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Senator Calls FTC to Probe Apple and Google on Mobile Privacy

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has never met a chance to get in the headlines that he didn’t like.

His latest effort comes in the form of a letter to the FTC chair and wants the agency to look into mobile phone privacy in general. He has “specific” concerns that he was certainly briefed on (I wonder if he has truly experienced anything himself) but in the end this is likely to bring Apple into the fray (which they usually steer clear of somehow) while just bringing Google to another hearing in DC. Here are the contents of the letter courtesy of the Times Herald-Record

Dear Chairman Leibowitz,

Google to Face Legal Vultures on Privacy, Will Others As Well?

Google is getting ready to face the legal music for its latest dalliance with regard to privacy. That makes sense only in a world where lawyers run the show. I don’t understand the process of how these things work. I am not a lawyer and I did not spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express so I am SOL in understanding what is about to hapen.

Fortunately, Jeff Roberts of paidcontent.org, IS a lawyer and wrote a post explaining what Google is about to get tangled with for the right to continue doing business like everyone else.

In a case filed on Friday, a Missouri man says Google violated the Wiretap Act and asked for damages on behalf of 62 million users. The case names only Google and not the handful of advertising agencies who allegedly performed similar actions. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that a similar lawsuit has been filed against Google in Delaware.

Google Privacy Uproar Continues but What’s Really Going On?

The Google flap over privacy continues and the machine moves with fine efficiency. Take a look at these headlines.

Google Bypassing User Privacy Settings – MSDN

Microsoft: Google Bypasses Privacy Settings in Internet Explorer, Too – All Things D

Google Privacy Fiasco Lesson: There Is No Privacy – Computerworld

Not Just Google: Facebook Also Bypass Privacy Settings In IE – ZDNet’s Friending Facebook

More Sneaky Business About Google: It Bypasses Internet Explorer Privacy Settings Too – Business Insider

It seems that everyone wants to put Google on a skewer and roast them over an open fire. Makes for great headlines but let’s take a look at two quotes from two of the above articles. First, Friending Facebook

Google Hand-Holds Congress Through Privacy Concerns

Google must be getting paranoid by now. I bet Larry Page can’t fart without getting a letter from Congress these days.

The latest Congressional attention of course comes from the latest privacy scandal to hit the Internet. Oh, I’m sorry, I must have channeled my inner sensationalistic blogger for that last line. The only thing that has really happened, at least as Google says it of course, is the consolidation of privacy policies. That idea was enough to get members of Congress to get their hands out of lobbyists pockets and realize that the cameras might be rolling in an election year so they jumped to attention and called Google to protect your interests (wink, wink, nod, nod).

Google responded on their Public Policy Blog

EU Plans to Fund Recovery Through Data Protection Fines

Ok, it may be that I took a liberty or two with the headline. However, when you read what the EU (European Union) is “allowing” itself to do if a company violates their first update to their data protection laws in 17 years and then look at the state of THEIR union its not a very far jump to get to my conclusion.

From Bloomberg

Companies face fines as high as 2 percent of yearly global sales for losing personal data under an overhaul of European Union privacy rules.

Data protection agencies in the EU’s 27 countries would gain the power to sanction companies that violate requirements for handling personal information proposed by the European Commission today. The measures, which also target online- advertising and social networking sites, update the EU’s 17- year-old data protection policies.

Wikipedia Goes Dark in Protest of SOPA: Students Forced to Find Other Means of Completing Homework

Wikipedia and several other sites including Reddit and Boing-Boing will go dark on Wednesday as a form of protest. What they’re protesting is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Critics of the act say that it supports wholesale censorship with no recourse for even accidental offenders. At the root is the concept that the government can block any website that carries pirated materials. Obviously, this would be a big problem for eBay, YouTube, Facebook, pretty much any website that allows users to upload content.

Facebook Attempt to Stop Lawsuit Not Liked By Judge

A lawsuit against Facebook regarding their use of likenesses and more for advertising purposes is being allowed to continue despite Facebook’s attempts to stop it.

According to Bloomberg

Facebook Inc., the world’s most used social-networking service, can be sued by people who claim showing advertisements that their friends apparently like violates a California law regarding commercial endorsements.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose rejected Facebook’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit on Dec. 16, ruling the plaintiffs may pursue claims that the company’s sponsored ads violate state law and are fraudulent. Koh granted Facebook’s request to dismiss a claim that it unjustly enriched itself with the sponsored ads.