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

Even as Google was making nice during employee walkout, it was secretly asking the Trump administration to ban email labor organizing

Last year, Google was rocked by a string of employee uprisings: first over selling AI tools to the Pentagon for use in drone development; then over the clandestine development of a censored Chinese search-product, the over the revelation that Android founder Andy Rubin was given a $90 million payoff to get rid of him after repeated sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations. Read the rest

Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the top sponsors of a conference that featured climate change denial kooks

Libertycon is the annual conference of Students for Liberty, a libertarian youth group, held in DC; at this year's conference, Google was the $25,000 platinum sponsor, while Facebook and Microsoft were each $10,000 sponsors. Read the rest

Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties

In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect that Fi customers' data will not be sold this way. Read the rest

Google board sued for $90 million payout to Andy Rubin amid sexual abuse probe

Investors accuse Alphabet's board of directors of failing their duties.

Google will defeat its own captchas for you

Step one: write a bot that hits the "play this captcha as audio for me" on a Google Re:captcha; step two: record that as an MP3; step three: feed the MP3 into the Google's Speech2Text API; step four: feed that text back into the Re:captcha. Read the rest

Sorting the spin from the facts: how big can the surveilling city that Sidewalk Labs plans for Toronto get?

Cory published a writeup of my research showing Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a surveilling city in Toronto involves a much, much larger chunk of land than publicly disclosed (in fact about 2,600 acres of prime Toronto waterfront!). It flushed out a response from the high-priced US PR firm Berlin Rosen, apparently acting on behalf of Sidewalk Labs: Read the rest

Internal sources say googler uprising has killed Google's plans to launch a censored, spying Chinese search engine

The employee uprising over Google's secret "Project Dragonfly -- a plan to release a censored, surveilling search engine for use in China -- has reportedly attained its goals: some of the engineers on the covert team Project Dragonfly team have been re-tasked to other projects, and the remainder have been denied access to the critical data-set that made the project possible. Read the rest

Google's secretive, data-hungry private city within Toronto will be much larger than previously disclosed

Google's Sidewalk Labs convinced Toronto to let it build an all-surveilling "smart city" on a small patch of lakefront and then promptly shenaniganized things, breaking all its privacy and transparency promises and prompting a mass exodus of its advisory board members and other watchdogs. Read the rest

Burned down National Museum of Brazil rises from the ashes, thanks to Google

This past September, a savage fire cost the world dearly: the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, along with 20 million unique artifacts that provided untold insight into our planet and our civilization's past, went up in smoke. In the months since the flames were extinguished, researchers have only managed to recover a small fraction of the museum's collection from the ashes. It's a loss that even the most obtuse of us can get their heads around. That said, if you're interested in some colorful commentary on the incident, my friend and Faces of Auschwitz collaborator Marina Amaral talks about it at length here.)

While the chances of recovering everything lost in the inferno is pretty much nil, Google's made it possible to virtually tour the museum in its former glory.

From Engadget:

A couple of years before a fire devastated the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in September, Google's Arts and Culture team started working with the museum to digitize the collection. Just a few months after the inferno, Google has reopened the museum's doors -- albeit in a virtual form using Street View imagery and digital exhibits.

The museum and Google were already planning to make the collection available to view online before the incident. Of course, no virtual tour could ever truly replace a physical museum, nor the estimated 20 million artifacts that the blaze destroyed. But tools such as 3D scanning, hi-res photography and virtual and augmented reality can offer some form of protection to items of historical value.

Read the rest

A tip to keep your home address off the internet

There are dozens of free "peoplefinder" sites that buy up commercial databases and combine them with other sources to make your home address searchable. You can find instances where this has happened to you by googling your name and home address, and then you can google the removal forms for each of the services and get yourself delisted. But your name will keep getting re-added: if you set a Google Alert for a search on your name and address, you'll get a message every time you get caught in these databases and you can remove your name again. This won't work on the for-pay background check sites that Google doesn't index, but it will keep your name and address clear of low-level scumbags who stick with free sites for their doxing activities. Read the rest

The top AI scientist who quit Google over Chinese censorship plans details the hypocrisy that sent him packing

Jack Poulson is the former Google Research Scientist who quit the company's machine learning division over Project Dragonfly, the company's secret plan to build a censoring Chinese search engine designed to help the country's spies surveil dissident search activity. Read the rest

Google engineer calls for a walkout over China censorship and raises $200K strike fund in hours

Liz Fong-Jones is a Site Reliability Engineer for Google's cloud division; she took to Twitter after reading today's story in The Intercept in which ex-Google security engineer Yonatan Zunger and three current, unnamed Google Security and Privacy staff describe how they were sidelined and deceived in the rush to ship Project Dragonfly, Google's secret, censored, surveilling Chinese search engine. Read the rest

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