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 [...]


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 [...]


Twitter Threatens Legal Action For More Transparency Around National Security Requests

Twitter logo In conjunction with the release of its latest transparency reports, Twitter announced today it was pressing the US Department of Justice for more transparency around national security requests, and is considering legal options to defend its First Amendment rights. Twitter applauded the agreement made last week between the Department of Justice and various communication providers allowing greater disclosure around national security requests in "very large" ranges, but said it wasn't enough: While this agreement is a step in the right direction, these ranges do not provide meaningful or suff [...]


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 [...]


Coming To Google: Click On Ad, Get Free Ride To Merchant Or Restaurant?

Google self-driving car logo The day may be near when AdWords advertisers can offer customers immediate transportation to bring them to their locations right from an ad.  Google has been awarded the patent for "Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions" US 8630897 B1 which essentially allows advertisers to show a sort-of transportation ad extension offering free or discounted travel to their stores. A hair salon could include free or discounted transportation in its ads displayed during lunch hour to nearby office parks. Or as in Google's own example illustrated below, a restaurant could offer a lunch offe [...]


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 [...]


Google Invests $14 Million Of Combined $61 Million Tech Firms Spent To Sway Legislators In 2013

google-tv-money When it comes to influencing Washington, Google was at the top of the list of tech companies that spent a combined $61.15 million on lobbying efforts last year. According to a report from Consumer Watchdog, Google invested $14.06 million of the $61.15 million invested by ten tech firms, including Microsoft, IBM, Facebook and Oracle. Consumer Watchdog reports last year's total was a 15.9 percent increase over the $52.78 million spent in 2012 on lobbying efforts by tech firms. "Policy making in Washington is all about how much money you can throw around," said Consumer Watchdog's Privac [...]


Yahoo Makes Secure Search The Default

yahoo-new-logo-featured Yahoo has now joined Google in making all searches people do automatically go through a secure server, to help prevent eavesdropping by outsiders. Unlike Google, however, Yahoo has failed to make an important change to how "referrer" data is passed along, which will result in people thinking Yahoo Search has suddenly dropped in popularity. Yahoo.com Goes Secure The switch only seems to be happening on Yahoo.com, not on other Yahoo properties I've checked like Yahoo UK, Yahoo Germany, Yahoo France or Yahoo Japan. Yahoo did confirm to us that the switch happened but didn't clarify on exact [...]


Microsoft Calls For International Conference On Government Surveillance

online privacy Last week President Obama announced reforms to curb NSA domestic spying abuses. There was a range of reactions but many critics contend he didn't go far enough. The proposed reforms also probably don't help the tech industry very much. Perhaps feeling let down or skeptical that the US reforms will change much Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith is calling for an international conference on data privacy and government surveillance: While there is no substitute for American leadership and action on these issues, the time has come for a broader international discussion. We need an int [...]


Google Remarketing Ads Broke Canada Privacy Laws, Concedes To Revamp Ad Review System

Google legal Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner has found Google in violation of Canada’s privacy rights for the use of sensitive health history in remarketing campaigns. The finding comes after an investigation spurred by a Canadian man who complained that his private health information was being used by Google to retarget him with ads for sleeep apnea devices after he visited sites with information about those devices. In the process of the investigation, Canada's privacy watchdog also found Google's automated ad review system to have "demonstrable shortcomings". As a result, Google has a [...]


Facebook Faces More Legal Action From Sponsored Stories: This Time For False Endorsements

facebook Yesterday, Facebook announced it is scrapping parts of its Sponsored Stories ad product -- the ads that show what other users "Like."  It turns out, the same day a Colorado man filed a class action suit claiming the ads were used for false endorsement. The suit alleges Facebook began showing ads that said "Tony DiTirro likes USA Today." DiTirro claims he never "Liked" USA Today's Facebook page or visit the USA Today website. DiTirro was tipped off about the ad by a friend, according to the filing. The suit claims Facebook "knowingly used [DiTirro's] likeness and Facebook profile to adve [...]


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 [...]


Beastie Boys Decide To File Lawsuit Against GoldieBlox For Using Song “Girls” In Viral Video Ad

law-legal-concept According to a report on Gigaom.com, the Beastie Boys have decided to file a counter lawsuit against the toy company GoldieBlox for copyright infringement, claiming the toy company used the song "Girls" in one of its video ads without permission. This all started mid-November, when the toy company released its "GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & Beastie Boys Princess Machine" YouTube video ad with reworked lyrics from the Beastie Boys song "Girls."  The video went viral, generating more than eight million views in just over seven days. Before releasing the video, GoldieBlox failed to get [...]


Tech Leaders Join To Demand “Global Surveillance Reform”

privacy-security-online-computer Major US tech companies have joined together to urge the US government and the governments of other countries to limit internet-based spying on individuals and to promote new legal frameworks to resolve related international issues. The group is demanding "global government surveillance reform." The companies are Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and Twitter. Others will likely follow their lead and join the effort. The group drafted an open letter to President Obama and Congress and set forth principles that they would like to see guide policy development. Here's the bulk [...]


FTC: Native Ads “May Be Illegal” In Some Cases

law-legal-concept The FTC this week held a workshop in which the topic of "Native Advertising" was discussed. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez is quoted by Reuters saying, "By presenting ads that resemble editorial content, an advertiser risks implying, deceptively, that the information comes from a non-biased source." The implication is that the FTC is ready to crack down on the rapidly growing format, which is either being used or actively considered by three-fourths of online publishers, including the NY Times. In a way the entire point of Native Ads is to make them closely resemble editorial so consumers [...]


The Future Of Internet Sales Tax: What’s Next After The Supreme Court’s Denial Of Amazon, Overstock Appeals?

law-legal-concept This week, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals filed by Amazon and Overstock.com that challenged the ability of states to collect sales tax on items sold online by out-of-state retailers. The appeals stem from New York's passing of what has become known as the "Amazon Tax," which expands the definition of  nexus to include in-state affiliate marketers. Amazon and Overstock.com claimed the expanded interpretation of nexus violates Constitutional interstate commerce law and due process. The retail giants point to the US Supreme Court's 1992 ruling in favor of mail-order business Qu [...]


Advertorial Native Ads To Receive Closer FTC Scrutiny

Trojan Horse At one time the mixing of editorial and advertising content was an unthinkable breach of journalistic ethics. Now it's the hottest online advertising trend: Native Ads. Native Ads don't automatically violate US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules against "deceptive advertising" provided they're identified as sponsored content. However the question is whether publisher websites are sufficiently calling out Native Ads as advertising. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC is hosting a "workshop" on advertorial content this week called "Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content?" to dis [...]


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 [...]


GoldieBlox Removes “Girls” Music From Video Parody, Hopes For Peace In Letter To The Beastie Boys

law-legal-concept The GoldieBlox legal battle against the Beastie Boys over the band's song "Girls" being used in a parody ads may be nearing an end. Today, GoldieBlox removed the original video, replaced it with one that no longer uses the Beastie Boys music and published an open letter to the band hoping for peace. In a post titled "Our Letter to the Beastie Boys" posted on the GoldieBlox blog, the toy company says it has removed the song from its parody video and is willing to stop legal action it took to use the song as long as the Beastie Boys halt any legal threats. "We don't want to fight with yo [...]


Beastie Boys Fight For Their Right – But Maybe The GoldieBlox “Girls” Parody Video Is Legal?

law-legal-concept Last week, toy company GoldieBlox released its "Goldieblox, Rube Goldberg & Beastie Boys Princess Machine" YouTube video, an ad set to the music of the Beastie's Boys song Girls with reworked lyrics. The video's positive message to empower girls resulted in the ad going viral, generating more than 8.6 million views. The only problem is GoldieBlox never received approval from Beastie Boys to use the band's music. According to a New York Times report yesterday, GoldieBlox filed a suit against the Beastie Boys to deflect a copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming its version of the song [...]


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