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German regulator tells Google to stop mixing and matching data

puzzles-compilation-1440672-2-mThe Hamburg Commissioner of Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) gave Google a tongue-lashing this week saying that Google’s profiling practices affects the privacy of users “beyond the admissible degree.”

The main concern is Google’s ability to mix and match data from various Google properties in order to build a more detailed user profile.

Google does not use sensitive, personal information for advertising purposes but the German regulator is still concerned about the depth of information that Google can get its hands on.

A press release from the Hamburg Commissioner of Data Protection and Freedom of Information states:

[By combining information from different products] it may be possible:

  • to compile detailed travel profiles by evaluating location data,
  • to detect specific interests and preferences by evaluating search engine use,

Tips for blocking SEMalt and botnet attacks

Bot attacksSUMMARY: Botnets are degrading Website performance and preventing real people from visiting your Websites.  Here is a brief update on the problem and some measures you can take to block one specific botnet operated by SEMalt.

You may know by now that the SEMalt “service” has been probing Websites with fake traffic generated by botnets.  The problem with fighting botnets is that they come from everywhere.  Many of the compromised nodes are Web hosting servers hiding in the cloud or in far eastern and European data centers.  We see them coming out of Africa, South America, and even New Zealand.  US military networks are compromised and rolled into the swarm every few months.

semalt-referral

Consumers are worried about internet privacy but few do anything to protect themselves

SecurityHere’s a wild set of facts:

58% of respondents to an Associated Press poll said they were worried about government spying by the National Security Agency.

41% of consumers don’t know that smart devices collect information about their personal activities.

The truth is, it’s more likely that your new refrigerator is spying on you than the NSA.

Two companies published internet privacy surveys this week, TRUSTe Privacy Index and one by Consumer Reports, and between them an interesting picture emerged.

Though more than 80% of people said they were concerned about privacy on the internet and from smart devices 62% haven’t done anything about it.

Consumers are concerned but still willing to give up personal information to brands

mhAMTHQ - lusi - rgbstockSeems like every time I turn on my computer there’s an email about a potential security breach. Today, it’s Bit.ly, the link shortener people. They’re reporting a breach of customer email addresses, passwords and authentication keys. Last week it was the Heartbleed Bug and before that a handful of major retailers who lost control at the cash register.

With all this bad press, you’d think people would be even more reluctant to turn over their personal information but it’s not so says SDL.

They conducted a few surveys, created an infographic and here’s what it comes down to:

Over 40% of US millennials can identify the data brands are using to track their behaviors – and expect a personalized shopping experience because of it.

Twitter Teeters Between Informed Users and Government Censors

Twitter transparency tweetRunning a giant social media company is tough. You’re responsible for keeping a member’s secrets secret but you also have to respond when the government and law enforcement come knocking. In order to satisfy both sides, companies comply with legal requests but then disclose these requests in broad terms to users. They call it transparency but it’s more like a foggy window pane and the fog is getting thicker.

Both Facebook and Twitter released their latest transparency reports this week but as far as US data goes, they’re not very informative. And this comes on the heels of an agreement by the US Justice Department that allows social media sites to disclose “more” information. They can now report the number of National Security Letters (NSLs) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) separately but only in groupings of 1,000.

Yahoo Announces Move to SSL for Sites and Encryption Between Data Centers

online-security-padlockYahoo appears to no longer be willing to be the NSA’s favorite provider of information. Ars Technica reports

In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s monitoring of traffic on the private international fiber links connecting the data centers of Google and Yahoo, Google stepped up its efforts to encrypt internal server traffic and block such monitoring. Now, Yahoo has announced its own plans to encrypt all information that travels between data centers by early next year.

In addition to encrypting traffic between its data centers by March of 2014, Yahoo is also moving to apply SSL encryption across all its websites within the same time frame.

NSA Laughs At the Thought of Search Privacy

Let’s face it. Nothing is private. If you think it is then you might just be an idiot. Sorry to be so blunt but the latest news regarding the NSA and Google (along with Yahoo) makes it pretty clear that nothing is private. Now whether you care about that is another issue because many don’t and that’s their prerogative.

The Washington Post (is this Jeff Bezos impacting the ‘reporting’ already?) tells us the brutal truth.

The NSA, working with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), secretly taps into the internal networks of Yahoo and Google, the two biggest Internet companies by overall data traffic. The operation intercepts information flowing between the enormous data centers that those companies maintain around the world. In general, Google and Yahoo use privately owned or leased lines to synchronize their data centers.

Since a picture can say so much more take a look at this graphic describing how Google gets gamed by the NSA.

NSA_private_Google_1030a

Now if you want to see the handmade drawing that apparently sent two Googler’s into a fit of techno rage this is the one which is also from the Post.