VIDEO: Here’s what customers think of a Seattle bar banning Google Glasses

If you haven’t heard yet, Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe is one of the first establishments to declare a ban on Google Glasses to prevent its patrons from being recorded by the high-tech glasses (but also as a bit of a joke, the bar’s owner admits). Google’s high-tech augmented reality “Project Glass” spectacles are still in development and not available for purchase by… Read More

Craig Mundie. (Microsoft file photo)

Microsoft wants new model for online privacy, says current one ‘can’t survive’

It’s inevitable that companies will collect an array of data about people and their online activities. So rather than trying to prevent that data collection from happening, consumers should instead be given the ultimate control over how data is used. That’s the contention of a recent report from the World Economic Forum’s Rethinking Personal Data… Read More


Open letter to Skype from digital rights advocates urges Microsoft to issue transparency reports

Over 100 Internet advocates, journalists and other organization members penned an open letter to Microsoft today, urging the Redmond software giant to be more transparent with its Skype software. In the letter addressed to Skype Division President Tony Bates, Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch and Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, the concerned advocates want Microsoft to release… Read More


FTC investigating Intelius, and other so-called ‘data brokers’

Intelius, the Bellevue-based company led by entrepreneur Naveen Jain, is among the companies being investigated by the The Federal Trade Commission for practices of how they capture consumer data. The Consumerist has more details, noting that the FTC is looking into how Intelius and the others collect and use data about consumers. Here’s what the FTC… Read More


Microsoft holds its ground as big advertisers blast IE10′s default privacy settings

Microsoft’s decision to prevent Internet Explorer 10 users from being tracked online, by default, is getting an extraordinary response from some of the world’s largest advertisers, in the form of a letter to the Redmond company this week from the Association of National Advertisers, objecting to to the plan. The letter was signed by representatives of… Read More

David Brin

10 questions: ‘Existence’ author David Brin on science fiction, science and geeks

One could successfully argue that modern geek culture wouldn’t exist in its current form without 20th century science fiction and its fan culture, the true Ancient Geeks. Tech’s unconferences have their roots in PowerPoint-free, volunteer-organized, fan-driven science-fiction conventions run by organizations such as the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), which go back nearly eight… Read More


Privacy: Facebook and Google baking it in, but will startups follow the recipe?

High-profile privacy breaches have increasingly been making headlines, putting the issue further onto the agenda of the tech industry. But the message hasn’t necessarily reached those aspiring entrepreneurs who are collecting user data as they try to develop the next blockbuster app. That was one of the messages this morning at the Privacy Identity Innovation… Read More


Actress’s suit vs. Amazon’s IMDb may have bigger impact on privacy

A lawsuit against Amazon.com’s Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for disclosing an actress’s age could have a larger impact on the way online companies gather and use personal information. That’s the upshot of a New York Times article this morning, which digs into the case of the 40-year-old actress who sued Amazon.com’s Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for revealing her… Read More

Larry Page

State AGs sound alarm over Google privacy changes

In a letter today to Google CEO Larry Page, attorneys general from dozens of states question the company’s plan to unify its privacy policies across its different web properties and say the company should give users the option of opting in or out of the changes. Here’s the full text of the letter, signed by… Read More


On trust and privacy: Why I no longer trust Google

[Guest commentary by Kathy Gill] Trust. It’s a key factor in any successful relationship, whether that relationship is between two people or a person and an organization. Although Google hasn’t been battered with privacy-related consumer trust headlines as frequently as Facebook, it has flirted with trust issues since at least 2004. That’s when Dave Winer warned:… Read More


Google in iPhone tracking dustup, and Microsoft jumps into the fray

In an investigative report today, the Wall Street Journal says Google circumvented the iPhone’s privacy settings to track user browsing habits against their wishes. The company “used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users,” the WSJ reports, noting that Safari, “is designed to block such tracking by… Read More


Irony? Apple patent filings cite need for user consent on data

How’s this for timing? Two Apple patent applications, made public just this morning, go out of their way to point out the importance of getting user consent before collecting and using personal data. The patent applications, originally submitted in August 2010, deal with ways of segmenting the population to target content, such advertising. They’re unrelated… Read More


Google challenges Microsoft ads, and Microsoft unleashes its ‘Gmail Man’

It’s Day No. 2 in Microsoft’s three-day bid to court Google users, and Google isn’t letting Microsoft’s claims go unanswered. Google yesterday afternoon issued a detailed rebuttal to Microsoft’s newspaper ads  – seeking to debunk assertions made by Microsoft about the unification of Google’s privacy policies across its various online properties. Contrary to Microsoft’s suggestions, Google says… Read More


Poll: Pissed or pleased about Google’s privacy changes?

The privacy changes announced by Google this week highlight the classic dilemma of the digital age: Are you willing to give companies a clearer picture of yourself, and what you do, in exchange for the promise of a better online experience? Here’s how the company explains it: “The main change is for users with Google… Read More


Why Facebook’s privacy settlement may not be a done deal

Guest Commentary: “Facebook,” observes Seattle lawyer Venkat Balasubramani, writing about that company’s proposed settlement with the FTC, “is like the stereotypical person in an abusive relationship. It doles out the punishment and people keep coming on hearing a promise that it will make things right.” Venkat wonders to what extent the proposed settlement whitewashes past… Read More