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Google

+ - Google's privacy policy bashed by research organiz->

Submitted by
secretsather
secretsather writes "http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2007/06/10/go ogles-privacy-policy-bashed-by-research-organizati on-privacy-international/

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.

The Internet-based companies were evaluated on details such as the type of personal information that the sites collected; whether or not the collected data was actually useful to the company; for how long the data was kept; and whether or not the company employed a strong, transparent privacy policy.

        "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."

Link to Original Source

Amigo's R622AG WiFi router mirrors Xbox 360 design->

From feed by engfeed

Filed under: Wireless, Networking

We're fairly sure Amigo Technology's R622AG WiFi router meant no harm when it came out of the laboratory looking exactly like Microsoft's latest console, but we'll be surprised if no legal teams are contacted over this one. The four-port router supports 802.11a/b/g, includes a pair of USB 2.0 connectors for sharing external data or printers over the network (shown after the jump), and should look like a long lost twin situated beside your Xbox 360. No word yet on price nor availability, but this thing definitely outdoes the other 360 copycat we saw just days ago in terms of closest resemblance.

Continue reading Amigo's R622AG WiFi router mirrors Xbox 360 design

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!


Link to Original Source
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Easter Eggs for Shaun Inman's Mint 2->

Submitted by
Psy2k
Psy2k writes "Here are some type combinations that will drive your Mint 2 installation to do weird things: Appear the Mintman (someone like Superman...) and show a really strange "approved" stamp! Of course these are not bugs, they are Easter Eggs, that Shaun himself put into Mint for fun. Here is a quote from the original article:



# Easter Egg 1: After you log in, type b a and look on your bottom right corner in your mint page!

# Easter Egg 2: If you want to see the Mintman, log in and type R L Y B
"

Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - Attorney sues website over his online rating->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that a local attorney is suing legal startup Avvo.com over a rating that was algorithmically assigned. The story touches over the controversy of computers grading humans. Such practices are not new: the New York Times earlier this year reported on Google using algorithms to determine applicant suitability. But what happens when you don't like the result? Can a computer program be considered defamatory?"
Link to Original Source
Movies

+ - TorrentSpy ordered to become MPAA Spy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""TorrentSpy — one of the web's most famous BitTorrent sites was told by federal judge Jacqueline Chooljian in the Central District of California that despite the site's privacy policy which states they will never monitor their visitors without consent, they must start creating logs detailing their user's activities. Understandably, this is a worrying move by the court — even more so when one considers these logs must then be turned over to the MPAA.""
Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - An end to chemical waste?

Submitted by Yeoman
Yeoman (666) writes "http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Arti cles%5El1663&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDis pWhat=object&enVersion=0&enZone=Technology&

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. ... Two years on, the company has developed a device that almost completely destroys the waste, converting it into water and carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere through a vent, or into materials that can be recycled by the industry."
Bug

+ - The Straight Dope on Colony Collapse Disorder

Submitted by
friedo
friedo writes "Slashdot has been covering the bizarre story of Colony Collapse Disorder — the mysterious disappearance of agricultural beehives all over North America. Now the Straight Dope has weighed in with the unsurprising conclusion that much of the panic is no more than simple media hype. "[T]there's no reason at this point to think European honey bees are going to be wiped out, now or ever. The die-offs so far appear to affect some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area. That's one reason scientists are so puzzled, but it strongly suggests the losses may have something to do with how individual beekeepers are managing their bees. The "significant percentage" of failing hives is still a drop in the bucket when viewed against the global population of honey bees, and there are lots of beekeepers (even in the U.S., which appears hardest hit) who have not had, and may never have, significant losses of colonies. Plenty of honey bees remain to replace the ones that have died."

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." -- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928

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