The FTC has some pretty obvious recommendations -- like not putting facial recognition-equipped digital signs in bathrooms or where children gather. But it also makes some good points, such as how to provide consumers with simplified choices and increase the transparency of the data collection.Importantly, the FTC said services should be designed with privacy in mind. That includes integrating data-security protections that help prevent unauthorized scraping for unintended secondary uses. … Read more
On the heels of a firestorm of controversy over anti-Semitic tweets in France, Twitter has for the first time banned access in Germany to a German group's account due to its alleged hate speech.
According to the Financial Times (registration required), the San Francisco-based microblogging service has blocked access in Germany to the Twitter account belonging to an organization known as "Besseres Hannover," which means "Better Hannover" in English. The group is said to be a neo-Nazi organization, reported Danny Sullivan of Marketingland.com. The public expression of Nazi views is illegal in Germany.
Twitter'… Read more
Four of the FTC's five commissioners believe Google illegally used its position as the top search provider to hurt competition, according to a report from Reuters, which cites people familiar with the matter.
And The New York Times cited its own unnamed sources in reporting that the commission is preparing a 100-page staff memo recommending that the government sue.
The FTC, which has been investigating the situation for more than a year, will … Read more
SOPA. The dearly beloved antipiracy bill was quashed before it reared its ugly head and became signed into U.S. law. It only took months of worldwide protests, tech media outrage, site blackouts and the occasional satirical video or two.
A huge sigh of relief spread through the technology community when the bill was discarded -- at least for the moment. However, enterprising virus developers have piggybacked on the fear that copyright infringement and court cases produce for the general public -- using the recognizable SOPA branding to lure victims into parting with their hard-earned cash.
The so-called SOPA … Read more
This election seems to have become dirtier than an evening with Chelsea Handler.
We, the people, have been forced to don rubber gloves and hazmat suits just to surf the Web. We have been sickened by the verbal listeria that has become an intimate ingredient in every piece of election news.
But surely, surely, not even we could have imagined this.
For if you perform a Google search of the words "completely wrong," you get image after image of Mitt Wrongney. I am so sorry, I meant Mitt Romney.
See how we're being affected by what seems … Read more
San Francisco's governing digerati and politicians like to think of the City by the Bay as the innovation capital of the world and the capital of Silicon Valley (see "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee banks on tech startups").
The video above, titled "This is How Technology Will Create a Smarter San Francisco," promotes the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation (sf.citi), a nonprofit that has the support of more than 330 local companies.
Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square, Biz Stone of Twitter and Obvious, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman, and … Read more
Artist Arena creates fan Web sites for artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Rihanna. Calling itself "the expert in captivating fans," it also managed to gain the attention of the Federal Trade Commission after allegations were made that the firm illegally collected information about minors.
The company is a division of the Warner Music Group after being purchased by the corporation in 2010.
In a complaint filed in a New York district court on Tuesday, the FTC accused Artist Arena of failing to obtain parental consent before collecting the names and e-mail addresses of children, according to Reuters. … Read more
If you were monitoring the presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama in Denver last night via Twitter, you might think that Big Bird and Sesame Street were the sole topic of conversation.
In the midst of pledging to cut federal funding for PBS if elected, Romney apologized to moderator Jim Lehrer -- who hosts the PBS Newshour -- saying, "I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too."
Almost instantly, satirical Big Bird accounts like SadBigBird, Fired Big Bird, and BigBirdRomney sprung up on Twitter and gathered thousands of followers over the next hour. At one point during the debate, the phrase "Big Bird" was being tweeted 17,000 times a minute.
Portland-based activist Sam Chapman took it a step further and posted a campaign on Indiegogo after the debate titled "Keep Your Mitts Off of Big Bird!" The flexible funding campaign will send all funds raised -- regardless of whether the $100,000 target is reached -- directly to PBS.… Read more
Iran is following through with previously reported plans to move its citizens onto a domestic Internet network, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the country is about to start blocking Google, also according to Reuters. It's unclear whether the two moves are related.
A government deputy minister today announced the domestic Internet plans as a way to improve cybersecurity, adding that all government agencies and offices have been connected to the "national information network." The next step would be to connect everyday citizens to the network as well, he said.
Separately, state television reportedly announced Google's search engine and … Read more
A trade association of 41 European telephone companies responded last week to mounting concerns over its controversial proposal to turn Internet traffic management over to the International Telecommunications Union, a regulatory body of the United Nations.
The European Telecommunications Network Operators Association, or ETNO, made its proposal in June, part of a year-long process to revise an ITU treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations. Changes to the treaty, which has not been revised since 1998, will be finalized later this year in Dubai at the World Conference on International Telecommunications.
Only national governments can vote on the new treaty. … Read more