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Google reportedly fined $22.5M for bypassing Safari privacy settings - Page 2

post #41 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

That's a few hours of profit for Apple. While I don't agree with the decision the UK judge made toward Apple I do like the punishment. Having companies pay a fine that is a few million dollars will not discourage this behavior in the future.
This is the basic problem, this is chump change for Google ! To be effective such actions should put a business at risk. At the very least the fine is off by an order of magnitude.
post #42 of 69
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Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Where's my check?

Proof? Damages?

post #43 of 69
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Why not? 

... unless there isn't any. But surely there are.

Because I don't care about you or your personal info?

post #44 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Because I don't care about your or your personal info?

That's OK. I've already made the point.

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post #45 of 69
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Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

 

you have to opt out.

 

Did you opt in for path and other apps to take your contact list? No. 

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/02/15/us_congressmen_send_letter_to_apple_inquiring_about_ios_address_book_security.html

Now you've gone off the rails. I have no idea what you're talking about anymore. Sorry I didn't stick to your script.

post #46 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

That's OK. I've already made the point.

Well I guess I'm dense because I didn't get it.

post #47 of 69
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Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Well I guess I'm dense because I didn't get it.

Yeah you did. I give you more credit than that.

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post #48 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post

In all fairness, this could have been a case of carelessness or negligence on Google's part, rather than cynical malicious profiteering intent.
Bull crap! Google had to write code to do this. Such code isn't an accident.
Quote:
Given that though, doesn't that say something about their views on spying on people?
We've never heard anything like that before...
I'm not sure what you are referring to but it has been well known for years tht Google doesn't give a damn about you, your privacy, any copyrights you may hold or for that any patents. The have regularly stolen from people not caring in the least that there is the concept of rights holders.
Quote:
Eric S's and other Google bigwig's opinions on the matter are known.
I sign out of GMail as soon as I'm done using it. Facebook too. Am I paranoid?

Paranoid no, maybe a better term would be woefully uninformed. I have never understood why people use GMail when the risk of Google screwing you over is so great. A smart person would close out their GMail account to avoid all the little nasties Google pulls.
post #49 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

its not a secret that the track data on you.

https://developer.apple.com/iad/

you can opt out
http://gigaom.com/apple/quick-tip-opt-out-of-iad-data-collection/
http://oo.apple.com

Apple knows which apps you've purchased. Big deal - do you expect them to NOT have a record of that? If they don't track it, how do they let you download it free next time? So where's the personal information they track that's comparable to what Google tracks?

More importantly, if you opt out of Apple's tracking, you're actually out. Unlike Google where you think you've opted out and they track you anyway (such as the case that led to this settlement).
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post #50 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Yeah you did. I give you more credit than that.

No. Really. I didn't. For some reason I decided to take the time and go back and try to figure out what your point was and the best I could come up with was this bit:

 

 

Quote:

Tho I'm sure there's plenty of room for improvements, Google does offers quite a bit of transparency about the data collected on you, and lots of ways to control it.

But why you would think a company that illegitimately collected your data would then be open about what it had collected is beyond me.

post #51 of 69

I sure don't understand why 'spamsandwich' and 'just_me' are tag-teaming everyone and getting all up on people about "proof" and "damages" and discussions of constitutional rights and the intent of the founders, while never once acknowledging or discussing what Google did WRONG here (wrong enough to warrant a multi-million dollar fine)...

 

Personally, I'm getting weary of "punishments" that amount to nothing more than a meaningless slap on the pinky… punishments that are largely symbolic don't discourage crimes or malfeasance like this.

 

If Google really did harvest enough data to deliver a lot more advertising to millions of users, then they probably earned a LOT more from this "error" than they have to pay in "fines"… too often these days, it is often more profitable to just do the crime or offense and pay the "fee" that is the punishment… it's just part of the cost of doing business.

 

This is already common practice in the automotive, pharmaceutical, energy (oil), tobacco, insurance and financial industries…  they'll take a 'risk', knowing there may be financial consequences (fines, settlements), but having measured that the reward will likely far outweigh the cost of that risk they forge ahead, break or stretch laws and harvest those rewards...

 

It's almost like we're encouraging the practice with these soft-shoe "punishments".

post #52 of 69
Quote:
In a comment to AppleInsider, Google said:


The Journal mischaracterizes what happened and why. We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. It?s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.
Unlike other major browsers, Apple?s Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default. However, Safari enables many web features for its users that rely on third parties and third-party cookies, such as ?Like? buttons. Last year, we began using this functionality to enable features for signed-in Google users on Safari who had opted to see personalized ads and other content--such as the ability to ?+1? things that interest them.
To enable these features, we created a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google?s servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for this type of personalization. But we designed this so that the information passing between the user?s Safari browser and Google?s servers was anonymous--effectively creating a barrier between their personal information and the web content they browse.
However, the Safari browser contained functionality that then enabled other Google advertising cookies to be set on the browser. We didn?t anticipate that this would happen, and we have now started removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers. It?s important to stress that, just as on other browsers, these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.


Other ad networks that purportedly used the workaround include Vibrant Media, Media Innovation Group and Gannett PointRoll, though government action against the companies has yet to surface.
The FTC declined to comment on the matter and Google offered only a brief explanation, saying the government investigation was in regard to an out-of-date 2009 help center web page which didn't reflect changes made to Apple's cookie-handling policy.
"We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers," a Google spokeswoman said.

 

So, it checked to see if you were logged in to Google, whether you had enabled "certain features", sent you personalized ads, allowed access to your Google accounts, but it was anonymous? Please Google, how stupid do you think people are? Their entire statement is a self-contradictory lie. And that's even before we get to the really ridiculous part were they claim that not only were the cookies set "inadvertently" (Google sure does do a lot of stuff inadvertently.) but that the cookies don't collect personal information. Well, no, the cookies don't, but the servers they get sent back to do, duh!

 

Has there ever been such an arrogantly dishonest company in tech in anyone's memory? These guys make Microsoft look like Boy Scouts. They can't even open their mouths without lying.

 

And, of course, the, "out-of-date 2009 help center web page," they referred to is the one that, back when it wasn't an, "out-of-date 2009 help center web page," but their current help page at the time, the FTC found that Google was lying to consumers and violating their privacy in ways they said they wouldn't. Google then made a contract (a consent decree) with the government not to do these things again, and now they've been found to have violated that consent decree -- i.e., they lied, promised not to lie again, then lied and stole. The fine is ridiculously tiny, it should have been at least 10% of their annual revenues, for the past 3 years. (And, incidentally, for those of you asking why other companies haven't been fined for "doing the same thing", the answer is obviously that those other companies didn't lie to the consumers and the government and haven't violated existing consent decrees like Google did.)

post #53 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

So, it checked to see if you were logged in to Google, whether you had enabled "certain features", sent you personalized ads, allowed access to your Google accounts, but it was anonymous? Please Google, how stupid do you think people are? Their entire statement is a self-contradictory lie. And that's even before we get to the really ridiculous part were they claim that not only were the cookies set "inadvertently" (Google sure does do a lot of stuff inadvertently.) but that the cookies don't collect personal information. Well, no, the cookies don't, but the servers they get sent back to do, duh!

Has there ever been such an arrogantly dishonest company in tech in anyone's memory? These guys make Microsoft look like Boy Scouts. They can't even open their mouths without lying.

And, of course, the, "out-of-date 2009 help center web page," they referred to is the one that, back when it wasn't an, "out-of-date 2009 help center web page," but their current help page at the time, the FTC found that Google was lying to consumers and violating their privacy in ways they said they wouldn't. Google then made a contract (a consent decree) with the government not to do these things again, and now they've been found to have violated that consent decree -- i.e., they lied, promised not to lie again, then lied and stole. The fine is ridiculously tiny, it should have been at least 10% of their annual revenues, for the past 3 years. (And, incidentally, for those of you asking why other companies haven't been fined for "doing the same thing", the answer is obviously that those other companies didn't lie to the consumers and the government and haven't violated existing consent decrees like Google did.)

I agree completely. I haven't seen any other company exhibit such an unrelenting disregard for the law or others' rights.

For example, how could anyone think they could possibly get away with their original Google Books fiasco? And then, after they got caught, they tried to force it through Congress, anyway.

Scum.
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post #54 of 69

So where does the money go from all of these generous fines anyways?  Someone's slush fund, thin air?  Just curious.  I also have to ask $22.5 million when Verizon gets fined $1.25 million for intentionally blocking 3rd party apps and restricting access to apps and removing 3rd party apps (by demand) when it stated in the C Block 700Mhz spectrum auction that they couldn't.  Seems to me the fine should have been much higher for both.  Of course iOS needs more security control and protection to warn against unauthorized access.

post #55 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
For example, how could anyone think they could possibly get away with their original Google Books fiasco? And then, after they got caught, they tried to force it through Congress, anyway.
Scum.

Are you familiar with the HathiTrust Digital Library? How about the Electronic Frontier Foundation's stand on "fair use" and book-scanning? Or how the Google Books project formed the basis for the HathiTrust's digitally-scanned library? Do you even know the reason the court refused the negotiated Author's Guild and Google agreement? (Hint: It wasn't a ruling on "fair use")

 

You should spend a few minutes researching if you're at all interested in being informed since your post might indicate you're not all that familiar with the issues. Here's a starter:

https://www.eff.org/cases/authors-guild-v-hathitrust

 

Or if the EFF's brief to the court is too boring, here's a synopsis of the arguments:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/52946-library-groups-eff-hit-back-in-hathitrust-case.html

 

Google makes it's fair share of errors in judgement. IMO this one isn't as obviously and clearly illegal as you apparently assume it is.


Edited by Gatorguy - 8/1/12 at 6:36am
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post #56 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Are you familiar with the HathiTrust Digital Library? How about the Electronic Frontier Foundation's stand on "fair use" and book-scanning? Or how the Google Books project formed the basis for the HathiTrust's digitally-scanned library? Do you even know the reason the court refused the negotiated Author's Guild and Google agreement? (Hint: It wasn't a ruling on "fair use")

 

You should spend a few minutes researching if you're at all interested in being informed since your post might indicate you're not all that familiar with the issues. Here's a starter:

https://www.eff.org/cases/authors-guild-v-hathitrust

 

Or if the EFF's brief to the court is too boring, here's a synopsis of the arguments:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/52946-library-groups-eff-hit-back-in-hathitrust-case.html

 

Google makes it's fair share of errors in judgement. IMO this one isn't as obviously and clearly illegal as you apparently assume it is.

 

Oh, please, GG, stop trying to defend Google's blatant violations of copyright law. They stole thousands (millions?) of books, then tried to ram a "settlement" through the courts that would have let them off the hook and rewritten copyright law in their favor. There wasn't anything altruistic about it, they just didn't want to follow the law.

post #57 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Are you familiar with the HathiTrust Digital Library? How about the Electronic Frontier Foundation's stand on "fair use" and book-scanning? Or how the Google Books project formed the basis for the HathiTrust's digitally-scanned library? Do you even know the reason the court refused the negotiated Author's Guild and Google agreement? (Hint: It wasn't a ruling on "fair use")

You should spend a few minutes researching if you're at all interested in being informed since your post might indicate you're not all that familiar with the issues. Here's a starter:
https://www.eff.org/cases/authors-guild-v-hathitrust

Or if the EFF's brief to the court is too boring, here's a synopsis of the arguments:
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/52946-library-groups-eff-hit-back-in-hathitrust-case.html

Google makes it's fair share of errors in judgement. IMO this one isn't as obviously and clearly illegal as you apparently assume it is.

ROTFLMAO.

So EFF has no more respect for authors' copyrights than Google. How does that make Google's attempted theft legal?
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post #58 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


ROTFLMAO.
So EFF has no more respect for authors' copyrights than Google. How does that make Google's attempted theft legal?

Perhaps it's your premise that's incorrect rather than the EFF, The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and dozens of colleges and universities including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cornell. etc.


Edited by Gatorguy - 8/1/12 at 9:02am
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post #59 of 69
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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Bull crap! Google had to write code to do this. Such code isn't an accident.

They wrote code to get around it, clearly. We can only guess at motive.
Quote:
I'm not sure what you are referring to but it has been well known for years tht Google doesn't give a damn about you, your privacy, any copyrights you may hold or for that any patents. The have regularly stolen from people not caring in the least that there is the concept of rights holders.

Woops < /s >. Agreed!
Quote:
Paranoid no, maybe a better term would be woefully uninformed. I have never understood why people use GMail when the risk of Google screwing you over is so great. A smart person would close out their GMail account to avoid all the little nasties Google pulls.

Ah... we were so naive back in the day. Switching from msn seemed like a good idea at the time. I sign out so they don't track me personally. That's all.
post #60 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Perhaps it's your premise that's incorrect rather than the EFF, The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and dozens of colleges and universities including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cornell. etc.

 

None of those organizations are the copyright holders (in almost all cases), so the fact that they'd like to have free books too, hardly matters. But, nice of you to completely ignore the rights or authors and other copyright holders in this discussion. It's exactly what we'd expect coming from you.

post #61 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Perhaps it's your premise that's incorrect rather than the EFF, The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and dozens of colleges and universities including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cornell. etc.

Sure. Do you have any idea how much the Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, etc libraries spend on books every year?

Harvard, for example, spends $19 M per year on book and periodical purchases.
http://hul.harvard.edu/publications/ar0607/files/ar07.hul.statistics.pdf

Isn't it obvious that they'd prefer to be able to get all of those books without paying the publishers and authors? That's hardly justification for stealing copyrighted works.
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post #62 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Sure. Do you have any idea how much the Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, etc libraries spend on books every year?
Harvard, for example, spends $19 M per year on book and periodical purchases.
http://hul.harvard.edu/publications/ar0607/files/ar07.hul.statistics.pdf
Isn't it obvious that they'd prefer to be able to get all of those books without paying the publishers and authors? That's hardly justification for stealing copyrighted works.

Then that plainly must be the answer. Simple Ivy League theft, thumbing their high and mighty noses at the law. Colluding with libraries throughout the US and overseas to steal books. It certainly couldn't be that you might be wrong and lack understanding of the arguments the EFF is making in support of the HathiTrust Digital Library's book scanning efforts, fair use and existing copyright law. 

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post #63 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Then that plainly must be the answer. Simple Ivy League theft, thumbing their high and mighty noses at the law. Colluding with libraries throughout the US and overseas to steal books. It certainly couldn't be that you might be wrong and lack understanding of the arguments the EFF is making in support of the HathiTrust Digital Library's book scanning efforts, fair use and existing copyright law. 

Nope, it's just another case where GG is completely wrong and where his "sources" aren't at all relevant to the issue.

But, even if we assume there is some circumstance where "fair use" might allow the copying of an entire book, let alone thousands of them (there is no such case, but for the sake of argument), that still wouldn't allow Google to invoke "fair use" to justify its illegal Google Books program because Google was making copies for commercial purposes. Even if they gave the books away (1 copyright violation per download), even if they didn't directly sell ads associated with them, it's still for commercial purposes given the nature of Google's business.

To review:

1. Google Books - Google acts as thought they are above the law
2. Street View - Google does home invasion, steals personal data, lies to regulators, lies to regulators again.
3. Net neutrality - Google pays lip service to net neutrality for years, then, when it's to their benefit, conspires with Verizon to destroy it.
4. Patents - Bases their entire business on patents they have an exclusive license to, then argues that patents are bad.
5. Safari Cookies - Google lies to consumers, violates their privacy, gets caught, promises (consent decree) not to do it again, does it again anyway.

and so on...

There is no possible way to trust this company. Google has consistently lied, cheated, stolen. They have shown themselves to be the basest hypocrites with no respect for the law, no respect for privacy, no respect for their own word and no respect for consumers.
Edited by anonymouse - 8/2/12 at 5:19am
post #64 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Bull crap! Google had to write code to do this. Such code isn't an accident.

Actually, the idea that this was an accident on Google's part isn't that far-fetched. Read the article again, and pay close attention to Google's explanation of what happened. Google added +1 buttons to their ads, and Safari suddenly got confused about whether those ads were ads or like buttons. Safari suddenly stopped blocking cookies from Google ads, and Google got blamed for it. Google probably tested the update on all major browsers before they released it to be sure it worked properly, but I'm guessing they didn't bother to check how the update would affect optional browser-specific features, like Safari's cookie blocking feature. As soon as they heard about the problem they released a patch and fixed it; I don't see what all the fuss is about. I guess I can't blame you for being suspicious though.

post #65 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

 

If he looked in his cache and searched for all of the doubleclick cookies created at times when he didn't interact with an ad at all (likely all of them), then determined how many websites he visited in each browsing session after those cookies were created (using his history), then determined the market value of selling that browsing information to advertisers, it would give a rough estimate of how much Google profited off him without his consent.

Maybe, but does that really count as 'harm' to you? Can you prove that Google having that information harmed you in any way? That is a rather interesting question.

post #66 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Meyer View Post

Actually, the idea that this was an accident on Google's part isn't that far-fetched. Read the article again, and pay close attention to Google's explanation of what happened. Google added +1 buttons to their ads, and Safari suddenly got confused about whether those ads were ads or like buttons. Safari suddenly stopped blocking cookies from Google ads, and Google got blamed for it. Google probably tested the update on all major browsers before they released it to be sure it worked properly, but I'm guessing they didn't bother to check how the update would affect optional browser-specific features, like Safari's cookie blocking feature. As soon as they heard about the problem they released a patch and fixed it; I don't see what all the fuss is about. I guess I can't blame you for being suspicious though.

 

Given that Google's explanation that everything wrong they get caught doing is that it was "inadvertent", it's not a believable excuse, even if they are able to concoct a plausible scenario to explain it away. It wasn't inadvertent. They behave like an alcoholic who always has an excuse for why he screwed up and why it wasn't his fault.

 

Next, Google will be arguing that the illegal copying of books in the Google Books program was inadvertent: "Some of our developers, contractors in fact, unbeknownst to us, were experimenting with what would happen if you ran books through a scanner and digitized them. Apparently, they left the scanners on and it filled up our databases with copyrighted materials. It was entirely inadvertent."


Edited by anonymouse - 8/3/12 at 4:06am
post #67 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Meyer View Post

Maybe, but does that really count as 'harm' to you? Can you prove that Google having that information harmed you in any way? That is a rather interesting question.

Actually, it's not such an interesting question. For some actions, it's not necessary to prove harm - the mere fact that the event occurred is sufficient.

More importantly, even if any one individual can not show harm, it's still easy to argue that Google's misuse of private information harms all of us.
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post #68 of 69
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Given that Google's explanation that everything wrong they get caught doing is that it was "inadvertent", it's not a believable excuse, even if they are able to concoct a plausible scenario to explain it away. It wasn't inadvertent. They behave like an alcoholic who always has an excuse for why he screwed up and why it wasn't his fault.

 

Next, Google will be arguing that the illegal copying of books in the Google Books program was inadvertent: "Some of our developers, contractors in fact, unbeknownst to us, were experimenting with what would happen if you ran books through a scanner and digitized them. Apparently, they left the scanners on and it filled up our databases with copyrighted materials. It was entirely inadvertent."

I can't say for sure what's going on with Google Books right now, as I haven't been following that story. But as for the Safari incident, Google did not "concoct" that excuse. The technical part of it is a verifiable fact. Now, they may or may not have been lying about whether they knew that their code messed up Safari's cookie blocking; but I don't really see a motive for them doing something like that intentionally; especially when they themselves offer an opt-out feature that does effectively the same thing on both their website and on Chrome. And of course, they would have also been aware of the potential for their plan to backfire, which hardly seems worth the risk considering how easy was for them to be discovered. All in all, in this particular case it seems pretty obvious to me that this was unintentional.

post #69 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Actually, it's not such an interesting question. For some actions, it's not necessary to prove harm - the mere fact that the event occurred is sufficient.
More importantly, even if any one individual can not show harm, it's still easy to argue that Google's misuse of private information harms all of us.

I meant that from a legal perspective. I'm certainly no lawyer (so I could be mistaken), but don't you have to prove that you suffered monetary damage in order to be successful in a class-action lawsuit?

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