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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google admits handing over european user data to US intelligence agencies

In Americas, Big Brother, Europe News on August 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

By Softpedia

Google has admitted complying with requests from US intelligence agencies for data stored in its European data centers, most likely in violation of European Union data protection laws.

Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK’s managing director, made news headlines some weeks ago when he admitted that Microsoft can be compelled to share data with the US government regardless of where it is hosted in the world.

At the center of this problem is the USA PATRIOT ACT, which states that companies incorporated in the United States must hand over data administered by their foreign subsidiaries if requested.

Not only that, but they can be forced to keep quiet about it in order to avoid exposing active investigations and alert those targeted by the probes.

This situation poses a serious problem for companies like Microsoft, Google or Amazon, which offer cloud services around the world, because their subsidiaries must also respect local laws.

For example, European Union legislation requires companies to protect the personal information of EU citizens and this is clearly not something that Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or any of their EU customers can do.

This is not only a theoretical problem. According to German-language magazine WirtschaftsWoche, a Google spokesperson confirmed that…

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Google is destroying your memory

In Tech on July 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

By Amara D. Angelica

Well, OK, maybe not totally destroying it, just making it unnecessary to rely on friends, libraries, books, notes, and other forms of “transactive memory” (external systems), thanks to the rise of Internet search engines, Wikipedia, and other Internet tools.

So says Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow, co-author of an article in Science Express.

“Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things,” she said. “Our brains rely on the Internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker. We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found.”

Creative forgetting

Sparrow’s research reveals that we forget things we are confident we can find on the Internet. We are more likely to remember things we think are not available online. And we are better able to remember where to find something on the Internet than we are at remembering the information itself.

But what is the quality of what we’re finding with these…

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Google faces “wire taping” case in the U.S

In Americas, Big Brother, World News on July 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

By Anissa Haddadi

Google could be sued for scooping up data from open wi-fi networks after a US court ruling.

A judge in San Francisco decided that the company’s actions may have violated federal laws on wiretapping.

Despite Google’s attempts to have the lawsuit thrown out by repeatedly that anyone could have intercepted the wireless signals, the internet Giant could still face prosecution, as it had previously admitted collecting the data by mistake while gathering images for its Street View service.

Since the allegations first emerged, Google has stopped its Street View cars logging wi-fi networks, which previously involved sampling packets of data from wireless hotspots.

Once on unencrypted networks the system was able to access logins, passwords and other personal details and more than 600MB of data was said to have been collected in 30 countries.

As soon as the evidences first emerged, Google apologised for its action, explaining that a coding error was responsible for the…

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Google aims to speed up the Web with ‘Instant Pages,’ spoken search

In Big Brother, Tech on June 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

By Mike Swift

The Internet just got a lot faster — at least after a Google(GOOG) search. And offices across America probably will get just a bit louder.

Leveraging its prowess in computer science, Google announced an array of new mobile and desktop search features Tuesday, including the ability to speak a search query to a desktop computer and run a search query on any personal photo stored on a user’s computer. The features also include a new interface for mobile searches that makes it easier to find information about nearby restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses.

But the new service users will probably notice most is Instant Pages, a service in which the search engine predicts the link a user is likely to click. If a user chooses that link — typically the first link in search results — the page will essentially load instantaneously. Google says that will save users in those cases three to five seconds on average — a clearly noticeable difference.

“Taken all together, it was kind of a broadside by Google today that they are not going to slack off the pace of innovation,” said Hadley Reynolds, director of…

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Google announces mobile payment system: Google Wallet

In Big Brother, Tech on May 27, 2011 at 7:19 am

By Edward C. Baid

Are you ready to pay for everything via your smartphone? Google is the latest tech company banking on it. At a packed press event in New York, the search giant launched Google Wallet, a method to pay for goods via your smartphone. Google also unveiled a separate initiative, Google Offers, for mobile coupons, working with partners such as Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint, as well as merchants that include Subway, Macy’s, Walgreens and American Eagle. Google says it is building an open solution to other financial companies and retailers.

“Your phone will be your wallet — just tap, pay and save,” says Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce at Google. Adds Osama Bedier, vice president of payments at Google, “This is just the beginning. We plan to push the limit and innovate in that space.”

Google isn’t the only one at it, of course. The Google announcement follows word that Square, a company headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, will also pursue mobile contact-less payments.

For mobile payments to take off, consumer behavior will have to change. But Google points out that while a decade ago 70% of consumers were reluctant to pay for stuff online, today 70% access their credit card information over the Internet. At the start, a Google Wallet will give…

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Dutch data protection watchdog criticizes Google over wifi network information collection

In Big Brother, Europe News on April 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

By CB Online

(AP) – The Netherlands’ personal data protection watchdog has joined other countries in criticizing Google for collecting data on private wireless networks, ordering it to contact 3.6 million Dutch wifi owners and offer them a way to have their data deleted.

The Dutch Data Protection Agency Tuesday slammed Google’s Street View service for collecting personal data from unencrypted wifi networks, a practice Google has halted and apologized for. But the bureau added the company’s current use of wifi locations still amounts to gathering personal…

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Programming Regret for Google: TAU scientists give computers “hindsight” to anticipate the future

In Tech on April 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

By Tel Aviv University

Human beings are well aware that hindsight is 20/20 — and the product of this awareness is often what we call “regret.” Could this hindsight be programmed into a computer to more accurately predict the future? Tel Aviv University computer researchers think so — and the Internet giant Google is anxious to know the answer, too.

Prof. Yishay Mansour of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik School of Cumputer Science launched his new project at the International Conference on Learning Theory in Haifa, Israel, earlier this year. His research will help computers minimize what Prof. Mansour calls “regret.” Google recently announced that it will fund Tel Aviv University computer scientists and economists to develop this foundational research, a nexus on the cutting edge of computer science and game theory.

“If the servers and routing systems of the Internet could…”

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Google making app that would identify people’s faces

In Big Brother, Tech on April 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

By Mark Millan

CNN – Google is working on a mobile application that would allow users to snap pictures of people’s faces in order to access their personal information, a director for the project said this week.

In order to be identified by the software, people would have to check a box agreeing to give Google permission to access their pictures and profile information, said Hartmut Neven, the Google engineering director for image-recognition development.

Google’s Profiles product includes a user’s name, phone number and e-mail address. Google has not said what personal data might be displayed once a person is identified by its facial-recognition system.

“We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues,” Neven told CNN in an exclusive interview. “Face recognition we will bring out once we have acceptable privacy models in place.”

While Google has begun to establish how the privacy features would work, Neven did not say when the company…

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