EU Privacy Complaint Takes Aim At Google’s ‘Shared Endorsements’ Ad Content

Google Europe legal Privacy advocate Simon Davies has filed a formal privacy complaint in 14 European countries against Google's expanded "Shared Endorsements" ad program. The "Privacy Surgeon," as Davies calls himself, lodged the complaint today with data protection regulators in Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland. The complaint argues that Google's Shared Endorsements violates a range of specific provisions of the "Article 29" data protection rules and that the opt-out aspect places too much of a burden on c [...]


Verdict: Samsung Owes Apple $290 Million More But It Won’t Matter

apple-logo-black The Judge (Lucy Koh) in the landmark Samsung-Apple patent trial in California ordered a partial retrial on damages. Today the damages case was sent to the jury, which deliberated and awarded Apple $290 million more according to AllThingsD. In total, Samsung owes Apple nearly a billion dollars in damages not counting legal fees. Yet for both companies, this doesn't end their global legal battle, nor does $1 billion matter much to Samsung. In the third quarter Samsung made roughly $9.6 billion in profit, roughly two-thirds of which come from the sale of mobile devices. Android is the do [...]


German Court: Google Privacy Policy Violates Consumer Rights

google-privacy-200 A German court has ruled that Google's integrated privacy policy violates its national data protection law, according to a report from IDG news service. Google has had trouble and been criticized in Europe since consolidating its many privacy policies into one in March 2012. Google has maintained that its unified privacy policy, which allows the company to combine data sets across Google properties, benefits consumers because it's simpler than having numerous, independent privacy policies. European governments have repeatedly asked for clarifications, additional information and more recently [...]


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 [...]


Facebook’s Recent Privacy Policy Updates Take Effect Today

Facebook-Home-Logo Facebook's controversial privacy policy updates -- announced back in August -- are taking effect today. In a blog post today, the company goes out of its way to explain that the update doesn't change Facebook's advertising policies, it only changed the language in Facebook's official policy documents. One of the controversial word changes, however, has been removed -- a sentence related to minors and their parents. The language said that Facebook was assuming parental consent of the company's potential use of personal information in connection with sponsored content. In today's announcem [...]


New TCPA Guidelines: What Do They Mean For Mobile Marketing?

fcc-logo By now, you have likely noticed that everyone is talking (and texting) about the amendments to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) -- the same legislation that spawned the "Do Not Call" registry. But the news isn't exactly new. In fact, the TCPA guidelines were amended by the FCC in early 2012; but, they just went into effect on October 16, 2013. So why should we be concerned? While the guidelines encompass telephone solicitations as well as messaging, this article will focus on the impact of these changes to mobile marketers in particular. We will cover: The changes to the exist [...]


Google Quietly Testing Offline Store Visits Tracking

smartphone-map-checkin Last month Google announced a program called "Estimated Total Conversions." That program is intended to report or provide visibility into cross-device and offline conversions by tracking the activities of signed-in Chrome users and extrapolating that data to the broader Google user population. The offline component of conversion tracking wasn't supposed to begin until 2014. However, according to a report in Digiday, Google is currently experimenting with tracking offline store visits, using smartphone location, and trying to connect that back to mobile ad exposures: Google is beta-testing [...]


Getty Images Enters Deal To Provide Photo Credits On Images Uploaded To Pinterest

pinterest-copyright-featured Both Pinterest and Getty Images announced last week a joint multi-year deal in which Pinterest will pay Getty Images a fee to attach rich metadata to images uploaded to the social media network. According to the announcement on the Getty Images blog: Getty Images will use our PicScout image recognition technology to identify exclusive Getty Images content on Pinterest. Then, we'll use our API, Connect, to provide relevant metadata to Pinterest - including Getty Images photo credits, where and when the image was shot and more.  Both Pinterest and Getty Images are pushing the new partnersh [...]


Pinterest Gets Tough On Contest Rules By Adding New Language To Its Acceptable Use Policy

pinterest-legal-featured After including a complete set of "Dos and Don'ts" for contests on its Brand Guidelines page in May, Pinterest has taken further action to enforce its contest rules by updating its Acceptable Use Policy this week. According to a blog post on the social media's Business Blog: A few months ago, we updated our contest guidelines to reflect what we’d learned about how contests affect the Pinner experience. We’re now adding these guidelines to our Acceptable Use Policy. That means that, moving forward, we won’t allow contests that: Suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses them or t [...]


Taiwan’s FTC Fines Samsung $340,000 For Posting Fake Comments

computer-internet-legal-law-featured A number of reports are confirming Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined Samsung more than $340,000 for posting fake comments on its own products and criticizing competitor products via third-party marketing companies. According to a story on The Verve, the FTC's report claims Samsung paid people to "highlight the shortcomings of competing products" and discovered "nefarious activity" by Samsung commenters: The list of infractions includes the "disinfection of negative news about Samsung products," "palindromic Samsung product marketing," and the positive evaluation of Samsung pro [...]


Indoor Location Companies Announce Consumer Privacy Rules

online privacy Most major US retailers are employing or testing some form of location-based, indoor analytics. Using WiFi and in some cases other technologies, such as closed-circuit cameras or bluetooth beacons, retailers can now tell when and where shoppers went in their stores. There's a ton of valuable information that has never been available before: where consumers spent time in stores and for how long, their paths through the store, whether a display impacted purchases, the relationship between staffing levels and purchase activity and so on. These insights are possible because a critical mass o [...]


US Sen. Markey Calls For FTC Investigation Over Google’s “Shared Endorsements”

google-privacy-200 Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to take a closer look at Google's "Shared Endorsements" ads. On Thursday when the New York Times story discussing the program was published it initially appeared that Google was introducing a new "Sponsored Stories"-like ad unit. I was confused at first (before talking to Google), as were others. However as we later clarified Shared Endorsements is not a new ad unit. The company was merely expanding the range of social and user-generated content types that could be included in search and display ads. I was quite critical o [...]


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 [...]


Google’s New Fight Against Mugshots Sites Fails For Victim Profiled In New York Times

Maxwell Birnbaum - Google Search Google has a new system in place designed to prevent "mugshots" sites from ranking well. Such sites make money convincing people to "remove" their mugshots after posting them online. Only one problem. The person featured in a New York Times story yesterday as a victim of this unsavory practice still has his mugshot appearing, despite Google's supposed change. The practice of mugshot shots was profiled in the New York Times yesterday (and in our sister-site Search Engine Land earlier this year). The New York Times story leads with the story of Maxwell Birnbaum, who was upset that his mugsho [...]


Google Confronts Unwelcome “Wiretapping” Class Actions

google-legal-law As reported in the New York Times, Google is confronting two "wiretapping" class actions that have been allowed to move forward in the courts. One involves automated scanning of Gmail for ad insertion and the other surrounds Google Street View collection of email and other personal data. When Gmail first introduced ads there was a temporary furor, which has all but disappeared other than the case at hand. Street View data collection or "WiSpy" as some have called it has been a much larger, ongoing headache for Google. Recently Google lost an appeal involving its motion to dismiss the Street [...]


Operation Greener Grass: Why Aren’t SEOs Up In Arms?

reputation_sstk Once again, SEO is in the news. Once again, the media (along with an elected official or two -- shocker!) clearly doesn't understand how the industry works. While it seems New York's elected (and appointed) officials could give a rodent's posterior about protecting the interests of anyone except Big Corporate, "so called SEO companies" are the new babies being sent out with the bath water. [caption id="attachment_60122" align="alignright" width="240"] Reputation Management[/caption] Enter, Operation Cleaner Turf; a yogurt shop sting with a sensational press release sub-headline on the of [...]


ActiveCast Media Sues Google For Withholding AdX Traffic Acquisition Payments

google-legal-law ­­­A lawsuit filed in US court last week by ActiveCast Media against Google provides an inside glimpse at just how opaque and complex the world of online traffic acquisition ecosystem can be. ActiveCast, a subsidiary of Web Integrated Net Solutions and headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, is suing Google for breach of contract, claiming the Internet giant is unlawfully withholding payment for traffic ActiveCast sent to Google advertisers as part of its contract agreement with Google DoubleClick AdExchange (AdX). In June, Google flagged the account for invalid activity and retr [...]


France To Fine Google On Privacy, Low UK Taxes Draw Ire

google-eu-200px Google's European woes continue. The outcome of the antitrust settlement negotiations is still uncertain and it's not clear that Google will "get off" without more concessions. Now, European privacy complaints against Google have come to a head, with France all but promising to fine the company. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that France's privacy regulator, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), told media on Friday that Google had blown a deadline to change the way it handles user data. According to the report a quasi-judicial process will now begin tha [...]


Survey: 71% Of Companies Concerned Over Social Media Risks, But Only 36% Provide Employee Training

is-social-media-worth-it A recently published survey examining corporate social media risks and rewards from advisory firm Grant Thornton found that 71 percent of the executives polled said their company was concerned about possible risks posed by social media, but only 36 percent reported having social media training. The report included a 32-question online survey that was completed by 111 executives representing a mix of public and private, small to midsized organizations. The survey questions covered five specific topics: use of social media, opinions regarding the value of social media, social media policies, [...]


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