Google has been issued formal antitrust charges over claims that it abuses the dominant position of its Android operating system.
The European Commission sent a statement of objections to the tech firm, alleging that it has breached EU competition law.
Google is accused of placing onerous requirements on firms using Android and stifling competition.
[European competition commissioner] Ms Vestager said Google had harmed both competitors and consumers by placing requirements on mobile manufacturers and operators to preinstall some of its own products and, in some cases, set them as default or exclusive options on handsets.
In some cases, she said, this had been as a condition of Google's agreement to grant a licence for the use of some of its apps.
Android is open-source software, meaning competing operating systems can be built using its source code.
The commissioner alleged Google had barred manufacturers from selling devices using these operating systems.
She also said Google had given financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition they exclusively preinstalled Google Search on their devices.
Here's a site with additional articles and information about Google's illegal and unethical activities:http://insidegoogle.com/about/About Inside Google
Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, launched Inside Google to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives. Inside Google’s blog is authored by experienced consumer advocates and journalists working to expose the “black box” at Google with an eye towards holding Google engineers accountable to social mores, ethical customs and the rule of law.
In the fall of 2008, with the support of the Rose Foundation, Consumer Watchdog embarked upon a privacy project to educate the public and opinion leaders about the need for greater online privacy, and to hold Google accountable for tracking consumers online without explicit permission and for exhibiting its monopolistic power in dangerous ways. The goal was to convince Google of the social and economic importance of giving consumers control over their on-line lives. By persuading Google, the Internet’s leading company, to adopt adequate guarantees, its policies could become the gold standard for privacy for the industry, potentially improving the performance of the entire online sector. As Google grew increasingly recalcitrant, and the company’s growth continued unchecked into an array of sectors, Consumer Watchdog expanded its investigation and advocacy, leading to the launch “Inside Google.”
Read full article here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22252506Google receives wrist-slap for illegally collecting personal data
Google has been fined 145,000 euros (£125,000) by German data regulators for illegally recording information from unsecured wi-fi networks.
The country's data chief called it "one of the biggest known data protection violations in history".
But the regulator admitted the amount was "totally inadequate" as a deterrent to the company.
The search giant said it unintentionally collected data including emails, passwords and photos.
Google has said it never intended to store the personal data, which had been captured in 2008-10, while the company gathered material for its Street View service.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22252506
As I just discovered today, Google goes out of its way to prevent copyright holders from removing their illegally-reproduced content from Google's search listings.
Take a look at how they try multiple times to intimidate copyright holders by telling them that their information will be made available on a third party website, that they may be subject to legal action if they make a "false claim", and by forcing them to create a Google account before they are allowed to report the infringing content.http://www.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=ts.cs&ts=1114905
After clicking a series of buttons to answer their questions, you receive this "warning" (read "threat"):
After several more clicks you get another, more intimidating threat:
And finally, instead of allowing copyright holders to file their DMCA notice, they require the creation of a Google account. Presumably so they can keep track of who causes problems (and gather the name, phone number, home address, and other personal info of the copyright holder for their database, as they like to do):
I clicked onward, and was indeed taken to the "create a Google account" page, instead of to the form to file an infringement notice.
I find it amusing that they use a website called "Chilling Effect" to keep track of copyright holder's rightfully-used DMCA notices, when they are trying very hard to put a 'chilling effect' on those very copyright holders, and prevent them from protecting their intellectual property.
Feel free to copy-paste this post to any other website (upload images to your own host, please)! Let's make sure people know what Google is up to.
19 Feb 2013
The move is the latest in a skirmish between the web giant and Europe's data protection regulators who view the privacy rules put in place in March by Google as "high risk," although have stopped short of declaring them illegal.
Regulators view the bundling of data on users as potentially constituting a high risk to individuals' privacy.
Google last year consolidated 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. Users cannot opt out.Read complete article here:http://www.technologyspectator.com.au/eu-watchdog-takes-aim-googles-privacy-policies
Not directly Google-related, though I'm sure the company would approve of this legislation, as it would make targeted advertising much easier.New York Senator Thomas F. O'Mara Wants To Kill Free Speech On Internethttp://www.dailytech.com/NY+State+Senator+Proposes+Banning+Anonymous+Free+Speech+on+the+Net/article24775.htm
All users posting to websites would have to post their real name and address, non-compliant posts would be axed
When people think anonymity, Anonymous and their iconic Guy Fawkes masks often pop into mind these days. But long before the members of that controversial hacker collective were a mere twinkle in their mothers' eyes, another anti-authoritarian rabble-rouser was using anonymous protest to stir up revolt against a totalitarian ruling elite. His name was Thomas Paine, and his anonymously published work Common Sense helped ignite the colonists in revolution against Britain.
I. Want to Post? Put Your Legal Name and Address Here!
Yet today in the country that Thomas Paine's anonymous writings helped to give birth to, a country in which speech is supposedly free, something alarming is happening. Several states are looking to outlaw online anonymity.
New York is among them. The State Senate is contemplating Bill S6779 a measure that would force users to post (and verify) their home address, IP address, and legal name in any post they make online.Read more at link above.
If you're able to vote Senator O'Mara out of office anytime soon, please do so! We don't need senators in congress who are wholly ignorant of the First Amendment.
Contact him here:
518-455-2091More contact info
Google prepares to stifle free speech on YouTubehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/youtube-real-names-users-comments_n_1699749.html
" According to YouTube's blog, the policy change, first instituted on June 29, now allows users the option of using their Google+ profile, or their real name, in order to "give you more options for how your videos are seen and discovered on YouTube" while acknowledging that "using your full name isn’t for everyone."
Anyone entering a new comment is confronted by a pop up box with their current username, as well as a side-by-side comparison with what it would look like if their Google+ name was displayed instead. Users who stubbornly insist on maintaining a YouTube handle are directed to a second dialogue box that asks them to explain why. Six options include, "My channel is for a show or character," "My channel is for personal use but I cannot use my real name" and for the overwhelmed or dubious, "I'm not sure, I'll decide later." "Read more at the link above.
Using your real name on YouTube may become a requirement (knowing Google, it probably will!). Ways to get around this:
1. Sign up for a Google/YouTube account with an email address that you create especially for the purpose. When you create the new email address and it asks for your personal info, type in your name as "Anony Moose" or whatever screenname you prefer. Google/YouTube will mine your "real name" from the email account you sign up with.
2. Close your Google/YouTube account and keep watching videos without signing in.
3. Keep your account, but never sign in again after the change is made. You videos will remain online, but it's possible your screenname might never be changed.
4. Move to another video site, like DailyMotion
.Just a reminder: if you have a YouTube account, you also have your very own Google account, whether you want one or not!
Read full article here:http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/259252/how-i-divorced-google
Here is an except from an article calledHow I divorced Google
by Tom Henderson
March 16, 2012, 8:00 AM — I sat recently at the Grand Opening Ceremony at CeBIT 2012 in Hannover. There was a huge crowd of dignitaries, business people, and captains of German industry. They were waiting to hear from the President of Brazil, the Chancellor of Germany, and the Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Each gave a keynote. As the event's them was Managing Trust, it seemed salient for me to listen specifically to Schmidt, perhaps one last time. It's not that I don't respect the German Chancellor or the President of Brazil, but I wasn't trying to divorce myself from the organizations they represent.
You see, I'm leaving Google, in toto -- meaning in every single possible personal way. What you're reading is the first seven days in the attempt, which is ongoing.
If you live in the modern world, leaving Google is both heresy and damn difficult to do. My primary motivation is that I don't believe Google's privacy protection claims. But you should know I cannot know the truth of its claims; I simply don't trust them. I was raised to be skeptical. Read more at link above.
27 July 2012
Full article at the BBC:http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19014206
Google has admitted that it had not deleted users' personal data gathered during surveys for its Street View service.
The data should have been wiped almost 18 months ago as part of a deal signed by the firm in November 2010.
Google has been told to give the data to the UK's Information Commissioner (ICO) for forensic analysis.
The ICO said it was co-ordinating its response with other European privacy bodies.
In May 2010 it was revealed that Google had scooped up about 600 gigabytes of personal data from unsecured wireless networks while gathering images and location data for Street View.
The data was collected for years in 30 countries while Google compiled information for the mapping service.
Google apologised for gathering the data and said it was a "mistake". The blunder led to legal action, fines and investigations around the world.
In the UK, Google gave an undertaking to destroy the data it was holding and issued a statement saying it had done so in December 2010.
However, said the ICO, Google had recently contacted it to report that some of the data it had gathered had not been deleted. Continued at link above.
Related article from 10 July:Google set to pay cookie privacy fine to FTC says reporthttp://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18782224
Verizon Wireless and other mobile carriers, with Google's help, are blocking Android applications they don't like from the Android Market.
"It seems a few American carriers have started working with Google to disable access to tethering apps in the Android Market in recent weeks, ostensibly because they make it easier for users to circumvent the official tethering capabilities offered on many recent smartphones — capabilities that carry a plan surcharge. Sure, it’s a shame that they’re doing it, but from Verizon’s perspective, it’s all about protecting revenue — business as usual. It’s Google’s role in this soap opera that’s a cause for greater concern.
You might remember that Google made a big splash a little over three years ago during the auction for the C Block 700MHz spectrum that Verizon now uses for its LTE network, intentionally driving up bidding past the $4.6 billion open access trigger without really having any intention to win it"
Read the full article here:http://thisismynext.com/2011/05/02/verizons-removal-tethering-apps-android-market-shame-fcc-violation/