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Paul Merrell

Why Google search is your phone's default, and not easy to change - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • There’s a setting on your phone and web browser that Google is desperate to keep you from discovering. How desperate? In 2021 alone, Google paid Apple, Samsung and others $26.3 billion to keep it buried.
  • That’s more money each year than McDonald’s makes selling burgers.This setting affects who gets to track your location and watch what you look up online. It affects the usefulness of the information you see and how much of your screen is taken up by ads.
  • I’m talking about your search engine — what pops up the answers when you type into the search bar. Google pays the makers of phones, laptops and browsers to be your default and to stop them from even presenting you other options during setup. It’s billions for a favor.
Paul Merrell

Epic Games accuses Google of bullying and bribing to block competition to its Android a... - 0 views

  • oogle on Monday confronted the second major U.S. antitrust trial in two months to cast the internet powerhouse as a brazen bully that uses its immense wealth and people’s dependence on one of its main products to stifle competition at consumers’ expense. The trial that opened in a San Francisco federal court targets the Google Play Store that distributes apps for the company’s Android software that powers virtually all the world’s smartphones that aren’t made by Apple. The case, stemming from a lawsuit filed by video game maker Epic Games, alleges Google has created an illegal monopoly on Android apps primarily so it can boost its profits through commissions ranging from 15% to 30% on purchases made within an app. “The result of what Google is doing is higher prices, lower quality and less choice for everybody,” Epic attorney Gary Bornstein said Monday during a 45-minute opening statement before the 10-person jury that will decide the case.
Paul Merrell

FTC Hits Amazon With 'One of the Most Important Antitrust Cases in US History' - 1 views

  • Economic justice advocates applauded on Tuesday as the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Seattle-based Amazon.com for illegally dominating the online retail economy at the expense of consumers.
  • The 172-page complaint "lays out how Amazon has used a set of punitive and coercive tactics to unlawfully maintain its monopolies," said FTC Chair Lina Khan in a statement. "The complaint sets forth detailed allegations noting how Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them." The document—filed in a federal court in Washington state—alleges that Amazon maintains "durable monopoly power" in the online superstore and marketplace services markets, including by stifling price competition and coercing sellers into using its fulfillment service.
Paul Merrell

Facebook parent hit with record $1.3 billion fine by European regulators | KRON4 - 0 views

  • The European Union slapped Meta with a record $1.3 billion privacy fine Monday and ordered it to stop transferring user data across the Atlantic, the latest salvo in a decadelong case sparked by U.S. cybersnooping fears. The penalty fine of 1.2 billion euros from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is the biggest since the EU’s strict data privacy regime took effect five years ago, surpassing Amazon’s 746 million euro penalty in 2021 for data protection violations. The Irish watchdog is Meta’s lead privacy regulator in the 27-nation bloc because the Silicon Valley tech giant’s European headquarters is based in Dublin. Meta, which had previously warned that services for its users in Europe could be cut off, vowed to appeal and ask courts to immediately put the decision on hold.
Paul Merrell

Major states teaming up with U.S. Justice Department to sue Google - 1 views

  • Several states including New York, Colorado, Virginia and California have joined with the Department of Justice to sue Google, charging that the online giant is illegally monopolizing the market for online ads. Claims include "self-dealing, anticompetitive acquisitions, and forcing businesses to use multiple products and services that it offers," according to a new report in Politico.
Paul Merrell

Mass. health officials worked with Google to covertly install COVID 'spyware' into 1M p... - 1 views

  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly using Google technology to covertly install tracking apps on over one million Android phones as part of the state government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan civil rights firm, accused the Bay State’s health department of "brazen disregard for civil liberties" by installing "spyware that deliberately tracks and records movement and personal contacts onto over a million mobile devices without their owners’ permission and awareness." The class-action suit claims DPH is in violation of both the Massachusetts and U.S. Constitutions.
Paul Merrell

Elon Musk fires every Twitter exec involved in banning Trump, hiding Biden laptop story - 4 views

  • Leftists and other progressives have lost their cool on the completion of Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter. Advertisement - story continues below "It's like the gates of hell opened on this site tonight," claimed tech columnist Taylor Lorenz on social media. Fox News reported Musk, the noted billionaire of SpaceX and Tesla fame, immediately fired several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, the chief of legal policy, trust and safety.
  • Musk accused them of misleading him – and other investors – over the number of fake accounts on the platform, Fox reported a source confirmed.
analyticsjobs90

Frequently Asked Questions about Data Science in 2022: ext_6179893 - LiveJournal - 1 views

  •  
    Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, procedures, algorithms, and systems to extract information and insights from both structured and unstructured data, and then applies knowledge and useful insights from data across a wide range of application fields. Data mining, machine learning, and big data are all connected to data science.
Paul Merrell

Why I'm Suing YouTube and Google - 1 views

  • September 29, 2021, Google deleted my YouTube account for “violating community guidelines” they’d implemented that same morning September 28, 2022, I filed a lawsuit against Google, YouTube and Alphabet Inc. for breach of contract. YouTube unilaterally amended the contract without notice, which is a violation of its own terms, and then used this last-minute amendment to remove my content YouTube’s terms of service also include a “three strikes” policy, where users are supposed to be given three warnings and opportunities to remove content that violates the guidelines BEFORE being banned. I had no “strikes” against my channel on the day I was deplatformed and deleted We’re also suing YouTube for unjust enrichment, as for the last 16 years, my video content, having generated in excess of 50 million views, has been of great financial benefit to YouTube, allowing them to increase advertising revenue on the site November 8, 2021, I sued U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both in her official and personal capacities, for violating my First Amendment rights, as she tried to force Amazon.com to ban my book, “The Truth About COVID-19” September 29, 2021, Google deleted my YouTube account for “violating community guidelines” — guidelines they’d implemented that very same morning. September 28, 2022, I filed a lawsuit1 against Google, YouTube and Alphabet Inc. for breach of contract.2 As detailed in my complaint, YouTube unilaterally amended the contract without notice, which is a violation of its own terms, and then used this last-minute amendment to remove my content, which went back to 2005, the same year YouTube was founded. At the time YouTube deleted my content, I had more than 300,000 subscribers, and my videos had collectively garnered more than 50 million views. While I disagreed with YouTube’s censorship, when its “COVID-19 misinformation” policy was implemented back in April 2021, I carefully avoided posting any content on YouTube that might violate that guideline. In fact, over 16 years on the platform, I never once received notice of any “strike” against my channel for violation of community guidelines.
Paul Merrell

Cyberstalking, pig masks, and cockroaches: Former eBay execs are sentenced - 0 views

  • The former Senior Director of Safety & Security at eBay, and the company’s former Director of Global Resiliency, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a cyberstalking campaign. The targets of the campaign were the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.
  • For those that missed the reason for these sentences, we’ll need a quick rewind to 2019. Many see this letter by a hedge fund demanding better results from eBay as a direct cause for what followed. The letter caused some stress among eBay management, and for some reason they saw the negative reviews by EcommerceBytes as an obstacle that was holding their desired success back. EcommerceBytes was and is a resource for sellers on a number of platforms that enable users to sell items online. The website was set up by a couple that were both e-commerce bloggers. The eBay management team at the time was very unhappy with the criticism it got on the site. A third victim of their attention was the handler of a Twitter account named Fidomaster.
  • It was not that EcommerceBytes focused on ebay. Lots of similar companies featured in its e-commerce newsletter. Only the eBay employees felt the need to act and tried to silence them. A campaign was launched by eBay’s staff to harass and threaten the critics. This campaign featured packages being sent containing cockroaches, a bloody pig mask and pornography, death threats, physical surveillance, and late-night pizza deliveries. A full recount of what they had to go through makes for a gruesome read.
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  • Together with five other employees, the two staff members and the chief communications officer were fired in 2020, after eBay hired a law firm to investigate the harassment. The US Department of Justice charged seven of the former ebay employees and contractors with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. They all pleaded guilty. The only two that were arrested at the time were the executives that have now been sentenced. One of their former co-conspirators was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison, while four others are awaiting sentencing.
  • The former senior director of safety and security was sentenced to 57 months in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. The former director of global resiliency was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.
Paul Merrell

Whistleblower: Twitter misled investors, FTC and underplayed spam issues - Washington Post - 0 views

  • Twitter executives deceived federal regulators and the company’s own board of directors about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its defenses against hackers, as well as its meager efforts to fight spam, according to an explosive whistleblower complaint from its former security chief.The complaint from former head of security Peiter Zatko, a widely admired hacker known as “Mudge,” depicts Twitter as a chaotic and rudderless company beset by infighting, unable to properly protect its 238 million daily users including government agencies, heads of state and other influential public figures.Among the most serious accusations in the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is that Twitter violated the terms of an 11-year-old settlement with the Federal Trade Commission by falsely claiming that it had a solid security plan. Zatko’s complaint alleges he had warned colleagues that half the company’s servers were running out-of-date and vulnerable software and that executives withheld dire facts about the number of breaches and lack of protection for user data, instead presenting directors with rosy charts measuring unimportant changes.The complaint — filed last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, as well as the FTC — says thousands of employees still had wide-ranging and poorly tracked internal access to core company software, a situation that for years had led to embarrassing hacks, including the commandeering of accounts held by such high-profile users as Elon Musk and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Paul Merrell

Meta reaches $37.5 mln settlement of Facebook location tracking lawsuit | Reuters - 1 views

  • Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) reached a $37.5 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing the parent of Facebook of violating users' privacy by tracking their movements through their smartphones without permission.A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed on Monday in San Francisco federal court, and requires a judge's approval.It resolved claims that Facebook violated California law and its own privacy policy by gathering data from users who turned off Location Services on their mobile devices.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterAdvertisement · Scroll to continueThe users said that while they did not want to share their locations with Facebook, the company nevertheless inferred where they were from their IP (internet protocol) addresses, and used that information to send them targeted advertising.Monday's settlement covers people in the United States who used Facebook after Jan. 30, 2015.Meta denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. It did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.Advertisement · Scroll to continueIn June 2018, Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told the U.S. Congress that the Menlo Park, California-based company uses location data "to help advertisers reach people in particular areas."As an example, it said users who dined at particular restaurants might receive posts from friends who also ate there, or ads from businesses that wanted to provide services nearby.The lawsuit began in November 2018. Lawyers for the plaintiffs may seek up to 30% of Monday's settlement for legal fees, settlement papers show.Advertisement · Scroll to continueThe cases is Lundy et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-06793.
Paul Merrell

Google, Amazon Face Shareholder Revolt Over Israeli Defense Work - 3 views

  • Google and Amazon are both set to help build “Project Nimbus,” a mammoth new cloud computing project for the Israeli government and military that is spurring intense dissent among employees and the public alike. Shareholders of both firms will soon vote on resolutions that would mandate reconsideration of a project they fear has grave human rights consequences. Little is known of the plan, reportedly worth over $1 billion, beyond the fact that it would consolidate the Israeli government’s public sector cloud computing needs onto servers housed within the country’s borders and subject solely to Israeli law, rather than remote data centers distributed around the world. Part of the plan’s promise is that it would insulate Israel’s computing needs from threats of international boycotts, sanctions, or other political pressures stemming from the ongoing military occupation of Palestine; according to a Times of Israel report, the terms of the Project Nimbus contract prohibit both companies from shutting off service to the government, or from selectively excluding certain government offices from using the new domestic cloud.
  • While a wide variety of government ministries will make use of the new computing power and data storage, the fact that Google and Amazon may be directly bolstering the capabilities of the Israeli military and internal security services has generated alarm from both human rights observers and company engineers. In October 2021, The Guardian published a letter from a group of anonymous Google and Amazon employees objecting to their company’s participation. “This technology allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land,” the letter read. “We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court.” In March, an American Google employee who had helped organize the employee opposition to Nimbus said the company abruptly told her she could either move to Brazil or lose her job, a move she said was retaliation for her stance. Nimbus will now face a referendum of sorts among Google and Amazon shareholders, who next month will vote on a pair of resolutions that call for company-funded reviews of their participation in that project and others that might harm human rights.
Paul Merrell

Big Tech companies appeal to Supreme Court to strike down Texas law banning political c... - 0 views

  • Facebook and Google are among multiple Big Tech companies seeking to have Texas’ new law banning political censorship on social media axed by the Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, advocacy groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday on behalf of Facebook, Google and other Big Tech companies, with the intention of striking down the new Texas law that prohibits censorship based on political ideology on social media. In a statement about the emergency filing, NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese argues that the Texas law, which went into effect last Wednesday, “strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”
  • “Left standing, [the Texas law] will turn the First Amendment on its head — to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it,” Marchese added. Under the law, Texas residents and the state’s attorney general would be permitted to sue social media companies based in the United States if they believe their social media accounts were censored based on their political views. While the law was initially blocked by a federal district judge after it was signed last September by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, the injunction was ultimately lifted by an appeals court last Wednesday. Big Tech companies have been consistently charged with weaponizing their “Terms of Service” agreements with users in an effort to ban or censor those expressing traditionally conservative or right-wing views on their extremely large and influential platforms.
Paul Merrell

Facebook, Instagram could shut down in Europe over data transfer - 0 views

  • Meta could shut down Facebook and Instagram throughout Europe if regulators are unable to hammer out a permanent data transfer deal, the company warned in a recent SEC filing. The claim from Mark Zuckerberg’s company came as officials in the European Union and US attempt to craft a new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. The EU’s Court of Justice struck down a previous agreement, dubbed Privacy Shield, in 2020, due to concerns it could not ensure data security for Europeans once it is sent to the US. Without a transnational deal in place, Meta could face legal and regulatory obstacles when it transfers user data, which plays a key role in its lucrative advertising business that comprises the bulk of the company’s annual revenue. “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe,” Meta officials said in the filing.
Paul Merrell

Four Attorneys General Sue Google Over Privacy Claims - The New York Times - 0 views

  • Three states and the District of Columbia allege that the tech giant misled consumers by continuing to track those who had changed their privacy settings to prevent data collection.
  • Google is also fighting an antitrust lawsuit led by Texas in which states have accused the company of obtaining and abusing a monopoly over the systems that allow publishers to auction off ad space to marketers. On Friday, Google asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.The lawsuits add to a mounting offensive by regulators to curtail the power and business practices of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. State and federal regulators have filed dozens of antitrust, consumer protection, privacy and trade lawsuits in an attempt to curb the business models or break up the companies. A Senate committee last week advanced potentially landmark antitrust legislation that tries to weaken the dominance of the internet giants.
Paul Merrell

China's quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages - 2 views

  • In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also known as Mozi, Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite and has, for several years, been at the forefront of quantum encryption. Scientists have now reported using this technology to reach a major milestone: long-range secure communication you could trust even without trusting the satellite it runs through. Launched in 2016, Micius has already produced a number of breakthroughs under its operating team led by Pan Jian-Wei, China’s “Father of Quantum”. The satellite serves as the source of pairs of entangled photons, twinned light particles whose properties remain intertwined no matter how far apart they are. If you manipulate one of the photons, the other will be similarly affected at the very same moment.
  • It is this property that lies in the heart of the most secure forms of quantum cryptography, the entanglement-based quantum key distribution. If you use one of the entangled particles to create a key for encoding messages, only the person with the other particle can decode them.
  • Secure long-distance links such as this one will be the foundation of the quantum internet, the future global network with added security powered by laws of quantum mechanics, unmatched by classical cryptographic methods. The launch of Micius and the records set by the scientists and engineers building quantum communication systems with its help have been compared to the effect Sputnik had on the space race in the 20th century. In a similar way, the quantum race has political and military implications that are hard to ignore.
Paul Merrell

Senate to mark up antitrust bills targeting Apple, Google and Amazon - 1 views

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to deliberate on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which some experts consider to have the most realistic chance of becoming law out of broad slate of reforms, while creating major change in the industry. The committee schedule also lists a markup of the Open App Markets Act, another bipartisan competition bill.Both bills would prevent certain dominant tech platforms from favoring their own products or services over others that rely on their marketplaces to do business. But the Open App Markets Act’s impact would primarily be limited to those that run app stores, like Apple and Google, while the American Innovation and Choice Online Act would be more expansive, potentially preventing a company like Amazon from giving its own private label products a better ranking in its search than a third-party competitor.Apple and Google could similarly be barred from unfairly ranking their own apps above competitors’ in their mobile app stores, and for Google, the same principle would apply to its general search engine as well
Paul Merrell

Google and Facebook fined $240 million for making cookies hard to refuse | Malwarebytes... - 0 views

  • French privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has hit Google with a 150 million euro fine and Facebook with a 60 million euro fine, because their websites—google.fr, youtube.com, and facebook.com—don’t make refusing cookies as easy as accepting them. The CNIL carried out an online investigation after receiving complaints from users about the way cookies were handled on these sites. It found that while the sites offered buttons for allowing immediate acceptance of cookies, the sites didn’t implement an equivalent solution to let users refuse them. Several clicks were required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them. In addition to the fines, the companies have been given three months to provide Internet users in France with a way to refuse cookies that’s as simple as accepting them. If they don’t, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros for each day they delay.
  • EU data protection regulators’ powers have increased significantly since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018. This EU law allows watchdogs to levy penalties of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global sales. The restricted committee, the body in charge of sanctions, considered that the process regarding cookies affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitutes an infringement of the French Data Protection Act, which demands that it should be as easy to refuse cookies as to accept them. Since March 31, 2021, when the deadline set for websites and mobile applications to comply with the new rules on cookies expired, the CNIL has adopted nearly 100 corrective measures (orders and sanctions) related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.
Paul Merrell

'Major Win': Judge Says Suit to Break Up Facebook Empire Can Proceed - 0 views

  • A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission's revised antitrust lawsuit against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, can move forward—a potentially significant blow to the social media empire, which sought to have the case dismissed.In an amended complaint filed last August, the FTC provided additional data and stronger details to back up its allegations that Facebook has maintained a monopoly on social networking services for the past decade by "illegally acquiring innovative competitors and burying successful app developers."U.S. District Judge James Boasberg—who in June dismissed the FTC's first antitrust complaint against Facebook, calling it "legally insufficient"—wrote in Tuesday's ruling that the evidence in the agency's second filing is "far more robust and detailed than before."
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