German Court Says Google Must Block Libelous Words Added Via Autocomplete Function

Google Germany In a surprising turn of events, Germany's top civil court overturned two lower court rulings on a case involving Google's autocomplete function. According to the ruling, it is Google's responsibility to block libelous words that appear next to a name via the autocomplete function if Google has been alerted to the defamatory words. The plaintiff in the case was an unidentified nutritional supplements company that filed the lawsuit against Google because the German-language site's autocomplete function was adding the terms "Scientology" and "fraud" to the company's name in search queries. The [...]


German Privacy Regulator Fines Google Over Street View Data Collection, Calls For Tougher Financial Penalties

street-view-car-featured A fine of 145,000 EUR (roughly $189,000) is trivial for Google. But that's close to the maximum fine allowed by German law ($150,000 EUR). The fine is being imposed on Google for violations of German privacy and data protection laws stemming from the so-called "WiSpy" episode in 2008 - 2009 in which Google collected private emails and other personal data via its Street View cars and their efforts to map Wi-Fi locations around the world. Google was fined 100,000 EUR by French authorities for the same violations in 2011. These amounts are insignificant to Google, which just posted quarterl [...]


The Dark Side Of The Internet: A Search Engine That Finds Unsecured Routers, Servers & A Whole Lot More

Developed by John Matherly, Shodan is a search engine designed to help users find certain pieces of software, determine which applications are most popular, identify anonymous FTP servers, or investigate new vulnerabilities and what hosts they could infect. It also serves as a window into millions of unsecured online connections. According to an article on CNN Money, Shodan runs nonstop, collecting data from approximately 500 million connected devices and services each month. Through a simple search on Shodan, a user can identify a number of systems that either have no security measures in [...]


It’s Official: Google Settles “WiSpy” Case For $7 Million

google-wifi-streetview As reported last week, Google has formally settled the so-called "WiSpy" case with 30 US state Attorneys General for $7 million. The agreement also contains some other non-monetary provisions that are, frankly, more meaningful. The investigation began in 2010 concerning unauthorized collection of private emails and other "payload" data by Google Street View vehicles. The US Federal Communications Commission concluded its own investigation of the affair with no finding of liability against Google. As mentioned, the $7 million settlement is insignificant for Google. However, the press rel [...]


Google Wins Lawsuit Over Monetizing Your Name With Ads

[caption id="attachment_65488" align="alignright" width="300"] Image courtesy Shutterstock.com[/caption] Google has won a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin woman, Beverly Stayart, over Google Instant suggestions leading to a search result set that had ads. Beverly Stayart claimed Google suggested a search query phrase for the term [Bev Stayart levitra]. When you landed on that page of search results, Google would show search ads for Levitra and other treatments for erectile dysfunction. Beverly Stayart sued Google for using her name to make money without her approval. The U.S. Seventh Circui [...]


Report: Google To Settle “WiSpy” Investigation With Attorneys General For Measly $7 Million

Google Street View Pegman Icon According to AllThingsD, Google is about to settle the so-called "WiSpy" investigation with 30 US state Attorneys Generals. Google will admit no wrongdoing and pay $7 million according to the report. The article says the settlement will be announced next week. In early 2012, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concluded its own WiSpy investigation with no finding of liability against Google, but fined the company $25,000 for not cooperating with its investigation -- a claim that Google aggressively disputed. The WiSpy scandal was global in scope. If you've forgotten, it i [...]


In Another “Right to Be Forgotten” Case, UK Officials Threaten Legal Action Against People Posting Pictures Of Convicted Killer

Online security, privacy Although slightly different than the Spanish case discussed yesterday, the "right to be forgotten" has reared its head again -- this time in the UK." UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve has threatened legal action against anyone posting pictures of convicted killer Jon Venables online. TechDirt offers a short summary of the underlying facts of the Vendables case: Jon Venables, [ ] at the age of 10, murdered 2-year old James Bulger, in a rather horrifying story. Venables was released from jail in 2001, at the age of 19 (though he has since gone back to prison). Photos of Venables, now 30 yea [...]


Privacy Vs Censorship: Google, Spanish Government Face Off In European Courts

google-eu-featured In a test case that could have significant implications for Google throughout Europe the company faced off against the Spanish data protection authority in the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. One could frame the case as "privacy vs. censorship." From the Spanish government's point of view its data protection authority is simply vindicating the recently articulated right (of individuals) "to be forgotten" -- to have content or data about them removed from the search index upon request. From Google's perspective, if the court agrees with Spain, the outcome would be tanta [...]


Wisconsin State Court OKs Bidding On Trademarks In Paid Search

[caption id="attachment_65488" align="alignright" width="240"] Image courtesy Shutterstock.com.[/caption] A Wisconsin appeals court this week affirmed a circuit court's ruling that it's OK to use trademarks as keywords to trigger the display of paid search ads. The court's conclusions are in line with search engines' policies with regard to trademark bidding and with a Federal case decided last year in California. The Wisconsin case, which involved two personal injury law firms, centered around what it means to "use" a name for advertising purposes. In the 2009 lawsuit, the owners of [...]


New Tumblr Blog Raises Privacy Concerns Over Facebook Graph Search

facebook-graph-search-featured That didn't take long, did it? Tom Scott, one of the current users of Facebook Graph Search, has started a Tumblr blog to document its potential privacy train wrecks. "I just got Graph Search and it's actually so creepy that I've started this Tumblr to document it," Scott wrote on Facebook yesterday. His blog offers examples of searches that are a mix of comedy and creepiness, in my opinion. He has things like "Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk," "Mothers of Jews who like Bacon" and this one below, "Married people who like Prostitutes ... t [...]


Google In Privacy Flap With Germans Over New iOS Maps

Google maps logo iPhone According to a report in Computerworld, Google has violated German data protection and privacy rules with its new Google Maps app for the iPhone. When users install the app and agree to the terms and conditions there's a check box that authorizes Google to collect "anonymous" user location data. The fact that this box is an opt-out (rather than an opt-in) violates German privacy regulations, which require "informed consent" where personal data collection is involved. The fix is obviously easy for Google: simply uncheck the box as the default. Yet the likelihood that people will op [...]


Study: 39% Of Google Search Referrers Now “Not Provided”

not-provided-featured It is just over a year since Google began encrypting search by default for signed-in users. A new study finds that as a result, 39% search-related traffic from Google to web sites now has search terms withheld. Optify conducted a study over eleven months with 424 web sites, involving 17,143,603 visits and 7,241,093 referring keywords, to see how serious the "not provided" issue is. "Not Provided" is what Google Analytics shows in cases where Google no longer reports a search term due to encryption (other analytics programs may use other phrases). The study found that 39% of terms ar [...]


Google Fined $208,000 In Australian Defamation Case, May Appeal

google-australia-200px Google has been told to pay the equivalent of $208,000 (USD) after recently losing a defamation case in Australia involving how it showed a 62-year-old man's name in search results. Google is examining the original jury verdict and may file an appeal. A judge in the supreme court of the Australian state Victoria issued the fine today and, according to Phys.org, compared Google's search results to that of an online publisher: Google Inc is like the newsagent that sells a newspaper containing a defamatory article," Beach said in his judgement. "While there might be no specific intention to [...]


Google Loses Australian Defamation Case, Awaiting Decision On Damages

google-australia-200px Google is awaiting a judge's decision on damages before it decides what to do after losing a defamation case over its search results in Australia. A jury in the supreme court of the Australian state Victoria, ruled Tuesday that Google is liable for defamation because its search results connected the plaintiff, 62-year-old Milorad Trkulja, to phrases such as "Melbourne crime" and showed his photo near images of suspected members of Melbourne's organized crime scene. It's a complicated and strange case that the BBC details well. In short, my summary would go like this: the plaintiff wa [...]


Happy Birthday “Not Provided” – One Year Since Google Began Withholding Search Terms

google-not-provided A year ago (and a day), Google began encrypting searches for signed-in users, so that the terms they searched for were no longer passed to publishers, except for advertisers. The "single digit" withholding predicted by Google at launch has turned into more than 50% of terms being withheld, in some cases. I explore how things have unfolded over the past year in the search marketing column on our Marketing Land sister-site today. It's written for both those new to the concept of how terms began being withheld as well for search marketing vets who are regular Search Engine Land readers. Be su [...]


Wikipedia Releases Search Data To Public But Pulls It After Privacy Concerns

wikipedia-search-data Wikipedia announced they have decided to give away their search data to the public for free. Yea, they would just give away search data to anyone would wanted to download it. Shortly after they announced this, they decided to "temporarily taken down this data to make additional improvements to the anonymization protocol related to the search queries." My first reaction when I saw that Wikipedia was releasing this information was, privacy issue! Imagine how people use Wikipedia. They may search for family information, medical conditions, religious beliefs, political beliefs and so on. If you [...]


Pew: 50 Percent Have Cleared Smartphone Search History

Screen Shot 2012-09-05 at 10.32.58 AM There's a cat and mouse game going on between developers, publishers and mobile users. The former group is often trying to "connect the dots" and gather as much data and information on user behavior and, in some cases, individual activity as possible. By contrast, mobile phone owners (especially smartphone owners) are often trying to thwart or very selectively allow that data collection. The Pew Internet Project just released survey data revealing that mobile users may be a great deal more sensitive to privacy issues than most developers and publishers think. The survey was conducted in Mar [...]


NBC Olympics Executive’s Email Wasn’t “Widely Available” In Google

twitter-new-logo-2012 The interwebs are all a flutter over how a critic of NBC's Olympic coverage had his Twitter account suspended after tweeting the email address of the executive in charge of that coverage. It was private, said Twitter. Public to anyone with Google, said journalist Guy Adams, whose account was suspended. Actually, from what I can tell, it really wasn't public to anyone with Google. A Tweet Too Far Adams is a journalist who works for The Independent. He's tweeted loudly and proudly against NBC's coverage of the Olympics, as Deadspin details. But when he encouraged people to email Gary Zenkel, [...]


Survey Paradox: People Like Google But Not What It’s Doing

Last week the Pew Internet Project released findings of a survey on search, personalization and targeted advertising. In a nutshell, survey respondents had a very positive view of search and the quality of search results. Yet the majority gave an unequivocal thumbs down to search personalization (and behavioral targeting). This isn't necessarily a contradiction or paradox in the abstract, but it is when you consider that the most popular search engine is moving aggressively in a direction most people say they don't want search to go. Here's our earlier coverage of the survey: Pew Repo [...]


Pew Report: 65% View Personalized Search As Bad; 73% See It As Privacy Invasion

personalized search Personalized search? Both Google and Bing will tell you that it provides better results. But two-thirds say they don't care. They view personalized search as a "bad thing," a new survey finds. Nearly three-quarters also view gathering data to personalize results to be a privacy invasion. The findings come out of a survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Around 2,000 adults in the US were questioned between January 20 and February 19 of this year as part of a wide-ranging poll about search engine use, though fewer may have answered particular questions. Personalized Sea [...]


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide