chicksdaddy writes "Google could tell you about its privacy practices except, well....they're private. That's the conclusion privacy advocates are drawing after the Federal Trade Commission took a black marker to an independent audit of the company's privacy practices before releasing it to the group EPIC in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Security Ledger is reporting that the FTC released a copy of a Price Waterhouse Coopers audit of Google that was mandated as part of a settlement with the FTC over complaints following a 2010 complaint by EPIC over privacy violations in Google Buzz, a now-defunct social networking experiment. However, the agency acceded to Google requests to redact descriptions of the search giant's internal procedures and the design of its privacy program."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "The CIA's investment fund, In-Q-Tel, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have invested $30 million in a Canadian company that claims to build quantum computers, reports Technology Review in a detailed story on why that startup, D-Wave, appears to be attracting serious interest after years of skepticism from experts. A spokesman for In-Q-Tel says that intelligence agencies 'have many complex problems that tax classical computing architecture,' a feeling apparently strong enough to justify a bet on a radically different, and largely unproven, approach to computing."
thomst writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that Google's Thabet Alfishawi has announced YouTube will alter its algorithms 'that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed.' YouTube's Content ID algorithms have notably misfired in recent months, resulting in video streams as disparate as Curiosity's Mars landing and Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech being taken offline on specious copyright infringement grounds. Kravets states, 'Under the new rules announced Wednesday, however, if the uploader challenges the match, the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)" Update: 10/05 11:24 GMT by S : Google has clarified its earlier comments. The user videos will be placed in a queue for manual review not by Google, but by the content owners.
An anonymous reader writes "Just yesterday, the FTC, in conjunction with other government agencies, shut down an international telemarketing scam. A recent video has surfaced showing them in action, trying to scam one of the principals of a Canadian web start-up. Watch the scammers lie through their teeth to convince their 'victim' that he needs to buy a lifetime subscription to their anti-virus product."
McGruber writes "Michael Baxter, the network engineer at the southeastern regional headquarters of Verizon Wireless who submitted hundreds of fraudulent service requests to Cisco, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Baxter was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to Cisco Systems, and $462,828 in restitution to Verizon. Instead of placing the replacement parts into service in the Verizon Wireless network, Baxter took the parts home and sold them to third-party re-sellers for his own profit. He used the money to buy cars, jewelry and multiple cosmetic surgeries for his girlfriend."
redletterdave writes "After seven long years of litigation, Google Inc. and the Association of American Publishers have reached an agreement to settle over the search giant's book-scanning project, which will allow publishers to choose whether or not they want their books, journals and publications digitized by Google and accessed via its Google Library Project. The agreement, according to the two companies, acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright holders, so U.S. publishers can choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project, or choose to keep their publications available. For those that keep their works online with Google, those publishers will be able to keep a digital copy for their own use and sell their publications via the Google Play marketplace." Also reported by Reuters, as carried by the Chicago Tribune, and the BBC.
silentbrad writes with this report from Forbes: "The dark days of SOPA and PIPA are behind the U.S., at least temporarily, as copyright tycoons reground and restrategize, attempting to come up with measures that don't cause the entire internet to shut down in protest. But one country has already moved ahead with similar legislation. The government of the Philippines has passed the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which on the surface, as usual, sounds perfectly well-intentioned. But when you read the actual contents of what's been deemed 'cybercrime,' SOPA's proposed censorship sounds downright lax by comparison. Yes, there's the usual hacking, cracking, identity theft and spamming, which most of us can agree should be illegal. But there's also cybersex, pornography, file-sharing (SOPA's main target), and the most controversial provision, online libel." At least it doesn't mention blasphemy.
judgecorp writes "Claims that old private Facebook messages have been leaking onto people's Timelines have been dismissed by the French privacy watchdog, CNIL. Apparently, as many concluded early on, the "leaked" messages were just old Wall-to-Wall posts, that users had mistakenly believed were private. Given the lack of user understanding, now is a good time for Facebook to revamp its privacy help pages. Let's hope users pay attention, and Facebook genuinely resists exploiting their naivety." Update: 10/04 17:42 GMT by T : Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg says keeping up with a billion users makes it tough to follow all that data.
First time accepted submitter evrybodygonsurfin writes "The UK Government will announce details this month of a controversial national identity scheme which will allow people to use their mobile phones and social media profiles as official identification documents for accessing public services. People wishing to apply for services ranging from tax credits to fishing licences and passports will be asked to choose from a list of familiar online log-ins, including those they already use on social media sites, banks, and large retailers such as supermarkets, to prove their identity." I can't wait until carrying a telephone is mandatory. In the U.S. at least, how else will the government send you important messages?
Penurious Penguin writes "Millionaire Alexander Fishenko, owner of US-based Arc Electronics Inc, and seven others have been arrested in Houston Texas, with a total of 11 indicted in a conspiracy to smuggle advanced microelectronics from the U.S. to Russia. The technology allegedly involves components of radar, weapons guidance, and detonators. Amongst the evidence are accounting records indicating notable similarity between the revenue of Arc Electronics and the Russian Federation's defense spending; intercepted phone calls and emails; and a letter to Arc Electronics from a Russian domestic intelligence lab complaining of defective microchips . A Russian foreign ministry spokesman has denied there were any intelligence connections in the affair."
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Microsoft is sticking to its decision to implement 'Do-Not-Track' as the default for IE 10, despite drawing the ire of corporate America, the Apache Software Foundation, and the FTC Chairman. Representatives of a veritable Who's Who of Corporate America — e.g., GM, IBM, BofA, Walmart, Merck, Allstate, AT&T, Motorola — signed off on a letter blasting Microsoft for its choice. 'By presenting Do Not Track with a default on,' the alliance argues, 'Microsoft is making the wrong choice for consumers.' The group reminds Microsoft that Apache — whose Platinum Sponsors have branded Microsoft's actions a deliberate abuse of open standards and designed its software to ignore the 'do-not-track' setting if the browser reaching it is IE 10. It also claims that the FTC Chairman, formerly supportive of Microsoft's privacy efforts, now recognizes 'the harm to consumers that Microsoft's decision could create.'"
First time accepted submitter unjedai writes "A company is putting horrible reviews of small business online, and then offering to improve the company's reputation and take the reviews off for a fraction of the cost that a real reputation improvement company would charge. Sierra West received a call from a 'reputation improvement company' telling them they had a negative review online and that the company would take the review offline if Sierra West paid $500. 'Of course when someone is offering $500 the day (the bad review) goes up seemed not legitimate.'"
New submitter juliohm writes "As of January, Brazil intends to put into action a new system that will track vehicles of all kinds via radio frequency chips. It will take a few years to accomplish, but authorities will eventually require all vehicles to have an electronic chip installed, which will match every car to its rightful owner. The chip will send the car's identification to antennas on highways and streets, soon to be spread all over the country. Eventually, it will be illegal to own a car without one. Besides real time monitoring of traffic conditions, authorities will be able to integrate all kinds of services, such as traffic tickets, licensing and annual taxes, automatic toll charge, and much more. Benefits also include more security, since the system will make it harder for thieves to run far away with stolen vehicles, much less leave the country with one."
concealment points out comments from MPAA CEO Chris Dodd, who has acknowledged that SOPA and PIPA were soundly — and perhaps permanently — defeated. Quoting Ars Technica: "Dodd sounded chastened, with a tone that was a far cry from the rhetoric the MPAA was putting out in January. 'When SOPA-PIPA blew up, it was a transformative event,' said Dodd. 'There were eight million e-mails [to elected representatives] in two days.' That caused senators to run away from the legislation. 'People were dropping their names as co-sponsors within minutes, not hours,' he said. 'These bills are dead, they're not coming back,' said Dodd. 'And they shouldn't.' He said the MPAA isn't focused on getting similar legislation passed in the future, at the moment. 'I think we're better served by sitting down [with the tech sector and SOPA opponents] and seeing what we agree on.' Still, Dodd did say that some of the reaction to SOPA and PIPA was 'over the top' — specifically, the allegations of censorship, implied by the black bar over Google search logo or the complete shutdown of Wikipedia. 'DNS filtering goes on every day on the Internet,' said Dodd. 'Obviously it needs to be done very carefully. But five million pages were taken off Google last year [for IP violations]. To Google's great credit, it recently changed its algorithm to a point where, when there are enough complaints about a site, it moves that site down on their page — which I applaud.'"
jfruh writes "Klout is a new social media service that attempts to quantify how much 'influence' you have, based on your social media profile. Their metrics are bizarre — privacy blogger Dan Tynan has been rated as highly influential on the topic of cigars, despite having only smoked one, decades ago. Nevertheless, Klout scores have real-world consequences, with people deemed influential getting discounts on concert tickets or free access to airport VIP lounges (in hopes that they'll tweet about it, presumably)."