Search engine Google has decided to incur the wrath of the EU and only remove search results from European websites when individuals invoke their “right to be forgotten”, contrary to regulators’ guidelines.
The company’s chief legal officer David Drummond said that Google is reviewing that policy but it has not changed since November.
“We’ve had a basic approach, we’ve followed it, on this question we’ve made removals Europe-wide but not beyond,” he said.
Google has consistently argued that it believes the ruling should only apply to its European websites, such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France.
However, privacy watchdogs from EU countries, the Article 29 Working Party, concluded in November that they want search engines to scrub results globally because it is easy to swap from Google.co.uk to Google.com.
Google feels that there has to be limits to the rules because it really is a European concept. In the US, it is considered OK to libel someone and then have the smear hang around for decades.
Since the ruling in May, Google has received more than 200,000 requests from across Europe affecting over 700,000 URLs, according to its online transparency report.
Citizens whose removal requests have been refused by a search engine can appeal to their national data protection regulator, who can then take action against the company.
The move would link Google with the largest US wireless carriers to battle Apple and its much hyped but mostly ignored Apple Pay service.
The deal may be valued below $100 million, the report said citing sources.
Softcard is jointly owned by AT&T, Verizon Communication, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US.
So far it is seen as rumour and speculation and no one is commenting on the record about it. However, if Google does buy the outfit it will give it significant clout in the payment markets. However, at the moment most of the focus is on the bigger retailers coming up with payment systems of their own.
The fear with Google or Apple getting their paws on transaction data is that you can be bothered by advertising based on your buying history, which could be embarrassing if you went to a stripper club once.
Google said that it will instead focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before.
But it means that the Explorer programme, which gave software developers the chance to buy Glass for $1,500 will close.
It had been expected that once developers wrote some code to run on Glass it would be followed reasonably quickly by a full consumer launch.
However that did not happen and some feared that it would be it would be left in one of Google’s Beta hells for a thousand years.
Now it seems that that the Glass team will also move out of the Google X division which engages in “blue sky” research, and become a separate undertaking, under its current manager Ivy Ross.
Ross and the Glass team will report to Tony Fadell, the chief executive of the home automation business Nest, acquired by Google a year ago.
Fadell told the BBC that the project had “broken ground and allowed us to learn what’s important to consumers and enterprises alike” and he was excited to be working with the team “to integrate those learnings into future products”.
Google says it is committed to working on the future of the product, but is not giving any timescale when we will see it or see through it. Intel had pledged to support Google Glass – Tesco launched a Google Glass app earlier this week.
Last month, Google angered Microsoft by releasing the details of a security vulnerability ahead of Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday. Microsoft said that the patch was set to be released two days after Google went live with the details and that they refused to wait an extra 48 hours so that the patch would have been released along with the details of the exploit.
That would all be fine but Google does not have the same standards for itself. An exploit has been uncovered in Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) – which covers roughly 60 per cent of Android’s install base, according to the Android Developer dashboard – and Google is saying that they will not patch the flaw.
The flaw, which exists in WebView impacts nearly 1 billion users, when using Google’s own numbers as a base along with Gartner figures.
To make matters worse Jelly Bean was first announced in June of 2012, which means that Google is dropping support for its mobile OS less than three years after it was released.
Google is clearly stating that legacy support for the OS is not on their agenda even while phones are still being flogged with Jelly Bean under the bonnet.
The question is why if Google is being such a bastard about its own operating system is it so keen to throw Microsoft under the bus?
According to a report from cloud experts Netskope, organisations are employing an average of over 600 business cloud apps, despite the majority of software posing a high risk of data leak.
More than 15 percent of logins for business cloud apps used by organisations had been breached by hackers.
One in five businesses in the Netskope cloud actively used more than 1,000 cloud apps, and over eight per cent of files in corporate-sanctioned cloud storage apps were in violation of DLP policies, source code, and other policies surrounding confidential and sensitive data.
A quarter of all files are shared with one or more people outside of the organisation, and of external users with links to shared content, almost 12 percent have access to 100 or more files.
Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri said that 2014 left an indelible mark on security – between ongoing high-profile breaches and the onslaught of vulnerabilities like Shellshock and Heartbleed, CSOs and CISOs had more on their plate than ever.
“These events underscore the sobering reality that many in the workforce have been impacted by data breaches and will subsequently use compromised accounts in their work lives, putting sensitive information at risk,” he added.
The research also found that the most insecure apps were primarily linked with marketing, finance and human resource software, while cloud storage, social and IT/app management programmes had the lowest proportion of insecure apps.
“Employees today have shifted from thinking of apps as a nice-to-have to a must-have, and CISOs must continue to adapt to that trend to secure their sensitive corporate and customer data across all cloud apps, including those unsanctioned by IT,” Beri continued.
Google Drive, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Gmail were among the apps investigated.
WikiLeaks journalist and Courage Foundation acting director Sarah Harrison displayed a redacted copy of the warrant during her presentation on source protection at the Chaos Communications Congress yesterday in Hamburg, Germany.
The warrant was dated for execution by April 5, 2012 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and it was apparently part of the continuing investigation by the Justice Department into criminal charges against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
It is not clear whose e-mail was searched and details were not provided, and Wikileaks is a little er secretive about who works there. According to a statement on the organisation’s website, “Given the high level assassination threats against WikiLeaks staff, we cannot disclose exact details about our team members.”
A Google spokesperson said in a statement: that it did not talk about individual cases to help protect all its users.
When it received a subpoena or court order, Google check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if it doesn’t, it asks that the request is narrowed.
“We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users,” a spokesGoogle said.
This is the second time a US warrant has been served at Google for data from someone connected to WikiLeaks. A sealed warrant was served to Google in 2011 for the email of a WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland. The Justice Department has also previously sought to get metadata from WikiLeaks-connected Twitter accounts, and won a court battle with Twitter three years ago to force it to hand it over.
Global Times, which is controlled by the Chinese authorities, said if the government has indeed blocked access to Gmail, then there must be good reasons – such as “newly emerged security reasons”.
The editorial said it that is the reason for the service not working, users “need to accept the reality of Gmail being suspended in China”.
But the editorial is interlarded with ifs and buts. It suggests that there may be a technical glitch on Google’s side. And it said the Western press has accused the government of strengthening cyber censorship.
“The issue at heart is to what extent Google is willing to obey Chinese law, on which China’s attitude is steadfast,” it continued.
Chinese law was the reason that Google decided to quit the mainland in 2010.
Global Times accuses Google of running into conflict with other authorities.
“China welcomes the company to do business on the prerequisite that it obeys Chinese law; however, Google values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict.”
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
Google has laid out a reference framework for Chromebooks which means they will cost less than $300 per unit, according to a report from market intelligence firm Digitimes Research.
Dell and Acer will take the lead in cutting prices, with the former introducing a 15.6-inch Chromebook and Acer will introduce a model with the same size screen early next year.
Both are set to use Intel’s Broadwell-U microprocessor and the prices will mean stiff competition as Microsoft wants its hardware partners to produce notebooks costing less than $250.
However, Microsoft cannot hope to get hardware vendors to make Windows 8.1 with Bing machines for the same price point and with similar performance. Although Microsoft has cut licensing fees for Windows in an attempt to beat off competition from Chromebooks, the bill of materials to make notebooks precludes screens 15 inches and above.