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The human rights research organization, Privacy International (PI), released a report, following a six-month investigation, into the privacy practices of 22 popular Internet-based companies. Google ranked the lowest with an initial assessment of "hostile to privacy," followed by AOL, Apple, Facebook, Windows Live Spaces, and Yahoo, among others.
"We are aware that the decision to place Google at the bottom of the ranking is likely to be controversial, but throughout our research we have found numerous deficiencies and hostilities in Google's approach to privacy that go well beyond those of other organizations," said Privacy International, in its report.
Privacy International (PI) recently tried to contacted Google, but received no response.
"It's a shame that Privacy International decided to publish its report before we had an opportunity to discuss our privacy practices with them," said Nicole Wong, Google's deputy general counsel. "We are disappointed with Privacy International's report, which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services."
Why Google? PI claims Google to retain large quantities of information about all users for an unstated or indefinite length of time with no disclosure or opportunity to delete personal data.
In addition, PI claims it to be a "prevailing view" that a 24 month record of all search strings linked to an individuals IP address is unacceptable, and possibly unlawful.
The list continues, but it is a monotonous tone of drivel that seeps from the mouth of a child; I'll spare you, but there are a few things that trouble me with PI's report.
First, it makes mention of Orkut, Google's online community:
"We ranked Orkut as a separate entity even though it is owned by Google."
But later links the two together while citing the reasons why Google was ranked so poorly, claiming:
"Google often maintains these records (user data) even after a user has deleted his profile or removed information from Orkut."
PI makes no mention as to what Google does with the Orkut data. Why? Because they don't know; but, does not hesitate to lower Google's privacy score as a result of, as stated in the report.
"Google has access to additional personal information, including hobbies, employment, address, and phone number, contained within user profiles in Orkut."
But assessing a company, based on facts unknown, is a violation of its own rules.
"It was not always possible to precisely assess a company's approach in each category. As a result, we erred on the side of caution and gave the company the benefit of the doubt and assessed it only for what we could actually identify."
Ironically, Microsoft was given 'orange' status (two levels better than Google) despite PI's claims that there is "not so much" of a difference between Microsoft and Google's data practices and privacy policies.
Rather, Microsoft achieved a better color as a result of "corporate ethos and leadership." Continuing, PI states Microsoft "appears to have adopted a less antagonistic attitude to privacy."
So Microsoft appearing to have a not so hostile approach gains them 2 levels above Google? Thanks for the privacy report, PI, but it's starting to seem as if there are larger things on your agenda than being concerned about my privacy.
Among those who achieved a 'blue' status of 'generally privacy aware' are BBC, Wikipedia, LiveJournal, and Ebay; however, it should be noted that not one Internet-based company was able to achieve a green light status from PI."
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an excerpt from the article:
Today companies emitting solid, liquid, or gas waste either send it to waste treatment sites for incineration, to landfill sites for burial, to Third World countries for dumping, or shut it away inside installations where hopefully it won't leak into the atmosphere. At best, these methods might make the chemical waste slightly less toxic, but basically they just transfer the problem from one place to another, creating environmental hazards that will be with us for years to come.
Recently we moved our office to a more Arctic location and took the opptortunity to get ourselves a penguin pet. We put him through various challenging escapades, strange rituals and voila: We can proudly present the Linux version of Penumbra: Overture Episode 1.
Penumbra: Overture is a first person survival horror game, created by Frictional Games and runs on the internally developed HPL-Engine. An engine that is now cross-platform, soon to be supporting the Mac OS X platform as well.
The "port" to Linux has been developed by Edward Rudd, who can also take credit for the upcoming Mac release. The HPL-Engine has from it's initial design process been developed with portability in mind, utilizing cross-platform technologies such as OpenGL, OpenAL, Collada and AngelScript. This has enabled the Linux and Mac development to go much smoother, making the Linux release possible soon after the Windows release. The Mac version is slightly delayed due to some unfortunate bumps in the road, but we hope to have overcome these in a not too distant future.
About Penumbra: Overture
Penumbra: Overture is a first person adventure game which focuses on story, immersion and puzzles. Instead of using violence to progress the player has to use his/her wits to guide Philip on his quest to unravel the past.
Played from a first person viewpoint, Penumbra: Overture is very different from other adventure games. Not only is it powered by a 3D engine utilising cutting edge technology, it also has an advanced physics system which allow for a never before seen environment interaction. The player can open drawers, pull levers, pick up objects and more using natural mouse movements creating a highly interactive and immersive game world.
Penumbra: Overture will keep players on the edge as they have to explore scary and immersive environments never knowing what is behind the next corner. The world is detailed, graphical as well as a story wise making the player feel part of the world as secrets are uncovered.
Find out more at: www.Penumbra-Overture.com
About Frictional Games
Frictional Games was founded in 2006 in the city of Helsingborg, located in the south of Sweden. After having released the Penumbra technology demonstration in early 2006 and receiving a warm welcome from gaming communities all over the world, the possibility to turn the project into a full-blown game was to good to be missed.
Frictional Games is a small company with three people at it's core creating the majority of the content and technology for the games. A network of external contributors provide additional resources in music, coding, writing and other specialized areas.
Find out more at: www.FrictionalGames.com"
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