Newsletters
Technology, Discovery & Innovation NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Please click for more information, or scroll down to pass the ad, or Close Ad.
Home Computing Digital Life Discovery Space More Topics...
Vblock™ Systems:
Advanced converged infrastructure
increases productivity & lowers costs.

www.vce.com
World Wide Web
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Latest Google Privacy Flap Draws Congressional Ire
Latest Google Privacy Flap Draws Congressional Ire

By Adam Dickter
February 20, 2012 6:24PM

Bookmark and Share
Google stopped using the recently discovered mischievous code when it determined the code was enabling cookies, which allow web sites to track visitors for advertisers. It said the link was intended to make sure that personally identifying information was not collected. However, that explanation may not be good enough.
 



Discontinuing a code that bypasses security settings on Apple's Safari browser may not be enough for Google to end the outcry in the latest high-tech privacy scandal.

A bipartisan trio of House members wants the Federal Trade Commission to again probe the search and mobile advertising giant after it was revealed that the hidden code allowed Google to track the sites Safari users visit when they believed they were browsing privately.

And last week an Illinois man filed a federal lawsuit against Google, claiming its actions violate federal wiretapping laws.

Noting Personal

Google told us last week that the mischievous code, discovered by a Stanford University computer researcher, Jonathan Mayer and verified by the Wall Street Journal was "a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google's servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for this type of personalization."

Google stopped using the code, the company said, when it determined that it was enabling cookies, which allow web sites to track visitors for advertisers. It said the link was intended to make sure that personally identifying information was not collected.

That explanation doesn't suit Republicans Joe Barton of Texas and Cliff Stearns of Florida and Democrat Cliff Stearns. In a letter to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, the trio noted "Google's practices could have a wide sweeping impact because Safari is a major web browser used by millions of Americans. As members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, we are interested in any actions the FTC has taken or plans to take to investigate whether Google has violated the terms of its consent agreement."

The Safari flap comes on the heels of Google's announcement that it consolidated its terms of service to cover all of its services last month, and after it automatically opted millions of users into its Google Buzz social network last year. In October, Google reached an agreement with the FTC that calls for mandatory privacy audits for the next 20 years and a comprehensive privacy program.

All of which makes the latest flap a case of pretty lousy timing.

Election Year Posturing?

"In essence, Google chose a particularly inopportune time to act stupidly," said technology analyst Charles King of Pund-IT. "Since Google trades on its reputation for innovation, you'd think the company would be a bit better at avoiding 'mistakes' such as this one."

And the fact that we're in the midst of an election year makes it worse, he said, since Congress likely will push the issue as a way to gain solidarity with voters.

The Safari user who is suing Google was identified by Bloomberg News as Matthew Soble. The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Wilimington, Delaware.

But the suit will hinge on whether Google was the only one exp;oiting the Safari function and whether Google's practice measurably harmed users, said King. There is also the question of what, if anything, Apple is doing to prevent similar exploits.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


 World Wide Web
1.   'Like' Cheerios, Give Up Right To Sue
2.   Heartbleed Could Cost Millions
3.   Google Earnings, Sales Disappoint
4.   Tech Giant Alibaba Plans U.S. IPO
5.   Google Street View Unravels CAPTCHAs


advertisement
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions
But it could have been prevented.
Average Rating:
Don't Reset Passwords for Heartbleed?
Added caution needed to ensure security.
Average Rating:
Internet Devices Lure Hackers
Mundane devices end up in online crime.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Michaels Says Nearly 3M Credit, Debit Cards Breached
Arts and crafts retail giant Michaels Stores has confirmed that a data breach at its POS terminals from May 2013 to Jan. 2014 may have exposed nearly 3 million customer credit and debit cards.
 
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions, Could Have Been Prevented
Early estimates of Heartbleed’s cost to enterprises are running in the millions. The reason: revoking all the SSL certificates the bug leaked will come at a very hefty price.
 
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals in which hands-free access to data is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those, as seen in a number of Glass experiments under way.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Google Releases Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android
You're out on a sales call, and use your Android mobile device to grab a file you have back at the office on your desktop. That's a bit easier now with Google's Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android.
 
Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to launch a smartphone after years of development. Photos of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked by tech pub BGR.
 
Zebra Tech Buys Motorola Enterprise for $3.45B
Weeks after Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility’s assets from Google for $2.91 billion, Zebra Technologies is throwing down $3.45 billion for Motorola’s Enterprise business in an all-cash deal.
 

Navigation
Sci-Tech Today
Home/Top News | Computing | Digital Life | Discovery | Space | Innovation | Health | Science News
Environment
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.