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 Specifically, Google asks users to "explain how this URL in search results is irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate."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 [...]


Facebook To EU: Please Review Our WhatsApp Deal

WhatsApp Usually, companies don't want to be subjected to regulatory scrutiny. However this time, it appears, Facebook is actively soliciting antitrust review of its roughly $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition from the European Commission. As explained in a Wall Street Journal article the strategy appears to be an end run around individual country regulatory authorities, seeking to avoid antitrust investigations in multiple nations. Facebook has reportedly indicated that it faces potential antitrust review in the UK, Spain and Cyprus. Interestingly, because there are few revenue implications from th [...]


Industry “Do Not Track” Efforts Bogged Down As Privacy Regulators Move In

privacy Citing a lack of coherent or uniform standards, Yahoo announced earlier this month that it was walking away from "Do Not Track" (DNT), at least for the time being. That action seemed to directly contradict earlier claims that industry mega-group Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) would unveil a DNT solution with industrywide support. The DAA still maintains that it's close to revealing a consensus proposal around DNT. However a new wrinkle has emerged. Smaller networks, data vendors and analytics providers are reportedly objecting that DNT wouldn't do much to big networks like Google or Fa [...]


Everything You Need to Know About The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

email-spam-600 The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been long in the works and will finally be enforced starting on July 1st, 2014. But what is it exactly, and why should anyone outside of Canada care? Read on for some frequently asked questions and available resources to help comply with the upcoming CASL enforcement date. CASL is applicable to anyone who "makes use of commercial electronic messages." More specifically, if you have an email address in your email marketing database that belongs to a Canadian, or if anyone opens an email in Canada, this law is applicable. The law has require [...]


Apple & Google End Bitter Mobile Patent Litigation Chapter

apple-google-featured Late last week, Apple and Google's (soon to be Lenovo's) Motorola Mobility settled their mutual mobile patent claims against one another. However, the companies declined to do a cross-licensing deal, which is often customary in these situations. While the agreement ends the often bitter litigation between Motorola and Apple, it has no impact on the ongoing Apple-Samsung dispute(s). In that litigation, so far, Apple has won a majority of the courtroom battles, but Samsung is winning the market-share battle out in the world. Perhaps more significant than the Apple-Google settlement, the c [...]


Italian Regulators Take Aim At “Freemium” Apps

mobile-web-apps-featured Claiming that so-called "freemium" mobile apps mislead consumers, Italy's competition regulator is taking aim at Google, Apple, Amazon and French game developer Gameloft. According to the Wall Street Journal, Italian authorities have begun to investigate the companies and the issue. Previously, the EU argued that freemium apps are potentially deceptive because they're initially free to download but generate revenues within the app, possibly without full awareness of users. The EU, and now the Italian authorities, worry that consumers may not know they're being charged for items within apps [...]


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 [...]


Top eBay Affiliate Sentenced To 5 Months In Prison For Wire Fraud

ebay-logo-240px eBay's top-earning affiliate, Shawn Hogan, has been sentenced to five months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, Business Insider reported this morning. Hogan must pay a fine of $25,000 and will remain on supervised release for three years after his prison term is completed. The case traces back to 2006, when the FBI began pursuing Hogan and Brian Dunning, eBay's number two affiliate, on suspicion of violating eBay's affiliate terms of service with a cookie-stuffing scheme that gave the affiliates credit for sales that came, not after users clicked on their a [...]


Yahoo Ditches “Do Not Track”: Lack Of Standards Said Too Confusing

yahoo-purple-y-logo Yahoo announced Wednesday that it will no longer adhere to Do Not Track browser signals, further compromising the effectiveness of the user privacy setting in the online ecosystem. "As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo. As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry." The change is framed as a move towa [...]


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 [...]


After Bitter Fight, Industry To Embrace “Browser Choice” (AKA Do Not Track)

personal-data-privacy-featured The online advertising industry has apparently done an about-face on "Do Not Track" (DNT). According to AdWeek the Digital Advertising Alliance will soon unveil a DNT solution that will euphemistically be called "browser choice." The article says, "The final product will include some of the same hallmarks of the DAA's ad choices self-regulatory program, which allows consumers to opt-out of online behaviorally-targeted advertising by clicking on a little blue icon that appears on ads." Specifics of how "browser choice" will work have yet to be revealed. However it won't affect first-party [...]


General Mills: You Won’t Lose Your Right To Sue By ‘Liking’ Cheerios

chex General Mills, which took heavy flak last week for overreaching online terms of service, reverted to previous legal language over the weekend, apologized and assured customers who engage with its brands or products on social media aren't giving up any legal remedies. In other words, it's safe to "Like" Cheerios and Chex on Facebook again. As the New York Times reported and our Greg Sterling followed, General Mills updated the legal terms on its website last week to alert customers that, as the Times wrote, "they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, 'join' it i [...]


Could “Liking” A Brand On Facebook Waive Your Legal Rights?

social-media-dislike-thumb-down-featured There is a very disturbing trend in the world of corporate terms and conditions. Consumers (and small merchants) are increasingly being forced by fine-print clauses into binding arbitration to resolve disputes with companies. The very pro-business US Supreme Court not long ago ruled this was entirely legal. What it means as a practical matter is that individuals give up their right to sue in court as well as the right to join together in class action litigation against corporations. The problem is that consumers, even if they're permitted to sue individually, won't because they don't h [...]


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' [...]


Hacking, E-Theft Grow As 18 Percent Report Data Stolen

privacy-security-featured Major internet sites now seem to suffer routine data breaches. Over the past several months, we've learned that multiple major retailers had credit card numbers (by the millions) stolen as their databases were hacked from Eastern Europe. Last week, “Heartbleed” was discovered, prompting the recommendation to change all your passwords online. Welcome to the new normal -- or so it would seem. The Pew Research Center released January 2014 survey data this morning that found 18 percent of adults online have had personal information stolen ("Social Security Number, credit card, or ban [...]


Katherine Heigl Vs Duane Reade Lawsuit May Serve Up Lesson In How Not To Tweet

shutterstock_141487798     New York pharmacy chain Duane Reade's social media team might be getting an expensive lesson in how not to tweet. And that means the rest of us get a free reminder about the perils of using celebrity photos in social media.   First the news: Actress Katherine Heigl is suing Duane Reade in New York federal court, seeking $6 million for posting -- on Twitter and Facebook -- a paparazzi shot of her walking out of one of chain's stores last month.   Here's the text of the tweet (which was deleted from the @DuaneReade account this week, after news of [...]


Will “Mass Surveillance” Report Hasten The Cookiepocalypse?

Cookies The prevalence of cookie-free mobile devices and growing hostility to third-party cookies has marked the cookie for almost certain death. A new report will add to the chorus calling for the end of third-party cookies as an online tracking tool. The report (cited by TheVerge) from Princeton researchers details how relatively simple it is to connect browsing behavior across the internet and to real identity. The report (embedded below) is called "Cookies that give you away: Evaluating the surveillance implications of web tracking." The researchers undertook the study following, and in part [...]


FTC Discloses Small Business Complaints Against Yelp

yelp-featured Many small businesses continue to feel that Yelp is unfair or complain that Yelp salespeople are using strong-arm tactics to get them to buy advertising on the site. Claims of "extortion" against Yelp have persisted though never been proven with evidence and the company has successfully defended a number of lawsuits on those grounds. These "extortion" claims again resurfaced in two articles published this week. One in the Wall Street Journal, focused on a lawsuit brought by Hadeed Carpet in Virginia over anonymous, critical reviews on Yelp. The business owner claims that the reviewers we [...]


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