Millions of British Apple users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

cookies

UK Apple users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their Safari browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

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Google, Apple & other large tech companies urge the White House & Congress not to renew the Patriot Act

patriot-act-reform

Google is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Google was joined by Apple, AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  Read more

Google agrees to Italian regulatory checks following data collection privacy investigation

google

Last year, the Italian government gave Google 18 months to reform its tata collection policies and change the way it stores and treats that user data. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Google has now agreed to allow the Italian government to perform spot checks at its Mountain View headquarters. The regulator will get quarterly updates from Google and have the ability to send someone  to Mountain View for “on-the-spot checks.”

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Google defends itself, says it fought WikiLeaks gag orders

We told you earlier this week about a letter sent from WikiLeaks to Google, asking why it took so long for the Mountain View company to notify them of federal warrants for their personal data. Google apparently stood up against the gag orders preventing them from doing so (via The Washington Post), saying it “challenged the secrecy from the beginning.”

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NY district attorney says Google’s encryption policy “an issue of public safety” for law enforcement

NYPD-iPhone-01

Bloomberg reports that a Manhattan District Attorney is challenging recent moves by Apple, Google and other tech companies by suggesting government pass laws that prevent mobile devices from being “sealed off from law enforcement.” In an interview this week, the government official called it “an issue of public safety.”

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Google could face €15 million fine for violating Dutch privacy legislation

Google

Dutch privacy watchdog group CBP has threatened Google with up to a €15 million fine for violating Dutch privacy legislation. According to DutchNews, the issue stems from Google collecting personal information about users from Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and search results and combining the data into one profile for more effective targeted advertising. Read more

Twitter to start tracking the apps on your smartphone

Twitter Logo

Twitter Logo

Twitter is about to get very nosey with its mobile subscribers, and if you’re among the millions of people using the company’s app on your smartphone, you’ll definitely want to listen up. The short-form social media outlet’s new app graph feature will soon start tracking which applications you have installed on your devices. This opt-out feature is being introduced to help the firm insert better ads and recommendations into your timeline.

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WhatsApp updated with end-to-end encryption between Android devices

WhatsApp

The Wall Street Journal reports that WhatsApp has been updated with end-to-end encryption for messages sent and received between Android smartphones and tablets. The cross-platform messaging service claims it will be unable to help decrypt messages for law enforcement, a noteworthy move given increasing concerns about government surveillance and tracking over the past few years. Read more

‘Right to be forgotten’ by Google may extend beyond Europe following court ruling

google

Europe’s controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling, giving individuals the right to have sensitive information about them removed from search engines if it is deemed to be ‘out-dated or irrelevant,’ could extend beyond Europe following a recent court ruling.

Google has so far been removing links only from its European sites, for example google.fr in France and google.co.uk in the UK. However, a French court has now ruled that Google is required to remove links globally, and that local subsidiaries can be fined if the company fails to do so, reports the Guardian …  Read more

FBI director continues push against Google & Apple on smartphone encryption (Video)

James Comey FBI Director

FBI Director James Comey isn’t backing down from his position that Google and Apple are wrong to encrypt customer smartphone data preventing law enforcement agencies the possibility of access if requested. After last month sharing that the FBI was in talks with the two companies to discuss concerns with marketing devices as being inaccessible to third-parties including the government, the FBI Director spoke with CBS News in an interview where he continued to make the case against such encryption… Read more

AT&T apologizes to customers for recent data breach

att

AT&T is currently apologizing to customers for a security breach caused by one of its employees who illegally accessed personal information for a small number the carrier’s subscribers. Some of the compromised information includes social security and driver’s license numbers of the affected customers. AT&T says the incident took place this past August and further discussed the matter in a letter to the Vermont attorney general.

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Google warned to change its user data profiling policies in Germany

Google-Germany

Google is in hot water in Germany, with the Hamburg Data Protection Authority warning the company that its user profiling practices violate the Telemedia Act and Federal Data Protection Act. A continuation of the search giant’s ongoing problems in Europe, the German regulatory organization is stating that spreading a person’s information across multiple services such as Gmail, Maps and YouTube is unnecessary and a violation of the country’s privacy laws.

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