Google Puts “Cookiegate” To Bed As More Legal Battles Loom

google-privacy-200 The incident informally known as "Safarigate" or "Cookiegate" is now behind Google. On Friday, a court approved Google's $22.5 million settlement with the FTC. Some Google critics decried the settlement as having little impact on Google. The episode began in February of this year, when the Wall Street Journal discovered that Google (and others such as Gannett’s PointRoll) were circumventing mobile Safari’s default “no third party cookies” settings in order to track user behaviors. Google contended it was simply trying to make its "+1 buttons" work on iOS. The company argued nothi [...]

Google: Government Requests To Remove Content Spiked In First Half Of 2012

remove content Google announced that the number of content removal requests submitted by governments have spiked in the first half of the year. From January through June 2012, there were there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content, almost double the previous six-month period. Here is the chart showing the recent spike in content removal requests: From January to June 2012, the following countries made the most requests to remove content: Turkey (501) United States (273) Germany (247) Brazil (191) United Kingdom (97) Gover [...]

Cash-Strapped Euro Governments Look To Online Giants For Additional Tax Revenues

tax-money-180px Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Starbucks are being criticized and investigated for what several European governments consider to be tax avoidance. In the UK and France in particular Google is under scrutiny. And earlier this week a French newspaper (albeit like the satirical Onion) reported that French authorities had served a whopping EUR 1 billion tax bill on Google. Google has denied that it has received such a bill. Google's practice of billing advertisers and running profits through its Irish subsidiary, which is legal, allows the company to minimize taxes. According to a Reuter [...]

Google To Pay $22.5 Million To Settle “Cookiegate” In Latest Privacy Fine

Reuters is confirming that the civil penalty Google will pay to settle the "Cookiegate" episode, in which it bypassed the default Safari privacy settings on the iPhone, is $22.5 million. This figure was previously reported and represents a fine of $16,000 per violation per day. In February the Wall Street Journal first reported that Google and other ad networks (i.e., Gannett’s PointRoll) were discovered circumventing mobile Safari’s default “no third party cookies” settings. Google said it was simply trying to make its +1 buttons work on iOS and nothing sinister was intended. [...]

Fighting Legal Threats With Humor & Charity: The Oatmeal Vs. FunnyJunk

Funny-Junk-Letter-REtort What could be worse than a web site apparently using your content without permission? How about getting a legal threat from that same site demanding a $20,000 payment? Faced with this type of crazy situation, Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, responded with the type of humor and out-of-the-box thinking he's known for. He decided to raise money for a charity instead. After only a few days, Inman's raised nearly $150,000 and generated plenty of chuckles across the web with his approach. The Oatmeal Vs. FunnyJunk, Round 1 Inman makes funny web comics, quizzes and products that wholeheartedly e [...]

Google Scores Total Victory Against Oracle In Patent Suit

According to reports just coming out, the jury in the Oracle-Google trial has found that Google did not infringe any of Oracle's patents with Android. Thus there are no damages that Google must pay to Oracle. This is near total victory for Google. In an earlier phase of the trial Google was found by the jury to have violated Oracle's copyright in using some Java code in Android APIs. However, the jury deadlocked on the question of Google's defense of "fair use." The status of that portion of the trial is still unresolved. Final determinations about the copyright issues will be mad [...]

Facebook Settles Sponsored Stories Lawsuit, Terms Not Yet Disclosed

As we reported back in December, a Sponsored Stories lawsuit was allowed to proceed against the social media giant as Facebook failed to have it thrown out.  Today, the lawsuit was settled "in principle"at a federal court in San Jose, CA. Originally five Facebook members sued Facebook with claims that their privacy was infringed upon as their likeness was used in ads without their permission or ability to opt-out.  Sponsored stories match users who have liked or commented on a page/post with ads for Facebook pages. More information on the specific ads can be found in the video below: [...]

Facebook, Washington Settle Suits With Alleged ‘Likejacker’

facebook-logo-square Adscend Media, the company accused earlier this year of running "likejacking" campaigns on Facebook, has settled separate lawsuits with both Facebook and the state of Washington. CNET reports that the company agreed on Monday to settlement terms with Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna. In that settlement, Adscend Media agreed to stop spamming Facebook users and to pay $100,000 in attorneys fees -- but they did not admit liability as part of the consent decree. McKenna issued a statement about the settlement: Today's settlement puts a stop to Adscend’s 'likejacking' and other mi [...]

Oracle vs Google Split Decision: Jury Finds Copyright Infringement But Deadlocks On “Fair Use”

Screen shot 2012-05-07 at 3.03.37 PM According to published reports, a federal jury earlier today delivered a mixed result in Oracle v. Google. The jury found that Google had in fact infringed on Oracle's Java copyright (by virtue of its Sun Microsystems acquisition) in using some Java code in Android and related APIs. However it deadlocked on the question of whether that infringement was protected by the doctrine of "fair use." Fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. There were more findings and procedural nuances, more fully explained in the Mercury News article on the case. Google has now moved f [...]

Paypal No Longer The World’s Top Phishing Target

paypal-logo Although phishing attacks were down worldwide in the second half of 2011, they were up significantly inside China and, as a result, a Chinese domain name replaced as the most commonly phished domain name. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) recently published its 2011 Global Phishing Survey (PDF download), which says that phishing attacks "exploded" in China last year. In the process, the Chinese e-commerce site became the world's most frequent phishing target in the second half of the year -- a "title" that Paypal had held for several years. From the report: In [...]

Judge Declares Illinois’ ‘Amazon Tax’ Unconstitutional

affiliate-marketing In a big victory for affiliate marketers, an Illinois judge has declared that a state law allowing Illinois to collect sales tax on online sales by out-of-state companies -- a law sometimes called the "Amazon tax" -- is unconstitutional. According to a news release from the Performance Marketing Association (PMA), the judge ruled that having affiliates in Illinois doesn't establish a legal presence, or nexus, inside Illinois for tax purposes. The judge also agreed with the PMA's position that the 2011 state law is premature because of a federal moratorium on Internet taxes that runs through [...]

Inside Twitter’s Spam Lawsuit: Fighting Five Defendants Cost More Than $700,000

twitter-legal-law Twitter's costs in fighting the spam created by five defendants it's suing are more than $700,000 -- and that may be a conservative underestimate. The company is seeking full restitution of those costs and other damages, along with an injunction forcing each defendant to stop its activities, as it seeks a jury trial in a San Francisco federal court. We wrote yesterday about Twitter's lawsuit against the five alleged spammers and, now that the filing is available (PDF download), more details are known about Twitter's case. Two Types of Defendants The lawsuit separates the five defendan [...]

Twitter Takes Five Alleged Spammers To Federal Court

twitter-legal-law-featured Twitter filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco today against five "bad actors" that it says provide tools that are designed to spread spam across Twitter. The five defendants are a mix of companies and individuals: TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, James Lucero of and Garland Harris of In a blog post announcing the lawsuit, Twitter calls this group "five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers." With this suit, we're going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services [...]

Privacy & Google: French Want 69 Answers, EPIC Wants NSA Relationship Details

I wouldn't want to be a lawyer in Google's legal department. Every move Google makes these days is scrutinized by governments, regulators and NGOs. Almost weekly there are new lawsuits and new investigations. According to a Bloomberg report, last week France’s data protection authority asked Google to answer 69 questions concerning Google's new privacy policy and its use of consumer data to determine whether they violate European data protection rules. Google has been given an April 5 deadline to respond. France is "taking the lead" on behalf of European regulators who had asked Google [...]

Facebook Joins Washington AG In Lawsuits Targeting “Likejacking” Scam

facebook-like-logos Washington state and Facebook have double-teamed on separate lawsuits against Adscend Media, a company that allegedly runs "likejacking" campaigns to collect money and/or personal information from Facebook users. As GeekWire reports, the practice was allegedly adding up to $1.2 million per month to Adscend's coffers. Likejacking, or "clickjacking" as the official release from Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna calls it, is described as follows: Scammers design Facebook Pages to look like they will offer visitors an opportunity to view salacious or provocative content. They condi [...]

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