Market research companies have long tried to make predictions about matters ranging from shopping patterns to election results by examining Web users' searches. Now, Google itself is getting in on the forecasting game. The company said it will scrutinize people's searches to provide what it calls "an early-warning system" for flu outbreaks.
The judge in the MySpace suicide case said this week that he might not let the prosecution tell the jury that 13-year-old Megan Meier killed herself, allegedly as a result of online harassment. If so, that would be the one sensible decision to date in this case -- a case that should never have been brought, let alone gotten this far in court.
Do lawmakers intend to ban online behavioral targeting? Some observers say there's a remote chance that the next Congress will introduce privacy legislation that outlaws behavioral targeting, both based on cookies and based on ISPs' use of deep-packet inspection. In fact, there's little evidence that such legislation is even being contemplated, much less that it will be introduced and enacted.
Ray Beckerman has been such a thorn in the side of the RIAA that the organization recently asked a court to sanction him for "vexatious" conduct in defending people the group has sued. Today, Beckerman fired back with an answer charging the RIAA with attempting to keep its litigation efforts as secretive as possible.
NebuAd might think it had problems with privacy advocates, but that's nothing compared to what's in store for nascent mobile ad networks. One such network, Ringleader Digital, has unveiled its new "media stamp" -- a cookie-like item that creates and stores profiles about cell users based on the mobile sites they visit. Unlike online advertising cookies, however, the media stamps are stored on Ringleader Digital's servers and not browsers, which means users can't delete them.
Not even last-minute concessions to limit the deal were able to save the Yahoo-Google search ad pact. The companies announced today that they would not go ahead with their agreement in the face of opposition by the Department of Justice.
Google and Yahoo have reportedly downsized their search ad agreement in an effort to convince the Department of Justice to approve the deal.
The music industry's latest salvo against piracy involves lobbying for "three strikes" laws that would require ISPs to disconnect users who have shared copyrighted files online. France is gearing up to pass a "three strikes" law, while the U.K. and Australia are considering doing so, according to Ars Technica.