On political advertising, Google tweaks its rules

Google’s new rules will kick in before the UK’s December 12 general election. Alphabet Inc’s Google will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election advertisements using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations, the company said in a blog post. The move comes as social media platforms are under pressure over their handling of political advertising ahead of the US presidential election in 2020. Social media giant Facebook Inc has been criticized by lawmakers and regulators over its decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians…

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Regulators investigate Google’s mega health data deal

Politicians and patients have raised privacy concerns over Google’s access to millions of individual medical records. A United States federal regulator has initiated an investigation into a cloud computing deal between Alphabet Inc’s Google and Ascension Health, which would give Google access to detailed health information of millions of patients, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper reported. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services will look into the data collection to ensure the partnership is in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which safeguards medical…

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Okay Google: Forget me!

The internet never forgets, but privacy concerns have more people pushing for that to change. In today’s digitally connected world, racist tweets, drunken Facebook photos or tactless emails can come back to haunt individuals years after the fact. With online search results affecting the outcome of job offers, relationships and even home loans, more people are pushing to have a say in shaping their digital narratives. This is already possible in the European Union, which grants  ordinary citizens (not public officials) the “right to be forgotten” on search engines in certain…

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Google touts quantum computing milestone

Quantum processor completes task in minutes that would take traditional supercomputer thousands of years, Google says. Google has said it has achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing research, saying an experimental quantum processor has completed a calculation in just a few minutes that would take a traditional supercomputer thousands of years. The findings, published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, show that “quantum speedup is achievable in a real-world system and is not precluded by any hidden physical laws,” the researchers wrote. Quantum computing is a nascent and somewhat…

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Amazon, Facebook and Google to face another US inquiry

The inquiry will focus on small businesses that allege they have been treated unfairly by the tech giants. Big tech firms are about to face yet another congressional headache. House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez plans to invite Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. to face questions from her committee on how the companies may be damaging the competitive landscape for small businesses. The hearing, which the committee hopes to hold in late October or early November, would be the latest front in the government’s probe of…

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Google wins ‘right to be forgotten’ case in top EU court

European Court of Justice rules against obliging Google to apply ‘right to be forgotten’ rule globally. Europe’s top court has ruled that US search giant Google does not have to apply globally a previous ruling that it comply with requests to remove online links, limiting “de-referencing” to just European Union domains. The landmark case stems from a legal battle waged by France to impose a “right to be forgotten” on the web. The European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling on Tuesday prevented the 28-member EU from acquiring unprecedented powers to regulate the…

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Google to invest more than $3bn in European data centers

Tech giant’s multibillion-dollar investment will support 13,000 full-time jobs in the EU every year, Google CEO says. Google’s top boss has announced that the United States-based technology giant is planning to invest three billion euros ($3.3bn) to expand its data centres across Europe in the next two years. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said on Friday it will bring the company’s total investments in the continent’s internet infrastructure to 15 billion euros ($16.6bn) since 2007. Pichai’s comments came as he met Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne in Helsinki. Pichai said the investments will…

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Dozens of states aim at Google in bipartisan antitrust probe

Attorneys general declare joint investigation into whether the big tech firm is a monopoly with search or ad business. Fifty states and territories have announced a broad investigation into Google‘s “potential monopolistic behaviour”. The announcement on Monday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton closely followed one from a separate group of states on Friday that disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance. The two probes widen the United States antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies beyond sweeping federal and congressional investigations and enforcement action by regulators in the European Union.…

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Google is fined $170m for collecting data on kids

Settlement resolves allegations that YouTube violated a federal online privacy law by tracking children under 13. Google will pay $170m to settle allegations that its YouTube video service broke United States federal law by collecting personal information about children, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday. YouTube had been accused of tracking viewers of children’s channels – by using cookies obtained without parental consent – to deliver millions of dollars in targeted advertisements to those viewers. The settlement with the FTC and the New York State attorney general’s office,…

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Google staff warns against working with US border agencies

A letter signed by almost 400 people urges Google not to be involved in ‘human rights abuses’. More than 350 Google employees have written an open letter to the company, demanding Google does not work with the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) because of its treatment of migrants at the country’s southern border. The letter, written by 365 Google employees and 35 supporters on Wednesday, also demands the company not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), accusing all three agencies of…

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How much is your data worth? New bill would make Google tell you

Legislation would force Facebook, Amazon and other technology giants to reveal the value of the user data they collect. As the United States Congress bears down on big tech companies, two senators want to force giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon to tell users what data they’re collecting from them and how much it is worth. The legislation floated Monday by Senators Mark Warner and Josh Hawley goes to the heart of the tech giants’ lucrative business model: harvesting data from platform users and making it available to advertisers so…

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Google enters the gaming arena with Stadia

A new video game platform aimed at bringing gamers together was revealed March 19 by Google as Stadia. Few realize that the history of video games dates back to the early 1950s, when computer scientists designed simple games and simulations as a fun way to research computer capabilities. Then in the 1980s, gaming consoles using joysticks, buttons and other controllers, along with graphics on screens, became part of American culture. With that history in mind, a new video game platform aimed at bringing gamers together was revealed March 19 by…

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