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Google Files to Avoid Wiretap Charges, But Judge Says Denied

gavel-4-1409594-mAccording to the Wiretap Act, it is illegal to

  • Intentionally, or purposefully,
  • Intercept, disclose, or use the contents of
    1. Any wire, oral, or electronic communication
    2. Through the use of a “device”

Taken at face value, that would mean Google is breaking the law when their computers scan Gmail messages in order to target ads to consumers. But Google says there’s an exception to the rule that applies. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), allows employers to monitor employee email in the ordinary course of business. Google claims that scanning email is just part of their business but a judge says no way.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh threw out Google’s request to dismiss the charges saying,

LinkedIn Denies Accusations of Email Improprieties

LinkedIn-Logo-02Last week a class action lawsuit was filed against LinkedIn which claimed that the ‘social network’ for professionals was hacking email accounts and spamming members’ contacts. From The Huffington Post we learn

Four individuals have filed a lawsuit against the professional networking site LinkedIn for “hacking” into their email accounts in order to send invitations to their friends.

The plaintiffs say that while they knew LinkedIn asks for users’ emails, the site does not make clear that it will bombard those users’ friends with up to three email invitations. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., alleges that LinkedIn violates the federal wiretap law as well as California privacy laws.

FTC Workshop Targets Native Advertising

FTC LogoIt looks like the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking the world of ‘native advertising’ seriously.

So seriously in fact that there will be a workshop on the subject in December. The post about the workshop says

Increasingly, advertisements that more closely resemble the content in which they are embedded are replacing banner advertisements – graphical images that typically are rectangular in shape – on publishers’ websites and mobile applications. The workshop will bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government regulators to explore changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers’ recognition and understanding of these messages.

Uh oh! The FTC thinks there might be something rotten in the state of Denmark, so to speak.

Facebook Starts Global Government Requests Report

facebook-icon 1Facebook is attempting to be more transparent these days.

Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get Internet connectivity to more of the world via the Internet.org initiative.

If the new report that Facebook produced yesterday was any indication though, it appears that getting more people on Facebook might not only help Facebook and their new users but also government action as well.

The report is called the ‘Global Government Requests Report‘. Facebook is trying to put a nice face on it by saying

Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook. We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.

Pinterest Joins the “Do Not Track” Ranks

Pinterest LogoIn a move that some (especially marketers) might find as detrimental to the future financial success of Pinterest, the popular image sharing site has decided to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to opt out of being tracked by the site.

How far Pinterest goes to promote this fact remains to be seen since it was given one sentence at the very end of a post from Friday of last week announcing other updates to the service which include a new edit button.

The New York Times reported about the do not track element telling us

In Silicon Valley there are hundreds of companies that track people’s habits with the hopes of offering more intrusive advertising. There are, in comparison, very few Valley start-ups that give people the opportunity to opt out of that tracking.

Idiot Runs Onto Field At MLB All Star Game Because He Got 1,000 Retweets

Well, this is definitely the dark side, or should I say dumb side, of the social media space for sure.

CBS New York reports about a ‘fan’ who ran onto the field during the MLB All Star Game last night.

There might not have been a ton of action on the field during Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game — the American League won a pitching duel, 3-0 — but spectators at the park were entertained when a fan sporting a Robinson Cano shirt ran onto the field and was taken down by security guards.

He’s known as @MasoneDylan on Twitter, and prior to the Midsummer Classic he tweeted that if he received 1,000 retweets he would “run across the field.”

Sure enough, he got the 1,000 retweets necessary.

You can guess what he did next. This is what he got for his efforts.

(Note: If this was in Philly they would have tasered him so this guy, unfortunately, gets off easy)

I am not playing the role of ‘stick in the mud’ here. It’s just that stunts like this in an age where people are wary of anyone doing anything that could even remotely smell of something more serious (in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings EVERYONE at events like this are on high alert) are not smart.

Google in European Privacy Watchdog’s Crosshairs Yet Again

Google LegalDespite having put forth an effort in 2012 to put European countries at ease about data collection its data collection efforts, Google finds itself back in hot water over privacy concerns.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has told Google of the perceived inadequacies in their current privacy policies and similar organizations from Germany, France and Spain have followed suit. Of course, with France being accused of having their own PRISM like way of gathering data on their citizens this rings a little hollow but that’s for another day.

The Guardian reports

Privacy watchdogs in the UK, Germany and Italy have told Google to rewrite its privacy policy in Europe or face legal sanctions, 15 months after the search giant unilaterally altered them to unify data collection.