#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – September 22 – Google could face a record fine for breaching EU competition rules, the European Commission’s competition chief has said, warning that its four year investigation into the US search engine could eventually rival the sixteen years spent investigating software rival Microsoft.
Presenting the Commission’s annual competition report in the European Parliament on Tuesday (23 September), Joaquin Almunia said that he had asked Google “to improve its proposals” or face a formal ‘Statement of Objections’, including a possible fine, if its latest offer did not go “in the right direction”.
Google faces a total of twenty complaints from its rivals, including Microsoft.
“Some of the twenty formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google,” Almunia told MEPs.
“We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns,” said Almunia, although he noted that “Microsoft was investigated for 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft.”
#AceSecurityNews – EU COURT Of JUSTICE – May 13 – Google must comply with the European laws on privacy and amend some search results, a top EU court ruled on Tuesday, May 13.
The European Union Court of Justice said that ordinary people can ask Google to remove some sensitive, irrelevant or outdated information from Internet search results.
Earlier, the search engine stated that it does not control search results and bears no responsibility for personal data that is “in open access”. The responsibility lies with the owner of the website that provides the information, and Google merely presents the user with a link.
The case was brought by a Spanish man who complained that an auction notice of his home that could be found on Google infringed upon his privacy.
Around 180 similar complaints have been filed in Spain.
#AceNewsServices – ANKARA – March 31 – Google says Turkey has been intercepting its Internet domain, redirecting users to other sites in the latest battle between Ankara and Web giants.
In a weekend post on Google’s security blog, software engineer Steven Carstensen said the company has received “several credible reports and confirmed with our own research that Google’s Domain Name System (DNS) service has been intercepted by most Turkish ISPs (Internet Service Providers).”
Carstensen said the DNS server “tells your computer the address of a server it’s looking for, in the same way that you might look up a phone number in a phone book.”
“Imagine if someone had changed out your phone book with another one, which looks pretty much the same as before, except that the listings for a few people showed the wrong phone number,” he added.
“That’s essentially what’s happened: Turkish ISPs have set up servers that masquerade as Google’s DNS service.”
Ace Related News: March 30 – Sophos – That’s because the easiest way for a country to get its ISPs to block access to a site like twitter.com is to tell them to stop resolving the name of the site in their DNS servers.
Most home users rely on their ISP for access to DNS, the Domain Name System that turns human-style internet names to computer-style numbers.
For example, when you ask your ISP how to find twitter.com, this is what happens. http://wp.me/p120rT-13WV
#AceSecurityNews – BRAZIL – March 26 – Brazil has scored big for net neutrality after its lower house of Congress approved a ground-breaking post-Snowden bill that protects its users’ privacy rights, albeit with some sacrifices.
The measure did not go as smoothly as could have. To ensure success, President Dilma Rousseff had to let it through at the cost of allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to store user information outside Brazil’s servers.
The real truth is that as before all your GMail and Private Data is still stored on Servers outside these countries and as in the case of Google and Facebook free to be used albeit, they will say with restrictions says Ace News Services.
However, other provisions, which ensured that internet providers gave equal privileges to all web traffic, were left in place. This went ahead despite contrary pleas by big local phone carriers who wanted to continue charging users higher prices for separate content, such as video streaming or Skype-like services.RT
In return for allowing Google and Facebook the freedom not to be bound by Brazilian servers, where local user information was concerned, the bill gets to strengthen legal oversight and punishment for companies not respecting local laws when storing Brazilian user data internationally.
If any transgressions are detected, or data is not made available to law enforcement on request, a company would have to pay a fine equal to 10 percent of its annual earnings from the year before.
#AceSocialNews – FRANCE – March 25 – France’s top consumer rights group has filed a lawsuit in a Paris court against Google+, Facebook and Twitter, accusing the social networks of violating the country’s privacy laws.
UFC-Que Choisir – a group which advises consumers on products, services and their rights – said it was filing a suit in the High Court over “abusive” and “illegal” practices in the conditions of use on the three social networks, AFP reported Tuesday.
However, “they are stubbornly maintaining clauses that the association considers abusive or illegal,” the group was reported as saying.
According to the organization, the instructions were “inaccessible, unreadable and full of hypertext links” – some of which are available only in English.
The watchdog claimed that the social networks “persist in authorizing the widespread collection, modification, preservation and use of the data of users and even of those around them.”
Social and Media News – http://on.rt.com/jpt4bc
#AceWorldNews – Google has declined Turkey’s requests to remove YouTube videos that allege government corruption, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Amid a corruption scandal, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has asked Google in recent weeks to block certain videos from its site in Turkey.
However, Google has reportedly refused to comply given it believes the requests are legally invalid. Turkey blocked the social media site Twitter on Thursday, and the government has threatened to do the same with YouTube and Facebook, as the sites have been prime conduits for corruption allegations.
Related News: Extract – March – 09.02 GMT – #AceWorldNews – Turkey has blocked Twitter hours after embattled Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan threatened to close it down ahead of a key election. It comes after audio recordings purportedly demonstrating corruption among his associates were posted on the site.http://wp.me/p165ui-4rt
#AceSecurityNews – Google is doing its best to put a lid on the NSA’s prying eyes by using enhanced encryption technology to make its flagship email service airtight.
“Your email is important to you, and making sure it stays safe and always available is important to us,” Gmail engineering security chief, Nicolas Lidzborski, said in a blog post.
“Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email.
“Today’s change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers — no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.”
The internet giant’s announcement is the latest attempt to bolster the company’s widely used email service and follows a similar step in 2010, when the company made HTTPS the default connection option.
At the time, however, users had the option to turn this protection feature off.
Starting from Friday, Gmail is HTTPS-only.
The move is a response to a disclosure made by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, Edward Snowden, that the agency had been secretly tapping into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centres around the world.
#AceSecurityNews – The Safe Internet League, Russia’s largest and most reputable organization fighting dangerous web content, considers it necessary to attract highly skilled psychologists and psychiatrists as the popular Google-owned video hosting and sharing service YouTube is developing a special version for kids, Safe Internet League CEO Denis Davydov was quoted as saying by the organization’s press service on Thursday.
“Leading psychologists and psychiatrists should participate in developing requirements for video content hosted on the so-called child-friendly version of YouTube in order to eliminate the risk of ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’,” Davydov said. “Far from all videos that may seem harmless to us are necessarily suitable for children. And specialists’ opinion is essential in this regard.”
Davydov said the Safe Internet League hailed Google’s decision to create a version of its video site aimed specifically at children aged ten and under.
As envisioned by project developers, the site would only show videos deemed safe for this age group, and parents will control access to it. The site would also filter out comments that contain explicit language, or other references to adult content.
“It is very laudable that Google has started demonstrating its willingness to work in Russia, showing respect for the rights of our citizens and taking care of the younger generation of Russians,” Davydov said.
Last September, the Safe Internet League published the results of a full-scale investigation by the League into Google’s activities in Russia. The organization accused Google of “ignoring Russian legal requirements” and “deliberately trying to influence Russian domestic policy in order to promote its services among Russian citizens and officials, in order to undermine digital sovereignty”.
According to reports, YouTube has already approached video producers asking to create suitable content and videos, and it is thought this content would be available exclusively on the site.
The Safe Internet League is a non-commercial organization launched by several major internet providers and a Christian charity.
The declared aim of the group is ridding the Internet of dangerous content through self-regulation in order to prevent government censorship.
Russian Media Sources
#AceNewsServices says good evening from my UK home and to all my friends and readers of my news articles and posts, well just so you can write your news as it happens, and chat on the go.
` Follow my news and views and post in the box’
It is not just 140 characters and you can post a link to a video or promote your group, charity, idea or really anything.
Add your own tags and links and enjoy chatting to fellow bloggers.
I ask for you to observe that we do not use it as a spam area, should this happen it will be closed to everyone and l will email those people ,to be the only users.
Thank you Editor (Ace News Group)
Ace News Services 2014 – http://wp.me/165ui
Ace History2Research News 2014 – http://wp.me/48Dp0
Ace British History News 2014 – http://wp.me/3QKto
Ace Sales & Services News 2014 – http://wp.me/2y0H0
#AceWorldNews says that Google has urged a US appeals court to return an anti-Islamic video to YouTube, arguing that its removal damaged the website’s constitutional rights.
The video, “Innocence of the Muslims,” surfaced in 2012 and provoked a wave of indignation and deadly violence in Muslim countries.
The film was initially removed at the behest of one of the actresses in the film, who filed a lawsuit claiming she was tricked into appearing and was unaware of its anti-Muslim slant.
She has since received death threats.
#AceSecurityNews says one of the largest single personal data hack’s ever? 360 million stolen account credentials found on-line.
Published time: March 01, 2014 01:31
Reuters / Kacper Pempel
A cyber security firm has reported a “mind boggling” cache of stolen credentials which has been put up for sale on online black markets.
A total of 360 million accounts were affected in a series of hacks, one of which seems to be the biggest in history.
Alex Holden, chief information security officer of Hold Security LLC, said that the firm had uncovered the data over the past three weeks.
He said that 360 million personal account records were obtained in separate attacks, but one single attack seems to have obtained some 105 million records which could make it the biggest single data breach to date, Reuters reports. “The sheer volume is overwhelming,” said Holden in a statement on Tuesday.
“These mind boggling figures are not meant to scare you and they are a product of multiple breaches which we are independently investigating. This is a call to action,” he added.
Hold Security said that as well as 360 million credentials, hackers were also selling 1.25 billion email addresses, which may be of interest to spammers.
The huge treasure trove of personal details includes user names, which are most often email addresses, and passwords, which in most cases are unencrypted.
Hold Security uncovered a similar breach in October last year, but the tens of millions of records had encrypted passwords, which made them much more difficult for hackers to use.
“In October 2013, Hold Security identified the biggest ever public disclosure of 153 million stolen credentials from Adobe Systems Inc. One month later we identified another large breach of 42 million credentials from Cupid Media,” Hold Security said in statement.
AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan
Holden said he believes that in many cases the latest theft has yet to be publically reported and that the companies that have been attacked are unaware of it. He added that he will notify the companies concerned as soon as his staff has identified them.
“We have staff working around the clock to identify the victims,” he said.
However, he did say that the email addresses in question are from major providers such as AOL Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, and Microsoft Corp, as well as “almost all” Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations.
Heather Bearfield, who runs cybersecurity for an accounting firm Marcum LLP, told Reuters that while she had no information about Hold Security’s findings, she believed that it was quite plausible as hackers can do more with stolen credentials than they can with stolen credit cards, as people often use the same login and password for many different accounts.
“They can get access to your actual bank account. That is huge. That is not necessarily recoverable funds,” she said.
The latest revelation by Hold Security comes just months after the US retailer Target announced that 110 million of their customers had their data stolen by hackers. Target and the credit and debit card companies concerned said that consumers do not bear much risk as funds are rapidly refunded in fraud losses.
#AceSecurityNews says `Apple Security flaw could be a back-door for the #NSA
Was the National Security Agency exploiting two just-discovered security flaws to hack into the iPhones and Apple computers of certain targets? Some skeptic’s are saying there is cause to be concerned about recent coincidences regarding the #NSA and Apple.
Within hours of one another over the weekend, Apple acknowledged that it had discovered critical vulnerabilities in both its iOS and OSX operating systems that, if exploited correctly, would put thought-to-be-secure communications into the hands of skilled hackers.
“An attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS,” the company announced.
Apple has since taken steps to supposedly patch up the flaw that affected mobile devices running its iOS operating system, such as iPhones, but has yet to unveil any fix for the OSX used by desktop and laptop computers.
As experts investigated the issue through the weekend, though, many couldn’t help but consider the likelihood — no matter how modicum — that the United States’ secretive spy agency exploited those security flaws to conduct surveillance on targets.
On Saturday, Apple enthusiast and blogger John Gruber noted on his personal website that information contained within internal NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden last year coincide closely with the release of the affected mobile operating system, iOS 6.
According to a NSA slideshow leaked by Mr. Snowden last June, the US government has since 2007 relied on a program named PRISM that enables the agency to collect data “directly from the servers” of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and others. The most recent addition to that list, however, was Apple, which the NSA said it was only able to exploit using PRISM since October 2012.
The affected operating system — iOS 6.0 — was released days earlier on September 24, 2012.
These facts, Gruber blogged, “prove nothing” and are “purely circumstantial.” Nevertheless, he wrote, “the shoe fits.”
With the iOS vulnerability being blamed on a single line of erroneous code, Gruber considered a number of possibilities to explain how that happened.
“Conspiratorially, one could suppose the #NSA planted the bug, through an employee mole, perhaps. Innocuously, the Occam’s Razor explanation would be that this was an inadvertent error on the part of an Apple engineer,” he wrote.
“Once the bug was in place, the #NSA wouldn’t even have needed to find it by manually reading the source code. All they would need are automated tests using spoofed certificates that they run against each new release of every OS. Apple releases iOS, the #NSA’s automated spoofed certificate testing finds the vulnerability, and boom, Apple gets ‘added’ to PRISM.”
#AceNewsServices says that one day soon `Google will ‘know you better than your Intimate Partner’
This was according to the recent post on RT and the fact that in 15 years’ time, computers will surpass their creators in intelligence, with an ability to tell stories and crack jokes, predicts a leading expert in artificial intelligence. Thus, Google will “know the answer to your question before you ask it.”
The fact’s are plain the more we want this so-called `Social Freedom’ the greater chance, it is just around the corner, and we have not yet realised who ,pulls the strings.
Most people would probably agree that computers are man-made technologies that function inside the strict boundaries of man-made borders. For technologists like Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil, however, the moment when computers liberate themselves from their masters will occur in our lifetime.
We are being told daily that computers will make our lives better, even by 2016 , computers and robots will not only have surpassed their makers in terms of raw intelligence, they will understand us better than we understand ourselves, the futurist predicts with enthusiasm.
Kurzweil, 66, is the closest thing to a pop star in the world of artificial intelligence, the place where self-proclaimed geek’s quietly lay the grid work for what could be truly described as a new world order.
My research shows me that every time we broadcast a new invention, the people that would like one day for everyone to obey, are waiting with their ever open cheque-books to buy-up these next steps. That given the right environment they will create, will one day lead to the `Geek’s of Yesteryear’ becoming the controllers of our salvation.
#AceGuest News and Views says `Stallman: ‘We’ve got to limit Surveillance to keep Democracy’
Published time: February 06, 2014 19:18
The world is witnessing a transition from non-digital life, in which people mostly have a lot of autonomy. However, people should also have human rights in their digital activities, the world-famous technologist and philosopher Richard Stallman said, interviewed by Oksana Boyko in RT’s Worlds Apart show. Stallman argues that though there are many exceptions in terms of human rights, they should be stopped in order to have effective democracy.
“It simply means returning to users of computing the autonomy that they have in non-digital life. What we see happening is a transition from non-digital life, in which people mostly have a lot of autonomy … There are countries that don’t respect human rights, but we call that an injustice. The point is that you should have human rights in your digital activities as well,” Stallman said.
“We need to change a lot of things about digital technology so that they’re not surveillance engines, but part of it is that we need to use software that the users control,” Stallman continued.
Richard Stallman tries not to use mobile phones in personal communication, he says, but that doesn’t mean he’s advocating some pre-digital innocence. We’ve got to limit surveillance to keep democracy, he believes.
AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards
“When I say we should have portable phones with only free software in them, and that the system should be designed, under legal requirement, not to track anybody but court-ordered investigation subjects, that’s not saying go back to an innocent pre-digital world,” Richard Stallman told RT.
“There are others who say using digital technology means total surveillance, just surrender to it. But since that surrender means no democracy anymore, because whistleblowers who tell us what the state is doing will be caught, and they have to flee to places like Russia in order not to be caught, that means it’s too much of a sacrifice. We’ve got to keep our democracy, and that means we’ve got to limit surveillance,” he added.
Stallman is known for developing the concept that every computer program must be free for users to study and modify as they want.
“Even those of us who are not programmers and won’t personally exercise the control, if the users control the program, and since most of the users don’t want to be spied on, each of us can count on the other users to make sure the program isn’t spying on us,” Stallman told RT.
He admits that depending on others can’t guarantee perfect results, but compares it to non-free software, when users are dependent on the “tyrant”whose interest is to take advantage of them.
“With non-free software, the decisions about that program are all made by somebody whose interest is to exploit the users and you can pretty well expect the decisions to be bad for the users, whereas when you’re depending on other users, you’ve got a pretty good chance it’s going to be more or less good,”Richard Stallman said.
He added that the argument “Never try to get rid of a tyranny because you don’t know what’s going to happen, just accept the tyrant” is an utter fallacy, since this is particularly the thing that guarantees tyranny.
“So, this doesn’t mean that every contributor is an angel. It does mean, however, that none of the contributors faces the same kind of temptation to abuse power that a proprietary developer faces, because none of them has that kind of power,” Richard Stallman said.
The fact that various big companies like Google, Microsoft or Facebook were ready to cooperate with intelligence services is not surprising because they were money-driven, Stallman says. Nevertheless, it’s important to distinguish between governments spying on other governments, which is something that governments have done plenty of, and governments spying on all citizens.
“That [governments spying on governments] is just what governments do to each other. For me, that’s not the scandal. The scandal is not spying on other governments and their activities, it’s spying on all the citizens. And of course there are countries that work together to spy on the citizens of these countries,”he told RT.
“Thirty years ago we had phones, but they weren’t in general being monitored. There wasn’t a list of everybody’s phone calls, but now . And now the US government is collecting that all the time, and in Spain as well, with the help of the Spanish government. So, now we have to address that issue as well,”Stallman added.
#AceWorldNews says President Francois Hollande said Thursday that France would not continue to accept the tax optimisation strategies used by multinational Internet giants like Google.
“This is not acceptable,” he told journalists, adding that he would discuss making a “tax harmonisation effort” with US President Barack Obama when the two meet in Washington next week.
His comments follow reports that France is seeking one billion euros ($1.36 billion) in tax from Google.
#AceNewsServices says `Antitrust: Commission obtains from Google comparable display of specialised search rivals’
The European Commission has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on on-line search and search advertising.
In its proposal, Google has now accepted to guarantee that when it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services (see also MEMO/14/87). This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said: “My mission is to protect competition to the benefit of consumers, not competitors. I believe that the new proposal obtained from Google after long and difficult talks can now address the Commission’s concerns. Without preventing Google from improving its own services, it provides users with real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way; it is then up to them to choose the best alternative. This way, both Google and its rivals will be able and encouraged to innovate and improve their offerings. Turning this proposal into a legally binding obligation for Google would ensure that competitive conditions are both restored quickly and maintained over the next years.”
- Google will give content providers an extensive opt-out from the use of their content in Google’s specialised search services if they so wish, without being penalised by Google.
- Google will remove exclusivity requirements in its agreements with publishers for the provision of search advertisements; and
- Google will remove restrictions on the ability for search advertising campaigns to be run on competing search advertising platforms.
An important aspect of the proposal is that Google’s compliance with these commitments would be supervised by an independent monitoring trustee. The commitments would cover the European Economic Area (EEA) for 5 years.
The Commission will in the coming period inform the complainants in this case of the reasons why it believes Google’s offer is capable of addressing the Commission’s concerns. The complainants will then have the opportunity to make their views known to the Commission before the Commission takes a final decision on whether to make Google’s commitments legally binding on Google.
Background on the Commission’s concerns
In March 2013, the Commission formally informed Google of its preliminary conclusion that the following four types of business practices by Google may violate EU antitrust rules prohibiting the abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU):
(i) The prominent display, within Google’s web search results, of Google’s own specialised web search services as compared to competing specialised web search services (i.e. services allowing users to search for specific categories of information such as restaurants, hotels or products). First, users are not aware of the promotion of Google’s services within the search results. Second, competitors’ results that are potentially as relevant are significantly less visible and even sometimes not directly visible to users – they are more difficult for the user to find, for instance because the user has to scroll down the screen to see them or has to go to a subsequent search results web page. The Commission is concerned that this practice unduly diverts traffic away from Google’s competitors in specialised search towards Google’s own specialised search services, by reducing the ability of consumers to find a potentially more relevant choice of specialised search services.
(ii) The use by Google without consent of original content from third-party web sites in its own specialised web search services.
(iii) Agreements that oblige third party web sites (“publishers”) to obtain all or most of their online search advertisements from Google.
(iv) Contractual restrictions on the transferability of online search advertising campaigns to rival search advertising platforms and the management of such campaigns across Google’s AdWords and rival search advertising platforms.
The Commission considers that these practices can harm consumers by reducing choice and stifling innovation in the fields of specialised search services and online search advertising.
Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or a substantial part of it in so far as it may affect trade between Member States. Article 54 of the EEA Agreement contains the same prohibition for the territory of the EEA Contracting Parties (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).
The Commission opened the investigation in November 2010 (see IP/10/1624). In the context of this investigation, the Commission is looking into 18 formal complaints against Google’s business practices.
In March 2013 the Commission formally informed Google of its preliminary conclusions, raising four antitrust concerns. Google proposed a detailed text of commitments to address the four concerns on 3 April 2013. The Commission sought feedback from stakeholders on these commitments through a market test launched on 25 April 2013 (see IP/13/371). The Commission then informed Google that additional improvements to its commitments were required to adequately address the Commission’s concerns. Google offered changes to its commitments in October 2013 (see SPEECH/13/768). The Commission sought feedback on Google’s revised commitments from complainants and other relevant market participants and, after taking into account that feedback, informed Google that its proposal of October 2013 was not yet sufficient to fully address the Commission’s competition concerns. Google has now submitted a second improved offer.
Article 9 of the EU’s Antitrust Regulation (Regulation 1/2003) allows the Commission to end antitrust proceedings by making commitments offered by a company legally binding. Such a decision does not conclude on whether EU antitrust rules have been infringed but legally binds the company to respect the commitments. If the company breaches these commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual worldwide turnover, without having to find an infringement of the antitrust rules.
#AceSecurityNews says Facebook, Google, and others can unveil national security request details, but not until product is two years old. Thus urging `Civil Rights Groups’ to want more!
Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski
Some of the most influential companies in Silicon Valley have unveiled data regarding the national security requests they have received from the US government, detailing how many requests they receive, how many the company responds to, and other details.
The Obama administration announced Monday it had come to an agreement with Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft to allow the companies to disclose some details about the surveillance requests targeting their customers.
Apple released its own transparency report last week.
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a joint statement that the tech companies are now authorized to disclose the “number of national security orders and requests issued to communication providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests and the underlying legal authorities.”
The companies have spent months fighting for such a deal after complaining that the National Security Agency dragnet exposed last year had hurt business.
“We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive,” the five companies said in a joint statement Monday. “We’re pleased the Department of Justice has agreed that we and other providers can disclose this information. While this is a very positive step we’ll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps to address all of the reforms we believe are needed.”
Civil liberties activists hold a rally against surveillance of US citizens on January 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm)
Reports indicate that, when the first of the Edward Snowden leaks were publicized in June, the White House was reluctant to make any deals with Silicon Valley. But with media pressure mounting and shifting polls proving that a sizable number of Americans are skeptical about the NSA surveillance, administration officials told Politico the time to negotiate had come.
“While this aggregate data was properly classified until today, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with other departments and agencies, has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that require its classification,” stated Holder and Clapper.
Facebook’s transparency report for the latter half of 2012 and the first six months of 2013 noted that only a “small fraction” of one percent of its users were the target of any surveillance requests.
LinkedIn received “between 0 and 249” national security-related requests in the first six months of 2013. Over the same time period, Microsoft said it was sent under 1,000 national security letters pertaining to fewer than 1,000 accounts.
However, the government still prohibits companies from disclosing surveillance details about a new product until two years after it was launched, a condition that has irked civil liberties advocates calling for wider change.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and the company’s executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs, has said the government agreed to let the companies disclose requests “in bands of a thousand” and only six months after a request was made.
“Asking the public and policymakers to try to judge the appropriateness of the government’s surveillance practices based on a single, combined, rounded number is like asking a doctor to diagnose a patient’s shadow: only the grossest and most obvious problem, if even that, will be ever evident,” Kevin Bankston, policy director at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, told Politico.
#AceNewsServices says `Google Buys Nest — Maker Of The ‘Smart Thermostat’ — For $3.2 Billion to `Spy on your Live’s’
This post was provided by Yahoo Tech on the 15 January following a `Press Release’
Jason O. Gilbert
Jan 14, 2014
OK, Google: Turn down the temperature in the living room, won’t you?
On Monday afternoon, Google announced via press release that it had agreed to acquire Nest Labs, maker of a critically acclaimed “smart thermostat” and “smart smoke detector,” for $3.2 billion. The move gives Google ammo in a new battle over home electronics, being waged by several companies both large and small, to reinvent familiar gadgets within the home as smartphone-controlled, Internet-connected devices. (Read more about this fight here.)
The Nest Learning Thermostat — Nest Labs’ first and most well-known product, released in 2011 — was widely praised for its beautiful design, intuitive interface and so-called “smart” features: Programmable via your smart phone, the Nest Learning Thermostat could educate itself about the temperatures you prefer at certain times of day; sense when you weren’t at home and shut itself off; and perform other functions designed to save you money and keep you comfortable.
Nest followed up its 2011 “smart thermostat” with 2013’s Nest Protect, a “smart smoke detector” which can also be controlled via smart phone, which sends alerts to your phone, and which interacts with other Nest smoke detectors throughout the house.
The CEO and Co-Founder of Nest Labs is Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who is often referred to as the godfather of the iPod. Fadell is widely credited with bringing the simplicity of Apple design to an unloved appliance with both the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect.
The $3.2 billion deal for Nest Labs represents a little over 5 percent of Google’s available cash-on-hand, and is the second-largest in Google’s history; only its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola came in higher. Nest will continue to operate as its own distinct brand after the close of the deal, Google said, which should come in the next few months, pending regulatory approval.
#AceSecurityAlert “Chrome Extensions Can Cause Adware” #adware