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Exclusive: Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA. Adam Berry / Getty Images Two weeks after the “60 Minutes” broadcast, the German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents obtained by Snowden, reported that the NSA inserted back doors into BIOS, doing exactly what Plunkett accused a nation-state of doing during her interview.

Exclusive: Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA

Google’s Schmidt was unable to attend to the mobility security meeting in San Jose in August 2012. “General Keith.. so great to see you.. !” Schmidt wrote. “I’m unlikely to be in California that week so I’m sorry I can’t attend (will be on the east coast). Army Gen. A week after the gathering, Dempsey said during a Pentagon press briefing, “I was in Silicon Valley recently, for about a week, to discuss vulnerabilities and opportunities in cyber with industry leaders … They agreed — we all agreed on the need to share threat information at network speed.” A few months earlier, Alexander had emailed Brin to thank him for Google’s participation in the ESF. “Hi Keith, looking forward to seeing you next week. Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying. Google’s encryption initiative, initially approved last year, was accelerated in June as the tech giant struggled to guard its reputation as a reliable steward of user information amid controversy about the NSA’s PRISM program, first reported in The Washington Post and the Guardian that month.

Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying

PRISM obtains data from American technology companies, including Google, under various legal authorities. Encrypting information flowing among data centers will not make it impossible for intelligence agencies to snoop on individual users of Google services, nor will it have any effect on legal requirements that the company comply with court orders or valid national security requests for data. But company officials and independent security experts said that increasingly widespread use of encryption technology makes mass surveillance more difficult — whether conducted by governments or other sophisticated hackers. “If the NSA wants to get into your system, they are going to get in . . . . An update on our war against account hijackers. Have you ever gotten a plea to wire money to a friend stranded at an international airport?

An update on our war against account hijackers

An oddly written message from someone you haven’t heard from in ages? Compared to five years ago, more scams, illegal, fraudulent or spammy messages today come from someone you know. Although spam filters have become very powerful—in Gmail, less than 1 percent of spam emails make it into an inbox—these unwanted messages are much more likely to make it through if they come from someone you’ve been in contact with before. As a result, in 2010 spammers started changing their tactics—and we saw a large increase in fraudulent mail sent from Google Accounts. In turn, our security team has developed new ways to keep you safe, and dramatically reduced the amount of these messages. Spammers’ new trick—hijacking accounts To improve their chances of beating a spam filter by sending you spam from your contact’s account, the spammer first has to break into that account.

Gmail scanning may violate federal wiretapping laws, judge finds. A U.S. federal judge allowed a class-action suit against Google to proceed, saying the company's terms of service are unclear when describing how it scans Gmail content in order to deliver advertisements.

Gmail scanning may violate federal wiretapping laws, judge finds

Google had filed a motion to dismiss the suit, which alleges that the company intercepted and read email while in transit in order to deliver advertisements and create user profiles and models since 2008. The plaintiffs alleged the company violated federal and state wiretapping laws. The suit, which is being heard in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, further contends non-Gmail users who sent email to Gmail users were also subject to illegal interception. In her ruling Thursday, U.S. Although Google revised its terms of service and privacy policy in 2012, Koh wrote "that a reasonable Gmail user who read the Privacy Policies would not have necessarily understood that her emails were being intercepted to create user profiles or to provide targeted advertisements. " Privacy groups criticize proposed $8.5 million Google settlement. Five U.S. privacy groups have opposed a proposed $8.5 million settlement with Google in a class action lawsuit over search privacy, as it fails to require Google to change its business practices, they said.

Privacy groups criticize proposed $8.5 million Google settlement

Google was sued in October 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Internet giant allegedly transmitted user search queries to third parties without their knowledge or consent in order to enhance advertising revenue and profitability. Google shares search queries “via referrer headers,” according to a court document. The headers identify the address of a Web page that linked to the current page. The search terms can contain users’ real names, street addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers and social security numbers, all of which increases the risk of identity theft, according to the original complaint.

On Monday, the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit filed a motion for settlement. In a joint letter sent to Judge Edward J. Google Glass: is it a threat to our privacy? If you haven't heard about the excitement around Google Glass – the head-mounted glasses that can shoot video, take pictures, and broadcast what you're seeing to the world – then here's an idea of the interest in them.

Google Glass: is it a threat to our privacy?

Last week, someone claiming to be testing Glass for Google auctioned their $1,500 (£995) device on eBay. Bidding had reached $16,000 before eBay stopped it on the basis that the person couldn't prove they had the glasses. (They weren't due to get them until last Friday.) Google Glass is the most hotly anticipated new arrival in "wearable computing" – which experts predict will become pervasive.

In the past 50 years we have moved from "mainframe" computers that needed their own rooms to ones that fit in a pocket; any smartphone nowadays has as much raw computing power as a top-of-the-line laptop from 10 years ago. The next stage is computers that fit on to your body, and Google's idea is that you need only speak to operate it. Still, you might think, where's the harm? Google Transparency Report. User Data Requests – Google Transparency Report.

Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data.

User Data Requests – Google Transparency Report

In this report, we disclose the number of requests we receive from each government in six-month periods with certain limitations. Usage of our services have increased every year, and so have the user data request numbers. We continue to look for new ways to organize information and provide more detail. For example, starting with the July–December 2010 reporting period, we began to disclose the percentages of user data requests we comply with in whole or in part. And starting with the January–June 2011 reporting period, we began to disclose the number of users or accounts about which data was requested. Our FAQ about legal process provides information about how we aim to put users first when we receive user data requests. Requests by Reporting Period Percentage of Requests Where Some Data Produced. U.S. Government Requests For Google Users' Private Data Jump 37% In One Year. Want More Privacy? Sign Out Of Gmail, Facebook and Twitter After Use. Google+ Identity Crisis: What’s at Stake With Real Names and Privacy.

After a steady stream of angry blog posts and heated debate among its own users over the value of pseudonymity on the web, Google announced Monday that it was revising its “real name” policy, at least for display, on Google+.

Google+ Identity Crisis: What’s at Stake With Real Names and Privacy

In a post on Google+, Google VP Bradley Horowitz promised greater transparency, particularly in suspension of user profiles. The new algorithm — human as well as computational — offers users a chance to correct their profiles before suspension. In the past week, most banned profiles simply disappeared without warning. The great Google+ profile purge began last week with business and media company profiles: ABC News Radio, Sesame Street, Wired. This wasn’t a surprise: Google had stated that it wanted to limit the social network to individuals until it could set up special pages for businesses.

But after Google was accused of using its policy to play favorites — why was Boing Boing banned and Mashable spared? Why does Google+ want users’ real names? Google+ and Privacy: A Roundup. July 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm By all accounts, Google has done a great job with Plus, both on privacy and on the closely related goal of better capturing real-life social nuances. [1] This article will summarize the privacy discussions I’ve had in the first few days of using the service and the news I’ve come across.

Google+ and Privacy: A Roundup

The origin of Circles “Circles,” as you’re probably aware, is the big privacy-enhancing feature. A presentation titled “The Real-Life Social Network” by user-experience designer Paul Adams almost exactly a year ago went viral in the tech community; it looks likely this was the genesis, or at least a crystallization, of the Circles concept. But Adams defected to Facebook a few months later, which lead to speculation that it was the end of whatever plans Google may have had for the concept. Meanwhile, Facebook introduced a friend-lists feature but it was DOA. Why are circles effective? There are several other UI features that contribute to the success of Circles. The resharing bug. Be yourself online. Google also passes on European data to US authorities. 08 August 2011, 11:37 Google is making data that is stored in its European data centres accessible to authorities in the United States.

Google also passes on European data to US authorities

When asked by the German language WirtschaftsWoche magazine, a company spokesperson said that Google has passed on European user data to US intelligence services on several occasions. US laws such as the Patriot Act require companies based in the country to make even data that is stored abroad accessible to the US authorities. In June, Microsoft had already admitted passing on European customer data from its Office 365 cloud service to US government departments. At the time, data protectionists had already pointed out a conflict between US anti-terror legislation and European data protection laws that require users to be informed if their data is to be passed on to third parties.

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