An anonymous reader writes "Stanford Law School has kicked off a 'Cookie Clearinghouse' web privacy initiative that brings together researchers and browsers. The project aims to provide a centralized and trusted repository for whitelist and blacklist data on web tracking, much like StopBadwaredoes for malware. Mozilla and Opera are collaborating on the initiative, and Mozilla plans to integrate it into Firefox's new default third-party cookie blocking. The leader of an advertising trade group has, of course, denounced the participating browsers as 'oligopolies.'"
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curtwoodward writes "Driverless cars. Balloon-based wireless networks. Face-mounted computers. Gigabit broadband networks. In recent months, Google has been unveiling a series of transformative side projects that paint a picture of the search pioneer expanding far beyond an online advertising company. At the same time, Google has been trying to convince enterprise software buyers that it's finally, really, truly serious about competing with Microsoft for their business. Which version of Google's future should you believe?"
An anonymous reader writes "For a few years now, we've been hearing about TV-related devices that have built-in cameras and microphones. Their stated purpose is to monitor consumers and gather data — often to target advertising. (We'll set aside any unstated purposes — the uses they tell us about are bad enough.) Now, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have submitted legislation to regulate this sort of technology. '[They] said they want to get out ahead of the release of this new technology and pass legislation that ensures it would include beefed up privacy protections for consumers. They added that this legislation is particularly relevant given the recent revelations about the National Security Agency's Internet surveillance programs. ... Additionally, the bill requires a cable box or set-top device to notify consumers when the monitoring technology is activated and in use by posting the phrase "We are watching you" across their TV screens.'"
New submitter jcenters writes "Apple's new AirPort routers feature the new 802.11ac protocol, promising Wi-Fi speeds in excess of 1 Gbps, but Glenn Fleishman of TidBITS explains why we are unlikely to see such speeds any time soon. Quoting: 'When Apple says that its implementation of 802.11ac can achieve up to 1.3 Gbps — and other manufacturers with beefier radio systems already say up to 1.7 Gbps — the reality is that a lot of conditions have to be met to achieve that raw data rate. And, as you well know from decades of network-technology advertising, dear reader, a “raw” data rate (often incorrectly called “theoretical”) is the maximum number of bits that can pass over a network. That includes all the network overhead as well as actual data carried in packets and frames. The net throughput is often 30 to 60 percent lower.'"
theodp writes "It was the best of movies; it was the worst of movies. GeekWire reports that The Internship — the new comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two 40-something guys who get internships at Google — is getting high praise from Googlers but low marks from movie critics. Google CEO Larry Page called the movie 'a lot of fun' in his Google+ post, while fellow Google exec Vic Gundotra gushed, 'I laughed a lot while watching this movie!' After screening a sneak preview with Google companions, Wired's Steven Levy wrote, 'From Google's point of view, the movie could not possibly be better.' USA Today's take, on the other hand, is that 'Google has never looked lamer thanks to The Internship.' And the NY Daily News calls the movie 'an unfunny valentine to Google.' But perhaps the unkindest cut of all comes from the NY Post, who suggests that 'maybe The Internship was secretly funded by Bing.' Ouch." Update: 06/07 20:02 GMT by T : Peter Wayner saw the movie (a "harmless bit of summer fluff"), and his full-length take below takes on some of the tech-company misconceptions that the film-makers gleefully adopted as script material.
An anonymous reader writes "As surveillance technologies have matured in both their sophistication and usage, some are starting to ask the question: is it time we start using them to watch the watchers? The proliferation of dashboard cameras has reduced liability costs, provided valuable evidence, and made police officers safer. The next progression would naturally be for the camera to move out of the car and onto the officer's uniform itself. In The Verge appears a fascinating report about the company behind the non-lethal stun guns that have become commonplace around the world, Taser International, which has set out to transform policing once again – this time, with Axon Flex, a head-mounted camera with a twelve-hour battery life that officers can use to record interactions. The device is constantly on, but it only captures video of the thirty seconds before its wearer begins using it, and then both video and audio while police are speaking to a citizen. Footage is then uploaded to a cloud-based service where it can be accessed by the police department. It includes an audit trail to reveal who has accessed the information and when."
New submitter m.alessandrini writes "I've been using Debian for a long time, and I'm not a novice at all; I install system updates almost daily, I avoid risky behaviors on Internet, and like all Linux users I always felt safe. Yesterday my webcam suddenly turned on, and turned off after several minutes. I'm pretty sure it was nothing serious, but I started thinking about malware. At work I use noscript and other tools, but at home I have a more relaxed browser to be used by other family members, too. Here I'm not talking about rootkits or privilege escalation (I trust Debian), I think more of normal user compromise. For example, these days much malware come from malicious scripts in sites, even in advertising banners inside trusted sites, and this is more 'cross-platform' than normal viruses. So, what about non-root user malware? How much could this be real? And how can you diagnose it?"
jones_supa writes "During a debate in London last night, the game of whac-a-mole related to blocking pirate sites was discussed by artists, labels, the BPI, and Google. Most interestingly, Google's Theo Bertram brought to the table the idea of going after the sites as a business, which in practice would mean strangling their (often voluminous) advertising budget. A test performed by musician David Lowery confirmed that a search for Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' conjured up a list of unlicensed sites, some of which have an advertising relationship with Google. Geoff Taylor of the BPI said that Google has the both the information and technological ability to directly stomp infringing sites, but at the same time noted that somewhat oddly iTunes has not arranged itself a prominent position in the results to promote legally-purchased music, which can't be completely Google's fault."
First time accepted submitter jahard writes "It's not clear yet whether the preliminary look will result in anything more. The FTC and the Justice Department don't investigate behemoths like Google on a lark, so there's at least a decent chance they'll find reason to look deeper. But according to several online ad sources, the evidence is mixed, and some–even at least one competitor–say Google is playing fair with its so-called 'stack' of ad technologies. Contacted for comment, Google provided only a terse statement: 'We have not heard anything from the FTC regarding any new antitrust investigation.'"
jfruh writes "Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have long hoped that the information they've gathered about you will help them create better targeted and more lucrative advertising, even though advertisers never see your personal data directly. But now Twitter is upping the ante, creating a new kind of card that encourages you to give your contact information directly to people who want to sell you things. For instance, Priceline has a new card with a 'sign up and save' button that saves you 10% on a hotel — and, though it isn't made explicit, adds your Twitter handle and contact information to a Priceline mailing list. There's nothing to stop Twitter from handing this info — including your phone number, if you've registered it with the service — to salesmen."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Yahoo has agreed to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion. As you know, Yahoo is a major corporation with a need to monetize its assets in a way that makes its shareholders happy, leaving open the question of whether it'll alter Tumblr's DNA in order to make the latter more of a significant cash generator. But at least for the moment, Yahoo seems content to leave its new property alone. 'Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,' read the company's press release. 'The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.' Tumblr CEO David Karp, who has been known to make some very anti-advertising comments in the past, will remain in place. Even so, anyone who likes Tumblr may have some cause for concern, because Yahoo has a history of making high-profile acquisitions that subsequently implode. Back in 1999, for example, it paid over $3 billion for GeoCities, another blogging network that it eventually shut down after years of failing the update the property. In 2005, it acquired popular photo-sharing Website Flickr, which it likewise allowed to languish and die. That same year it bought Delicious, a popular Webpage-bookmarking site, and did exactly nothing with it. So when Yahoo starts off its Tumblr press release with a promise not to screw things up, it's a self-deprecating nod toward all that history. New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been on a bit of a buying spree of late, snatching up startups such as Summly in an attempt to make her company 'cool' and relevant."
mcleland writes "The BBC reports that Nintendo is now using the content ID match feature in YouTube to identify screencap videos of people playing their games. They then take over the advertising that appears with the video, and thus the ad revenue. Nintendo gets it all, and the creators of these videos (which are like extended fan-made commercials for the games) get nothing. Corporate gibberish to justify this: 'In a statement, the firm said the move was part of an "on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media."'"
First time accepted submitter exomondo writes "Google has given Microsoft until May 22nd to pull their Windows Phone 8 YouTube app from the marketplace and disable it on customer devices. It not only includes a built-in ad blocker but also allows users to download videos and doesn't impose device-specific streaming restrictions outlined in the YouTube Terms Of Service. A Microsoft spokesperson said in part: 'YouTube is consistently one of the top apps downloaded by smartphone users on all platforms, but Google has refused to work with us to develop an app on par with other platforms. Since we updated the YouTube app to ensure our mutual customers a similar YouTube experience, ratings and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. We'd be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs. In light of Larry Page's comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers.'"
another random user writes "Facebook is reportedly introducing video advertisements to News Feeds this summer. Reports in the Financial Times (registration required) say that the clips will last for around 15 seconds, and the first one users see each day will play automatically. The first video will apparently play without audio, and restart if the account holder chooses to activate sound. Facebook is yet to officially confirm the move, but the report claims that the social network will gradually introduce video advertising to minimize user disruption. The company's most lucrative marketing partners, including American Express, Coca Cola, Ford, Diageo and Nestle, are expected to be the first brands to make use of the feature. Facebook is said to have implemented the strategy in a bid to take a slice out of TV ad revenue by undercutting the sector."
zacharye writes "Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday ordered UNcarrier T-Mobile to correct 'deceptive advertising that promised consumers no annual contracts while carrying hidden charges for early termination of phone plans.' T-Mobile, which recently did away with standard cell phone service contracts and typical smartphone subsidies, is accused of misleading consumers by advertising no-contract wireless plans despite requiring that customers sign an agreement that makes them responsible for the full cost of their handsets should they cancel service prematurely ..."
theodp writes "Steinar Skipsnes came up with a unique way to get more women into tech. Make them up. Posing as 'Sarah Hanson,' a 19-year-old woman who claimed to have auctioned off 10% of her future income in return for $125,000 to fund her Senior Living Map startup, Skipsnes pitched the story via email to generate press coverage. It worked — VentureBeat, HuffPo, Yahoo!, AOL, GeekWire, and others took the bait. But after doubts were aired about the story, Skipsnes fessed up to concocting the too-good-to-be-true hoax about the female teen entrepreneur to appeal to the interests of the tech press. 'I started to think "what if I took the elements of what the press loves and created a story?"' Skipsnes explained. "So I did.'"
jfruh writes "The rap on the under-30 crowd is that they don't care anywhere near as much about online privacy as their elders — but that's not quite true. According to a recent study by USC's Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, millennials are just as concerned about the use of their personal data online as their elders. The difference arises when it comes to why they share that data: older users share with someone they trust, while millennials share when they perceive that there's something in it for them."
An anonymous reader writes "A new malware scheme has been discovered that pushes fake antivirus software to Android users via in-app advertising. Once installed, the trojan informs the victims they need to pay up to remove threats on their device. The malware in question, detected as "Android.Fakealert.4.origin" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, has been around since at least October 2012 according to the company. While Android malware that masks itself as an antivirus for Google's platform is nothing new, and neither are ads in Android apps pushing malware, but putting the two together can certainly be effective. This is naturally a practice that Windows users are all too familiar with."
An anonymous reader writes "Contrary to widespread thought, Google Glass will not be an advertising platform: 'Google Inc has lately told app developers that they are not allowed to present ads to Google Glass users and they are also not permitted to sell users' personal and private information for the fulfillment of advertising needs. The internet company has explicitly and openly said that the Glass platform should and must be clean and clear of any ads whatsoever, because the technology is designed to facilitate internet browsing and other related activities, therefore, the featured podium cannot be used to advertise products as it will cause the user experience to diminish.' Seems like Google is going for hardware-only revenue on this one." You're not supposed to resell the Glass hardware, either.