After years of insisting that DRM in HTML wouldn't block open source implementations, Google says it won't support open source implementations

The bitter, yearslong debate at the World Wide Web Consortium over a proposal to standardize DRM for web browsers included frequent assurances by the pro-DRM side (notably Google, whose Widevine DRM was in line to be the principal beneficiary) that this wouldn't affect the ability of free/open source authors to implement the standard. Read the rest

Citing transphobic policies, 172+ googlers call for removal of Heritage Foundation from Google's "Advanced Technology External Advisory Council"

The googler uprising continues: after forcing the company to kill its plans to launch a censored Chinese search-engine and its plan to sell AI technology to US drone systems, and forcing out execs who led these projects, and getting the right to sue the company over sexual harassment, more than 170 googlers have signed an open letter demanding that the company reverse its decision to add Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James to its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an advisory body that provides moral guidance on AI and other technologies. Read the rest

Man stole $122m from Facebook and Google by sending them random bills, which the companies dutifully paid

Last week, Evaldas Rimasauskas of Lithuania plead guilty to US wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering charges, admitting that he had stolen $99m from Facebook and $23m from Google between 2013 and 2015. Read the rest

Larry Page approved $150M stock grant to Andy Rubin despite sex abuse allegations & without board's OK, lawsuit claims

Alphabet and Google co-founder Larry Page did not ask his company's board of directors for approval before personally approving a $150 million dollar stock grant to disgraced Android executive Andy Rubin, despite the sexual harassment allegations that led to Rubin's ouster. These are the claims in an investor lawsuit, which says the company covered up the sexual misconduct of Rubin and others. Read the rest

Leaked memo suggests that Google has not really canceled its censored, spying Chinese search tool

Last December, human rights advocates and Google employees cheered when they learned that internal dissent at Google had killed the company's secret plan to launch a search tool in China that would censor results to the specifications set out by state censors, and collect detailed histories of search activity that could be turned over to authorities hunting for dissidents. Read the rest

Record label censors copyright lawyers' site by falsely claiming it infringes copyright

SpicyIP is arguably the leading blog for experts on India's copyright system, but links to it disappeared from Google's search index following a fraudulent claim of copyright infringement filed by Saregama, India's oldest record label. Read the rest

Google says it won't remove Saudi government app that lets men track and monitor their wives and domestic employees

Absher is a kind of Saudi equivalent to China's Weibo, an all-in-one service that manages payments, interaction with government services, and, key to the Saudi system of sadistic, totalitarian medieval patriarchy, it lets men track the whereabouts of their wives, daughters, and employees, sending alerts to "guardians" when women use their passports. Read the rest

YouTube is disabling all comments on videos of young children

“YouTube is disabling all comments on videos featuring young children as it attempts to head off an organised ring of paedophiles who were using its site to trade clips of young girls in states of undress,” says the Guardian's Alex Hern. Read the rest

Google ends forced arbitration contracts for workers after googler uprising

The waves of protests and walkouts that swept Google last year had many grievances and concerns, from the company's Pentagon contract to supply AI for drones to the secret creation of a censored search tool for the Chinese market, but one central flashpoint was the revelation that the company had paid Android exec $90 million to quietly leave the company after a string of disturbing sexual harassment and abuse incidents came to light. Read the rest

Google admits Nest security product has a secret mic, insists it wasn't supposed to be a secret

Nest is the Internet of Shit company Google bought and steadily expanded from "smart" thermostats to the current home security product, "Nest Secure," which has an undisclosed microphone -- but don't worry, it wasn't intended to be a secret, Google just forgot to mention it, and "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option." Read the rest

EU Commission calls opponents of Copyright Directive a "mob," as thousands take to the streets for the #Artikel13Demo

The EU Commission has been forced to retract a Medium post in which it patronised and dismissed opponents of the controversial Article 13 proposal that will force platforms to surveil and censor users' postings with copyright filters, calling them a "mob." Read the rest

Public records requests reveal the elaborate shell-company secrecy that Google uses when seeking subsidies for data-centers

It's not just Amazon and Apple that expect massive taxpayer subsidies in exchange for locating physical plant in your town: when Google builds a new data-center, it does so on condition of multimillion-dollar "incentives" from local governments -- but Google also demands extraordinary secrecy from local officials regarding these deals, secrecy so complete that city attorneys have instructed town councillors to refuse to answer questions about it during public meetings. Read the rest

Ios and Android app stores both host Saudi government app that lets men track their spouses' movements

Senator Ron Wyden has publicly denounced both Apple and Google for hosting mobile apps that connect to Absher, a Saudi government service designed to allow Saudi men to track their spouses and employees' whereabouts at all times. Read the rest

Amazon is using purchase data to sell targeted ads, which is creepy, but not because they've invented a mind-control ray

Amazon is building out its ad-targeting program to allow for ad-buys like "people near a physiotherapist's office who've bought a knee-brace," and reports that the ads are incredibly successful. Read the rest

Google+ accounts and pages will be shut down April 2nd, says Google

Google announced last fall it's killing off Google+ because of the social network's laughably “low usage” and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” plus revelations of serious security vulnerabilities. Read the rest

Blackmailers use false copyright claims to shut down victims' Youtube accounts, offer to lift them in exchange for Bitcoin

Youtube's ContentID system allows rightsholders to upload video and audio and block videos that contain their works (or put ads on those videos and take the revenue they generate), and to have the accounts of repeat copyright offenders permanently deleted, along with all their videos. Read the rest

Announcing the audiobook for Unauthorized Bread: a DRM-free tale of DRM-locked appliances, refugees, and resistance

Unauthorized Bread is the first of four audiobooks that make up my forthcoming book Radicalized, read by the talented actor Lameece Issaq. The book, published by Macmillan Audio, is a Google Play exclusive, as part of a deal I made to celebrate the launch of a major DRM-free audiobook store that challenges Audible's monopoly on the store. But the Google Play folks have graciously permitted me to sell it with my other DRM-free audiobooks, so you can buy it direct if you prefer. Read the rest

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