Google cookies ‘bypassed Safari privacy protection’

google thumb Google cookies bypassed Safari privacy protectionGoogle has been accused of bypassing the privacy settings of users of the Safari web-browser.

The Wall Street Journal said Google and other companies had worked around privacy settings designed to restrict cookies.

Cookies are small text files stored by browsers which can record information about online activity, and help some online services work.

However Google says the story "mischaracterises" what happened.

Advertisers can use cookies to track online behaviour, helping them to target the commercials they show to internet users.

Some think this use of cookies erodes online privacy. In May, European Union laws are due to come into force which will restrict the use of advertising cookies.

But cookies are also essential to some web services like those Google offers.

Cookie control

The Safari browser is produced by Apple, and is the browser used by the iPhone.

By default Safari only allows cookies to be stored by the web page a user is visiting, not from third parties such as advertisers.

However, Stanford University researcher Jonathan Mayer found that advertisers were still able to store cookies on the computers of internet users browsing with Safari.

It was his discovery that formed the basis of the Wall Street Journal’s story.

Many Google services use cookies, for example to remember when someone is signed in to a service, but they are also used by the firm to help personalise advertising.

It was when Google attempted to find a way to enable some of its services and personalised advertising to work on Safari that, Google says, it inadvertently stored cookies.

Side-stepping Safari

In a statement, senior vice president Rachel Whetstone said that last year the company had decided to "enable features for signed-in Google users on Safari who had opted to see personalised ads and other content".

She added: "To enable these features, we created a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google’s servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for this type of personalisation."

Ms Whetsone said the company had created new systems to make sure the information it collected was anonymous, but this had led to unintended consequences:

"The Safari browser contained functionality that then enabled other Google advertising cookies to be set on the browser.

"We didn’t anticipate that this would happen, and we have now started removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers. It’s important to stress that, just as on other browsers, these advertising cookies do not collect personal information."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google "disabled the code after being contacted by the paper".

Google declined to provide further comment to the BBC.

Privacy warning

Online privacy advocates were highly critical of Google’s actions.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote: "It’s time for Google to acknowledge that it can do a better job of respecting the privacy of web users."

Although much of the criticism has been directed at the search giant, the Wall Street Journal said that in addition to Google, a number of advertising companies had been using the work-around which had been known about for some time.

An Apple spokesman said in a statement: "We are aware that some third parties are circumventing Safari’s privacy features and we are working to put a stop to it."

Story source: www.bbc.co.uk

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US lawmakers abandoning online piracy bill

SOPA 1 thumb US lawmakers abandoning online piracy billFive days before a critical vote, US senators are abandoning an anti-piracy bill after an outpouring of online opposition to tinkering with internet freedoms.

Senate Democratic leaders still plan to vote on Tuesday on taking up the Protect International Property Act and supporters are scrambling to make changes before then to answer some of the critics, but it is questionable whether they have the 60 votes needed.

Half-a-dozen of the 40 original co-sponsors of what is known as the PIPA bill withdrew their support on Wednesday amid a one-day protest blackout by Wikipedia and other web giants and a flood of emails to Capitol Hill offices that at times doubled normal volumes.

More than 7 million signed a petition on Google saying the Senate bill and its counterpart in the House would censor the web and impose burdensome regulations on US businesses.

"The overwhelming input I’ve received from New Hampshire citizens makes it clear there are many legitimate concerns that deserve further consideration before Congress moves forward with this legislation," said Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, one of the politicians who pulled back her support of the bill.

Others included Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Boozman of Arkansas.

Nearly all cited the earful they were getting from constituents.

"I can say, with all honesty, that the feedback I received from Arkansans has been overwhelmingly in opposition to the Senate bill in its current form," Boozman said.

Several Democratic co-sponsors also now say they oppose the bill as it is written.

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has resisted suggestions he put off the Tuesday vote.

Reid and the bill’s main sponsor, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said it was too important to delay action on legislation aimed at combating the billions of dollars US content creators and companies lose to foreign copyright violators and counterfeiters every year.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Thursday urged Democrats to shelve the bill for now, saying serious issues with the measure should be resolved before "prematurely" bringing it to the floor.

The Senate bill, and the parallel Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would allow the Justice Department and copyright holders to seek court orders against foreign websites that steal from American content creators.

It would bar advertising networks and payment facilitators such as credit card companies from doing business with the offending websites.

The bills have the strong support of the entertainment industry which loses billions every year to foreign copyright violators and from industries such as pharmaceuticals battling fake and sometimes harmful alternatives sold on the internet.

The opposition, as demonstrated by Wednesday’s protest, is led by internet-related industries that say the bills will lead to censorship of the internet and a surge in lawsuits that will discourage budding internet entrepreneurs.

Story source: www.ninemsn.com.au

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SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co-sponsors amid protests

SOPA thumb SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co sponsors amid protests

In case you missed all the news on the proposed bill to Stop On Line Piracy, or SOPA as it has become known, is a bill that was introduced into the  US house of representatives in October last year. 

The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.[2] Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.

In an update of this story, below is a article from the Los Angeles Times:

“Three co-sponsors of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills have publicly withdrawn their support as Wikipedia and thousands of other websites blacked out their pages Wednesday to protest the legislation.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) withdrew as a co-sponsor of the Protect IP Act in the Senate, while Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) said they were pulling their names from the companion House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Opponents of the legislation, led by large Internet companies, say its broad definitions could lead to censorship of online content and force some websites to shut down.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Rubio noted that after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed its bill last year, he has "heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet."

"Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences," Rubio said in announcing he was withdrawing his support. While he’s committed to stopping online piracy, Rubio called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to back off plans to hold a key procedural vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Rubio’s withdrawal will reduce the number of co-sponsors to 39. Last week, two other co-sponsors, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), joined four other Senate Republicans in a letter to Reid also urging him delay the vote. But Grassley and Hatch have not withdrawn their support.

Terry and Quayle were among the 31 sponsors of the House legislation before they withdrew their support Tuesday.

Quayle still strongly supports the goal of the House bill to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music, medicine and other goods.

"The bill could have some unintended consequences that need to be addressed," said Quayle spokesman Zach Howell. "Basically it needs more work before he can support it."

Terry said that he also had problems with the House bill in its current form and would no longer support it.

Wikipedia, Reddit and about 10,000 other websites blacked out their pages Wednesday with messages warning of the dangers of the legislation and urging people to contact their congressional representatives. Howell said Quayle’s office had not seen a major increase in calls or emails Wednesday, but that the piracy bills have been the main issue in recent weeks for people contacting the office.

There has been a "manageable increase" in visits to House member websites Wednesday, said Dan Weiser, a spokesman for the House office of the chief administrative officer.

"It’s possible some users will see a short delay or slow loading of a member’s web page," he said.”

Original story from The Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/

If you would like to read more on how this bill, if passed, would affect how you use and research on the Internet, please read this link to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act.

Anything we can do to stop this bill becoming law, lets do it now, and protest what is essentially an act of total censorship.

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Facebook rolls out Timeline feature

Facebook thumb Facebook rolls out Timeline featureFacebook has officially started rolling out its new Timeline feature that will enable users to show off the most important moments of their lives on their profile page.

The new feature, which was unveiled in early September, will first be introduced in New Zealand before it is rolled out to other countries, the company revealed on its Facebook blog today.

Facebook said Timeline would keep important life events on profile pages while less-important posts would drop off .

"Now you can share photos of what you did last weekend, and updates about how you feel today," the company said in a previous blog post.

"But since the focus is on the most recent things you posted, more important stuff slips off the page. The photos of your graduation get replaced by updates about what you had for breakfast."

The new feature will allow users to choose which life events, such as birthdays or weddings, are permanently illustrated on their profile.

Timeline raised privacy concerns in its development stage, after it was revealed it would be visible on the Timeline when you "unfriended" certain people, social media website Mashable reports.

Facebook said this was a glitch that had since been corrected.

Story: www.ninemsn.com.au

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Bosses stalk Facebook before hiring

Facebook thumb1 Bosses stalk Facebook before hiringMore than a quarter of Australian employers use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook before hiring staff, according to new research.

Telstra’s Cyber-Safety survey found that almost half of those employers who admit to checking candidates’ social profiles have turned down applicants based on something unfavourable they’ve seen online.

The research also revealed over a third have hired staff based on a positive experience stalking someone online.

The findings serve as a reminder to Australians to consider their ‘Cyber CV’, said Telstra’s Officer of Internet Trust Safety Darren Kane.

‘According to the findings some of the biggest Cyber CV faux pas candidates make include posting inappropriate pictures (with 31 per cent of employers saying this counts against applicants) and posting discriminatory comments (37 per cent),’ Mr Kane said.

‘Given the impressions comments and images can create, Telstra recommends job seekers think twice before posting, tagging and uploading pictures and status updates this Christmas.’

He has advised job applicants to ensure any content on Facebook or Twitter that is able to be publically viewed is ‘positive and professional’.

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What Encourages Facebook Engagement?

Facebook thumb What Encourages Facebook Engagement?Brands that include photos and calls to action see higher engagement rates with those posts

Companies on Facebook and other social sites are always trying to determine what to post to get fans engaged. While each brand is different, and its fans will respond to different things, there are some common threads that companies can keep in mind when planning social media posts and status updates.

Digital marketing agency Web Liquid analyzed 16 brands and more than 1,500 brand posts from March to May 2011 to see which Facebook posts saw the most engagement, such as comments and “likes.” Web Liquid found that Facebook posts with photos saw a 0.37% engagement rate, higher than posts with videos (0.31%), text only (0.27%) or links (0.15%).

133951 What Encourages Facebook Engagement?

Momentus Media, which provides marketing software for use within Facebook, came up with similar findings, even when analyzing the top 20,000 Facebook pages and between 10,000 and 250,000 posts overall. Facebook posts with photos saw a 0.21% engagement rate, while videos saw 0.11% engagement rate and links saw 0.07% engagement.

Within the text of a post, companies can encourage action by asking fans to “like” or comment on the post. Momentus Media found that Facebook status updates that contained the word “like” saw a 0.38% engagement rate and those that said “comment” saw a 0.14% engagement rate. Text updates without “like” or “comment” saw 0.11% engagement.

132605 What Encourages Facebook Engagement?

While these statistics are interesting, brands should determine which tactics work best for their Facebook page and their fans. Additionally, the upcoming changes to Facebook’s Timeline feature and brand pages will change the way consumers interact on the social network.

Facebook’s new Timeline relies heavily on photos, so it seems that posts with photos and videos will continue to perform well for brands. And as Facebook introduces more verbs beyond “like,” companies could develop interesting ways to increase engagement on their pages. By testing different types of posts and continuing to learn what spurs a reaction, marketers can keep up with what content fans prefer on their brand Facebook pages and keep engagement up.

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Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet Reviews

Social Shopping thumb Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet Reviews

performics social shop influence.thumbnail Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet ReviewsA majority of social shoppers trust user reviews and recommendations on social network sites more than other sites, according to a study released in October 2011 by Performics and conducted by ROI Research. Data from the “2011 Social Shopping Study” indicates that among participants who use social networks at least occasionally during the shopping process, 58% trust the recommendations they find on social networks more than other sites. Shopping sites (57%) and deal sites (53%) follow closely as trusted sources of product recommendations. According to the study, about one in 2 social shoppers are positively influenced by favorable reviews and recommendations. This compares to roughly 45% of social shoppers adversely influenced by negative reviews.

Shopping Sites Most Important During Process

Almost three in 4 (72%) social shoppers consider shopping sites to be an important part of the purchase process, about 25% more than those who report deal sites (58%) to be an important factor. Just four in 10 (41%) find social networks to be a significant part of the shopping process.

1 in 5 Use Sites Daily to Find Deals

performics social shop daily.thumbnail Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet ReviewsAmong active social networkers, nearly one in 5 (19%) turn to deal sites to find specials, coupons, or deals on a daily basis. Social networks (18%) and shopping sites (17%) follow closely as deal sources. While 15% of social shoppers use social networks daily to learn about new products, only one in 10 use social shopping sites on a daily basis for other key stages of the shopping process, including to research product information, read product reviews, compare products, and find product availability.

Shopping Sites Most Popular Before Purchase

Although social networks are most frequently used to learn about new products, the vast majority of social shoppers (87%) turn to shopping sites while searching for a product, while 83% use these sites right before committing to a purchase. This compares to roughly two-thirds of social shoppers who frequently use social networks or deal sites prior to purchasing a product. After the purchase, however, the focus shifts to social networks: almost six in 10 (59%) frequently share their experiences on social networks after the purchase, compared to 57% for shopping sites and 51% for deal sites.

Other Findings

  • Almost seven in 10 (69%) social shoppers visit Amazon at least once a month, making it the most popular shopping site, ahead of eBay (53%) and retailer websites (52%). Search sites fare less well: just 27% visit Google shopping on a monthly basis, followed by Yahoo shopping (23%) and Bing shopping (13%).
  • Close to half of social shoppers (47%) have a Groupon account, far more than those with a Living Social (27%) or Eversave (15%) account.

Nielsen: SocNet Users Most Trust Info from Consumers

Social network users are most likely to trust product and service information provided by other consumers, according to data released in October 2011 by NMIncite and The Nielsen Company. Sixty-three percent say consumer ratings are a preferred source for product information, while 62% say consumer reviews are a preferred source. Company websites come in a distant third, preferred by 50% of social network users for product and service information. Call center (47%) and email (45%) closely follow. Interestingly, company Facebook page (15%) and company Twitter (7%) are among the least preferred product information sources.

About the Data: The Performics survey was conducted among 1000 participants who were required to have an active social network account and use social networks at least occasionally in the shopping process. The online survey was in field from 9/27/11 to 10/4/11.

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Blogger told to take Speedos off porn site

domain names thumb Blogger told to take Speedos off porn siteThere is a lesson to be learned for all companies in the following story, as Internet marketing consultants, we are constantly advising our clients to ensure they have secured all variations of their domain names, and given the very cheap cost of these valuable pieces of on line real estate, you would think it would be one of the first marketing tools they would secure.

However a lot of companies do not understand the value of a domain name and do not secure them.

They only have themselves to blame for this, so now you have been told, get online and make sure you own every variation of your trademark or domain name, it’s a very small price to pay to ensure that this type of problem does not impact your company or brand.

You can check wether your domain names have been secured by checking our Really Cheap Domains registration web site! 

 

“A NSW man has been ordered to shut down several pornographic websites featuring Speedo swimwear and using the company’s trademark.

Speedo Holdings took Central Coast blogger Dave Evans to court claiming he had used the trademark under aliases and without the company’s consent.

The company claimed the websites and the use of the company’s trademark as part of his domain names could damage the "valuable reputation and goodwill associated with the name and trade mark Speedo".

In the Federal Court of Australia on Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Flick ordered Evans to stop operating and registering any domain name containing the name Speedo.

He was also restrained from operating websites featuring any sign of the Speedo trademark.

Evans, who didn’t appear in court, was ordered to transfer the domain names to Speedo within 21 days.

If Evans doesn’t comply, a registrar of the court will be appointed to transfer the domain names and Evans will liable for substantial damages to the company.

He was also ordered to pay the swimwear company’s legal costs.”

Story source: www.ninemsn.com.au

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More businesses move onto the internet

Business Online thumb More businesses move onto the internetMore businesses are taking advantage of the internet, with many finding the move online creates more revenue, a new survey has found.

Research by accounting software provider MYOB has found that the number of Australian businesses now online has increased to 39 per cent, up from 35 per cent last November, with a further 22 per cent planning to create a website in the next 12 months.

Almost a third of the 1000 respondents surveyed reported an increase revenue compared with just 22 per cent without a website.

‘Today consumers look online first when making buying decisions,’ MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, releasing the survey findings on Wednesday.

‘If your business can’t be found via a search engine, it’s as if you don’t exist.’

Western Australian businesses are leading the way online at 43 per cent, closely followed by NSW and Victoria at 41 and 40 per cent respectively.

Still, not all business are making full use of the internet and some are convinced that the internet is not the way forward.

The survey found that 57 per cent of business still do not promote or sell products and services online.

Almost half without a website said they have no intention of creating one in the future, and 26 per cent don’t believe a website would benefit their business at all.

‘While only 26 per cent of business owners believe their competitors are ahead of them when it comes to the online economy, I’m concerned for Australia’s future international competitiveness if business owners don’t do more to embrace the online economy,’ Mr Reed said.

‘It’s important Aussie business owners take action now to make sure they don’t lose market share to global competitors.’

He said one of the biggest challenges for businesses getting online appears to be having the right skills and knowledge to take the necessary steps to move.

One in three businesses believe they are behind the times in using the internet for business, 35 per cent believe they don’t use the internet well enough for marketing purposes, and 31 per cent believe they don’t use online search engines well enough to market their business.


View the original article here

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Internet providers unsure on NBN

NBN thumb Internet providers unsure on NBNThere was plenty of smiling and hand-shaking as Telstra and the government put pen to paper on an $11 billion deal – seen as one of the last major hurdles on the road to a National Broadband Network.

But as the government celebrates – Internet service providers around the country are sifting through the documents to work out what the deal means for them.

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View the original article here

tt twitter micro3 Internet providers unsure on NBN

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