• Sen. Franken: Consumers Lose Choices When Companies Get Too Big
    Count Al Franken among the critics of Google's new privacy policy. In a speech delivered last night to the American Bar Association's antitrust section, the Democratic senator from Minnesota bashed Google for its decision to unilaterally revise its terms to enable it to aggregate information about users from Android, YouTube, Gmail and other services. Franken argues that Google is so large that it can make questionable decisions without risking user defections. "We rely on the market to hold these corporations accountable," he said. "But what if the market fails to do so -- what if a company is able to …
  • House Republicans 'Skeptical' About Privacy Proposals
    The Obama Administration and the Federal Trade Commission recently issued privacy reports that called for baseline protections giving consumers more control over their data. The FTC also specifically called on Web companies to offer a do-not-track tool that will enable consumers to easily opt out of all online behavioral advertising.Those proposals don't seem to be sitting well with all Republicans, judging from comments made at a hearing today.
  • Twitter Feed Of Healthcare Argument Gets Shut Down
    Attorney Casey Mattox was among hundreds of spectators who went to the Supreme Court this week to watch the judges grill attorneys about the Obama administration's health care law. Unlike others in the audience, Mattox attempted to do more than just observe. He tried to document the argument as it happened by posting updates on Twitter. Mattox succeeded, but only briefly.
  • Will Comcast's New Xbox Service Hurt Netflix?
    Comcast this week rolled out a new free service allowing customers who subscribe to both Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Digital Video to watch TV on demand on their Xbox 360 consoles. While that sounds like a nice feature for subscribers, Comcast's move potentially hurts Netflix, Hulu Plus and other companies that offer video to Xbox users. That's because programs viewed through the Xbox 360 won't count against Comcast subscribers' broadband data caps, currently set at 250GB per month.
  • Senators Call For DOJ Probe Of Facebook-Snooping
    If anything's become clear in the last week, it's that many people really dislike the idea of employers extracting Facebook passwords from job applicants. While profile-snooping isn't new (the city of Bozeman, Mont. routinely asked all job applicants for social media log-ins back in 2009), and probably isn't yet widespread (to date, only a handful of anecdotes have surfaced), news reports last week brought the practice to public attention. Now two lawmakers, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), are asking the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate whether it's legal for employers to …
  • Facebook Tells Job Applicants To Keep Passwords To Themselves
    A report this week that some employers are asking job applicants for their Facebook log-ins has understandably left many observers angry. Even asking for that information so obviously crosses the line that it's hard to imagine that companies feel free to make the request. Now that it's emerged that at least a few employers -- no one really knows how many -- are seeking that kind of information, talk of regulation and litigation is growing louder.
  • Facebook's New Policy Could Stave Off Advertiser Lawsuits
    New revisions to Facebook's terms, slated to take effect tomorrow, could make it more difficult for dissatisfied pay-per-click advertisers to sue the company.
  • Mozilla To Encrypt Google Search Traffic
    Last year, Google said it would start encrypting some search traffic for signed-in users who click on organic results. With the move, the company stopped passing along users' search queries through referrer headers.
  • Risky Business: Companies Ask Job Applicants For Facebook Log-Ins
    In 2009, news broke that the city of Bozeman, Montana was asking all job applicants for their user names and log-ins to sites they visit, including social networks like Facebook. The news rightly sparked a massive backlash, with critics pointing out that the city was not only riding roughshod over job applicants' privacy but was also potentially violating the privacy of applicants' friends.
  • EU Official 'Deeply Regrets' Google's New Privacy Policy
    It seems that European authorities are still peeved with Google for rolling out a new privacy policy earlier this month. The new policy allows the company to combine data from signed-in users across YouTube, Search, Gmail and other searches. While the company isn't collecting any more data than before, it now uses that data to personalize ads and other features to a greater extent. Late last week, Isabel Falque-Pierrotin, chair of France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties, said in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page that the CNIL "deeply regrets that Google did not delay the application …
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