Google knows where you at

This week Google announced Mobile Search with My Location, for devices running on Windows Mobile. By either using GPS or cell-ID, Google can tap into your location and deliver location-specific information.

Previously, the system returned results based on the last location entered. The new Search with My Location feature will be able to give much more precise results.

You have to specifically opt in to use the service and you can always change that setting. Google assures users that personally identifiable information is never associated with you location. At least we know they have privacy issues on the brain.

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Is Google Turning Into Big Brother?

The Debut of Chrome, Google’s New Browser, May Have Been Quiet for a Reason

While we’re transfixed by the presidential election, in the world of high tech another duel between two well-funded, take-no-quarter candidates has just emerged & and in the long run the impact on our daily lives may be nearly as great — and perhaps even sinister.

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Google to launch browser to compete with Microsoft

Chrome intensifies the battle between the tech giants and continues Web software’s drive to supersede the operating system.

SAN FRANCISCO — Bidding to dominate not only what people do on the Web but how they get from site to site, Google Inc. plans to release a browser today to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox.

It’s yet another salvo in the company’s intensifying battle with Microsoft Corp., which last week released a beta, or test, version of Internet Explorer 8 that makes it easier to block ads from Google and others.

“This is the first truly serious threat that Microsoft has faced from a well-funded platform,” said technology analyst Rob Enderle, president of the Enderle Group.

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The CCTV cameras spying on hundreds of classrooms

CCTV monitors classrooms at one in 14 schools, according to a survey.

The poll of teachers also found that almost a quarter feared there might be more cameras hidden around the campus that they did not know about.

Most said their schools were fitted with surveillance cameras. Almost 80 per cent said there were cameras at the entrance and more than 7 per cent said there were some in classrooms.

Nearly 10 per cent of teachers polled by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said there were cameras in the lavatories.


Big brother is watching you: One in 14 schools is monitored by CCTV

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Google In Final Negotiations To Acquire Digg For “Around $200 Million”

Google’s on and off negotiations with Digg have been back on in a big way for the last six weeks, we’ve heard from multiple sources inside of Google, and the two companies are close to a deal that will bring Digg under the Google News property. The acquisition price is in the $200 million range, says one source.

We first wrote about the Google-Digg negotiations in March. Despite a vigorous denial by Digg CEO Jay Adelson the negotiations continued, although Google’s Marissa Mayer reportedly cooled on the company for a period of time.

The companies are now in final negotiations according to our sources, although it could be a couple of weeks before it closes. And while the major deal points have been agreed on, the acquisition could still fall apart. Microsoft, which was previously interested in the company, may be willing to step back in at a much lower price.

Most of Digg’s revenue comes from a three year ad deal with Microsoft, which will be terminated on a sale to Google. Digg has raised $11.3 million in venture capital.

Meanwhile, Google’s fascination with the Digg voting concept continues.

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Ron Paul : When in the course of human events…

“Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers.
– Congressman Ron Paul

Added: August 10, 2007

Source: YouTube

Youtube to hand over all user histories and IP addresses!

Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users’ names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google’s liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement.

Viacom filed suit against Google in March 2007, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for allowing users to upload clips of Viacom’s copyright material. Google argues that the law provides a safe harbor for online services so long as they comply with copyright takedown requests.

Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users’ privacy, the judge’s ruling (.pdf) described that argument as “speculative” and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives.

The judge also turned Google’s own defense of its data retention policies — that IP addresses of computers aren’t personally revealing in and of themselves, against it to justify the log dump.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already reacted, calling the order a violation of the Video Privacy Protection act that “threatens to expose deeply private information.”

The order also requires Google to turn over copies of all videos that it has taken down for any reason.

Viacom also requested YouTube’s source code, the code for identifying repeat copyright infringement uploads, copies of all videos marked private, and Google’s advertising database schema.

Those requests were denied in whole, except that Google will have to turn over data about how often each private video has been watched and by how many persons.

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Big Brother law stirs outrage in Sweden

Sweeping new powers under which the Swedish security services can monitor private phone calls, e-mails and text messages are expected to come into force this week under legislation that has prompted outrage in the country.

Politicians, businesses, privacy campaigners and individual citizens have lined up to criticise the proposed law, which the Swedish Parliament will vote on tomorrow.

The Bill would grant the country’s intelligence agencies access to cross-border e-mails, phone calls, text messages and faxes, and empower them to monitor websites visited by Swedish citizens.

Since Scandinavia’s telephone network often routes local phone calls through exchanges in neighbouring countries, internet data and calls passing through Sweden on its way between two other countries would also fall within the jurisdiction of the new law.

Press freedom and individual privacy have traditionally been sacrosanct in Sweden, but fears about international crime and terrorism have prompted the country’s centre-right Government to extend the powers of the security services.

Previously, the state could apply for permission to monitor communications if illegal activity was suspected. Under the new law, government agents will be allowed to monitor messages by default.

Thousands of voters have contacted their MPs, urging them to vote against the proposals, but the law is expected to pass.

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s leading quality newspaper, compared it with the powers of the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, and Google said that it would stay out of Sweden if the law is passed.

“We have made it clear to the Swedish authorities that we will never place any Google servers in Sweden if this proposition becomes reality,” Peter Fleischer, a Google spokesman, said. “This proposal seems like something invented by Saudi Arabia and China. It has no place in a Western democracy.”

Journalists have also complained that the law would damage their ability to protect sources.

Tomorrow’s vote comes a month after The Times revealed plans to establish a database containing details of phone calls and e-mails in the UK. The information would be held for at least a year and the police and security services would be able to access it if given permission from the courts.

June 16, 2008
Marcus Oscarsson, Stockholm

Source: The Times

U.S. Internet will shrink to 2 strong players

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An Internet analyst for a major Wall Street firm argues in a new report that Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc will be long-term winners, while Yahoo and IAC InterActiveCorp fall by the wayside and eBay Inc becomes a merger target.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay argues in a 310-page report entitled “U.S. Internet: The End of the Beginning” to be published on Tuesday that Google and Amazon are best placed to withstand the current economic downturn.

“We expect two players to continue to perform strongly, Google and Amazon,” Lindsay writes. “Both Google and Amazon.com are still racking up annual growth rates in the 30-40 percent range, with only a relatively modest slowdown in sight.”

Lindsay reiterates his previous positions that Yahoo eventually will be sold to Microsoft Corp and that Barry Diller’s IAC e-commerce conglomerate will go ahead in August with its five-way split-up, as planned.

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Lieberman Demands YouTube Censorship

Joe Lieberman, senator and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, wants to censor what you watch on Google and YouTube. Lieberman has sent a letter to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, accusing the corporation of allowing “offensive material” on its site, namely “videos produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups.” Joe wants these taken down immediately and demands Google “prevent them from reappearing.” No word if Schmidt has responded, but a letter sent by a bigwig commissar such as Lieberman is nothing to take lightly. Schmidt and his corporate lawyers have likely confabbed.

“Today, Islamist terrorist organizations rely extensively on the Internet to attract supporters and advance their cause. The framework for much of this Internet campaign is described in a bipartisan staff report released last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which I am privileged to chair, titled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat,” writes Lieberman. “The report explains, in part, how al-Qaeda created and manages a multi-tiered online media operation that produces content intended to enlist followers in countries all over the world, including the United States. Central to this media campaign is the branding of content with an icon or logo to guarantee authenticity that the content was produced by al-Qaeda or allied organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam (a.k.a Ansar al-Sunnah) or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb.”

Or how about an “allied organization” such as the CIA, military intelligence or one of its cutouts? An expert computer analyst has presented evidence that so-called ‘Al-Qaeda’ tapes are routinely digitally doctored and has also unwittingly exposed an astounding detail that clearly indicates a Pentagon affiliated organization in the U.S. is directly responsible for releasing the videos,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote last August. Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, examined the image quantization table of a 2006 Ayman al-Zawahiri tape and made a fascinating discovery – al-Qaeda’s As-Sahab logo (supposedly the media arm of al-Qaeda) was placed on the tape at the same time as the IntelCenter logo. As it turns out, IntelCenter, notorious for releasing al-Qaeda videos, is run by Ben Venzke, former director of intelligence at a company called iDefense, a Verisign company. Jim Melnick, a senior military psy-op intelligence officer who worked directly for Donald Rumsfeld, is billed as iDefense’s director of threat intelligence. In short, there is a distinct possibility the al-Qaeda videos mentioned by Lieberman are fake.

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