Category Archives: Google

Apple drops Wikileaks app. Google keeps theirs

Apple apparently doesn’t want to feel the wrath of the US government…but Google doesn’t give a shit. From Reuters:

Apple Inc has joined a growing number of U.S. companies that have severed ties with WikiLeaks, removing an application from its online store that gave users access to the controversial website’s content.

But Google Inc, which operates the second-largest online mobile applications store, has kept more than half a dozen apps available on its Android Marketplace that make it easier to access the confidential U.S. government documents WikiLeaks had released on its site.

The two distinct approaches highlight how it is far tougher for developers to get on the iPhone’s platform than Android’s. Some of the Android programs provide direct access to the WikiLeaks cables, and one of them even alerts users whenever a new leaked document from the WikiLeaks repository is made public.

Kind of makes me Steve Jobs? Is Jobs a republican? Hearty lick of applause for Google on this issue.

Online privacy – Fighting the feds

From Cnet:

Google and an alliance of privacy groups have come to Yahoo’s aid by helping the Web portal fend off a broad request from the U.S. Department of Justice for e-mail messages, CNET has learned.

In a brief filed Tuesday afternoon, the coalition says a search warrant signed by a judge is necessary before the FBI or other police agencies can read the contents of Yahoo Mail messages–a position that puts those companies directly at odds with the Obama administration.

Yahoo has been quietly fighting prosecutors’ requests in front of a federal judge in Colorado, with many documents filed under seal. Tuesday’s brief from Google and the other groups aims to buttress Yahoo’s position by saying users who store their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“Society expects and relies on the privacy of e-mail messages just as it relies on the privacy of the telephone system,” the friend-of-the-court brief says. “Indeed, the largest e-mail services are popular precisely because they offer users huge amounts of computer disk space in the Internet ‘cloud’ within which users can warehouse their e-mails for perpetual storage.”

The coalition also includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and TRUSTe.

If the federal government believes someone is a bad guy..aka a terrorist…then they can get a fucking warrant to comb through the individuals  internet history. It’s a no-friggin-brainer. This is called Due Process for christ’s sake.

The Digital Due Process Coalition is trying to level the playing field. They want police to be able to obtain private communications (and the location of Americans’ cell phones) only when armed with a search warrant, per the Cnet article. Updates to the article are below.

Update 9 a.m. PDT Wednesday: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a statement on the case, with EFF attorney Kevin Bankston saying: “The government is trying to evade federal privacy law and the Constitution.” Yahoo’s brief is also worth noting. Like the coalition’s filing, it argues that “users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their e-mails” and says the Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain a warrant to peruse stored messages. And it confirms that prosecutors want “all e-mail” in the targeted Yahoo Mail accounts, even if it’s not relevant to the investigation or could include documents protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Update 9:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday: Yahoo has sent over a statement saying: “Yahoo values our trusted relationships with our users and works to protect their privacy while at the same time fulfilling our legal responsibilities. Yahoo’s filing in this matter is a public document. Beyond what is contained in that document, Yahoo has no comment on the specifics of the case.”

Stay tuned kiddies…the shit will get waist deep…count on it.

Online Privacy-Google and Microsoft suck.

Google and Microsoft-the cyber world’s Big Brothers?

From ARS:

Yahoo today announced an “industry-leading approach” to online privacy under which it will anonymize its log data after 90 days. The move comes only months after Google cut its own retention period for personal data by 50 percent, and it gives Yahoo by far the strongest anonymization policy of the big three search engines.

The announcement also scored points with Congress. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a powerful voice on tech issues, this morning applauded the company, essentially placing the privacy crown atop its corporate head. “Today, Yahoo voluntarily sets a new standard for such privacy protection, a standard against which Microsoft, Google, and others will now be compared,” he said. “I urge other leading online companies to match or beat the commitments announced by Yahoo.”

That’s exactly the message Yahoo wants to convey. In its announcement, the company stressed that it had just made the TRUSTe/Ponemon Institute Top 20 list of “Most Trusted Companies for Privacy.” Yahoo came in 14th after previously being off the list; Google and Microsoft did not make it.

Under the new policy, log data can be retained, but IP addresses will be anonymized after 90 days. The data affected isn’t just search logs, either, but “page views, page clicks, ad views, and ad clicks.” Yahoo makes exceptions to the policy for “fraud, security, and legal obligations,” so if any jurisdiction in which it operates passes mandatory data retention laws, the 90-day guarantee is overridden there.

I never use Microsoft for online searching or their email system. Again from the ARS writeup:

Google has been cutting its own retention period for personal information, though not quite so dramatically. Google at first agreed to anonymize its server logs after 18-24 months; after pressure from the European Union, Google agreed to anonymize its logs after 18 months. In September, it cut that to nine months.

Microsoft keeps the identifying information in its logs longest of all, at 18 months. Some smaller search engines, like, offer even more control over information collection.

What you leave behind can come back to haunt you.

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