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YouTube Defending Select Videos Against DMCA Abuse 56

Galaga88 writes: It's not a complete solution, but YouTube is going to begin stepping up to defend select videos in court on fair use terms, including covering court costs. Will this help stem the tide of bad DMCA takedown requests, or just help the select few YouTube doesn't want to lose? From the blog post linked: We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns. With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them. ... In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a “demo reel” that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.

Manhattan DA Pressures Google and Apple To Kill Zero Knowledge Encryption ( 291

An anonymous reader writes: In a speech to the 6th Annual Financial Crimes and Cybersecurity Symposium, New York County District Attorney for Manhattan Cyrus Vance Jr. has appealed to the tech community — specifically citing Google and Apple — to "do the right thing" and end zero-knowledge encryption in mobile operating systems. Vance Jr. praised FBI director James Comey for his 'outspoken' and 'fearless' advocacy against zero knowledge encryption, and uses the recent attacks on Paris as further justification for returning encryption keys to the cloud, so that communications providers can once again comply with court orders.

Google's New About Me Tool Is the Anti-Google+ 54

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched a new tool called About me that lets you see, edit, and remove the personal information that the company's services show to other users. Google confirmed to VentureBeat that the feature started rolling out to users this week. Google's various products and services (Gmail, Hangouts, Google Maps, Inbox, Google Play, YouTube, Google+, and so on) sometimes ask you to share certain personal information. These details are then shown to other users who interact with you or search for you. Until now, all of this was stored in Google+, assuming you created an account. But Google+ is no longer a requirement for Google's services, and so the company needs a new solution, and ideally one that isn't public by default.

Could Go Community's Threat of Public Shaming, Lifetime Bans Make Go a No-Go? 358

theodp writes: At first glance, the proposal for A Code of Conduct for the Go Community (attributed to Google's Andrew Gerrand) seems reasonable enough. How can you argue with the goal of treating everyone with respect and kindness? But the Devil is in the detail, and the proposed Code notes there soon could be consequences for calling someone an "idiot" or saying something is "so simple even my grandma could understand it" (the latter "marginalises women and the elderly by implying that something need be simple for an old woman to understand it"). And the punishment meted out by the Go Code of Conduct Working Group to those who find themselves on the receiving end of an anonymous complaint could be anything from nothing to "a request for a private or public apology, a private reprimand from the working group to the individual(s) involved, a public reprimand, an imposed vacation (for instance, asking someone to 'take a week off' from a mailing list or IRC), or a permanent or temporary ban from some or all Go spaces (mailing lists, IRC, etc.)." And no, this doesn't appear to be a goof. So, might individuals and companies think twice about embracing a programming language whose community's Code of Conduct threatens to ruin reputations and ban people from technical support resources for life? Too late to get this added to the list of questions for Alan Donovan and Brian Kernighan?

Amazon Follows Through: Drops Apple TV, Chromecast 233

Hot Hardware notes that Amazon has stopped selling two pieces of hardware -- Apple TV and Google's Chromecast -- that compete with Amazon's own streaming business. (They promised to drop them a while back; not everyone though they actually would.) From the article: While some have likened this move to being anti-competitive, it's hard to grasp whether the legal system would agree. Amazon's defense is that since these devices don't support Prime Video, it doesn't want to sell products to its customers and have them assume that they will."

Google Threatens Action Against Symantec After Botched Investigation ( 95

itwbennett writes: Through its acquisition of Verisign's authentication business unit in 2010, Symantec became one of the largest certificate authorities (CAs) in the world. In September of this year, Google discovered that Symantec had issued a pre-certificate for without its knowledge. Symantec's initial investigation of the incident determined that 23 test certificates had been issued for domain names belonging to Google, Opera and three other unnamed organizations. But Google quickly found additional unauthorized certificates that Symantec missed. Now, Google wants Symantec to disclose all certificates issued by its SSL business going forward.

Google Fiber Goes Down During World Series, Credits KC 2 Days of Service ( 183

kstatefan40 writes: Google Fiber went down in Kansas City during one of the most important times in the local market: Game 1 of the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Yesterday, I got an apology from them via email, and even though I wasn't home during the outage, they're making up for it by proactively giving the entire market 2 days of service off of their next bill. The rest of the industry could really learn from their customer service.

When was the last time a telecom provider gave you a discount on your bill without you asking for it?
The only times I've gotten much apology from my own ISP is when I threaten (with reason) to jump ship.

The Google Employee Who Opted For a Truck Over Bay Area Rents ( 492

Nerval's Lobster writes: A little over a year ago, Google employees on a Quora thread announced they'd discovered an interesting way to live in the ultra-expensive Bay Area: Rather than pay for conventional housing, they resided in trucks and RVs parked near (or on) the company's campus, and took advantage of corporate perks—including free food, gym facilities, and dry cleaning—to get by on a day-by-day basis. Now one Googler, Brandon S., has taken to his blog to describe how he engaged in a little off-grid living within sight of Google's high-tech headquarters. First he spent $10,000 of his Google signing bonus on a 2006 Ford truck with 128 square feet of room in the back, which he filled with a bed, dresser, and coat rack. Google pays for his phone, and he uses the company's gym and cafeterias to eat and shower. For those Bay Area tech pros who think Brandon's lifestyle sounds appealing, his list of drawbacks includes "social suicide," the inconvenience of not having a bathroom or fridge in close proximity, stress, insect infestations, and the upfront costs of purchasing a large-enough vehicle. On the other hand, he's also using the cash savings to rapidly pay down his student loans.

Google Drops Desktop Voice Search In Chrome ( 51

PC World reports that even as Microsoft is pushing voice input on the desktop (in the form of an expanded role for its Cortana digital assistant), Google is responding to user (dis)interest in searching by voice from the desktop, by dropping "OK Google"-based voice commands in the latest iteration of Chrome. This seems too bad to me, so I wish they'd at least leave the voice input as an option; I've only lately been getting comfortable with search by voice on my phone, and though I've found the results to be hit or miss (my phone responds a bit too often to "OK," and seems to stumble even on some common words, spoken clearly), when it works I really like it.

Why Self-Driving Cars Should Never Be Fully Autonomous ( 397

An anonymous reader writes: David Mindell, an MIT professor, says self-driving cars should never be fully autonomous. "There's an idea that progress in robotics leads to full autonomy. That may be a valuable idea to guide research but when automated and autonomous systems get into the real world, that's not the direction they head. We need to rethink the notion of progress, not as progress toward full autonomy, but as progress toward trusted, transparent, reliable, safe autonomy that is fully interactive: The car does what I want it to do, and only when I want it to do it." Mindell writes, "Google's utopian autonomy is a more brittle, less functional solution than a rich, human-centered automation."

Google Helped Cause the Mysterious Increase In 911 Calls SF Asked It To Solve ( 166

theodp writes: Android users have long complained publicly that it's way too easy to accidentally dial 911. So it's pretty astonishing that it took a team of Google Researchers and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management government employees to figure out that butt-dialing was increasing the number of 911 calls. The Google 9-1-1 Team presented its results in How Googlers helped San Francisco Use Data Science to Understand a Surge in 911 Calls, a Google-sponsored presentation at the Code for America Summit, and in San Francisco's 9-1-1 Call Volume Increase, an accompanying 26-page paper.

Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data 58

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail. Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists. This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.

Google As Alphabet Subsidiary Drops "Don't Be Evil" 247

CNet, The Verge, and many other outlets are reporting that with the official transition of Google (as overarching company) to Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google's made another change that's caught a lot of people's attention: the company has swapped out their famous motto "Don't be evil" for one with a slightly different ring: "Do the right thing." Doing the right thing sounds like a nice thing to aspire to, but doesn't seem quite as exciting.

Stagefright 2.0 Vulnerabilities Affect 1 Billion Android Devices 123

msm1267 writes: Security researcher Joshua Drake today disclosed two more flaws in Stagefright, one that dates back to the first version of Android, and a second dependent vulnerability that was introduced in Android 5.0. The bugs affect more than one billion Android devices, essentially all of them in circulation. One of the vulnerabilities was found in a core Android library called libutils; it has been in the Android OS since it was first released and before there were even Android mobile devices. The second vulnerability was introduced into libstagefright in Android 5.0; it calls into libutils in a vulnerable way. An attacker would use a specially crafted MP3 or MP4 file in this case to exploit the vulnerabilities. Google has released patches into the Android Open Source Project tree, but public patches are not yet available.

Google Shows Off 2 New Nexus Phones, a New Pixel, and More 208

Two of the products officially unveiled at Google's much-anticipated (at least much-hyped) release announcement were widely and correctly predicted: a pair of new Nexus phones. The flagship is the all-metal Huawei 6P, with a 5.7" AMOLED display (2,560x1,440), 3GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 810 chip. The Huawei overshadows the nonetheless respectable second offering, the LG-made Nexus 5X, which makes concessions in the form of less RAM (2GB instead of the 6P's 3), smaller battery (2700mAh, instead of 3450) and a lesser Snapdragon chip inside (808, rather than 810). Both phones, though, come with USB-C and with a big upgrade for a line of phones not generally praised for its cameras: a large-pixel 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor. Much less predicted: Google announced a new bearer for the Pixel name, after its line of high-end Chromebooks; today's entrant is a tablet, not running Chrome, and it's running Android rather than Chrome OS. The Pixel C tablet will debut sometime later this year; google touts it as "the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google." Also on the agenda today, news that Android 6 will start hitting Nexus devices next week.

2 pints = 1 Cavort