Google Unveils New Devices, Privacy Features at I/O Event

At this week’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, the company unveiled new tools for a number of its products designed to help consumers control their personal data and how their online activities are tracked. “We think privacy is for everyone — not just for the few,” explained Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “We want to do more to stay ahead of constantly evolving user expectations.” In addition to detailing privacy features, Google made announcements regarding its two latest Pixel devices, its newest version of Android, the Nest Hub Max smart display, and updates to Google Assistant. Continue reading Google Unveils New Devices, Privacy Features at I/O Event

New Google Privacy Tools Aim to Limit Third-Party Cookies

In what could be touted as a privacy-related commitment, Google is expected to unveil new tools designed to limit the use of tracking cookies, including a dashboard-like function within its popular Chrome web browser that would give users information about where they’re being tracked and how to stop it, when desired. These tools are a product of years of internal debate, but the move could potentially strengthen Google’s lead in the digital advertising sector, while dealing a blow to other digital marketing companies.

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Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Facebook has again tweaked its News Feed, this time in a major way. The social media giant will now prioritize what a member’s friends and family share and comment on, rather than content from publishers and brands. The change, meant to maximize what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calls “meaningful interaction,” will take place over the next few weeks. Likewise, Facebook wants to diminish “passive content,” which is defined as that which requires nothing of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read. Continue reading Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

The Department of Justice officially charged four people yesterday in connection with Yahoo’s 2014 data breach that reportedly resulted in the theft of data from 500 million Yahoo accounts. According to the indictment, the Russian government used the data obtained by two intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev, Igor Sushchin) and two hackers (Alexsey Belan, Karim Baratov) to spy on White House and military officials, bank executives, cloud computing companies, a senior level airline official, a Nevada gaming regulator, as well as Russian journalists, business execs and government officials. Continue reading U.S. Claims That Russian Hackers Were Behind Yahoo Attack

Yahoo Warns Users: Hackers Forged Cookies to Access Data

Yahoo has issued another warning that users’ personal data may have been compromised. In addition to the malicious activity reported in December that involved more than 1 billion user accounts in 2013-2014, following the September report regarding a separate theft of 500 million records, the Internet company is now notifying users that additional accounts were compromised between 2015 and 2016. “The stolen data included email addresses, birth dates and answers to security questions,” reports CNBC. The hacks involved “the use of ‘forged cookies’ — strings of data which are used across the Web and can sometimes allow people to access online accounts without re-entering their passwords.” Continue reading Yahoo Warns Users: Hackers Forged Cookies to Access Data

Yahoo: Second Data Breach Involves 1 Billion User Accounts

In September, Yahoo revealed a 2014 security breach that involved 500,000 of its users’ accounts. Now the company has announced an even larger data breach from 2013 involving more than one billion accounts, including those of more than 150,000 government and military employees. “The two attacks are the largest known security breaches of one company’s computer network,” reports The New York Times. “The newly disclosed 2013 attack involved sensitive user information, including names, telephone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and unencrypted security questions that could be used to reset a password.” Continue reading Yahoo: Second Data Breach Involves 1 Billion User Accounts

FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Prompted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss cross-device tracking technologies. Using ultrasonic, inaudible pitches, the technology allows a user’s online behavior to be tracked across phones, TVs, tablets and computers. The pitches can be — and are already — embedded in TV commercials, ads in a computer browser and apps. The consumer is not made aware that the tracking technology has been activated and there is no way to opt out. Continue reading FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Some marketers believe fewer customers complete purchases on their small-screen smartphones, but Google says its data on mobile advertising shows otherwise. According to Google’s store-measurement data, one-third of mobile ads for Target led to a customer visit to a Target store during the 2014 holiday season. The rising popularity of larger smartphones, like the Nexus 6, and tablets also helps mobile sales because the screens are bigger and therefore the sites are easier to use. Continue reading Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

GigaPower by AT&T, the company’s 1 gigabit-per-second service, was introduced in 2013 in Austin, Texas — and this week it rolled out in Kansas City, Missouri. While customers can enjoy ultrafast fiber-optic Internet access for $70 per month, AT&T also tracks their online activities. Those who prefer to keep their browsing habits private can pay an additional $29 a month. Since opting out of sharing such data is typically offered free of charge, some are questioning whether AT&T’s model will discourage people from doing so. Continue reading AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

Last week, we reported that Verizon would offer users the ability to opt out of the company’s mobile ad-targeting program, which tags customers with unique codes to track online activity. The move followed complaints from privacy advocates regarding the use of the alphanumerical customer codes known as “supercookies.” Now, three Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation are calling for a formal investigation into Verizon’s tracking practices of its wireless subscribers. Continue reading Verizon Could Face Investigation Over Mobile Supercookies

Verizon Users Will Be Able to Opt Out of Mobile-Ad Targeting

Verizon users concerned with their online privacy will soon have the ability to opt out of the company’s mobile ad-targeting program, which tags customers with “supercookies” — or undetected code that can be used to track a consumer’s online activity. Verizon’s recent announcement to allow customers to remove themselves from being targeted or tagged with code follows a number of complaints from privacy advocates in regards to the company’s tracking practices and privacy standards.  Continue reading Verizon Users Will Be Able to Opt Out of Mobile-Ad Targeting

Facebook Takes Aim at Google with New Advertising Platform

Facebook reportedly plans to unveil a new advertising platform next week that is designed to improve how marketers target and measure their online ads. Atlas, a re-tooled version of the Atlas Advertiser Suite that the social network purchased from Microsoft last year, intends to challenge Google’s dominance in the online ad space. The new platform is expected to help marketers understand the engagement that results from ads on Facebook’s services and third-party websites and apps. Continue reading Facebook Takes Aim at Google with New Advertising Platform

Pandora Aims to Build Ad Revenue Based on Voting Patterns

Pandora is starting a new advertising service that would allow political organizations and candidates to target the majority of the Internet radio service’s listeners based on their likely voting preferences. Pandora is doing this by comparing election results with subscribers’ ZIP Codes and musical preferences. Then Pandora is labeling subscribers’ political preferences based on their musical taste, and if an artist is more popular in a largely Republican or Democratic area. Continue reading Pandora Aims to Build Ad Revenue Based on Voting Patterns

White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

As more people now browse the Internet on multiple devices, Web cookies are becoming less reliable and are on their way to being phased out. The question of what will replace the technology points to companies like Google and Apple, which will likely have greater control over the technologies behind online tracking. A white paper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau puts forward possible solutions, such as device manufacturers providing data about their customers’ habits to marketers. Continue reading White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

Google is in the early stages of developing its own alternative to cookies, which have a few limitations when it comes to tracking users. The company is working on universal IDs, which will track users from device to device. Whereas cookies can be erased and sometimes lead to ineffective ad targeting, universal IDs would provide more accurate user data. But it could also create a Google-owned monopoly of data. However, Google isn’t the only company working on cookie alternatives.  Continue reading Google Envisions a Web Beyond Cookie-Based Data Tracking

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