Google implementing stricter AdSense user consent policy to comply with EU data protection authority requests

Europe Antitrust Google

Google announced today that it is updating its AdSense user consent policy to comply with requests from European Union data protection authorities. The updated user consent policy strengthens the requirement that publishes with audiences in the EU obtain permission from readers before collecting usage data and accessing cookies. Google says the updated user consent policy follows its own approach to comply with privacy laws. The company outlines the updated user consent policy for website and app publishers with EU readers and users: Read more

EU says few people are appealing ‘right to be forgotten’ rulings, most denials justified

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Google controls most of the search engine market in Europe, and as a result receives most ‘right to be forgotten’ requests, those things where individuals can request the de-listing of links to sensitive information about themselves that are deemed out-dated or irrelevant. But more than half of requests are denied, and of those that are appealed, most of those are too denied – which the European Union says is just fine.

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France gives Google 15 days to expand right-to-be-forgotten worldwide or face sanctions

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Google has so far been meeting the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling in Europe by removing links only from the local site for each country – google.com remaining unaffected. A French court ruled last November that removing links from google.fr was insufficient, and ordered Google to remove the links worldwide.

Google ignored the ruling, and Reuters now reports that the French data protection regulator CNIL has given the company 15 days to comply before imposing sanctions …  Read more

Pro tip: Chrome already has similar granular permission controls to Android M

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One of the big additions to Android with the unveiling of Android M last week is more granular permission controls, allowing developers to ask for access to things like the microphone or GPS only once they need them, and for users to be able to revoke one or all of these permissions when they’d like. What wasn’t discussed on the keynote stage, however, is that the Chrome browser already has these features. Here’s how to use them:

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More information emerges regarding Android M’s detailed app permission controls

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Earlier this year, a report emerged claiming that Google was planning on giving Android users more control over app permission settings. At the time, it was rumored that Google would add the ability to give users the ability to manually select what pieces of information to which apps have access. Android Police today corroborates the report from earlier this month and offers up a few more details…

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Incoming Google Photos app with ‘Assistant’ feature gets shown off in screenshots

Today we’re getting a look at an upcoming new version of the Google Photos app courtesy of some screenshots obtained by AndroidPolice. The app features a new Assistant mode that appears to replace the old Autoawesome feature with a more manual editing experience, as well as something new features and tweaks to the overall user experience. Read more

New Snowden files: Intelligence agencies planned to hack Android phones by compromising app stores

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A multinational government group known as the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the spy group comprising Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand – planned to hack Android phones by compromising both Google and Samsung app stores. The plan was revealed in newly-released Snowden files dating back to 2012, reports CBC News.

Five Eyes specifically sought ways to find and hijack data links to servers used by Google and Samsung’s mobile app stores [trying] to find ways to implant spyware on smartphones by intercepting the transmissions sent when downloading or updating apps.

The alliance planned to begin by analyzing traffic to the stores to identify the Internet usage habits of targets (such as which apps they used), but the ultimate goal was to plant spyware that would enable them to extract data from targeted smartphones, or even to take control of them …  Read more

Google reportedly prepping to give Android users more control over app privacy settings

SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji - Android Apps on Google Play 2015-05-07 14-56-34

According to a report this afternoon from Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” have said that Google is preparing to give Android users more control over what data gets shared with their apps. Users will, at some point in the near future, have “more detailed choices” over which pieces of their information that apps have access to:

Google’s Android operating system is set to give users more detailed choices over what apps can access, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains private. That could include photos, contacts or location. An announcement of the change, which would put Android closer in line with Apple Inc.’s iOS, is expected for Google’s developer’s conference in San Francisco this month, one of the people said.

More than likely, this is a feature that Google will be announcing alongside Android “M” at this year’s Google I/O conference which is set to kick off at the end of the month.

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

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Update: A class action suit has now been funded by a major US law firm, allowing any qualifying UK user to join the action at no cost. You can complete a qualifying questionnaire here.

A not-for-profit company, Google Action Group Ltd, has been set up to manage the case which is seeking to win between £400 and £4000 in compensation for each claimant who used a .  It has appointed Hausfeld, Europe’s leading claimant firm, to challenge Google on behalf of all those Apple users in England and Wales who used the Safari browser on Apple computers, iPod Touches, iPads, and iPhones during the infringing period of Summer 2011 to about 17th February 2012.
The Google Action Group is seeking more members of the public to sign up for the legal action.  The public can join the action for  free, because the costs will be met by a £2.5m pot of money being put up by a major US litigation funding firm.

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

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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

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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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