A right to use your name

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, France’s data protection authority,  rejected Google’s appeal against a French order to apply the right to be forgotten to all of its global Internet services and domains. According to the CNIL’s president also “this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the CNIL to apply French law extraterritorially. It simply requests full observance of European legislation by non European players offering their services in Europe.”

cnil-logoGoogle’s representatvies of course disagrees with CNIL’s stance. In a blog post regarding the case, the Google’s privacy chief, Peter Fleischer, wrote: “If the CNIL’s proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place. We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access.”
As far as CNIL is concerned, Google must now comply with its order. “Otherwise, the President of the CNIL may designate a Rapporteur who may refer to the CNIL’s sanctions committee with a view of obtaining a ruling on this matter.” Those sanctions could be severe. According to The Guardian: “CNIL will likely begin to apply sanctions including the possibility of a fine in the region of €300,000 against Google, should the company refuse to comply with the order. Under incoming French regulation the fine could increase to between 2% and 5% of global operating costs.” For 2014, Google’s total operating costs were just under $50 billion, so potentially the fine could be from $1 billion to $2.5 billion.

If Google is fined by CNIL in this way, it can then make a formal appeal to the French supreme court for administrative justice and argue its case in detail. Since important issues are at stake for both the company and the Internet itself, and the French government is unlikely to back down in its threat to impose fines, it seems very likely that Google will end up taking this route.

If Google was a guy – eh spy

product:youGerman privacy regulators have ordered Google to give its products (“users”) control over how their data is used. The latest complaint relates to changes in Google’s privacy policies in 2012 that consolidated the company’s 60 privacy policies into one document, which also allowed the company to start collecting data on users across its online services. The ruling states that Google must seek expressed permission before it uses their data to create online user profiles across its services like email, search and its mobile products. Mr. Caspar, the Hamburg data commissioner, who previously fined Google $190,000 for illegally collecting personal information from unencrypted German Wi-Fi networks, said the company had not made sufficient changes to give users greater control over how their online information is aggregated.

Google faces penalties of up to 1 million euros (US $1.27M) if it does not comply with the ruling, according to a spokesman for the Hamburg data protection commissioner. In France, the national watchdog fined the company 150,000 Euros, or about $190,000, this year for similarly tracking and storing people’s online information. Regulators said that Google’s ability to aggregate such data without people’s consent could allow the company to ascertain individuals’ financial information, relationship status and sexual orientation, which is illegal under German law.The regulator’s comments signal the latest privacy challenge for Google, which has faced similar legal cases brought by other national regulators.

Google is further battling on a variety of other legal fronts in Europe. The company is facing renewed antitrust complaints brought by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. And the advertising giant has been stung by a recent European court decision that gives Europeans  the right to request that links to online information about themselves be removed from Internet searches.

While Google continues to manufacture headlines by creating new ‘free’ services and buying innovative companies the company still indeed generates more than 90% of its revenues from online advertising (about $5 million per hour). So, Google’s users are indeed the product it is selling to its clients – the advertisers. And the more then company knows about its product (read: ‘you’) the more valuable it is to its clients. – Read more.

Ask Mr Robot

ask mr robotAsk Mr Robot. Google, the advertising company, has acquired Boston Dynamics — the robotics and engineering company known for the development of some of the most advanced robots, including BigDog, Cheetah, and Atlas. This brings Google’s number of robot-related acquisitions to eight.

Google’s robots efforts will be led by Andy Rubin, who was formerly in-charge of Android. It is clear that Google is seriously interested in robotics. What isn’t obvious, though, is why. Is Google planning some kind of synergistic and brilliant ploy to integrate its AI and machine learning software algorithms with humanoid robots? Is this the start of a story that ultimately leads to the technological singularity and Judgment Day?

Search and find game: Visual breadcrumbs

search and find game

CrowdOptic has patented the technology (U.S. Patent No. 8,527,340) that captures dynamic shifts in where people are looking through their electronic devices (think Google Glass). The technology should enable users to share their routes with each other (for a high-tech game of search and find), especially in complex multi-building environments such as universities campuses  or shopping malls, and allow people to reroute  in response to changing environmental conditions and the paths of other users.

Very cool and well positioned to get snapped up by you know who 😉

The model for a new mobile phone

new mobile phone modelWith RIM’s Blackberry dying a slow death, there seem to be two mobile paradigms left: iOS and Android. And many insiders see Apple sliding when it comes to innovation which is supporting by sales numbers of Android phone with have been exceeding those of iPhones for a while now.

The obvious conclusion seems to be that one clear leader in form of Google’s Android operating system will emerge. With Google already being a quasi monopoly and unhealthy development for the most visible element of the Internet – the world wide web – this should frighten anybody with a comprehensive understanding of evolution and the awareness of humanity in a global society (for more about this see this outline for building a better search engine).

So, that’s why I was very pleased to come across this Indiegogo project: