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Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
Down the EU's Right-to-Be-Forgotten Rabbit Hole
July 17, 2014
Telecom regulators from each EU member state, together with the Article 29 Working Party -- a group comprised of a data protection authority representative from each state, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the European Commission -- reportedly have invited search engines to a meeting next week. Microsoft, which just started fielding link removal requests to Bing, plans to attend.
Can I Get My Reputation Back?
July 09, 2014
Ray Donovan was U.S. Labor Secretary under Ronald Reagan and a colorful figure. During his tenure he was indicted by a Bronx, N.Y., grand jury on corruption charges stemming from a contract to build a subway line. The trial involved unions and the mob and was automatically sensational. The verdict turned on whether a construction company got a contract due to mob influence.
Europeans Want Right to Be Forgotten - but Not for the Other Guy
July 08, 2014
Marie Antoinette may not have been too far off the mark when she intoned the immortal line, "Let them eat cake." When it comes to the right to be forgotten, it seems Europeans want both to have their cake and eat it. They are now up in arms over Google's having deleted links to various news stories from search results in Europe, calling the action part of a backroom campaign to change the law.
Google AdWords Nixes the Raunchiest Stuff
July 07, 2014
Google has kicked explicit pornographic advertising from its ad network. The company said it made the AdWords change, which it announced in March and recently brought into effect, "as an effort to continually improve users' experiences with AdWords." Advertising policies were updated to reflect the updated stance on sexually explicit content. The policy still allows advertising for strip clubs.
Supreme Court Turns Deaf Ear to Google's Street View Appeal
June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court has declined Google's appeal of a lower-court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that alleges it violated federal wiretap laws with its Street View cars. The court left in place a decision the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down in September. The appeals court declined to dismiss the case, ruling that Google was not exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act.
Google Starts Purging Search Results in Europe
June 26, 2014
Google has started to remove search results in certain cases in Europe, in compliance with the EU's new "right to be forgotten" rules. The EU last month ruled that the company must allow individuals to request the removal of links to news articles, court judgments, and other documents that might turn up in results when searches are conducted on their names.
Free Speech vs. Internet Privacy and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'
June 10, 2014
The conventional wisdom of the Internet is that everything posted, whether on social media, a website or anywhere else, will be on the Internet forever. That conventional wisdom was just challenged successfully in a recent ruling handed down by the EU's highest court. A new conventional wisdom may arise from that ruling -- that we have a "right to be forgotten."
EU Smacks Google Upside the Head Over Right to Be Forgotten
June 05, 2014
I think the European Union often goes overboard, and I typically don't agree with its rulings. However, when the EU declared Google invaded privacy, it seemed to have struck a nerve. Countless users worldwide agreed. So, what impact will the EU have on Google with respect to a citizen's right to be forgotten? This struggle is all about protecting privacy online.
Pulling Google Back to the Right Side of the Privacy Line
May 15, 2014
I don't usually agree with the European Union. However, it has demanded that Google help to protect the privacy of citizens rather than exposing everything, and I tend to agree. The latest EU ruling doesn't solve the whole problem, though. In fact, it raises more questions. Remember a few years ago, when we were having the raging debate about how Google was violating privacy?
No, Bot! UN Ponders Regulations for Killer Robots
May 14, 2014
In a move that could complicate the creation of any more Terminator movies, United Nations diplomats on Tuesday discussed international laws to govern, or simply ban, the use of killer robots. This was the first time that a UN meeting was devoted entirely to the topic, which makes sense given that the robots in question don't yet exist. That said, the UN wants to be proactive.
EU Court Hands Google a Missing Links Quandary
May 13, 2014
The European Court of Justice, which is the highest court for matters of European Law, has handed down a preliminary ruling that indicates Google may have to remove links to consumers' names on request -- if appropriate. The case was referred to the ECJ by Spain's Audiencia Nacional, or National High Court. The ECJ's ruling lays down the guidelines for the Audiencia Nacional in hearing the case.
Google Picks Up Appetas
May 12, 2014
Google last week acquired restaurant website builder Appetas, a move that could strengthen its relationships with small businesses and ratchet up competition with Yelp, which currently dominates the restaurant review scene. Appetas helps restaurants increase their online presence by building out professional websites that can be integrated with locally focused services.
Alibaba's Treasure May Not Open Doors for Yahoo
May 07, 2014
The market is waiting with bated breath to see the exact size of Alibaba's IPO, but investors in Yahoo, which owns about 23 percent of Alibaba's stock, don't seem impressed. Yahoo's shares closed Wednesday at $34.07, down 6.6 percent. Yahoo's stake is worth about $26 billion based on the fair value of about $109 billion Alibaba assigned to its shares in March.
Google Now Could Turn E-Commerce on Its Ear
May 06, 2014
Google on Monday announced it is rolling out a new feature for Google Now that aims to blend the brick-and-mortar and online retail worlds. Available now for Android phones, the feature notifies users when they're physically near a store that might have a recently searched-for item available. The feature doesn't go so far as to inform the user whether the item currently is in stock.
Pinterest's Guided Search Finds Needles in Haystacks
April 29, 2014
Pinterest last week announced Guided Search, a new search engine for navigating its particular type of content -- user-provided pins, which now number around 30 billion, and an array of around 750 million boards. Guided Search is designed to help users discover pins they were not necessarily looking for, but that might interest them. For now, the feature is available only on mobile.
France Mulls Banning GPS-Enabled Driver-Finding Apps
April 25, 2014
The French government is considering a ban on GPS-enabled apps that allow would-be passengers to track down nearby drivers. The issue is being fueled by irked taxi unions that increasingly are frustrated with -- and helpless against -- ride-sharing apps. Thus has the government drafted recommendations that include banning services that display maps showing available cars.
Founder of Russian Social Media Says He Got the Boot
April 23, 2014
Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network site, claims he has been ousted by allies of President Vladimir Putin -- who went ahead and took over the site while they were at it. Durov, who ran the mega-popular VKontakte, had reportedly run afoul of the Russian government for refusing to heed requests to censor posts on the site.
Google This: Yahoo Wants Apple's Search Business
April 18, 2014
Google has dominated the world of search for years, so much so that "Google" is not only synonymous with searching -- it's a verb, too. Who hasn't told someone to google something? That's awesome mindshare, and its power is translated to billions of dollars of ad-related revenue for Google. Where will search grow in the future? Mobile. And rumor has it, Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer wants it.
Google Now Encrypting Searches in China
March 14, 2014
Google's years-long spat with Beijing just began a new chapter. The company has begun encrypting searches made by people in China, where Google has long run afoul of regulations designed to keep a tight lid on searches deemed inappropriate. Google's encryption of searches in China reportedly will prevent the "Great Firewall of China" from detecting when users search for certain terms.
Yahoo Plugs Yelp Reviews Into Search
March 13, 2014
Yahoo and Yelp on Wednesday announced a new partnership to display Yelp ratings with Yahoo's search results, a move designed to snag some market share from Yahoo's larger search competitors. Now, when someone uses Yahoo to search for a local business, that business' Yelp rating will pop up in the right-hand panel of the search results. Users will see its star ratings, photos and more.
China Risks Another State-Run Search Engine Faceplant
March 04, 2014
The Chinese government is taking another stab at the domestic search market with a new service called "ChinaSo." ChinaSo was formed by merging two already-failed search engines: Jike, launched three years ago by state-run newspaper/propaganda pusher The People's Daily; and Panguso, launched by fellow state-run media outlet Xinhua.
WhatsApp Gives BlackBerry a Bounce
February 20, 2014
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp appears to have buoyed the value of BlackBerry Messenger -- and by extension, BlackBerry. BlackBerry shares went up nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading because, in the words of Reuters, Facebook's purchase "put a rough valuation metric around the smartphone maker's own BlackBerry Messaging service," also known as "BBM."
High-Tech Suits a Suspect in Weak US Speedskating Performance
February 14, 2014
The U.S. speedskating team's high-tech suits -- which theoretically are supposed to help shave seconds and accrue medals -- have been identified as a suspect in the team's stunning faceplant at the Sochi Games. Before the Games, the suits, designed by U.S.-based sportswear giant Under Armour, were deemed to be on the cutting edge of racing technology.

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