the Dutch data protection act. According to the statement: Google combines the personal data from Internet users that are collected by all kinds of different Google services, without adequately informing the users in advance and without asking for their consent...On top of that, Google does not offer users any (prior) options to consent to or reject the examined data processing activities. "Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent. And that [...]


Nearly $40 Million Later, Google Ends “Cookiegate” Scandal

google-building-featured The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today Google will pay $17 million "to settle allegations brought by 37 states and the District of Columbia that it placed unauthorized tracking 'cookies' on Web browsers in 2011 and 2012." That $17 million, combined with the $22.5 million Google paid as part of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement over the same claims, brings to nearly $40 million the amount the company has forked over to resolve "Cookiegate." In February 2012 the Wall Street Journal initially reported that Google and a couple of other ad networks, including Gannett’s Poin [...]


Abandoning Third-Party Cookies? What Gives, Google?

3rd Party Cookie Image 10-28 It’s been reported that Google is working on its own online identifier system, called AdID, which could replace the third-party cookies used by marketers to track people's online behavior, better targeting their advertising efforts. Google's AdID would be transmitted to advertisers and ad networks that have agreed to basic guidelines, which would give consumers more privacy and control over how they browse the Web. Google can automatically reset the AdID every year, and users may be able to create a second AdID for browsing sessions they want to keep private. Google's switch to the Ad [...]


Google Launching “Sponsored Endorsements” — User Ratings, Comments, Likes Integrated Into Ads

google-privacy-200 Google is going to use the images, likenesses, comments and other user-created data of its users in ads on its display network. The forthcoming Google display ads will be called "Shared Endorsements." They're not yet live, and they won't apply to users under 18. There will be an opt-out. NOTE: See our follow-up story, FAQ: All About Google’s New “Shared Endorsement” Ads According to a report in the New York Times: On Friday, Google announced an update to its terms of service that allows the company to include adult users’ names, photos and comments in ads shown across the Web, [...]


The Questions Google Refuses To Answer About Search Privacy

google-logo-glow-featured Last month, Google made one of the biggest changes in search privacy ever, by routing all searches through its Google Secure Search service. Why did it make the change? Why didn't it close some loopholes that leave some search data vulnerable? Google -- which is demanding more transparency from the US government over privacy issues -- is preferring not to be transparent about its own moves. What's The TL;DR? The too long; didn't read is that more people should read stuff that they deem too long. The world would be a better place. But OK: Google claims it has improved search privacy but [...]


No Data For You: SEO Experts Offer Opinions On Google’s Move To Withhold Even More Search Term Data

google-privacy-200 Google quietly confirmed earlier this week that it would be encrypting all search data, regardless of whether a user was signed in or not. The company offered the following statement to clarify their sudden decision to withhold the data: We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We're now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in. Marketing Land's Danny Sullivan wrote about Google's move to encrypt all non-paid searches, explaining, "The change makes it very likely that in th [...]


Privacy Groups Ask Court To Reject Google Settlement, Claim It Won’t Fix Privacy Issues

computer-internet-legal-law-featured Last month, Google agreed to pay $8.5 million to a settlement fund over a lawsuit claiming the site had given private information included in user search queries to third parties without gaining consent from users or notifying them that the information was being shared. The court approval for the settlement was scheduled for today, but five US privacy groups have requested that the settlement not be accepted. PCWorld reports that the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wrote a joint letter a [...]


Microsoft’s Latest Scroogled Target: Google’s “Gspam” Ads That Look Like Email

gspam Microsoft has taken another shot at Google today with the latest push in its ongoing "Scroogled" campaign. This one? Another attack on Gmail. Or, as Microsoft is calling it today, "Gspam." That's the term they're using for those ads that look like emails in Gmail (which, last I recall hearing, was still a limited Google test). From today's update on Scroogled.com: Consumers should be able to trust their email provider to protect them from spam, but Google is doing just the opposite. Rather than protect you from spam, Google is reading your private email conversations and using what they fi [...]


UK’s ICO Watchdog Tells Google To Update Privacy Policy By September 20th Or Else

ico The NextWeb reports Google is on the hot seat again over its simplified privacy policy that went into effect March 1, 2012. The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has set a deadline of September 20, 2013 for Google to amend the policy to make it easier for consumers to understand how Google will use their data. The ICO's statement was released yesterday, and the ICO president said: We have today written to Google to confirm our findings relating to the update of the company’s privacy policy. In our letter we confirm that its updated privacy policy raises serious questions a [...]


The Google Glass Privacy Debate: What’s Real & What’s Overblown Hype

google-glass-glow-featured To hear some people tell it, Google Glass is leading us down a path toward a world where every citizen is a walking, hidden spy, surreptitiously recording videos and photos of everything -- and everyone -- we see. What's more, they're afraid that those videos and images are being posted on the Internet for all the world to see, warts and all. Some are afraid that Glass is auto-recording (or will) everything it can see or hear, and each word you've ever spoken within earshot of Glass will be available in Google's search index. These fears typically come from people that don't know how Gla [...]


Google Tells Congress: We’re Not Changing Our Privacy Policy For Google Glass

glass-orange-featured Google says it has no plans to change its company-wide privacy policy for the eventual public launch of Google Glass. That's one of the discoveries in a four-page letter dated June 7th that Google sent to Congressman Joe Barton, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus -- the group that sent Google a letter back in May with numerous questions about privacy and Google Glass. The fifth of eight questions that the caucus presented to Google mentions the "sensory and processing capabilities" that Glass has, and asks if Google has "considered making any additions or refinements [...]


Canadian Govt. Asks Google To Explain Google Glass Privacy

google-glass-logo-200px Google Glass isn't publicly available yet, and even the Explorer edition is supposed to only be for US residents, but that's not stopping the Canadian government from getting out in front of what it considers to be several privacy issues surrounding the device. Data protection authorities in Canada sent a letter today to Google CEO Larry Page, asking the company to take part in a "real dialogue" about the "significant privacy issues" related to Google Glass. Here's a portion of the letter, which is signed by Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and 36 provincial and internatio [...]


Google, Facebook In Transparency Battle Over PRISM Disclosures

online privacy Last night, what might be called a "transparency battle" erupted between Google and Facebook following Facebook's disclosure of government-related user-data requests: For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a p [...]


Imaginary Letter: Google CEO Larry Page Writes Congress, Asks “What’s Up With PRISM?”

google-congress-featured Over the years, Google has received several letters from the US Congress worried that it is somehow invading people's privacy. Now Congress, along with the Obama Administration and the US judicial system, is accused of invading the privacy of people who use Google's services. I thought the turnabout would be fair play, a letter from Google back to Congress. The letter below isn't real, but the points and unanswered questions are. I've written in the style of the latest letter Google received from Congress, last month about Google Glass. As Google professes it is not part of any data g [...]


Google & Facebook CEOs To Users: We’re Not Part Of PRISM & Government Needs More Transparency

data-privacy-featured Both Google and Facebook gave the press statements yesterday denying involvement with the US National Security Agency's PRISM data gathering program. Today, both are making that statement more strongly and taking it directly to its users. Google To Users Writing today on the Google blog, Google CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said: We have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our d [...]


Google, Apple, Facebook & AOL Deny Participating In Alleged NSA “PRISM” Program

NSA PRISM Slide [caption id="attachment_47324" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Washington Post, The Guardian[/caption] Both the Washington Post and The Guardian are out with stories saying that several major Internet companies gave the US National Security Agency direct access to user data on their servers by participating in what's been named as the PRISM program. But, Google, Apple & Facebook flat-out deny being in that program, while Yahoo and Microsoft have issued general denials. Google, it denied participation in PRISM to us, when asked specifically about the program, plus gave us the [...]


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